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What is the best way to secure your game's files?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by impheris, May 17, 2022.

  1. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    If dependency is artificial, then the hacker will comment out the place where your first script starts the dependency chain, and the game will work without it.
     
  2. gjaccieczo

    gjaccieczo

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    Does not mean that steps against that shouldn't be taken. Plus as @Ryiah has mentioned, DRM is good for delaying the problem, allowing the initial sales to flow in.

    The gaming worlds version of "paid in exposure" :D.
     
  3. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    This is a myth. People who pirate games do not intend on actually buying the game in the first place.
     
  4. LicenseSpring

    LicenseSpring

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    Hello, Free for basic license checks and activations, where you're just issuing perpetual, trial or time-limited licenses, which is usually sufficient for indie game developers. We do also handle Bundles, add-ons, SSO etc which can also be handy...
     
  5. gjaccieczo

    gjaccieczo

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    Does not have anything to do with creating an initial roadblock for those people. Yes, those who just don't pay for games are simply going to wait, but those who intend to pay can be swayed if the game is available elsewhere.
     
  6. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Those who intend to pay but are also willing to pirate are so insignificant in quantity that you're not going to see any practical benefit from these methods compared to their implementation costs. These things are effectively a non-issue, which is fundamental to understanding how DRM and similar methods exist as an industry but not a meaningful product.
     
  7. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    It depends on their reason, though.
    If a dev prices the product too high, refuses to sell to some group/region, makes the process incredibly convoluted, the product of said dev will be pirated.
     
  8. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Which are all pretty severe edge cases, honestly. None of this really amounts to much when discussing the fact that the vast majority of piracy happens entirely because of people who have no interest in purchasing the product. In the case of regional issues, for instance, what you'll see are metrics from that specific region and that's something actionable.

    But that action really isn't gonna be "okay, the answer is DRM" because DRM is a fundamentally flawed exercise that only slows things down at most. There's a reason you never really hear of DRM success stories even in industry conversations.
     
  9. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    How is this any different to me checking for valid user accounts with attached licenses via whatever existing backend I have?

    And the meat of that question really comes down to, how does your product / service stop people from modifying the client app and doing whatever they want anyway? The license check is not and never has been the hard part. The hard part is stopping dishonest users from just ignoring that, and to the best of my knowledge, and from observations of big players who've invested many millions into this, Murgilod posted the only workable answer right at the start of the thread.
     
  10. gjaccieczo

    gjaccieczo

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    Truth to be told, none of those seem like actual good reasons for piracy (as if there could be any to begin with). A high price, say for region A is not going to be that high for region B. Availability/unavailability of a product in certain regions is largely moot in current day and age due to a myriad of technologies, services and websites that would allow the customer to purchase the game regardless of its exclusivity. And purchases being complex...well, that's a new one.
    I understand that you're not trying to justify piracy and are just providing reasons for why some players pirate games, make no mistake, but truth is that all of the percieved reasons to pirate (regardless of how popular they are or not) are just excuses for piracy, rather than a valid reason.

    The only actual case for piracy (piracy in the legal sense) is "abandonware", which is a vague concept that does not have any legal standing whatsoever but is considered justifiable by some.

    Correction: DRM is a concept that slows things down in its current execution. There been forms of DRM that were not slowing things down, however, they weren't accomplishing the task they were supposed to and were not so quickly abandoned.

    Because it's a dry, highly technical, boring topic. No industry conversation is going to be like "yeah guys, here we use these and these protocols to facilitate that and here is that module that is used in conjunction with thing A to verify thing B, uhh, any questions?". Besides it is not really possible to tell the success story of a DRM solution as you would need to have two numbers: the precise number of people that are going to pirate the game and total sales. The first number could be approximated, the second number is going to be accurate, but the only way to make a valid comparison would be if the same project got sold/"sold" twice to the same customerbase and piratebase while a DRM solution would be implemented after the sales of the first sale/"sale" attempt.
    You could try selling for example Game A Part 1 without DRM, take in all the numbers and then use a DRM solution for Game A Part 2 and compare the changes in the percentage of people who paid/pirated, but that is still not going to be convincing from a purely technical perspective (for management types it's going to be though).
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2022 at 9:20 AM
  11. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    I don't think that's what Murg meant. I think what Murg meant was that we don't hear celebrations of DRM working. I haven't once heard anything even remotely close to "we used this approach tool / system for DRM and after X month we still have no cases of piracy. Big win!"

    Consoles take a while to crack, and usually require users to modify their hardware, so there's some amount of success if your product is relevant to those markets. Sometimes a new DRM system takes a while to crack the first time it's used, I think one in the early 2000s even took a few months.

    Also back in the early 2000's I recall one which often went undetected for a while, because it soft-locked games instead of hard-locking them. That is, it'd let you play, but after a while it started messing with you by making things harder and harder to control or buffing enemies more and more. I've no idea the impact it had on piracy, but I do recall hearing that it gave some games bad reps for being buggy. Oops.
     
