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Boobytrapping software for filesharing sites

emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
Piracy isn't doing the software and videogames industries many favors so I'm often wondering about the ethics of these industries strike back? Sure, you might track IPs and sick some lawyers on the pirates, but I wouldn't feel the least bit bad for pirates if companies went a step further and flooded filesharing sites with rigged versions of their most popular software. I don't think it would discourage pirates in the long run but it might convince a few on the fence to not waste their time on a disguised 3GB Rickroll and instead buy the product legitimately. And I'd imagine it'd make the software devs feel better to dupe pirates.

So how about it? Is it wrong for devs to circulate disguised or virus-laden programs on well-known filesharing sites, hoping pirates will take the bait? Should they drown shady websites with their own manufactured bogus activation codes or would that just be vindictive or pointless? Would doing this and publicly acknowledging it later hurt a company's reputation?

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Posts

  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    It's idiotic; that shit worked in the Kazaa days but doesn't anymore. Filesharing sites now have usernames and ratings and comments sections and such. This is completely aside from the legal and PR problems.
    Spoiler:

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  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2009
    Harassing a customer base is never a good idea, so what if people are downloading the product off of a torrent first. It does not mean they do not intend to later purchase it, but if you load a virus onto the program then you will guarantee that they will not.

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  • travathiantravathian Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    emnmnme wrote: »
    So how about it? Is it wrong for devs to circulate disguised or virus-laden programs on well-known filesharing sites, hoping pirates will take the bait?

    You mean other than being illegal?

  • ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Well, they do this sort of stuff anyway. Haven't you heard of the bugs in pirated software, with the most recent being Batman: Arkham Asylum?
    Pirates didn’t know about this right away, but then the following post appeared on the Eidos Batman game forums from a user named Cheshirec_the_cat:

    I’ve got a problem when it’s time to use Batman’s glide in the game. When I hold , like it’s said to jump from one platform to another, Batman tries to open his wings again and again instead of gliding. So he fels[sic] down in a poisoning gas. If somebody could tel me, what should I do there.

    The response from user Keir, an administrator on the Eidos forums, explains all:

    The problem you have encountered is a hook in the copy protection, to catch out people who try and download cracked versions of the game for free. It’s not a bug in the game’s code, it’s a bug in your moral code.

    Some software companies have been doing this for YEARS. And they riddle them throughout the game in different sections so essentially, pirates have to play through the entire game to make sure they got them all. The worst ones are like the one in Earthbound where at the final boss if it detects it is a pirated game it deletes your saves (thus, making the person play through like a hundred hours of game to get there and make sure it works when they try to patch it). Sometimes, it's something subtle like in Spyro, where they start increasing the number of keys or whatever you have to collect to get to the next area, and since there aren't enough, you can never progress.


    This does a few things:
    It takes longer for the cracked game to be released
    The majority of a games sales are within the first two months. The longer you can keep a cracked game off the torrents, the more sales (potentially) you will get from people who want the game.

    It gives the pirates something to do
    They enjoy a good challenge, since most of them do it for fun, not profit, and enjoy the challenge of being the first to crack it. It also keeps them from moving on to other games, hopefully causing a backlog of games to crack and allowing for fewer of them to be on the torrent sites.

    It's not a bug or virus
    This makes it so that potential customers don't think that the game itself is buggy, but think that it's the pirated version and are then more interested in getting a legit copy of the game and play it.

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  • theSquidtheSquid Sydney, AustraliaRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    It can also completely destroy the sales of a game by making it appear buggy, see Titan Quest.

    Mythbusters once cut a car in half and drove around in it to see if it would run. Even they were less poorly conveyed.
  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    theSquid wrote: »
    It can also completely destroy the sales of a game by making it appear buggy, see Titan Quest.

    Also, if you think that a legitimate purchaser will never get fucked by some hare-brained DRM scheme, I've got a bridge to sell you.

