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Protecting game assets

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Not sure if I'm in the right forum, please move if needed. I am wondering how to protect game assets from being pirated. I mean, if I have a game client with images, scripts and models.... is it possible to package the files into one or many files (compressed, encrypted..) so that the game client can read the files inside the package on the fly while playing? If so, are there any site, literature, tools or examples that I can have? Thanks in advance, sorry if it sounds like a noob question.

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An idea thats been in circulation in my head for some time is to use a standard archiving library (eg Zlib), which will sort out the packaging side, then swap a few bytes of the header around (therefore corrupting it).

You can simply uncorrupt the header when you come to use the archive (and recorrupt afterwards), and nobody will be able to read your archive using archiving programs, as the file will not appear as a valid archive.

This is a method i'm probably going to implement when I get round to it, though there are probably one-stop solutions around already.

[S]

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Nothing is uncrackable, the only thing you can do is make the crackers life dificult by making it hard to get the goodies. It depends on how much time they are willing to spend on getting the stuff. Then there is also an issue if you load it at run/play time, it may be a bottleneck on the game performance. There are alot of issues and all depends on how you implement it.
The main point is, if the software is readable, than there will always be ways to crack it. But thats just IMO... :)

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that's too easy to unscramble. All you have to do is change the couple of bytes.

you can also use a packing library, with a password.

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Quote:
Original post by ragdev

The main point is, if the software is readable, than there will always be ways to crack it. But thats just IMO... :)


That's not just IYO, that's mathematically provable :P

And remember, once one determined guy cracks it, the rest of the lazy bastards can download the cracker [or the models/scripts/what-have-you] easily.

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I don't think that stolen game assets is a big problem.
If they steal it and make a game with it you would recognize the gfx
and take them to the court. =)

Also, if you encrypt yur game data there's no chance to create MODs
for the game...

just my thoughts

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Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
Quote:
Original post by ragdev

The main point is, if the software is readable, than there will always be ways to crack it. But thats just IMO... :)


That's not just IYO, that's mathematically provable :P


Indeed! ;)

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I used to do this as a hobby. My advice to you is to not waste time on trying to prevent it. There's nothing you could possibly do that couldn't be cracked inside an hour by someone who knows what he's doing.

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Thanks for all your great replies, it's appreciated. I should've known the answer before posting. Obviously protecting assets is a possibility and will never be secure. I won't try to spend to many cycles on it. I wanted to ask the question in case there was a "good" solution ;)

We are using the Torque engine and with a good EULA, doesn't matter if the assets get stolen... if they are used somewhere else and we known it's our assets then it's a reason to get the law involved ;)

Thanks guys!

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Quote:
Original post by iduchesne
We are using the Torque engine and with a good EULA, doesn't matter if the assets get stolen... if they are used somewhere else and we known it's our assets then it's a reason to get the law involved ;)


This is somewhat tangental, but anything you release is always automatically protected by copyright, whether you slap a EULA on it or not.

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Quote:
Original post by the Speed Bump
This is somewhat tangental, but anything you release is always automatically protected by copyright, whether you slap a EULA on it or not.


Of course I mean that too ;)



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Guest Anonymous Poster
however i would say that packaging your game assets has some nice benefits. protecting your assets from getting stolen is impossible but preventing that every person who's playing your game can tinker with your files just by looking around in the game's folders is a nice thing to have. i wouldn't see packaging as a means to guard your data against everything but more as a layer of abstraction towards the end user. shield those people a little ;)
another benefit is versioning, downloading etc.. all the stuff we know from unreal/quake engines. dependencies amongst packages etc.

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