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Game protection

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Hi gamedevelopers. I ask you, What methods do you have to prevent Game Cracking and piracy for PC games? I think that CD and SerialKey method are outdated, and every knows how to burn a cd. Also, it's difficult to force users to buy legal copies or their games when they can get them free from Internet. There is no law that protect games in people homes. Every can play warez games without risks safely in their rooms. I've seen that the same thing happens in consoles. Have you ever heard about how to jumping an Xbox for pass the copyright protection?

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there are always risks, and occasionaly people do get busted, and the fines are quite large. and its likely to end up similar to the MP3 scene in the very near future. but what alot of developers have been finding is to do something that the user cannot "hack" and that would be sell a service rather then a product. This is simple to do with online titles, as you can check a serial number (generated off of the computers hardware itself) and require that in order to play online, etc.

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Humm. That's right.
So in this age, every game must become Online for survive. We have to offer a service as well, rather than a game product. That sounds reasonable.

But I can't believe that games like Half-Life2,Unreal and Doom3 still apply their outdated methods for control the piracy, just in this time. I meet with many smily people that play warez versions of these games without any impudence. Usually they say that 'is stupid pay $30 for a game that you can finish in less than a week, what a fake' - that happens with Doom3.

You've talk about risk. Then the risk is higher when you get 95% of the potencial users play a cracked version of your game.

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Offering a gaming service is probably the best way to protect a game, but it'll only work for multiplayer-heavy games released by very large publishers.

Single player games are stuck with traditional serial/number approach plus the available anti-cracking tools, like encriptions, hasing, SafeDisk and etc.

The best way to learn how to protect games from being cracked is to learn how to crack them.

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I saw this idea somewhere on the GD forums, I think in the Lounge:

Seed the warez sites and maybe even the P2P networks. Basically you create a bunch of different non-working cracks (for the Serial Key type) and distribute them to major warez sites.

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If there is no law that protect games then game developers can not protect their games becouse exists a thousands of ways to get full versions of these games.
If such people can't find game at warez sites they don't play it. There is not way to protect games if is no law that protect games.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I think if Microsoft were to released a DRM (Digital Rights Management) operating system,
I think that would solve a lot of problems. I definitely would jump on the bandwagon and
start writing software for it if there was such a things as a secure OS, and I'm sure a lot
of software developers would too. Might have to wait until 2006.

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Digital Rights Management operating system expansion take a lot of time.
DRM encounter resistance of pirates, crackers and "warez people".

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Quote:
Original post by cutthepeace
I saw this idea somewhere on the GD forums, I think in the Lounge:

Seed the warez sites and maybe even the P2P networks. Basically you create a bunch of different non-working cracks (for the Serial Key type) and distribute them to major warez sites.

I like that idea!

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Best advice for here and now is that crackers can't crack what they don't have. Think about it.

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Most of the profit from high-profile games, I'm told, is made soon after the release. I'm also told that often warez versions are available soon after, or even before, the game's public release. These propositions suggest that leakage is a big problem. In this case, it seems to me that a good idea would be to devise a way to uniquely watermark each build, and that every pre-release issue (to a tester or reviewer) be of a seperate build for each recipient. Then the most important part: make sure that everyone knows.

I do feel, though, that the issue of cracking and piracy is rather overrated. Generally, people who crack games without buying them first fall into two groups: those who pay for games when they can and obtain them otherwise when they can't, and those who wouldn't pay even if it was the only way to play it. Clearly no one is losing money to these groups (in fact, there's probably an incredibly large profit from group 1 because of 'piracy'). Obviously, those people who crack games after buying them aren't a problem, so let's not worry too much about them.

This theory falls short when one considers that there is actually a third group consisting of the mass-production and public distibution if counterfeit games. It is neccessarily true that these games are bought by people who buy games, and this fact messes up the entire system. That they make a large profit despite frequent raids speaks of the volumes in which they deal, so you can imagine how much money the industry is losing to them. Experience has shown that protection doesn't slow them down, and with their ability to replicate an exploit further than any individual, they would be inhibited by DRM less than anyone else in the world.

My conclusion is that the grey-market is the real problem, and the solution lies in physical law enforcement in that area and penalties which do not leave offenders still making a profit. Every other approach to combatting piracy seems to do more harm than good.

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Best way I've heard so far, is to dynamically create code somwhere in programs data segment, and use some formulas to get offset.

If your application is not DOOM3/HL2, that might take few months until crack appears.

I'd like to get to know more how this code packing works though...

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Quote:
Original post by _Madman_
Best way I've heard so far, is to dynamically create code somwhere in programs data segment, and use some formulas to get offset.

If your application is not DOOM3/HL2, that might take few months until crack appears.


The all known formula is "crack time == protection development time"
So crack appears after few hours or few days.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Or you could just drop a couple nuclear warheads on China (96-98% piracy rate), and that would
clear up the problem. :)

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China worker earn $20-40 per month. How do they buy games cost $40?
EA Games and others companies must sell games for $0.1 but they did't want to reduce price. For example, Playstation games cost $40 worldwhile.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
The economy of buying games is not an issue here. The issue is the violation of software rights.
When countries who have no regard for rights like this connects to the Internet, it becomes
all of our problems, as we are all connected.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
And I'm not implying that one country is the root of all evil on the Internet. Other countries
take advantage of their situation. Crackers know the fastest way to distribute their 'works'
is to upload it to the usernet newsgroups. These newsgroups are like a big river flowing downstream,
and guess who's at the bottom collecting all of this garbage? Happy happy joy joy.

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I think Valve made the right step towards the protection of the game. Many people say that Valve is doing the wrong thing but in the end, most people have bought their copy of HL2 and if you want to play CS Source you MUST purchase a legal copy.

So I think in future we will either have DRM or Services like Steam.

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I can't see a solution on this matter- there always will be smarter people to can 'crack' a program. Only solution I see is that the maker of a program, and only this maker, has the master key and every customer must go visit the maker (in person) each day for his/her code.

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