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  • ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    It depends on how you implement the system. In the case of Spyro, one of the characters literally told the players that it appeared they were running an illegitimate copy of the game. In the case of batman, it appears to be user error until they ask for help on the forums. :D

    Yes, if implemented poorly it can appear to be a game breaking bug and hurt sales, but better to implement something that causes bugs for pirates, than implement a bad DRM scheme like SecuROM that hurts the people that actually paid money for the game. In the case of Titan Quest, instead of dumping the user to the screen, they should have had the quest be renamed to something like, "Stop pirating our games and fetch a legitimate game from your nearby retail store".

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  • theSquidtheSquid Sydney, AustraliaRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Or they could spend that time, effort and money polishing their actual game instead of trying to fuck over pirates with the off-chance of also screwing over legitimate customers.

    The argument that they've been doing this for years is not a good one, it's essentially an Appeal to Tradition.

    The argument that they want to get as many sales as possible in the first couple of months doesn't really justify this behaviour either. The counterargument is that pirates will not bother to buy the game anyway, because unless the game's got something really fucking revolutionary, chances are people will be happy playing a similar game of the same genre until it does get cracked.

    "It's not a bug or virus", frankly, sounds like legal arse-covering. It's not the developers job to get vengeance upon law breakers.

    Mythbusters once cut a car in half and drove around in it to see if it would run. Even they were less poorly conveyed.
  • ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    There was a whole interview with the team that did the Spyro protection (I think it was in the game sales thread) and this type of protection isn't actually very hard or complicated to implement once you get the hang of it.

    Yes, piracy is always going to happen, but companies will NEVER stop trying to prevent as much of it as possible. Fortunately, with this type of protection, rather than third party software or limited installs, it's fairly invisible to the legit customer and isn't a problem. Sure, there are going to be people patient enough to wait for a fully functioning crack. There are also a LOT of casual pirates who do so just because they can and download speeds are fast enough that it's not a problem. Torrenting has gotten simple enough for anyone to do it. If those types of people they are trying to convince to buy the real thing. They are much easier to convince to do so, as if you make it hard enough, or make them wait long enough, they will prefer to simply put out the cash if it's something they want.

    I mentioned that they have been doing this for years since the OP brought it up like no one has tried to do something to only affect pirates. When in reality, they have been doing this for years, and it's not a new idea.

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  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    theSquid wrote: »
    "It's not a bug or virus", frankly, sounds like legal arse-covering. It's not the developers job to get vengeance upon law breakers.

    What is their job, then? How much can they do without it being considered "vengeance?"

    They can put up basic install/first run safeguards. Easily broken since the full game is playable once cracked.

    They can use the same sort of safeguards all throughout the game, making it crash and show a screen questioning the legitimacy of the software. Is this vengeance, or merely multiple safeguards as above?

    They can make it behave strangely as if it were buggy, as in the case of Batman. Is this vengeance?

    Personally I think it's the "developer's job" to put in as much protection as they think is appropriate to ensure their game isn't easily piratable. Naturally a developer wants those as sales. "Try before you buy" is not a legitimate argument as the main motivation for piracy.

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  • ZackSchillingZackSchilling Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    It's pretty lame to assume that everyone cracking a game is doing so to use it without paying for it. Sure, the majority might be, but those of us who want to play the game without a CD or modify the game to add content or use cheats get snagged by these measures also.

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  • ronyaronya Arrrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    But as long as the majority is cracking the game to play without paying, it's still better for the developers to use this manner of protection. They'll lose sales either way, to piracy or to aggravated DRM-sensitive consumers; may as well lose the least sales possible.

    Rigging games with subtle game-breakers seems like a solid strategy. The difficulty is in being nonintrusive to legitimate users.

  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    It's pretty lame to assume that everyone cracking a game is doing so to use it without paying for it. Sure, the majority might be, but those of us who want to play the game without a CD or modify the game to add content or use cheats get snagged by these measures also.
    This is no argument for less protections either. Every game will be fully cracked eventually, and poisoned releases will eventually be sorted out and flagged and you'll have your unofficial release. You'll just have to wait a few months for your editable version rather than having it instantly, which is a very small price to pay.