  12. gjaccieczo

    gjaccieczo

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    I think it's just too bold of a statement to come out with. I mean, there are plenty of MMOs that don't have any unofficial servers, but i don't see their devs going out and saying "yeah, we defeated piracy" as there is always a possibility that the data is wrong, you know.


    True and usually it is easier to encourage console owners to update their systems firmware, providing extra leverage for the vendors.


    Sounds like managers had way too much authority over the devs and QAs.
     
  13. Murgilod

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    "In it's current execution?" Are you for real? DRM is likely older than you are. It is a set of technologies with history going back nearly half a century. We are not magically going to stumble upon magical DRM that does this job ideally because its very nature means there always has to be an intermediary. The moment the code is executed on the device you have already provided a point of entry.

    My point is that we do not hear the success stories because they functionally do not exist. The only DRM that "works" is entirely server side validation and even that only works because you're separating the code from the client, and even that gets reverse engineered. On top of that, the cost:benefit issues that come with server side logic put it well outside the realm of feasibility for 99% of projects.

    These are things I've actually had to evaluate in a professional context. I'm not pulling things out of my ass here, I'm speaking as somebody who actually deals with it.
     
  14. gjaccieczo

    gjaccieczo

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    The criticism of the modern DRM in videogames is mainly aimed at performance issues and/or the need for constant Internet connectivity. Unless i'm missing something here, i fail to recognize what DRM being old has to do with what i've said. The DRM solutions of the past that i've mentioned failing were rather diverse: from cipher discs to verify the ownership of the software in question to something as trivial as a printed activation key inside the disc case. Those systems and many others were not really doing what they were supposed to, thus, they were swapped for what is considered DRM today and the modern solutions are bigger resource hogs than their predecessors.

    And i have not challenged that point, nor claimed that there is any magic DRM system that resolves all the related issues.
    That is true, and i've mentioned an example of that: MMOs that even after many years still don't have "private servers", the devs of which are not eager to go all out claiming that they have the solution.
    Good to know that you're knowledged on the subject then but my message was not "one day we're gonna have a perfect DRM system guys!" but "the current DRM implementations are flawed, however, this does not imply that the concept is flawed as a whole".
     
  15. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    This sort of argument needs to be supported by data. I've not encountered any data regarding reasons t o piracy.

    Those things are IMPORTANT and they MATTER, that's why I brought them up.

    * Let's say you need windows OS for work. And nothing else will do. I price windows OS at $100k and make it weekly. If you don't have it, you starve. You'll pirate it.
    * Let's say that in order to launch a game you need to put pants on your head and record yourself reading bible backwards in suwahili, otherwise the software won't start. You'll pirate it.
    * Let's say the publisher refuses to sell the thing in the first place in your region. What more they go out of their way to ensure that it won't even start there. You will pirate it.
    * Let's say that publisher does sell the tool in your region, but only localized in ancient Sumerian, while making sure no other localization crosses your borders. You will pirate it.
    * Let's say the publisher sends you a mail with insults and remotely revokes license of software you bought. You will pirate it.

    The thing about digital goods is that their duplication cost is nearly zero.
    At the same time people were very well conditioned by the music industry into climbing onto moral high horse without questioning it. "You wouldn't download a car".

    We do not live in such world. There are many cases where money does not cross borders, or developers outright refuses to sell in a region.

    That's sounds like reasoning from belief here. At least to me. I find this sort of approach unproductive.
     
  16. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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  17. kburkhart84

    kburkhart84

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    My thoughts on DRM(and file protection, like against mods).... anywhere that I use the word piracy, it also refers to the whole "protect my game's resources" thing too.

    1. Piracy is gonna happen if you get any success. No DRM or measures in existence will stop that.

    2. Therefore it is not in the interest of the average indie dev to invest heavily in DRM.

    3. However, I DO believe that small and very cheap steps could be taken. This wouldn't deter piracy, but it could stop the "casual" pirate if you understand what I mean. So if doing something like enabling IL2CPP is quick and easy(and cheap or free), then it is certainly worth doing. If you were using your own engine, doing something like putting image assets into an encrypted archive could be worth doing, as it would stop like 99% of people from just directly ripping the images. And you can't stop the other 1% anyway so who cares.

    4. Someone mentioned a DRM measure being something that affects the game itself(soft lock) instead of directly blocking it. This certainly has advantages of being more "stealthy" than other DRM methods.....but you can't get around the eventual reviews(reddit comments, etc...) you are going to get about it. And even if the community responds to defend the game, the value can only go negative, the defense can only counter the negative, can't make it go positive(if you were to scale on a graph some "PR" number or something). So I don't think that method is really worth it either.

    5. The exception to #4 is if you make it more obvious that it is a form of DRM and not a bug....at this point though it is no longer "stealthy." And in any case you are still likely passing the time/money investment threshold that I mention in #3.

