Spotting an aimbot (1 Viewer)


Aug 25, 2023
Hey peeps,

in this rather long post I will teach you some things I learned over the years about how aimbots work as well as how to spot them and what giveaways and risks they have. I myself manage Vorobey's server when it comes to question about how cheats work and I have helped him in his videos a few times when it came to exposing cheaters and explaining how cheats work.
Without further a-do, let's get down to business.
The most Important thing about spotting an aimbot is knowing how they work and how they can look like.

Spotting an aimbot or any cheat for that matter requires a lot of knowledge in how the game works and how cheats function. So be aware there is a lot of knowledge you will have to take from this post and you will likely give up halfway.
Right now there are 5 type of aimbots which are:
plain aimbot (Also referred to as simply "aim lock" and it is familiar to most players. It locks the cheaters crosshair on a desired target in an instant upon toggling while providing perfect tracking to the cheater using it. Similarly like a sentry would lock on a enemy target.)

Silent aimbot (Perhaps the most used aimbots and is likely also the one you will be encountering the most. This aimbot hides the aimbot flick on the client (cheaters point of view) but the snap will be still visible to the server (to all players that in the server with the cheater) Players looking at the cheater or speccing the cheater will see a very fast snap that goes towards the target and then back to where original crosshair position. The cheater can somewhat hide their silent aimbot snaps from the server if they flick along with the aimbot which would look a bit more different. Cheaters can also use fake lag to hide their snap better since fake lag chokes and unchokes ticks and silent aimbot snaps happen in a single tick. One tick being 15 milliseconds on the default tick rate servers. sum it up: if you watch a silent aimbot users gamplay on a live recording or on a demo recording you will not see any suspicious snapping. But if you were to watch a STV of his POV or his spec camera POV the snap will be visible. The snap will also be seen on the cheaters viewangle if you were to look at him in-game, but it only visible on his view angle if his aimbot field of view is big)

pSilent aimbot (Same deal as regular silent aimbot but this time the snap is not only hidden on the cheaters screen, but also hidden to the whole server. However an update by Valve in July 23th 2015 partially patched pSilent aimbot. Now-a-days the snap would only be hidden if you use pSilent with melee or projectile weapons but for hitscan it will behave like regular silent aimbot)

Smooth aimbot (Unlike plain aimbot the crosshair of the cheater is guided by the smooth aimbot at a slower rate towards the target which makes for pretty legit looking gameplay. The cheater can also adjust how much the aimbot assists his aim with the smoothness factor. Typically more smoothness, the less the aimbot will assists and with less smoothness, the more assistance the aimbot will provide. You will likely not be able to spot this aimbot if you run into a cheater using this because it is tough to spot and it is mostly used by closet cheaters. But there are a few dead giveaways of this which I will explain a bit later in the post)

Aim assistance (Same deal as slow aim but this time the aimbot activates when the cheater moves his mouse.)

Silent with pSilent can be grouped into one category: (Silent) and Smooth aim and aim assistance in another: (Slow aim) due to how similar they are from one another. Now we can extrapolate this into 3 main types of aimbots: Plain, Silent and Smooth. Those 3 are all you need to know.

Due to plain aimbot being so blatant and almost no one using it aside from newbie cheaters, I will mostly talk about silent aimbot and how to it from the cheaters POV e.g Demo POV's and live recordings. I won't touch much on how to spot it on the servers perspective e.g STV's and spec camera because Vorobey already made a really good video on explaining it and I don't wanna repeat what has already been said in the video: spotting silent aimbot in-game: spec cam and stv
I am also going to talk about slow aim because not many know how to spot it and the giveaways that this aimbot method has are tricky.

Before we go deeper into the technicalities of how the aimbots are spotted I would like to give a brief explanation of some of the key words I am going to use while explaining for more clearance.

"Precision point": Are the Blood splatter(s). Where the blood splatter spawn is where a shot from a hitscan weapon connected on a target. The blood splatter will spawn a few pixels above of where the shot was taken but it will ALWAYS stay true to where the crosshair is/was. In this example the blood splatter is switched with the connection spark to visualize it better, this is done with a fps config. This is important information because it tells us where the crosshair was when someone fired their gun and when they clicked "MOUSE1". This helps determining lag compensation from silent aimbot. Other particle effects like wounds and and bullets in the wall are irrelevant because they can be sometimes inaccurate.
2023-08-27 10_13_08-(1) FatMagic's Silent Aim - YouTube — Mozilla Firefox.png

"Charge bar": Is the charge bar that slowly fills when you are zoomed in as a sniper. Another good way to tell when someone "clicked" their Mouse1 button is by checking when the charge bar depletes. It happens along with the click of Mouse1.

2023-08-26 21_42_30-Window.png

"Lag compensation": In-game mechanic. Explaining this would take too long but this vid does it's job in explaining it: here

"Aimbot field of view": Is a modifiable variable that the cheater can change in the menu. The aimbot field of view or aimbot FOV dictates the aimbot on how big of an area the the aimbot should be active which is illustrated by this circle. It ranged from 1 - 180. 1 Being the smallest field of view which goes just around the crosshair and 180 being the biggest which basically means all around the cheater (what bots use). In the example bellow shows the aimbot fov with around 15 fov.