    Like seriously, if you whine that some games never get fully hacked or a couple of months is like an eternity you're being extremely obtuse.

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  • theSquidtheSquid Sydney, AustraliaRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    theSquid wrote: »
    "It's not a bug or virus", frankly, sounds like legal arse-covering. It's not the developers job to get vengeance upon law breakers.

    What is their job, then? How much can they do without it being considered "vengeance?"

    They can put up basic install/first run safeguards. Easily broken since the full game is playable once cracked.

    They can use the same sort of safeguards all throughout the game, making it crash and show a screen questioning the legitimacy of the software. Is this vengeance, or merely multiple safeguards as above?

    They can make it behave strangely as if it were buggy, as in the case of Batman. Is this vengeance?

    Personally I think it's the "developer's job" to put in as much protection as they think is appropriate to ensure their game isn't easily piratable. Naturally a developer wants those as sales. "Try before you buy" is not a legitimate argument as the main motivation for piracy.

    Personally I think it's the developers job to make a complete functional product. Effort spent putting booby traps into their software is not only time not spent adding additional features or testing software for more bugs, but introduces legitimate bugs in the way of unnecessary complexity in the code.

    I'm not making excuses for pirates. All I'm saying is this is the same product that legitimate customers might get, and might have to suffer for as a result.

    Mythbusters once cut a car in half and drove around in it to see if it would run. Even they were less poorly conveyed.
  • BarrakkethBarrakketh Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    theSquid wrote: »
    Personally I think it's the developers job to make a complete functional product. Effort spent putting booby traps into their software is not only time not spent adding additional features or testing software for more bugs, but introduces legitimate bugs in the way of unnecessary complexity in the code.

    Developers can write unit tests and such to help with debugging, but practically speaking it's not the programmers who test for most gameplay bugs (Does it compile? Good!) but the people hired specifically for that job. Adding features late in the process other than those that were planned from the beginning is bound to introduce more bugs.

    Adding code that would only be triggered under very specific conditions is fairly "safe" and easy to test for.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    theSquid wrote: »

    Personally I think it's the developers job to make a complete functional product. Effort spent putting booby traps into their software is not only time not spent adding additional features or testing software for more bugs, but introduces legitimate bugs in the way of unnecessary complexity in the code.

    I'm not making excuses for pirates. All I'm saying is this is the same product that legitimate customers might get, and might have to suffer for as a result.

    Oh come on, I can't be that hard to stick some bugs in a game. Make the camera spin around the character, remove all the enemies from the last level of an FPS, make that shady copy of Microsoft Word not recognize the 'O' key - these kids of things sound like they can be done in a day or two.

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  • AzioAzio Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Barrakketh wrote: »
    Adding code that would only be triggered under very specific conditions is fairly "safe" and easy to test for.
    It's also very easy to circumvent such code by creating or simulating a condition that won't trigger it. There's a certain point where you're spending millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours to implement and test something that will work for all of five minutes before someone figures it out and cracks it. Money and man-hours that could be spent making a better game that more people will want to buy. Or they could not spend the extra money at all and make the game ten dollars cheaper.

  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Azio wrote: »
    Barrakketh wrote: »
    Adding code that would only be triggered under very specific conditions is fairly "safe" and easy to test for.
    It's also very easy to circumvent such code by creating or simulating a condition that won't trigger it. There's a certain point where you're spending millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours to implement and test something that will work for all of five minutes before someone figures it out and cracks it. Money and man-hours that could be spent making a better game that more people will want to buy. Or they could not spend the extra money at all and make the game ten dollars cheaper.
    I highly, highly doubt that not introducing this bug into Batman would've made the game $10 cheaper. Somebody found the appropriate section and typed

    if ( piracy_flag == 1 )
    batman.glide = 0

    It doesn't matter if it's easily circumventable, the point is that nobody discovered it for a few days after the game released. That is the entire goal of this. You spend a small amount of time and effort in order to ensure an equally small window wherein you can be assured your working game will only truly be available in stores.
    theSquid wrote:
    Personally I think it's the developers job to make a complete functional product. Effort spent putting booby traps into their software is not only time not spent adding additional features or testing software for more bugs, but introduces legitimate bugs in the way of unnecessary complexity in the code.
    A lot of man hours are always put into things not integral to the game. Interfacing correctly with the console UI. Support for multiple resolutions and modes. Code to ease the porting process. Additionally, the people who deal with this stuff are separate from the "extra feature" people who are separate from the "bug testing" people. The anti-piracy guy's job is not less important than anyone else's.

