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Protection issues - Crashes and Skulls.


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#1 Mike.Dailly

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 05:01 PM

So, to keep you updated, we’ve ruled out the updater, but are currently removing this particular check just in case. We’re still not 100% certain why it’s effecting some users, but it may be that checks are failing because a virus scanner or something is getting in the way, so we’re trying to accommodate this.

I totally understand that those who have paid for GameMaker and are getting this are feeling very upset by the whole matter, and I can only apologise for the problems. As to why it’s in there should be reasonably clear. GameMaker has traditionally been one of the most pirated programs around, and it’s simply not right that some pay good money for it, while others simply pirate it. We try hard to make it as smooth an experience as possible for paying users, but are constantly fighting pirates understanding of the protection systems.

We’d LOVE to be able to remove the protection completely, but we know that vast numbers would simply copy it if it was that easy. There are many levels to the current protection system, and while many are visible like this, there are also many hidden so that we can always tell when a final game was created with a crack.

We expect an update to go out tomorrow to remove this protection, and will move away from the “destructive” protection like this, to more passive methods to help protect innocent users who through no fault of their own, somehow trigger it.

As to why we don’t just switch into FREE mode, this is because crackers can simply activate features while the program is running, so doing this serves no purpose other than to annoy paying customers.


We're obviously well aware of this issue, so I'll close the other threads and you can feel free to attach yourself to this one. We'll keep you updated as things develop, and assure you we are working to get a new version out to you as soon as we can.
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#2 FX62

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:25 PM

Sadly Mike, it will be a never ending cycle. I've spent hundreds of dollars on DRM protection and no matter how many times it's updated, it's cracked in no time anyway. I changed my methods about five years ago to demo/full version with one specific method of DRM and left it at that. I found I was spending so much time trying to prevent the pirating I didn't have much time to actually work on the product(s). This issue has been a long standing argument among Indie developers and many have taken the same course I have. I'm not saying by any means that YoYo should, but it's a shame that the various DRM systems you have in place take so much time away from product development. Maybe I'm wrong and you have a dedicated team section dealing with this issue and I certainly don't wish to discuss specific methods in an open thread. Regardless, I look forward to the new version in the future and for now I'll remain at 622 since it seems to be the most stable at this point for me.
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#3 Mr. RPG

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:51 PM

I haven't had any problems and have never seen this infamous "skull" issue yet.

I completely support most methods to combat piracy. I really hate piracy because God forbid, if I don't buy that next module or that next iteration of GameMaker, Mike or Russell won't be able to feed themselves and I won't let that happen. Posted Image

I actually know of people who believe in the notion that software should always be free, it is really staggering that these are their excuses to pirate.
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#4 Mailas

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:56 PM

Does the crashing refer to the skulls/pirated issue?
Or is this crashing a totally different issue?
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#5 Mike.Dailly

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:03 PM

Yes, we know it's an ever ending cycle. You can never "beat" pirates, but you can make it too annoying for them to bother. The more copies "fail" occasionally, the more will give up and just buy it.

A certain number will NEVER buy - EVER! These folks are basically crooks, and you can not count these as lost sales. No matter how "cheap" you make it, some will simply never buy. A good case in point is the current sale. for $50, you can get pro+html5. This means your getting a massive 75% off, and Pro for $25 (about £15). This is incredibly cheap, yet I know lots of them will keep just stealing if they possibly can.

We simply don't care about them, but if I can piss them off, I will.

At the same time, there are some who simply can't afford it, and we want to encourage them to buy whenever possible. Sales like the current one (and I'm sure future ones) are a great chance for these folk to get on the ladder (as it were), but I realise some will simply never manage. I hold nothing against folk like this. Cheap for us, is not cheap for everyone.

Then there are the last load, who will copy because it's easy, so why bother buying. These are the ones who WILL buy, if they get annoyed enough with cracks that don't work correctly, or when they realise they can't release anything without being found out - because yes... we KNOW what games are created with cracks. So these are mainly the ones we look to convert with things like this. These and the previous group are the ones we care about. Those who never buy, will copy stuff mainly to just to say they "have it", and won't usually do anything with it (although some might). But these other 2 groups, are the ones who would like to do something, and we'd like them to buy where ever possible.

