Copy-Protection (was: Downloadable Games are Important)

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Topagae
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#61 Post by Topagae » Fri Oct 29, 2010 4:40 am

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Jake
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Re: Copy-Protection (was: Downloadable Games are Important)

#62 Post by Jake » Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:39 am

Topagae wrote:some kind of repository or museum for these cultural artifacts if I recall.
That doesn't so much solve the hardware problem as offload it onto someone else...
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liude
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Re: Copy-Protection (was: Downloadable Games are Important)

#63 Post by liude » Fri Oct 29, 2010 2:47 pm

How to make activation keys:
1 - Upload a .txt file to a host. This must have a static url, or it wont work.
2 - Once someone gets a key by any means you want, be it purchasing or asking nicely, add that key to the .txt file.
3 - Key is compared to the ones in the server by a simple python script, could be something like this:

Code: Select all

key = renpy.input("Key: ")
import urllib2
python:
    try:
        for line in urllib2.urlopen('http://mykeyserver.com/keys.txt'):
            if key in line:
                activated = 1
    except:
        activated = 0
4 - Send an email to you from the client. This is also python code (dont know if its included with ren'py, you might have to get the module from a real python installation).

Code: Select all

python:
    email_message = "Key "+key+" has been redeemed."
    import smtplib
    server = smtplib.SMTP('localhost')
    # This line is configured like this: server.sendmail('from', 'to', 'message')
    server.sendmail('yourclientemailaccount@example.com', 'youremailaccount@example.com', email_variable)
    server.quit()
5 - Edit the .txt file and remove the key so it can't be redeemed again. You can also place a button in the client that once the key has been activated requests a new key. That would ask for the person's email and use it as the 'yourclientemailaccount@example.com' to send the message to you. You send them a new key if you find their email on a list which you should keep and send them their key again. Once you send the key be sure to add it to the .txt file so it can be redeemed once more.

There are a variety of ways in which this code can be modified to fit your needs. And like all my codes, credit is appreciated but not necessary. Also, you might want to run a renpy.full_restart() after the code is run, so as to clear the url data and avoid bugs while saving/loading.

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Xent
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Re: Copy-Protection (was: Downloadable Games are Important)

#64 Post by Xent » Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:23 pm

I did just read a few pages here and there but I like to suggest something.
I personally think that an actual game with some extras would be a good reason for quiet some people to not pirate it.
If I m talking about extras then not virtual stuff but things you can touch with your hands.
Seems cheaper then most DRM and other copyright protections and its a big reason to buy something.
Its just different to actually have a game downloaded or actually own it and place it somewhere in your room.
Besides that look at this kind of situation:
Someone pirated an indie game. After playing through the game he is suprised how good it was and really likes it.
Now he would love to support the developers. He visits the developers homepages and all there is, is a digital download and a buy button.
Even if it would be the right thing to do he will, most likely, not buy it. Because it just feels wrong. It feels wrong to buy something you already "own" even if you actually dont.

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Jake
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Re: Copy-Protection (was: Downloadable Games are Important)

#65 Post by Jake » Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:05 am

Xent wrote: If I m talking about extras then not virtual stuff but things you can touch with your hands.
Seems cheaper then most DRM and other copyright protections and its a big reason to buy something.
While this is a pretty good incentive for a lot of people, the problem is that producing physical stuff very rarely is cheaper than DRM, on the kind of scale you're talking about for indie projects. (Except in the sense that it probably works better, anyway.) I don't know exactly what kind of thing you're thinking of, but the classic game-special-edition freebies include art books, soundtrack CDs and action figures.

Books (and all other printed material) have large overheads for traditional press which make it uneconomical to do short runs and would mean the developer would have to have a good idea of how many units they were going to sell in advance and invest a fair bit of cash into it. Print on demand carries high per-unit prices which make it less of a viable proposition in the first place for this kind of thing.
Soundtrack CDs are probably viable enough, leaving aside the press issues, but are easily pirated themselves and the last five years have really demonstrated that a lot of people are perfectly happy to have their music in intangible digital form.
Action figures (or even just nice statuettes) have to be prototyped and have moulds made and so on, which introduces similar overheads to the traditional-printing option... and even then, once copies have been cast they need to be painted and assembled. You can get all this done in China for a surprisingly low price (considering - it's still going to be a very big part of your ticket price) but again, you have to buy in bulk and in advance.