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  • ronyaronya Arrrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Azio wrote: »
    Barrakketh wrote: »
    Adding code that would only be triggered under very specific conditions is fairly "safe" and easy to test for.
    It's also very easy to circumvent such code by creating or simulating a condition that won't trigger it. There's a certain point where you're spending millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours to implement and test something that will work for all of five minutes before someone figures it out and cracks it. Money and man-hours that could be spent making a better game that more people will want to buy. Or they could not spend the extra money at all and make the game ten dollars cheaper.
    I highly, highly doubt that not introducing this bug into Batman would've made the game $10 cheaper. Somebody found the appropriate section and typed

    if ( piracy_flag == 1 )
    batman.glide = 0

    It doesn't matter if it's easily circumventable, the point is that nobody discovered it for a few days after the game released. That is the entire goal of this. You spend a small amount of time and effort in order to ensure an equally small window wherein you can be assured your working game will only truly be available in stores.

    While I agree with the unlikelihood that the antipiracy hooks posed any significant opportunity cost, it's actually normally the case that the engine is written with such hooks in mind, and the technology involved can be complex.

    Generally such technology is leased from third parties by EA or whoever, though.

  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    ronya wrote: »
    Azio wrote: »
    Barrakketh wrote: »
    Adding code that would only be triggered under very specific conditions is fairly "safe" and easy to test for.
    It's also very easy to circumvent such code by creating or simulating a condition that won't trigger it. There's a certain point where you're spending millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours to implement and test something that will work for all of five minutes before someone figures it out and cracks it. Money and man-hours that could be spent making a better game that more people will want to buy. Or they could not spend the extra money at all and make the game ten dollars cheaper.
    I highly, highly doubt that not introducing this bug into Batman would've made the game $10 cheaper. Somebody found the appropriate section and typed

    if ( piracy_flag == 1 )
    batman.glide = 0

    It doesn't matter if it's easily circumventable, the point is that nobody discovered it for a few days after the game released. That is the entire goal of this. You spend a small amount of time and effort in order to ensure an equally small window wherein you can be assured your working game will only truly be available in stores.

    While I agree with the unlikelihood that the antipiracy hooks posed any significant opportunity cost, it's actually normally the case that the engine is written with such hooks in mind, and the technology involved can be complex.

    Generally such technology is leased from third parties by EA or whoever, though.

    Of course there's a bit more to it than that. I read the Spyro article too, which probably used way out of date techniques by now as well.
    The Costs

    Implementing all of this protection takes time and resources away from actually developing the game. For YOTD those costs were as follows:

    Programmer time. One programmer was required for three to four weeks. The programmer spent this time adding the copy protection, integrating the anticrack protection into the game, and writing tools to mask the data and generate checksums. For about six months prior to actually writing any code, some time was spent thinking of methods for protecting the game and what to do when a crack was detected. This was slightly less than two percent of the total programmer time budgeted for the game.

    Game data preparation. The game data needed additional preparation before a disk could be burned. The game's WAD file had to be run through tools to generate checksums and mask data. This added about an hour to the burn cycle, making it about three hours long. The extra steps involved also made this process more prone to error, though this diminished over time as we became used to it and automated what we could.

    Debugging. Any version of the game with protection included was very difficult to debug, as any software breakpoints would trigger the protection. Beyond a certain point, hardware breakpoints were turned off by the copy protection. This effectively meant that any debugging had to be done by the programmer who implemented the protection (me) on production versions of the game.