    6. The approach that I personally like(though I haven't actually released a game so I can't speak for the success of), is to just embrace piracy, and try to use it to an advantage. I'll likely be the guy that releases my game on at least one popular torrent site, as a full version, no DRM(as the original won't have any anyway). I don't expect to actually get more sales because of it, though some pirates say they do it as a "fully featured trial" and purchase if they like it, which I know is not something to count on. However, it could also save some headache in that you won't get bad bug reports from someone who cracked your DRM badly, or maybe added malware to it before releasing the pirate version. And if nothing else, it could get some PR karma.

    All said, I certainly understand the value of DRM for AAA. From what I've heard, AAA studios generally get a massive portion of their sales within the first few days, and there is very little tail end(unlike indies if they continue marketing, etc..., which AAA doesn't do all the time in most cases). So from that perspective I can understand why they want DRM, even if they know it is going to be cracked very quickly and there is nothing they can do to stop it.

    What too many people don't seem to understand though is that what is right for AAA level companies is quite often NOT right for that single person or small team indie creator. This applies to many decisions, ranging from game engine choices(including rolling your own), to DRM usage, to marketing strategy, to using(or avoiding) pre-made assets, and much more.
     
  18. DragonCoder

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    Very true. Already the incentive to pirate a 60$ game is likely higher than a 15-20$ indie dev one, so we have less to worry about that.
     
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  19. gjaccieczo

    gjaccieczo

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    No, i'll look for an alternative. You know, free market and stuff. Not pirating.

    Or i'll just look for something else/do what fans of Asia exclusive games have been doing for years. Again, no pirating needed.

    I'll learn ancient Sumerian or am going to contact the publisher. Perhaps there are local enthusiasts of ancient Sumerian language who are going to agree to provide a translation or support for the product. Perhaps the publisher doesn't see any value in selling the product in my region. No ahoy for today.

    Lets say the Moon is now made out of cheese and you don't like cheese. You pirate some random piece of software (no).

    Duplication cost is not a legal merit for anything. If you have a product with a duplication cost of 0, well, good for you, go make a bank. Also, i think that digital distribution platforms (especially the ones that have their own infrastructure) would love to have a discussion panel on how apparently, the cost to deliver a product to a customer (including taxes) is
    :D:D:D

    So apparently recognizing the importance of copyright = being conditioned by the music industry (because it seems that copyright exists only in music...right (no again)).

    We do, ask those who has been playing Asia-exclusive games while being far away from those regions.

    Well, i mean, you kinda confirmed that with your takes on software piracy. Is suggesting that pirates look for excuses to pirate games "reasoning from belief"? To me, providing a bunch of imaginary scenarios where at the end of each, the other person in the conversation is always coaxed into piracy (for no reason whatsoever) seems just like what you find unproductive ;).
    People pirating or not pirating software is not some sort of a complex chain of reasoning where the person in question has no other choice. If something seems to be free, then those who like free stuff are going to flow in. This is why the F2P model was such a success.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2022 at 3:32 PM
  20. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Not sure in which country you are though, free market sound like a thing for people who don't have metaphorical gun pointing on their head. The free market ain't working for Russia right now, and many part of the world. Heck the free market enforce no market elsewhere to make sure he can exist for some. So you need to be wealthy, in a wealthy place, with wealthy connections for that argument to even be workable.
     
  21. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    The suggestion is that situation is gray and not black and white, as people prefer to think. Of course, thinking in black and white terms is easier, because people can assume they're the good guys and feel proud of that. Also, all examples listed are pretty much based on things that happened.

    Either way, I'm obviously not getting through, so there's no reason to continue.
     
  22. gjaccieczo

    gjaccieczo

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    I used the term free market as an umbrella for having a variety of choices in general. Now when we're talking about whether certain publishers decide to make certain products available or not in certain parts of the world is up to the publisher to decide. If a publisher does not want to sell products in certain regions or does not see any incentive to, that's their decision, as noone forces them to sell a product just as noone forces the customers in the markets that the product is unavailable in to buy those products. Also, regardless of how free or non-free the market is, it is always possible to seek alternatives.

    No it doesn't. Those who participate in the free market may attempt to influence other markets, but so do the participants in the non-free markets in relation to the free markets.

    Really? Never knew that you need "wealthy connections" to look up "alternatives to Ancient Sumerian Software Pack 2" on Google or "Ancient Sumerian Software opensource" rather than "download Ancient Sumerian Software Pack 2 for free no virus".
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2022 at 8:18 AM
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  23. gjaccieczo

    gjaccieczo

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    Already said that piracy is not some sort of a complex moral conundrum. If something can be gotten for free, people are going to jump at it right away.

    You are not becoming a bad guy or a good guy by buying software or arguing that perhaps, you don't really need to pirate "Fortnite Spiderman 3".

    Yeah, i too remember when Microsoft introduced the 100K USD per week Windows subscription. I've spent years translating that damn OS from Ancient Sumerian.:D
     
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