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[VB.NET] Preventing backend data manipulation

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I am creating a simple text-based RPG (with GUI) using Visual Basic.NET. This is for my own personal hobby. I am not looking to sell it or anything like that. Right now I am writing / reading the variables (stats, experience, health, etc.) to a plain text file. It works fine, but obviously anyone can simply open up the plain text file and change their health from 25 to 2500 to give them an unfair advantage. While I know there is never a real way to secure data which will be held locally, is there some way to make it more secure than a plain text file? Perhaps there is some way to encrypt the file so that if someone tries to edit it they can not. Perhaps there is some way to save the plain text file as a binary file so that if it is opened in Notepad it looks, well, like you're opening a binary file in Notepad. Maybe there is way that VB can detect if the last time the text file was updated was not by the program itself? Is there some other way of making it a bit more difficult for the user to 'cheat' that I am not thinking of? I am trying to avoid using Datbases, and my level of expertise is fairly low. I am just looking for a quick solution if one is out there. Thanks!!

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there is no way to prevent the user from cheating if they really want to.
if they modify the text file to go from 25 hp to 2500 hp then the only person they are cheating is themselves by making the game trivial to beat and no real challenge. since it is an offline single player game, it affects no one else. so i really wouldnt put alot of effort into making the game cheat proof.

you could just save it in a binary format and dont publish the file format specifications. while this will stop your average user who doesnt know what a computer is except for an internet and email machine, it wont really stop anyone with mediocre or advance knowledge of computers...with the WILL to cheat your game

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