    Testing. The protection was designed to produce effects almost indistinguishable from bugs, so testing was also affected. If any false positives occurred in the protection, they could be reported incorrectly. For this reason a very thorough debugging plan was produced just for the protection. Every location that could trigger protection was listed, along with how long it would take to trigger, what the exact effect would be, and where you had to look to see the effect. Testers had to visit the locations, wait the required amount of time, and then look to see if the protection had been triggered. Having any of the protection give a false positive was obviously our biggest worry. Therefore all the protection was set up on a compile-time switch so that it could be turned off at any time if we weren't absolutely sure that the protection was reliable (and believe me, there were a few moments when it didn't seem to be).
    Were all our efforts worth it? Yes. While the effects of crack protection against piracy are extremely difficult to measure, we certainly caused a great deal of confusion. Until the crack came out, YOTD was the most talked about game on the copying forums. People wasted disks, blamed the cracking teams, and claimed that the cracks that didn't work were O.K., just because they hadn't seen anything go wrong. People were saying nasty things about Insomniac and Sony because they couldn't "back up" the game. Some people even thought it was funny when the fairy character, who normally offers players helpful advice, instead told them they were playing a modified game. There is also an effect on future piracy to consider: at the very least we made a few people think twice about buying a cheap copy of a game.

    We've gained valuable knowledge about what works and what doesn't. Layering protection that doesn't kick in immediately is definitely a very effective protection. If nobody thinks a crack is required, they won't be working on one. Even when they do work on the crack, it takes them longer. The crackers apparently spent quite some time play-testing YOTD before they released the final crack, just to make sure they didn't get burned twice.

    Note that this was programmed from scratch in earlier days of anti-piracy measures, and licensed/standardized protection probably requires significantly less effort. The time spent on copy protection (as opposed to anticrack protection) is standard in every game.

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  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Boobytrapping a downloaded version with rootkits, spyware, etc? Not terribly effective, I imagine the pirate community would figure it out pretty fast that an upload of Hot New Game X from Brand New Poster is suspect. Hell, look at how we treat newbies who post links around here. :P

    Boobytrapping the game with "bugs" a la Arkham Asylum? Good form.

    "Accidentally" "leaking" what looks like a full game, but turns out to be a demo that cuts into a Rickroll-style "play our game" FMV after a stage or two? Excellent form.

    Edit: I take it back. Boobytrapping downloaded versions is perfectly fine, as long as it's a separate avenue than the legit one a la FyreWulff's examples. Putting a nuke in retail CDs? No, because it has a chance of hitting the paying customer. It needs to be a separate delivery system.

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  • ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    That would be hilarious!

    Download Batman: AA and you're playing through when suddenly "Never Gonna Give You Up" starts playing through the Asylum speakers and the music video pops up on all the TV monitors around the rooms, then Batman starts dancing Rick's part and singing while "please purchase this game to continue playing" scrolls across the bottom of the screen with a link to the online store.

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  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2009
    I've uploaded booby trapped versions of my games to torrent sites. Always hilarious, and never gets old.

    If people don't like files disappearing from the /system/ folder and/or losing half their registry, maybe they shouldn't pirate the fucking game. Because the only way to get the booby trapped version is to pirate the game. Legitimate customers have never been hit by it.

    However, later versions of the software will simply just silently ban them from using any servers I run and make gigantic space-consuming files, because of Win7's UAC.

  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    I've uploaded booby trapped versions of my games to torrent sites. Always hilarious, and never gets old.

    If people don't like files disappearing from the /system/ folder and/or losing half their registry, maybe they shouldn't pirate the fucking game. Because the only way to get the booby trapped version is to pirate the game. Legitimate customers have never been hit by it.

    However, later versions of the software will simply just silently ban them from using any servers I run and make gigantic space-consuming files, because of Win7's UAC.

    Is there a way to lime a heart?

    'Cause, <3.

    I don't like the sneaky spyware/rootkit stuff, but something that just outright nukes the fuck out of them for some reason I love the idea of. Probably because of "the only way to get the booby trapped version is to pirate the game."