For those who can't afford it. We have a free version, and if coded correctly, you can make anything. We've left in specific "gaps" to allow you to do some large projects if you try.We also have Standard, which we let you upgrade to Pro for the difference in price. We might try and do more later, but this is the best we can do for now.

For those who CAN afford it, but find it just as easy to copy it. Well, rest assured, we know the games which get made, and if something does well.... I'm sure we'll be in touch. :whistle:

I understand crackers doing it too. It's a challenge, and it's fun. Also the praise you get form folk wanting to use it, can be somewhat intoxicating. Being told by so many that your amazing or awesome, is always a great feeling. I have respect for those that crack it, and don't release it, and even for those that crack it, but "mark" the result in some way to make it obvious the user used a crack. This lets folk try it, but they know they can't truly use it. But these crackers are rare, which is a shame.

So yes.... we can never "win". Hardware dongles can be cracked and removed, all software can be "fixed". Only "online" can reduce piracy properly, and even that can be removed by some dedicated hacker. That said, the more the world moves online, the easier it gets to block, but we're not there yet, so we do what we can.

I said it before. If I could remove the DRM and know we'd get the same or more sales, I'd do it in a heart beat. I have HUGE respect for those that provide totally DRM free software, but for now, GameMaker is simply pirated too much.

I'm rambling now... Well... when I say NOW... I mean I have been for some time. :turned:
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#6 icuurd12b42

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:55 PM

Here's an idea, make the program compile the code on your server. Minimal amount of data passed back and forth, source code send, compiled on the server, byte code received, merge the compiled code with the large resources locally to make the exe, done. Protection from crackers is guaranteed at least for preventing people from making programs with a cracked product. You could even come up with a business model based on programs created with GM... Say 5$ a compile or something (no bashing the over-simplified model please)

I also have a method for protecting the development tool if you want to know it, PM me. From this experiment, I'm gather there is someone at yoyo that is interested on the subject of piracy protection.
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#7 Futhark

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:25 AM

Here's an idea, make the program compile the code on your server...


Here I am assuming you're referring to the YoYoGames server.

This is a terrible idea when it comes to those of us who don't have a dedicated internet connection. Every once in a while I have to DL the license file, and so far that has worked well, even though at first I was hoping I wouldn't have to do that. This means I have to make a specific trip in to town to DL this file. Fine, I can live with that.

But then I've heard comments on here similar to this one, I paraphrase it very loosely:
"If you're serious about making games, then blah-dee-blah-blah [i.e. then you should also be serious about your internet connection]."

And no, that comment does not apply to some of us who are out of reach of conventional internet connections, living in a deep valley without cable internet or stable satellite or other over-the-air connection.

And aside from that, there are still large populations on this planet who pay heavily for each meg downloaded/uploaded. Cable-or-other-high-speed internet connection is a privilege, which sadly, is taken for granted by too many people both in the USA and Europe (and elsewhere, I assume but I've mainly had experience with those two).

Anywho, just my two pennies on that particular thought.
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#8 icuurd12b42

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:51 AM

...dedicated connection


Note that I implicitly stated code compilation, expressing only the code would be sent to the server... About 200K of text (your code), coming back as byte code (smaller than source) to be build into the exe with the local resources (Megabytes stay local). Even a dialup connection can handle that.

And it would only do this when you make an exe

>>This means I have to make a specific trip in to town to DL this file. Fine, I can live with that.

That is sad. Do you not have at least a 56Kb modem access from home? Like we did in the 80's. 200K source + 75K return would take 45 seconds to transmit and receive.

[edit]
Wait a minute... you are online now? Do you have to drive to town for that?
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#9 Futhark

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 02:06 AM

...Do you not have at least a 56Kb modem access from home?...


No landline at home. Have a cellphone with an awful connection at home but fine in town/elsewhere.

