Anti piracy methods

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DPrinny
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Anti piracy methods

Post by DPrinny » Tue Jan 06, 2015 10:52 pm

Continuing on.

Name your favorite ones
From discs to bloody DRM

Wasn't there a Game developer game on Android that the developer put a bogus version out that made the profits of your company go down then it gave you and anti piracy message?

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RodimusPrime
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Re: Anti piracy methods

Post by RodimusPrime » Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:05 pm

DPrinny wrote:Continuing on.

Name your favorite ones
From discs to bloody DRM

Wasn't there a Game developer game on Android that the developer put a bogus version out that made the profits of your company go down then it gave you and anti piracy message?

Championship managers manual has scores on each page. when you loaded up the game it would ask you the score on a certain page.

someona at school sold photocopies of a list of pages and scores for 50p a go.

couple of articles about anti piracy measures hidden in games, including the one you mentioned.

http://www.cracked.com/article_20482_5- ... rates.html

http://www.cracked.com/article_19162_6- ... rates.html

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Matt_B
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Re: Anti piracy methods

Post by Matt_B » Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:33 pm

I like the one in Alan Wake, where he's got an eye patch on while you play the game if it detects it's been pirated. Subtle, but effective in dividing those who have shame from those who don't.

There are some really cruel ones too. Arkham Asylum lets you play the game but with a gimped cape; you can struggle a long way through it but will eventually come unstuck.

The best anti-piracy method though, has always been to make a game that people want to own, and your peers will shun you for being a cheapsake if you're seen with a pirate copy. Nintendo seem to have had this down to a fine art, although Microsoft and Sony are slowly catching on with their big franchises.

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Misery
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Re: Anti piracy methods

Post by Misery » Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:40 am

I've got one.

Apparently, while you can look at this message by doing the thing in the video, it automatically appears right at the start if you're playing a pirated version of the game.

Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEOo9EZwpxk


Just.... ugh. I cant un-see that, can I....

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adippm82
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Re: Anti piracy methods

Post by adippm82 » Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:20 am

Not a favourite one, more like an enormous pain in the backside, the lenslock, the infamous piece of plastic that largely prevented you from entering a game that you had legally bought, especially if you had a portable TV, any game that used it would put off a potential buyer, so rather self defeating in the end.

Use the Lenslock to spell out OK on the TV, pass that test, then use the lenslock again to read two digits.

Digital Integration persisted with it far longer than they should have done, especially as Multiface devices allowed you to save a game past the protection.

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Re: Anti piracy methods

Post by NorthWay » Wed Jan 07, 2015 8:30 am

I have a couple of physical measures that I thought was interesting:
Physical hole in the floppy that gave it "weak bits" (read-back gave you variable data each time you read it back).
Long tracks that you couldn't write yourself with a normal floppy drive because the write head was so big it would touch on to the start of the track when it tried to write out the tail (there is a minimal gap needed when you write to a floppy). I believe this was mastered with either a smaller head or slower rotating disc so the gap length effectively became smaller. (Dragon's Lair)

Both these were cracked in time of course. The first one could probably just be nixed out, and the second I believe was done with data compression and possibly one more disk than the original (it reputedly went uncracked for so long that they achieved real good sales).

IIRC the BBC B had one of the Ultimate(?) games that decoded the data in a tight loop that was depended on the VIA timers ticking and being untouched. That one could have taken a bit of work to get around...

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crusto
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Re: Anti piracy methods

Post by crusto » Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:36 pm

Frontier had a horrible method. The random police officer at space stations would ask for a word out of the manual from a certain page, paragraph etc. The thing is that the description was so vague it was very easy to get wrong. Great example of the legitimate buyer being punished instead of the pirate.

The best method is to catch said pirate and either take out his/her eyes or cut off his/her. hands.
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Mayhem
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Re: Anti piracy methods

Post by Mayhem » Wed Jan 07, 2015 6:18 pm

Matt_B wrote:There are some really cruel ones too. Arkham Asylum lets you play the game but with a gimped cape; you can struggle a long way through it but will eventually come unstuck.
There's a few games earlier than AA that do similar things. Exile for the C64 springs to mind, it would play fine but deliberate misplace certain must-have items around the map so you couldn't complete the game. Until a couple of years ago (iirc), the only way to properly play the game on emulation was to use a TAP file; none of the cracks worked 100% for this reason.
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Matt_B
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Re: Anti piracy methods