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  • ChalkbotChalkbot Registered User
    edited September 2009
    I think it's a terrible concept myself. Many times (See Titan Quest, Vampire Masquerade: Bloodlines, etc.) these "intentional bugs" find their way into formal reviews, thus negatively impacting the perception of a title's quality, and fewer people buy it. Even worse than that, many people after hearing a mixed review will decide to test it out first and download the game illegally, thus seeing that it is indeed bugged to hell, and there goes any chance that that person would have bought the game. While that is a big enough concern on it's own, you also have to consider the financial aspect:

    No matter how simple you may think it is to put these kinds of things together, it still costs money. Significant money. The people (you) who purchase the game are paying for features that are only available in the pirated version. I know that's a funny way of putting it, but that is the way it works out. The price of your game is essitially higher as a result because either: a) That time could have been spent adding more content or polishing existing gameplay. b) The game could have been cheaper. c) The developer could have made more profit on the game. I'd say all three of those options are preferable to having the knowledge that a pirate somewhere was having a slightly more difficult time playing this game I bought, thanks to me.

    None of the great games I've bought were great because of their anti-piracy measures, and I've never seen a crappy game sell well because there wasn't a crack. The idea is moronic.

  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2009
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    I've uploaded booby trapped versions of my games to torrent sites. Always hilarious, and never gets old.

    If people don't like files disappearing from the /system/ folder and/or losing half their registry, maybe they shouldn't pirate the fucking game. Because the only way to get the booby trapped version is to pirate the game. Legitimate customers have never been hit by it.

    However, later versions of the software will simply just silently ban them from using any servers I run and make gigantic space-consuming files, because of Win7's UAC.

    Is there a way to lime a heart?

    'Cause, <3.

    Oh and for the record, none of my games have DRM in the first place. There is zero excuse to download a 'fixed' version, because I already explicity allow backups in the EULA. So no excuses about "zomg no cd crax"

  • ZackSchillingZackSchilling Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    If people don't like files disappearing from the /system/ folder and/or losing half their registry, maybe they shouldn't pirate the fucking game. Because the only way to get the booby trapped version is to pirate the game. Legitimate customers have never been hit by it.
    That's unacceptable.

    1.) Never assume ANYTHING about who will and will not be hit by it. People lose discs all the time.
    2.) If you must rig a game with anti-piracy measures, it's not ethical to take some sort of misguided, automated "revenge". You have no idea if the person actually did something wrong and furthermore, it's not within your rights to fuck with their computer. At worst, you lost a sale. Your shenanigans could cost the assumed pirate much much more.

    Edit: So your games have no DRM and you encourage backups. That's worse, because potentially a legitimate customer who didn't make a backup and lost their copy will think the torrent is exactly the same as their original and not think twice about grabbing it.

    Edit 2: Just informationally, I'm not arguing this from the point of view of someone who pirated a game and got infected with some virus or my computer screwed up. I do very little PC gaming and all the games I do have were purchased over steam or a similar download service. I object strictly on moral grounds.

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  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    ITT indie developer fight.

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  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2009
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    If people don't like files disappearing from the /system/ folder and/or losing half their registry, maybe they shouldn't pirate the fucking game. Because the only way to get the booby trapped version is to pirate the game. Legitimate customers have never been hit by it.
    That's unacceptable.

    1.) Never assume ANYTHING about who will and will not be hit by it. People lose discs all the time.

    None of my games are disc releases and they can all be redownloaded from OFFICIAL servers endlessly.
    2.) If you must rig a game with anti-piracy measures, it's not ethical to take some sort of misguided, automated "revenge". You have no idea if the person actually did something wrong and furthermore, it's not within your rights to fuck with their computer. At worst, you lost a sale. Your shenanigans could cost the assumed pirate much much more.

