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The C modest god

Making your game a shareware.

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I want to know what are the techniques for making your game a shareware. Selling online an unlocking code? Making a unqiue unlocking code for each customer? Please explain to me how these things are done. Thanks in advance.

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When I sell my shareware Palm OS games, I have two versions. The demo version and then when they buy the game they get the full version. That way I don''t have to worry about anyone breaking the code to get the full version.

-Sam.

http://waltsgames.iwarp.com

RTS3D: a 3D real time strategy game:
http://waltsgames.iwarp.com/rts3d.html

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I dont understand why so many people chose to make their games shareware instead of just releasing a demo. It isnt that more convient for the customer and it seems alittle unprofessional/unsecure...
But shareware still seems to be booming

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What is inconvienent about having to enter "ald948ak5918" and suddenly having the full version of the game, the exact same game you''ve been playing and want to buy.

Its inconvienent to make them download something new.

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I said that it wasnt _that much more_ convienent for shareware keycode.

I think that shareware usually gives the customer way to much of the application (like a 30 day trial)...usually after 30 days of shareware game, ive had my fill and dont want anymore. While if I just had a single level (demo) then I would be more interested in more.
1) The download size is bigger, especially if I dont even want to purchase the game after I try the shareware
2) It usually offers to much to the customer
3) Not very secure

With a demo, theres nothing to crack, it keeps the file size down, and it offers the player just a hint of what the full game is like.

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The problem with having a demo and a full version that you download after the fact is that once someone pays for the full version, what''s to stop them from posting it to a server for everyone to download? It would be fairly easy to simply have four people chip in $5, buy the full version, and then have four full copies of the game, having paid for only one.

The advantage of having a shareware registration is the fact that you can sort of prevent this. Using a code that is based upon a registration name, you can have software that is registered for one person not work for another person if the name is different. If I register it as ''Mike Taber'' and I get the registration code of ''ABCDEFG'', if I give it to my friend, unless he registers the game with the name ''Mike Taber'', it won''t work for him. Most people don''t like to put other peoples'' names on software that is installed on their computer. At that point, it is obviously stolen.

There are other things you can do with shareware registration codes as well. You can embed dates into the registration key, assuming that you use a more advanced key generation methodology. Upon install, you get the current date and store it somewhere. If the game has been installed for more than 30 days, you can make it unplayable. For the registration key, with the embedded date, if more than 30 days has passed since the software was purchased, disallow the registration/unlocking mechanisms.

There are other things you can do as well with a date embedded in the software key. You can release beta software that expires after a certain date and will delete itself. Then, people can''t play beta versions with the real product (assuming it is networked). You can validate keys against a central database upon registration.

To go over all of the different scenarios would take quite a while. Suffice it to say, that for the added benefit of up to five times the number of product registrations, you would be wise to consider a method that can''t be easily pirated. Ambrosia Software has a good article on this that I think you should read. Read Article

Let me just state for the record though, that YOU WILL NOT STOP A DEDICATED HACKER!!! If someone is absolutely 100 percent determined to crack your software, they eventually will, and there''s nothing that you can do about it. Even the largest and most economically stable game companies have trouble with piracy. How many copies of Diablo were illegally pirated? What about StarCraft, Red Alert, Tribes 2, etc. They have backing from major corporations with a lot of money and they can''t stop it. Sony released a CD copying technology that they spent millions of dollars developing, only to have it broken within months by anyone with an 89 cent Sharpie Marker. All you do is mark out the outside track of the disk, the CD-ROM will ignore the garbled data track and you can copy to your hearts content.

The use of these keys is to stop the casual hacker. The guy who if he has a way to not pay for it right in front of him, he''s not going to pay for it. If you make it a thorn in his side to pirate the software, he will just pay for it to avoid the hassle.

If I told you a method to make a code like this over a public forum, it would be essentially useless. Anyone who read it could duplicate it and unlock any of your software. If you''re releasing a small program yourself, look around for pre-built key generation methods, like RegSoft I think it is. They will sell you source code that you can customize to build registration keys for shareware. If you go through a publisher, they should be able to provide you with that kind of thing.


Looking for an honest video game publisher? Visit www.gamethoughts.com

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quote:
Original post by mtaber
The problem with having a demo and a full version that you download after the fact is that once someone pays for the full version, what''s to stop them from posting it to a server for everyone to download? The advantage of having a shareware registration is the fact that you can sort of prevent this. Using a code...


Ummm, you do realize that you can put a registration key in a full version of a program too, right? The way you talk makes it sound like you either release:
1)separate demo and full versions, full version is unprotected
2)combined demo/full version with registration key for full version features





Ron Frazier
Kronos Software
www.kronos-software.com
Miko & Molly - Coming July 2002

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quote:
Original post by Ibuku
I think that shareware usually gives the customer way to much of the application (like a 30 day trial)...usually after 30 days of shareware game, ive had my fill and dont want anymore. While if I just had a single level (demo) then I would be more interested in more.
1) The download size is bigger, especially if I dont even want to purchase the game after I try the shareware
2) It usually offers to much to the customer
3) Not very secure

With a demo, theres nothing to crack, it keeps the file size down, and it offers the player just a hint of what the full game is like.



Who says you have to give the player everything in shareware? The best thing to do is limit the amount of levels the player can play in the shareware version, and unlock the rest with a key. Many games do this. This also doesn''t add a lot to the size of the download because levels are usually take up very little space. It does make it easier to crack of course, since the levels are all there already but like the others have said, there''s nothing you can do about it anyway.

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Right...
What Mike was saying was that you would distrubute the demo and full version seperately. Basically if a developer did this, the customer who bought the full version can release that same copy to hundreds of his friends or post it online...while shareware on the other requires a key w/ matching name.

That is definately a good point, but the flipside is that low budget/internet released products often do not have as big of a following or demand as Warcraft 3 or T2, therefore you rarely ever see them on warez sites. Not many people who buy lower end software get there friends together to buy a game that costs $10-20, and many who buy these priced products are normally casual gamers (hence also another reason budget products are not usually warezed)

Both have their pros and cons, but it completely depends on the product and how it is developed.

Also agree that you dont have to release everything with your shareware. That was simply a trend that I notice with alot of products that follow a shareware distrubution plan. I often see large trials or only a simple nag screen. As for file size, sure if you have a game with minimal graphics then your levels would stay small, but for games with alot of larger graphics (such as detailed prerendered backgrounds) then the file size can increase dramatically.

By the way, I sent you an email abit ago Mike, did you happen to recieve it? My mail server is sometimes funny so Im just confirming that it was recieved.

-Alex
weaponstudios.com

[edited by - Ibuku on July 17, 2002 1:49:55 PM]

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