"Tick rate": Tick rate is the update rate of servers to put it simple (how often they update per second). The default tick rate of Valve casual servers is ~66.7 (66.6666...) while other community servers have a higher tick rate to improve hit registration. This is also relevant because silent aimbot especially tries to hide the snap in one tick which is ~15 milliseconds on default tick rate servers. For higher tick rate servers this time frame would be smaller making silent aimbot snaps more subtle and perhaps harder to spot.

"Hitbox": Hitboxes are basically what the game counts as "hit" on the player. Hitboxes are blocky and bigger than the models themselves which look like this):

However, projectile weapons and melee weapons in TF2 use the bounding box for hit registration. The same hitbox that is responsible for player collision which is illustrated in red in this picture:


Now with this knowledge in mind we can finally move to the main part of the post. Spotting aimbots.
We will start with silent aimbot first. And again: This "guide" shows you how to spot it on cheaters POV on demos or live recordings. NOT spectator camera or stv's.

Spotting silent aimbot:

Spotting silent aimbot at quite simple at fundamental level. All you have to keep in mind is the precision point and the crosshair position.
If silent aimbot is used the precision point will always appear in the centre mass of he hitbox and where the crosshair never was.
2023-08-27 10_40_24-(1) FatMagic's Silent Aim - YouTube — Mozilla Firefox.png

Things get a little more tricky if the cheater decides to flick his mouse along with the aimbot. Now you have to determine if it is really silent aimbot or just a legit shot with lag compensation. which can be challenging to the untrained eye when there is also a human flick. But don't worry, there is a way to check.
2023-08-26 12_38_42-Fatmagic_ Guilty or Innocent_ [TF2 Hacker Police] - YouTube — Mozilla Fire...png

By doing this test you can determine if it is silent aimbot or lag compensation. In this test we take all frames from where the human flick happened and we put a blue dot on where the crosshair was in each frame and we connect them together. Now we have the full human flick pattern. If the blood splatter (visualized by the red dot) happens somewhere on the blue dots this means it is a legit shot. If the shot happens in-between the blue dots this means that the shot is also legit. Why? Because YouTube videos run at a standard 60 frames per second. Valve casual servers and most community servers run at a standard frame rate of ~66,7. This would mean that the server updates faster than the recording which allows this to happen. So basically what refresh monitor the suspect has is irrelevant.

BUT if blood splatter happens somewhere off of where the human flick happened like this, this would be another dead giveaway of silent aimbot.
2023-08-27 11_11_28-Screenshot (1045).png_ ‎- Paint 3D.png

Now you've learned how to reliably spot silent aimbot for hitscan. What about projectiles? They are not lag compensated but there is also that pesky ping delay between clicking Mouse1 and the rocket spawning. How do I determine if it is just ping or actual aimbot?
The answer for that is the same same test we did above. If his rocket flies to somewhere he never aimed in the past then it is silent aimbot. Because the rocket will fly in that direction you aimed and shot at regardless of ping delay.

and now....

Spotting smooth aimbot:
Spotting this aimbot is the hardest due to the nature of how it works. But there are a 3 dead giveaways of this aimbot which are: over assisting, Choppy aim and "Z" pattern double flicking.
We'll start with over assisting. Over assisting happens if the cheater in question uses this aimbot improperly with a too small smoothness factor. This will lead to the crosshair almost "locking" to the target with almost inhuman tracking and almost perfect reaction time to changes in horizontal and vertical velocity changes in the target and the target rarely gets to the target with any under or overcorrection of the aim.

In this example we have a competitive cheater named "elijah" who was caught and banned for cheating in ETF2l.
slomo and Full speed.

Another risky thing that can happen with smooth aimbots is this "choppy aim". This happens about 10-5% of all shots and it will not happen every time a cheater toggles his smooth aimbot. The cause of it is because the cheater aims with his natural aim in the wrong direction than the aimbot wants to so the aimbot "counter steers". This results in the aim chopping or lagging back a frame back towards the most current position of the head hitbox even after a shot is fired. This dead giveaway is very subtle and hard to spot. Blink you will miss it. But when you see it, it's blatant. It can be seen with slow motion but at regular speed it is almost hidden. It only really happens with sniper riffles. High end live recordings will capture them but POV's will only sometimes capture them.

If you wondered how that would've looked in spec cam, here you go: at 0:06
The third giveaway is a bit more obvious which is the "Z" pattern double flick. This rarely happens when smooth aimbot is toggled but if you do see this. Then it is cause for concern. This has the same cause as the "choppy aim" where the aimbot counter steers which results in 3 quick flicks in a quick succession ,one of which is spearheaded by the aimbot. Hence the name: "Z"-pattern. It may look alright in slowmo but in real time it is absolute bogus.

example1 Z pattern
example2 Z pattern
example3 Z pattern
It is almost never used with projectile and melee weapons by the way.

That would be it for how to spot silent and smooth aimbot. There is also plan aimbot but that is pretty self explanatory but if you want to know how to looks on the cheaters pov really bad: here it is (warning cringe music)

have fun investigating YouTubers you suspect of cheating.

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