    Zero legit customers have ever been hit by it. None. Null. 0. The only booby trapped versions are ones uploaded to pirating sites. I didn't lose a sale because pirates aren't really interested in paying for other people's work in the first place. And they were too stupid to download the demo that features 2/3rds of the full game.
    Edit: So your games have no DRM and you encourage backups. That's worse, because potentially a legitimate customer who didn't make a backup and lost their copy will think the torrent is exactly the same as their original and not think twice about grabbing it.

    No, they can redownload it for free from the official servers and back it up locally to a CD or so on. No excuses.

  • ArchArch HELLO YES THIS IS BUG Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Implementing code in a game that bugs it ala spyro/ Arkham is one thing...nuking a computer is another.

    But on the other hand, I really don't see a legitimate reason you should get stuff off of torrents. You KNOW it is illegal. I don't care about your intention. If you want to "edit" a game, etc, ask permission first.

    Lost the disk? Sucks, buy another one. I have done it, and will do it again. I think I have bought Diablo 2 like 7 times in my life because of this.

    Hypothetical- Fryewulff- if someone said in an email "hey I am a games editor etc etc here is some of my work, would you mind if I edited some stuff into your game etc etc" what would you do?

  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Chalkbot wrote: »
    No matter how simple you may think it is to put these kinds of things together, it still costs money. Significant money. The people (you) who purchase the game are paying for features that are only available in the pirated version. I know that's a funny way of putting it, but that is the way it works out. The price of your game is essitially higher as a result because either: a) That time could have been spent adding more content or polishing existing gameplay. b) The game could have been cheaper. c) The developer could have made more profit on the game. I'd say all three of those options are preferable to having the knowledge that a pirate somewhere was having a slightly more difficult time playing this game I bought, thanks to me.

    None of the great games I've bought were great because of their anti-piracy measures, and I've never seen a crappy game sell well because there wasn't a crack. The idea is moronic.

    This is still bad logic. It's as bad as the argument that "time spent implementing online modes that nobody will play means one less single player level." Games are made by large teams, everyone has their job, and generally a lot of effort in one place doesn't mean another area suffers. Games are modular. One guy can work on the anticrack protection independent from the level designers. He was hired to do that specific job, it's not like he'd be more useful drawing textures.

    Also, look at the Spyro article from last page. This math is all simulation but I think illustrates costs decently well. Four weeks of one man's time, plus more time for bug testing. Let's say that's 200 man hours. At $20 an hour that's $4000 strictly devoted to anti-piracy measures. If the game sells 40,000 copies that's 10 cents per sale. If it sells 400,000 copies it's one penny per sale. That is not much expense. If it prevents only a few zero-day pirates resulting in a couple of extra sales it will have paid for itself.

    That's just Spyro. Nowadays it's common enough that you don't have to write this stuff from scratch, you use your company's tried and tested protection tech for multiple games. It takes much fewer man hours to get it up and running.

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  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2009
    Depends. If it's a game where I said don't edit it, I'd thank them for liking my game enough to attempt it but tell them to make their own game since they'd have more creative freedom.

    Another game that I released, is now free, and has an explicit license that allows people to add content to the game without it turning it into a legal clusterfuck.

    I have all the bases covered.

  • ZackSchillingZackSchilling Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    If people don't like files disappearing from the /system/ folder and/or losing half their registry, maybe they shouldn't pirate the fucking game. Because the only way to get the booby trapped version is to pirate the game. Legitimate customers have never been hit by it.
    That's unacceptable.

    1.) Never assume ANYTHING about who will and will not be hit by it. People lose discs all the time.

    None of my games are disc releases and they can all be redownloaded from OFFICIAL servers endlessly.
    2.) If you must rig a game with anti-piracy measures, it's not ethical to take some sort of misguided, automated "revenge". You have no idea if the person actually did something wrong and furthermore, it's not within your rights to fuck with their computer. At worst, you lost a sale. Your shenanigans could cost the assumed pirate much much more.

