RT3: Great game! When can we expect the Official NOCD patch?

The copy protection could/would exist outside the game itself, so I’d think anyone should be able to disable it. It wouldn’t require intimate knowledge of the game’s code. Or maybe it could be built-in to the validation server (which means it could, in theory, be spoofed). There are tons of security issues here, but I suspect people can figure the most obvious ones out.

How many companies go belly-up that quickly, and have made games that people would actually want to keep activating more than a couple of years down the road? And which ones don’t have their IPs purchased by some other company?

You can come up with lots of nightmare scenarios about why this is a bad idea, or figure out the best, least obtrusive way to implement it. Because unless there’s a sudden collapse of the warez market, it’s inevitable it will happen.

I find as I get older and have some money, my desire to try to find anything on Kazaa and such has declined. For example, I was looking for some song, and I thought it was by The Strokes. So I downloaded a bunch of Strokes songs from Kazaa trying to find it, and it turns out they were all bogus, probably “seeded” from the labels to fuck up the downloads. That just annoyed me, and makes me not want to bother with Kazaa (I ended up finding the song via the preview feature of iTunes, then went to the local music store and bought the CD).

IXAszurom wrote:
The serial number shouldn’t be something I have to type in… it should be unique and burnt into the cd I’m playing from. Keygens are useless against that, and I can NEVER misplace my serial number.

I’m sure that’s cost-prohibative. And it would require that the duplicator have all the serial numbers.

Pull out your Tribes 1 CD. They did it with that one. I can have two copies and play just fine. However, if I make a PERFECT 1-1 copy of one of them, you can’t join a game on the same server as me. That has to be a unique ID on the CD. Has to be.

3) Joe User who doesn’t know where to find torrent sites and can’t be bothered to deal with the mess that Kazaa puts on your system or doesn’t yet have broadband who would otherwise burn a copy for his cousin with his $20 cd burner, but isn’t going to bother to go search for a crack, find a CD burning program that will duplicate physical sector errors or the like.


I think online verification is going to happen. I think further that the only way to ensure the security folks want is to authenticate the copy of the game every time you try to play

Joe User, my sister, and probably even my cat know about gamecopyworld.com. Anybody who has ever had a legit game not work in their drive and asked a coworker knows it. And once you’ve had a reason to ask how to fix a legit game, now you know how to be naughty too. So, really, copy protection creates pirates. Joe user never thought to copy something because he didn’t know how easy it was until RRTycoon3 forced him to seek it out.


No. Even an online check has to return a yes or no. I’ll hardwire it to yes, and pass all checks. Or, I’ll bypass the function that does the checking. Single player will never be secure. Multiplayer, yes, because I have to connect and maintain that connection so it has to be real.

What folks seem to be saying whether they realise it or not is that Steam is indeed the wave of the future. :P I’m half serious about that–if you make it so that a single player game can’t run without an Internet connection because a chunk of the code always remains on the server and not on the client, and thus require a constant two-way communication stream (turning every single player game into an online game) you would make it pretty hard if not impossible to crack I’d think.

Naturally that solution carries with it enormous problems of its own. I rather suspect, as I’ve said before, that a validation system will be more likely. Yes, some will crack it but the net result will be far fewer pirates and more revenue (theoretically).

Don’t like it, but I really can’t see much else that might work. You can go the route of pointing out how every copy protection scheme imaginable will fail, but all that does is encourage companies to drop PC games like hot potatos. No one is going to sink money into developing games that are guaranteed to lose 25% to 75% (depending on region) sales due to piracy. Just ain’t gonna happen.

Just to pick on this for a moment – sure they would, so long as the games themselves were still quite profitable. The issue is how many folks who would have paid become pirates.

I’ll be sad if the PC games market dries up, but then I can switch to Linux for everything with no loss. So there’s always a silver lining.

For copy protection to make the developer to make more money, it’s got to convert more sales than it drives away (probably not too many) and convert enough sales to pay the costs of the anti-piracy method (might be a lot). I don’t think it’s open-and-shut profitable.

Would it drive the types of games made, too? I have a hard time picturing an online activation Alpha Centuari.

Phil referenced the music industry above, I would be curious where you got your information from? Stereophile has printed several reports that show with real data the information is false. Sales went down but so did the number of album releases. If you look at both from a percentage basis per unit sales actually went up during the napster era.

Sorry to attempt to hijack the thread, just find the riaa attempts at misleading the public irritating.

Well, true, we’re assuming piracy = some lost revenue. I think that’s a reasonable assumption. The question is naturally how much; it’s entirely possible that companies can tolerate piracy if its really not eating into profits much.

But…as there’s really no way of telling, and we can assume that some piracy results in lost revenues, most companies are not likely to take a known risk (piracy) with unknown costs (revenue losses) and assume the best possible case. Rather, they will assume the worst possible case.

Seems to me the best thing we can do is find some way of finding out exactly how much money is truly lost via piracy so folks can make a reasonable business cost/benefit decision. How you go about getting that info is beyond me however.

I always had that problem with napster. When the gnutella and other massively distributed peer-to-peer clones showed up, it just got worse.

