The VGAZ cheat, or VGAZ bug, was a highly annoying but nonetheless effective exploit employed in the NinjaMOD variant of Tribes 2. NinjaMOD introduced the concept of powerful static defenses to the Tribes 2 universe, allowing players to deploy force fields, blast walls and powerful turrets around strategically important assets. A well set-up defense in NinjaMOD, guarded by an appropriate number of skilled Juggernauts, could prove almost unassailable even by the oft-seen Jugg rape tactic. Acquiring an Engineer player capable of setting up such a defense became an essential part of setting up any NinjaMOD clan/tribe.
Nobody knows where the VGAZ cheat came from originally, probably random chance, but its effects were devastating. Tribes 2 used a heirarchical menu for player-to-player communication, split into groups like Attack, Defend, Enemy etc. These came out as canned radio messages, activated by a specific key combo. Examples being:
V (Comms) --> A (Attack) --> B (Enemy base)
V (Comms> --> E (Enemy) --> D (Enemy in disarray, attack now)
Included were, predictably, a group of gestures either for pointing at targets or (far more often) taunting opponents. The VGAZ cheat gets its name from the key combination required to activate the gesture (
Comms>Global>Animations>Z), although the Z gesture did not actually appear on the menu itself, for some reason. The Z gesture caused a player's character to thrust its arms out sideways and wave them around. The gesture would terminate with the player's gun arm pointing directly sideways at a high angle. However, problems arise, because the player's boundary box remains the same - the 'arm' doesnt appear on the internal collision map. This gives the gun arm the ability to temporarily pass inside a solid object such as a hillside or wall.
In base Tribes 2 this was not a problem, because solid walls were very thick and the arm could not penetrate all the way. In NinjaMOD however it was a killer - the deployable force fields and blast walls were not very thick. The result was that a player could stand sideways-on to a forcefield setup, press VGAZ, and if they timed it right fire a fusion mortar round directly through the carefully set up defense. A few shots like this would easily destroy any setup, paving the way for a full-scale Jugg rape and usually ruining the game. NinjaMOD was balanced so that the forcefields and deployable turrets would compensate for the vastly enlarged and upgraded weapons selection available to attackers. The VGAZ cheat basically upended this already precarious balance, and is generally thought to have contributed to the eventual death of NinjaMOD.
And for the sake of prosperity, I list the two most prominent abusers of the VGAZ cheat in my memory (the NinjaMOD community was quite small):
Agrippa: Used the cheat during a scrimmage match against the 'Dogs of War' tribe, on a TeamWarfare ladder. His team, FireNinjas, were later disqualified as a result.
MorgenDavid: A member of the FRAG tribe. Known for using the cheat on public servers (ie - non-scrimmage), generally considered worse than Agrippa's crime.