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Please Recommend Some Books On Proprietary File Format Design

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Hi,
Our company wants to protect our copyrights to the artworks we create in our simulation.
Basically to avoid hacking. Any good books that introduce how to write files for direct3d game content?
And also, how can we make sure the customized format loads and still make use of the APIs?
Thanks in advance
Jack

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The short answer is: you don't/can't protect assets programatically. Copyright enforcement is a legal battle. It's not a war that can be effectively fought on a technical level.

A longer answer is: you could try doing some sort of encryption of your local game files and/or have complicated "rights management" software that gets co-installed on the user's machine. The problem is that you obviously need to also ship all the keys and codes that do the decryption so that the app can use the assets. If those are all on the user's machine (which they have to be) then it is impossible to prevent cracking your encryption scheme and giving the user full access to the content. Any proprietary format can likewise be easily reverse-engineered by a competent person who cares to do so. And the fun with modern technology is that only one person has to crack it once, and then everyone in the world can just get the data over the internet.

A lot of people recommend simply designing your own file format that best suits your technical needs and packing your resources into bundled files. That way you don't trivially provide access to the raw assets and also you don't spend a bijillion dollars investing in a ridiculous scheme that will get cracked anyway.

If you're determined to pursue this path, "Starforce" is a product that claims to provide robust copy protection for games and game content... But I'm pretty sure it's crazy expensive, is typically cracked and users <b>hate</b> it.

-me

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First off, I have to second what Palidine is saying. For the most part, no matter what you do, it amounts to undo-able obfuscation that is going to just waste your time and effort while create and debug your solution. Most applications just package up all their data into the equivalent of zip files (or even exactly zip files, like Doom3 did). Usually this isn't even done for the sake of obfuscation, but to speed up file access.

If you really want some examples of what other programs have done, you could take a look at Wotsit, an online collection of reverse-engineered formats.

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Okay, we just can't disclose infrastructural information to our clients... That's okay, i will have a second thought... Thanks
Let's not say disclose, but "attach"... :)

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