Torrent sites, on the other hand, are almost always what they say they are and are very, very easy to use. Until they go underground, at least.

That being said, I’d be willing to bet that if you’d known a friend with a couple of their CDs, you would have just asked him to burn you a copy, no?

I just want the game - all games - to work in any CD or DVD drive. Can someone name me a single game released in the last 10 years that wasn’t successfully cracked? So why bother with the copy protection?

Then explain games like Max Payne (and probably Payne 2)? I think Max Payne sold over 4 million copies and it’s a single player only shooter.

The biggest chunk of MP sales, by far, has been on console. It did sell pretty well on PC, too - might be the best selling, single player only shooter in the last 4 or 5 years. But it’s more the exception than the rule.

While I understand the need for IP owners to protect their assets, I have a few issues with your analysis:

  1. The PC game and music industries have shared in an economy that at best can be described as “flat” since mid-2000. With disposable income more limited, it’s natural for entertainment outlets to see a decline (I’ll get to consoles in a sec.)

  2. I cannot think of a time in the last 20 years when I wouldn’t have been able to aquire a pirated computer game. Even during those years of 10-15% growth, piracy was always an option. The “broadband makes it easy” arguements ignore the “Nothing beats the bandwidth of a truck full of floppies/CDs” truism. I had more pirated games on my 1200 baud equiped Commodore 128 than emails in my inbox. Actually, all of my downloaded stuff in those days was legit.

  3. Consoles have advantages that PCs don’t. My own game buying habits over the last year have been about 10 to 1 in favor of consoles. The last PC game I bought at near-full price was Freelancer, but I bought Soul Calibur II, Metroid Prime, Halo, Zelda WW, and SW: KOTOR, all at full retail price (there may have been a couple of others too.) I’ve tended to buy console because I know that the production levels tend to be higher, the screen is bigger (although the resolution is lower), I get instant gratification because there’s no installation hassle, and I know a game will work with my system. PC gaming isn’t hard, but the entry level for console gaming is low enought that the smallest mental midget can limbo under it.

  4. Consoles aren’t imune to piracy. Sure the bar is higher, but modded boxes aren’t uncommon.

Basically, piracy has always been a very real option for getting games. The current downturn in the market can’t be explained entirely by piracy. In the meantime, publishers who seek to impose troublesome CP schemes make the same mistake that internet advertisers made in the early Internet Boom years: You don’t keep customers by pissing them off.

The music industry has a lot more variables than just Napster. The economy is a huge factor. The rise of DVD buying has eaten into potential sales. But the biggest factor (in my opinion) is that there are fewer albums being produced. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I do remember that over the past 10 years the number of copies sold has declined less than the number of unique albums produced. So while overall sales have gone down, they’re actually selling more copies (on average) of each individual album. Who’s fault is it that overall sales are down?

Personally, I like the GalCiv method of copy protection: if you want patches and Free Stuff™ you have to buy a legal copy. There is no intentional data corruption on the disc under the guise of “copy protection,” there are no hardware compatibility problems, and if you actually want to make a legal backup of the disc (does anyone do this?) you can.

Because, it still prevents most casual piracy. With every Tom, Dick and Harry owning a burner these days why would Johnny even bother buying HL2 if his friend could just copy the CD for him?

That’s why you have individual ID and key cards and shit. Simple copy protection gets cracked at day 0 and is on gamecopyworld before the guy gets home from EB.

DaveC is arguing that most people don’t know about cracks.

One exception does not a trend make.

(And, as Phil noted, it was a lot of console sales that pushed it to the big numbers.)

Just look at Monolith’s track record. Great single-player games, crap multiplayer code, lots of people who say they played their games, no real breakout sales success.

I was the same way with my Atari 800, but it was a small market with smaller stakes; there was no casual computer user in those days, and games didn’t cost millions to produce those high production values you value in your console games.

So a higher percentage of users were probably pirates, but the overall numbers weren’t close.

(I wonder if it was a regional thing; I could buy pirated games for a buck in L.A., but I’m not sure that was true in Burlington, VT. The Internet and broadband makes it easy for everyone to get whatever they want whenever they want it.)

Also, many of the hardware producers in those days were also publishers. (Well, at least Atari was.) So hardware sales might have offset some of the losses.

The current downturn in the market can’t be explained entirely by piracy.

The soft economy would make piracy a more attractive option for more poeple; as they get more comfortable with downloading games, perhaps when the economy picks up, they’re gone forever.

Does the game industry put up fake files on the Kazaas of the world? If they don’t they should. Put up a demo with lots of giant bogus data files that look like an ISO. That’s how the film industry is “fighting” piracy. Just make it more annoying.

I was trying to find one song the other day and ended up downloading looped versions of another song by the same artist. Every copy on Kazaa was like this. And lots of movies are just blank.

In the meantime, publishers who seek to impose troublesome CP schemes make the same mistake that internet advertisers made in the early Internet Boom years: You don’t keep customers by pissing them off.

This is a legitimate point, but no one usually offers a viable alternative. Remove all copy protection and trust that happier users won’t pirate games?

Brad Wardell has offered an alternative, i.e., his approach with Galciv.