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Obscuring the game code

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I want to release a playable version of our game so far but have some serious fears about doing so with C#. I was under the impression that C# was fairly simple to revers engineer.... if this is incorrect can somebody explain? I know that you can obscure the code with some external programs but none of them seem to be working for us. Any help or guidance with this would be greatly apprecaited.

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I think your right about C# and reverse engineering but I also think theres always a way to do it so all you can do is try to make it has hard as possible. The best way would be to programm the sensible parts in C++ and use the unmanaged DLL in C#. If your using Visual Studio there should be a version of dotfuscator in it which you can use to obscure your code but I dont know if its free for commercial projects:
http://www.preemptive.com/products/dotfuscator/index.html
If you want to invest some money there are plenty programs out there. Just search for ".Net obfuscator". The first I found while searching was:
http://rustemsoft.com/SkaterLight.htm
It seems to be free for both personal and commercial use.

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The only solid way to protect any asset of your game, be it code or artwork, is to use legal protection.
As stated above, people will always find a way to reverse engineer your code, just like they'll always be able to get hold of your artwork, so releasing your application under a proper license is the only way to 'guarantee' that nobody will be able to use them for their personal gain.

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Hm... interesting. Well I am very new when it comes to this so I am not sure what the best route would be. Any suggestions? I will do some research on what lisc. there are and how we can release them. Thanks guys and I hope to have an answer shortly so I can share my demo and see what people think.

Also thanks for the links, i will read them today. Edited by riuthamus

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Not sure what the laws are where you are, but you usually just need to post a notice.

Copyright 2012 <Your name or company name>. All rights reserved.

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Off the top of my head, CIL/MSIL can be decompiled relatively easily - just check out Reflector to see what your code looks like decompiled. If it's a release build (e.g. no PDBs) then class, method and property names will be exposed but not local variable names and comments etc. Unless you some crazy new tech in it, I wouldn't worry much about people decompiling and stealing source. You could obfuscate it. You could make it challenging for people to easily mod it, for example store your level data as a public key encrypted byte array of serialised objects, then decrypt and deserialise it at runtime. But for most purposes it would be overboard. 99.999% of people wouldn't bother. For the rest, put a copyright notice both with the executable and in the executable, and perhaps put some signature weird code in it as a fingerprint so that you can prove in court (if necessary) that someone stole your code. I don't think it happens that often.

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thank you all for the great suggestions. We have some small issues though

1) We have tried the obfuscate process and it only makes the game crash. Not sure what it doesnt like about our code...

2) I am not so worried about people taking the code right now, but rather, when we get further into development and I want to release a demo as well... i dont want to see it being taken at that point. With our modular design people will be able to mod this game with relative ease. I simply want something that will protect us ( slow them down ) while we are developing.

3) Lastly, we dont have any new tech out yet... but the idea is to hinder those people who are noobs trying to take stuff. I know determined hackers will always get to your stuff ( look at the mooage and diablo 3 crack ). I just want something to hinder them while I let the people who just want to play and try out the demo, play and try out the demo.

Maybe I am being paranoid about this, but what if I am not? tongue.png Anyway, thank you for the great comments and for the suggestions. I will see if we cant get it to work, maybe we just need to find a good tutorial for this type of stuff! Edited by riuthamus

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No one can protect their stuff. The android market is full of clones using roms, company names, assets, etc... The internet is even more full! Anything that can be created, digital or not, can be copied very easily.

The law is the only thing that works.

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