Post by Matt_B » Wed Jan 07, 2015 6:32 pm

Mayhem wrote:
Matt_B wrote:There are some really cruel ones too. Arkham Asylum lets you play the game but with a gimped cape; you can struggle a long way through it but will eventually come unstuck.
There's a few games earlier than AA that do similar things. Exile for the C64 springs to mind, it would play fine but deliberate misplace certain must-have items around the map so you couldn't complete the game. Until a couple of years ago (iirc), the only way to properly play the game on emulation was to use a TAP file; none of the cracks worked 100% for this reason.
Earthbound is another one. Apparently it locks up just before the finish and deletes the save game. That's brutal!

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Lorfarius
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Re: Anti piracy methods

Post by Lorfarius » Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:07 pm

Good page on the Earthbound stuff here:

http://starmen.net/mother2/gameinfo/antipiracy/
For all your mad retro gaming needs, regular content on a daily basis!

https://www.youtube.com/user/Lorfarius

tuki_cat
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Re: Anti piracy methods

Post by tuki_cat » Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:35 pm

I used to like the code wheels that came with Monkey Island one and two. Although they were very easy to reproduce - not that I ever tried of course!

I also remember struggling with the Lenslock! Didn't the Spectrum version of Elite use this?

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Matt_B
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Re: Anti piracy methods

Post by Matt_B » Wed Jan 07, 2015 8:08 pm

The Lenslok might be long remembered, but it was very short-lived in the market; most companies only used it for a game or two before quickly abandoning it, and I can't blame them. It has to go down as one of the most obtrusive methods of protecting a game, whilst being amongst the least effective. Apparently lots of games went out with the wrong Lenslok, making them unplayable.

One method I liked was having to type in a randomly selected word from the manual, not least because it would mean that the game came with a chunky manual with perhaps a scene-setting novella thrown in too.

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adippm82
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Re: Anti piracy methods

Post by adippm82 » Wed Jan 07, 2015 8:38 pm

tuki_cat wrote:I also remember struggling with the Lenslock! Didn't the Spectrum version of Elite use this?
The 48K version did, and was the first game to use it, thankfully this crashed on the new 128K machines so a new 48/128 version was hurried out to market, without the lenslock, or any anti piracy measures at all.

The list of titles using lenslok is thankfully small.


Elite, by Firebird
OCP Art Studio, by Rainbird
Fighter Pilot, by Digital Integration
Tomahawk, by Digital Integration
TT Racer, by Digital Integration
Jewels of Darkness, by Level 9 Computing
The Price of Magik, by Level 9 Computing
Silicon Dreams, by Level 9 Computing
ACE, by Cascade Games Ltd
Graphic Adventure Creator, by Incentive Software
Moon Cresta, by Incentive Software
Supercharge, by Digital Precision

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PlodMadLoon
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Re: Anti piracy methods

Post by PlodMadLoon » Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:05 pm

Lucasarts' code wheels were always good value. :D I always used to like the way Sierra used to handle copy protection as well: sometimes by integrating it into the gameplay itself, for example the manual for a Space Quest game might present itself as a fictional in-universe travel guide to the planets you visit in the game, but the copy protection measure in-game comes from being able to look up something within the text of that travel guide and apply it to the game itself. Clever stuff. ;)

I think it was The Rev, Stuart Campbell, who once said in the pages of Amiga Power that the worst thing about copy protection in games is that it was only ever the honest people who got stuck having to deal with finding WORD 16 IN PARAGRAPH 2 ON PAGE 21 OF YOUR GAME MANUAL, because anyone who has got the game illegally usually had a cracked version and didn't have to worry about that stuff at all. So, the people who actually pay for the game are the ones who suffer the most. :(

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paranoid marvin
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Re: Anti piracy methods

Post by paranoid marvin » Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:26 pm

There were some gamnes that ame with a 'dongle' that had to be put in the joystick port - think Robocop 3 on the 'miggy used this. I'm sure crackers found a way round this though, Then there are the games that came with 'fun' things like Infocom, that really helped you get into the spirit of the game - copies had none of this, Think Shadow of the Unicorn on the Speccy was the most un-copiable game as you needed the rampack to play it. And then there were those that came bundled with a unique controller, like the surfboard in that Speccy game. And didn't Metal Gear on the PS1 require you to look at the packaging to get past a certain point? Very ingenious.
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