    Zero legit customers have ever been hit by it. None. Null. 0. The only booby trapped versions are ones uploaded to pirating sites. I didn't lose a sale because pirates aren't really interested in paying for other people's work in the first place. And they were too stupid to download the demo that features 2/3rds of the full game.
    Edit: So your games have no DRM and you encourage backups. That's worse, because potentially a legitimate customer who didn't make a backup and lost their copy will think the torrent is exactly the same as their original and not think twice about grabbing it.

    No, they can redownload it for free from the official servers and back it up locally to a CD or so on. No excuses.

    While I applaud your good faith effort to tackle every possible concern with losing the game file, I still think it's wrong to release misleadingly labeled malicious code anywhere for any reason.

    I don't think it's productive to continue coming up with more and more elaborate what-ifs of how innocents could be harmed, but didn't you ever think at any point that you may not have thought of everything? Maybe only one person falls victim. Maybe no one ever does. But the fact that the code is out there is enough for me to object.

    ghost-robot.jpg
  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    The fact that the only way to get Format C: The Game is to download it from a warez site makes me not terribly sympathetic to the plights of anyone who gets nailed by it.

    Really, when you go to IllegalBootlegWarez.com and download software, you have to have some expectation that there's people out there who might have no qualms about exploiting your machine for their own amusement or profit.

    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
    Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
  • psychotixpsychotix __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2009
    The fact that the only way to get Format C: The Game is to download it from a warez site makes me not terribly sympathetic to the plights of anyone who gets nailed by it.

    Really, when you go to IllegalBootlegWarez.com and download software, you have to have some expectation that there's people out there who might have no qualms about exploiting your machine for their own amusement or profit.

    This falls into two wrongs don't make a right. I'd also question the legality of uploading malicious code.

  • FatsFats Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    I have all the bases covered.

    Have you had someone look over your "booby trapping" process to make sure it doesn't run afoul of various state laws regarding computer contamination or criminal mischief?

  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2009
    Fats wrote: »
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    I have all the bases covered.

    Have you had someone look over your "booby trapping" process to make sure it doesn't run afoul of various state laws regarding computer contamination or criminal mischief?

    Yup. There ain't nothing illegal about it. But I do find people defending piracy, which is 100% illegal, fucking hilarious <img class=" title=":lol:" class="bbcode_smiley" />


    Edit: here's what it does. After clicking on the (dummied out) main menu, the background switches to WindowsDirClean Pro(tm) and pops up this dialog:

    piracyturnaround.png

    (background blurred)

    Clicking Yes has 3 more layers of "Are you sure?" "Are you reallly, reallly, really sure?" and so on.

    Clicking No pops up a dialog telling them to stop pirating or else their dick will fall off and exits.

    Arrest me now, officer.

  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    psychotix wrote: »
    two wrongs don't make a right.

    But three lefts do.
    Fats wrote:
    Have you had someone look over your "booby trapping" process to make sure it doesn't run afoul of various state laws regarding computer contamination or criminal mischief?

    Hell, legitimate computer software carries the "not fit for any purpose, we are not responsible if this formats your drive, steals your money, and kicks your dog" disclaimer in the EULA - with the exception of medical software, IIRC - and I imagine somewhere in the Nuke Your Computer EULA it says "this software WILL FUCK YOUR SYSTEM UP." I know, nonbinding, lol, etc. But still. :P

    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
    Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
  • ZackSchillingZackSchilling Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    Yup. There ain't nothing illegal about it. But I do find people defending piracy, which is 100% illegal, fucking hilarious <img class=" title=":lol:" class="bbcode_smiley" />

    That's unfair. I don't think anyone in this thread has defended the act of downloading a piece of software and running it without ever having paid.

    ghost-robot.jpg
  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    Yup. There ain't nothing illegal about it. But I do find people defending piracy, which is 100% illegal, fucking hilarious <img class=" title=":lol:" class="bbcode_smiley" />

    That's unfair. I don't think anyone in this thread has defended the act of downloading a piece of software and running it without ever having paid.

    Downloading pirated software despite having paid for it at one point still constitutes piracy if it is against the EULA. You are still temporarily hosting it so that others may download it illegally. You are a distributor. Even with uploading turned off, you are showing support for the practice.

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