Software Pirate

I just saw someone online in SketchFighter (from Ukraine - his English wasn't too good) and we tried to play a game but it didn't seem to work. In the game setup he was labelled as 'Software Pirate' and clicking the Ready or Play button just made a thunk noise. Is this some feature of SketchFighter to detect to prevent pirates from playing?

This post has been edited by Guy : 13 June 2007 - 03:59 AM

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Is this some feature of SketchFighter to detect to prevent pirates from playing

Apparently.

@guy, on Jun 13 2007, 02:56 AM, said in Software Pirate:

I just saw someone online in SketchFighter (from Ukraine - his English wasn't too good) and we tried to play a game but it didn't seem to work. In the game setup he was labelled as 'Software Pirate' and clicking the Ready or Play button just made a thunk noise. Is this some feature of SketchFighter to detect to prevent pirates from playing?

I know Ambrosia tracks and disables pirated serial numbers. Having the games phone home and keep up as well seems like a logical next step.

@guy, on Jun 13 2007, 01:56 AM, said in Software Pirate:

Is this some feature of SketchFighter to detect to prevent pirates from playing?

Quite likely. I know that there's a "You are a pirate. Go away now." main screen (from digging in the game files, not pirating the game), so it isn't unreasonable that there would be extra levels of defense. I am a bit surprised that the guy managed to get to the MP lobby, though- it didn't look like there was anything you could do but quit from the screen I found.

Edwards

That's probably the coolest anti-piracy thing i've ever heard of.

Disclaimer: I'm not going to be talking of the specifics of SketchFighter, in fact it's not something that gets out of the mothership, even for moderators. But the following provides an interesting background.

This is more than probably indeed some of the "secondary registration/piracy checks". You see, nowadays it's just not enough to merely put a big beefy "primary check" that the game has been registered, and not pirated. Even if it is made strong and well-hidden in the depths of the code, it'll always end up being cracked:

View Postfprefect, on Feb 1 2002, 11:18 AM, said:

It's only the most hardcore computer user who will try to reverse engineer the software and crack the copy protection -- and I'll be honest, there's isn't much a programmer can do to stop them. Crackers enjoy the challenge itself, the tougher the better, so that if they want it badly enough, they'll find a way.

A more subtle strategy is to still have the big primary check, but in case (or rather, when) it's cracked or fooled (thus removing the "obvious" registration block), then the pirate (who is definitely a pirate now, one way or another) encounters various problems because some or all of these secondary checks noticed some things were amiss. The advantage is that these secondary checks are not obvious, and more numerous and spread than the primary check, so it'll take somewhat longer for the cracker to crack them all. Checking through the 'Net that the reg code is a valid one (i.e. not one of the known pirated ones) when the program connects to the tracker for a MP game (it's not even opening a connection without your consent, I mean it has to connect to the Ambrosia tracker already, it's not Valve's Steam) certainly makes sense as a secondary registration check.

It also seems to me that by simply overriding past the primary piracy check, the perpetrator would have tripped a secondary check, even without connecting. Just a guess.

--Flurrie

@flurrie, on Jul 19 2007, 04:31 PM, said in Software Pirate:

It also seems to me that by simply overriding past the primary piracy check, the perpetrator would have tripped a secondary check, even without connecting. Just a guess.

--Flurrie

Right, because traditional "phone home" and net check things are way too easy to get around. Simply disconnect yourself, or use a program like Little Snitch. It's kind of sad that there have to be so many of these different checks to stop the crackers, but it is necessary. All the stuff that's been around for a while has been cracked ten times over already. Ambrosia has a really good system, though.

It's quite cool that the cracker is branded as "Software Pirate" in the multiplayer mode. I've heard of some coders who put in an extra pop-up window that says "Hey! Don't steal my stuff!" when a pirated code has been put in. Any chance that could get added in? 🙂

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