The other issue, of course, being that people are going to stop thinking about "buying that game" and start thinking about "buying that action figure, which comes with a game"... and will also inevitably expect two bundled things to be cheaper than it would normally cost to buy the two things separately, which again cuts into your hypothetical indie dev's shoestring budget.
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Re: Copy-Protection (was: Downloadable Games are Important)

#66 Post by pkt » Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:34 am

Okay, so here it's 2:08 AM and I just stopped caring to read the entire thread.

1. If you had a near perfect solution. Even an uncrackable one [technically impossible I know] still is as weak as the computer system of the person who's using it. Every modern OS has flaws and back doors in places so numerous that it'd take years for simple person to go through and get them all. The fact that your computer, the one with the tech to validate can be infiltrated and have all of the DRM or whatever tech copied means that not you, EA, Sony or Microsoft...any one has a true means of stopping such a thing in the worse case scenarios.

A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.

2. My second point is that while perfect security is theoretically and practically impossible there is the fact that some people will never be your customers anyways. Sure John doe may pirate your game but did he do it because he wanted it and had no money or because he just wanted something to play at the time. People pirate for various reasons. I don't know about some people but money can be a big issue with these things and if you're not making any then you don't have to worry about pirates. As someone from elsewhere explained, a pirate isn't a game stolen, since when they copy it they don't take any money from you. When a person pirates, they practically showed some interest in what you have.

3. If anything, on the occasion I release a pay game, I'll be inclined to do it as donateware. You also have to consider that there are a lot of people who won't play your game even if it's free or you paid them. It's a fact of life. One of the real things you guys might want to work on is giving people a good reason to care about supporting it versus trying to stop people who don't want to fill your pockets.

In the case I find a game or whatever good enough to spend my money on then I'll likely do so but DRM and other tricks make me avoid that stuff altogether. I don't have much money, though I feel if I made something I thought was good enough to pay for then I'd try not to make it hard for people if at all possible and convenient. Something like Id did with Doom maybe.
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Re: Copy-Protection (was: Downloadable Games are Important)

#67 Post by DaFool » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:00 am

I've read that donation buttons make less than 1% what advertising networks provide, so it's not a viable revenue model.

There are two experimental models which many people haven't heard of yet since the terms were recently coined:

Fairware - Basically, the application contains a nag screen that shows how many hours of unpaid labor are left. The nag screen will disappear when the user registers the copy (for a fee) or if the cost of labor for developing that application is finally paid in full. It's similar to shareware that's not crippleware, such as the mirc client.

Ransomware - this is basically the Kickstarter model, where you proclaim the total amount of development expenses to produce a product, and once that number is reached then the product is released for free to the public. The difference between a ransomed product and a kickstarted product is that in the former the producer/developer would have made the product anyway... it may feel like a dick move on the part of the dev, but at least the audience already knows how the finished product feels like (from videos, demos, etc.). On the other hand with a pure kickstarted project, even if the artist has a good reputation of completing things and not wasting money, you still cannot be sure of the end result, being sold on the idea or concept only.

This is just my personal opinion, but I really don't like the practice of pre-selling alphas to the public. To me it feels like those condominium developers who derive the capital to build from pre-selling the apartments. If not enough people sign up, then the project gets cancelled and the building site becomes a white elephant, and the people who bought have to go through the hassle of sueing to get their money back. If one is a businessman, he should risk his own money or the money of venture capitalists, not other people's (i.e. customers) money.

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Re: Copy-Protection (was: Downloadable Games are Important)

#68 Post by jack_norton » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:28 am

DaFool wrote: This is just my personal opinion, but I really don't like the practice of pre-selling alphas to the public.
What! I'm doing this right now :lol:
I think is fine, as long as the dev has some sort of "reputation" (ie, finished lot of games in the past, fulltime indie, etc). Another friend of mine (PuppyGames) did a pre-order alpha of his latest game and did quite well too.
About kickstarter I found this interesting: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zar ... the-iphone
He has already reached over x2 the amount of his goal! :shock:
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