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Ok. Say I make a simple game, arcade-type deal. I spend 5 months on it and its a decent game. I get the word out in my college. I sell...5 copies in say 1 week. Becuase the files not very large and the game is moderatly fun, say 2MB in all, by 2 weeks after its done, there are...20 illegal copies all told. My total revenue after a month is 17 copies sold. The total copies existing on HDs is 60. I`ve lost 43 copies worth of revenue. This, of course, screws me over in terms of making much money. What do I do to ensure casual copying cannot happen? I am, of course, aware that a determined and skilled person can cut through any protection scheme. I merly want to make sure Jill doesnt hand the CD to her freind Jane and Jane installs it, hands the CD back. Ideas people ? Bugle4d

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There are already many articles on this. You need your game to dientify which PC it is running on, one way is to read the windows serial number from the registry, or the install date and time of win.com or some other critical file. When your game has its registration key entered it stores a value somewhere clever (maybe inside its own .exe file) which is partially calculated from the unique windows number.
You check the validity of these values when the gam runs, and if the game gets copied if wont run on other machines.
Of course you need to make the reg code unique to the PC too, otherwise they can just email their buddy the code.
I do something similar with one of my games.
It IS worth adding some copy protection to your games, if everyone did it, the ''casual'' copier would start to die out.

http://www.positech.co.uk

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Guest Anonymous Poster
What happend if I get a new version of windows or if I have to change the hard drive (or other hardware)?

The easiest copy protection is to store registred data in some file and display it at start game (registred to xxx).

Another way is to get a home site with a db (like mySql),
force users to log during installation, store all informations (windows serial number...) and allow the installation only if he is a new user or if there are some constant informations (email).
Then you can generate a key file and send it to the user.

You can also force the application to connect to your site every time it detect system changes, and every n startup, and check if the license is still valid (too many installations in a short periode of time - 10 in a week with same key is uncommon).

To avoid troubles, I suggest to don''t store credit card numbers...

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
The easiest copy protection is to store registred data in some file and display it at start game (registred to xxx).

It is also the easiest the remove and so fairly pointless unless you also hide an encrypted copy of the name in the code that is NEVER checked by the code (so the hackers wont know it is there and have no way to trace its location). Used this system on a number of games. The hackers took out the bit of code that displayed the name on screen but the seperate, encrypted version of the name was never found. On the few occassions we had pirated games we were able to trace the source.

The best methods are those mentioned by AP that check a server. Sadly that will upset people who are not on adsl/cable as their computer will want to connect every time they play. Those who have to pay for local calls will be really upset.


Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions

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Yeah;
I won`t be having the budget to do server checks.
However, doing a EXE store with a value calculated from a computer constant sounds like the best idea to me.
I know I could use diferent numbers.
Whats the one most likly to stay constant ?
I''m thinking hard drive number.

Bugle4d

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Guest Anonymous Poster
You can''t base only in a constant, the user could upgrade hardware or software.
You can store the md5 and check it at random time... if it is changed, display ''bye bye'', destroy your data file and reboot windows.

Hummm... I suggest to don''t waste too much time searching a really good protection, your sell rate is good, try to sell and market the game on internet.

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Unfortatly I don`t have a game made; I was throwing out numbers off the top of my head.

I''m considering whether it is going to be worth making a game in my "abundant" spare time and trying to sell it.



Bugle4d

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What I''m saying is:
I need to be able to ensure that if I sell a game, its going to be cost-effective.
In terms of learning stuff, its very valuable regardless of monetary worth.
I will eventually have enough stuff done that I can put together the engines and make a game; its a continual project with me; but is it worth the effort to try and sell it ?

~V''lion

Bugle4d

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Guest Anonymous Poster
First make that game, then try to sell it if it''s worth.

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The short answer is no its not ''cost-effective'' people do it because they love it. If you are worried about money before you write the first line of code, you aren''t really keen enough to get it finished. so I''d give up now.

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I think it is simple:
One, you didn''t lost money from piracy. You lost the possibility of sales. The people who pirate game might not buy the game anyway. I have been guilty of piracy before I knew better. I can honestly say that I wouldn''t have bought the games that I did have a copy of simply because I don''t have the money to do so.
Some games I did end up buying. Others I ignored and stopped playing/installing.
Saying that you lost money is just marketing hype that the big corporations use. There is no way to determine exactly how much you "lost" in sales because of piracy, because you can''t just assume that every pirated copy is being used by someone who would have bought the game otherwise. Some people pirate because it is easy to do. They wouldn''t be able to afford the games if they bought them, so they won''t buy them if piracy were more difficult. The numbers that big companies keep throwing out are labeled incorrectly. They aren''t losses. They are potential losses. It didn''t cost them anything for someone to burn a copy of a game to their own CD-R. It only cost them the possibility of the sale of the legit game to that customer, a sale that is not guaranteed.

Two, just look up copy protection and shareware through Google.com and find out what you can from this site before it suffers any monetary setbacks. You might also want to look into Gamasutra.com and such.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I tend to agree with cliffski. I used to get pirate games becuase I lived in a country which is not even on the marketing map for these companies. And I definitely would NOT have bought any of them. But to come over to your problem. If the game is that good, put it up on the internet. If it''s not then it''s debatable whether people would be willing to pay enough for it in the first place for it to be eventually worth your while. But still, I think the exposure of having a few games out there on the market would be great, if you later decide to try and enter an established game company

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