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Sometimes, whilst testing different weapons, I'll create my own server on tr_walkway, and end up messing around by using the sv_cheats 1 command and editing the gravity strength and whatnot. Now, I know that this will not lead to a VAC ban, as it is my own server, and I'm the only player.

However, if I go on a "mess-around" server (e.g. dm_mariokart, or an Uber Upgrade server), I'm hesitant to use the sv_cheats 1 command, in case I am VAC-banned.

If I accidentally use sv_cheats 1 on a VAC-secured server, will the server simply not let me use the in-game cheats, or will I receive a VAC ban?

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No, using any console command on a VAC protected server will not cause a VAC ban.

not official, but a very verbose discussion about what causes bans and what does not.

http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1906399

Allowed Cheats that will never trigger a ban.

Using console cheats in a source VAC server with sv_cheats 1 turned on allows all players in the server to use console cheats of any kind.

wording of this page implies that console commands do not matter and that VAC would not even be able to detect them.

https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/VAC

When a player is connected to a VAC-secured server (denoted by a security badge and the letter V in the server browser), the VAC system checks if any foreign processes are hooked into the player's local game binaries. If the VAC check finds a positive ID for any possible cheating tool, the offending player's Steam account is then permanently banned from all VAC-secured servers after a variable amount of time. Message displayed to a VAC-banned client.

Valve Anti-Cheat will not detect content hacks such as invisible wall textures or bright-colored player models. Server admins that wish to block such activity will need to run a pure server.

wording on this link specifically mentions 3rd party cheats. Not built in ones to the game.

https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=7849-Radz-6869

The VAC system reliably detects cheats using their cheat signatures. Any third-party modification to a game designed to give one player an advantage over another is classified as a cheat or hack and will trigger a VAC ban. This includes modifications to a game's core executable files and dynamic link libraries.

Further, from personal experience, I have joined VAC protected servers that have sv_cheats set to 1 and have never been VAC banned.

  • So if I play on an official VAC-secured server, and type sv_cheats 1 into the console, what will happen? Would the server simply not allow them? – alexqwx Jan 30 '15 at 19:58
  • @alexqwx VAC has nothing to do with console commands. VAC protects from external tools that hook into the game. When you use a console command, it is sent to the server and the server can choose to allow or disallow that command. So whether or not you can use that command depends on whether the server administrator has allowed it or not. – user66184 Jan 30 '15 at 20:00
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    @alexqwx nothing will likely happen except maybe you get a response in the console saying you do not have permissions to change the server variable. – Colin D Jan 30 '15 at 20:02
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Based on this discussion and the official wording of the system VAC only looks for third-party installed programs that modify the game to allow you to cheat. sv_cheats is built into the game. If the server admin wants you to be able to use cheats, you can use them as normal. If the server admin doesn't want you to use them, they are disabled and you won't be able to use them.

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It will just don't let You to use it, so you may don't worry about this.

  • Thanks! Not that I don't believe you, but do you have a reliable source for this? I can't seem to find anything on the wiki or Steam's website. – alexqwx Jan 30 '15 at 19:39
  • Sorry, it's only personal experience. Good luck! – 666nordless666 Jan 30 '15 at 20:00
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If you are the server owner and type sv_cheats 1, anyone and everyone on the server will be able to use cheats. VAC doesn't care.

If you are not the server owner (such as if you're playing on a Valve server) and type sv_cheats 1, it simply won't do anything. VAC also doesn't care.

Client-side mods such as model, texture, or particle effect replacements are also fair game, as long as you're on a server with sv_pure 0. Servers with sv_pure 1 block these client-side mods, which is currently what all Valve servers do. Again, VAC doesn't care about any of these, even the stuff that's blocked.

What VAC does care about are foreign processes/DLL's that inject themselves into the game. These include things like speedhacks and aimbots.

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Might I mention that SV_CHEATS 1 can be bypassed in order to use built in client side commands like mat_wireframe and thirdperson. This will not work with God or Noclip, as this is server sided. SV_CHEATS bypassers are almost always detected.

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