...Wait a minute... you are online now? Do you have to drive to town for that?


Online at work :thumbsup:/> (And no, I'm not installing GM at work! :P/> :laugh:/> )
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#10 angryempath

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 02:28 AM

I'm licensed for Studio with Android/HTML5 plugins, running Norton Security Suite, if this helps with fixing this problem at all.

Edited by angryempath, 27 November 2012 - 02:28 AM.

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#11 Andy

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 03:55 AM

DRM, is tolerable. DRM, that can potentially destroy a legitimate user’s hard work, is intolerable. Please, think of your customers, take this it out or change it. I am sure you can come up with something less destructive. :thumbsup:
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#12 Big J

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 06:19 AM

If you're going to continue pointlessly putting DRM in GM:S, at least make it funny. Have it pop up a big troll face or something when it detects a pirated copy.
Spoiler

Edited by Big J, 27 November 2012 - 06:20 AM.

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#13 Mike.Dailly

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 07:38 AM

We have considered a lot of these options, and I agree with Futhark, the world isn't quite there yet. Perhaps as an option in the future or something, but not yet.

This protection has been in for some time, and does help keep pirates busy trying to figure out how to remove it, but I also agree it's unacceptable that it's effecting paying users - which is why this particular check is being removed just now.

If I thought for one minute we were going to effect customers, I'd never have put it in. Something we simply didn't expect has been happening on end users machines, and while we think we now know, again, I agree, customers should never - ever - be effected by it.

Of course, how I feel about effecting pirates project files is less...err... clear. :rolleyes:

Remember the goal is to drive pirates to buy, and if they think a copy will destroy their game, that's a pretty strong incentive. However, we'll make sure our concern for paying customers now takes precedence over trying to force a sale from a pirate - which will probably not happen anyway.

We've become blinkered a little in trying to stay one step ahead, and for that I totally apologise, there are certainly other ways of doing this.
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#14 guitarman4545

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:35 AM

So, is there an official fix or update for this yet? Or is the uninstalling and deleting appdata files the official method?
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#15 johanvinet

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 02:05 PM

I have the "Skull-Thing Bug". If it can help: I used (and bought) GM8 studio on a virtualized XP (using VMWare Fusion on OSX). No Antivirus at all. It worked fine till today. :(
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#16 Robto

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 02:31 PM

The 'solution' didnt work for me. Also, the instructions are crap. DO i or DO I NOT upgrade to 1.1.676 from 1.1.666 (what's in a number)?
Would be nice to get a official solution rather then a discussion on the importance of DRM!! :excl:/>

Oh, and I'm running WIndows 8 with version 1.1.666 after fresh intstall (and the folder/registry cleanup) and I still have the S & B's in my sprites.

Edited by Robto, 27 November 2012 - 02:33 PM.

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#17 plural

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 02:38 PM

My issues seem pretty much the same as the one described in this thread. I just bought the pro/html5 sale on Steam a few hours ago and it consistently crashes whenever the game is tested regularly or in debug mode after a minute or so of using either option. I had been using the free Studio for the past few days and it was working fine. I had Steam in offline mode until I bought the Pro version and I didn't pay attention to the version number so I'm not sure what version it was running when it was functional but now it's upgraded to 1.1.676.
I tested it running Steam in both offline and online modes and it crashes the same.
I'm using Windows 7.
I have tried deleting Game Maker through Steam and redownloading/installing it but that didn't change anything.
I have not tried deleting the appdata and reinstalling; I'll try that next and update this post if it made any difference.

Also, probably unrelated, but a few days ago it did give me the skulls using the free Studio version on Steam but it only happened once and thankfully I didn't save.

Finally and almost completely unrelated but I really feel you should know that the way Game Maker Studio is sold on Steam, if the software is uninstalled (delete local files) from Steam, like I just did, then it is wholly removed from your Steam library. I think it's because everything you buy is DLC for the free product but that was disconcerting to me but re-downloading the free version put it back in my Steam library. I'm sure it's not your fault but it's probably something you'd want to change or get Steam to fix as I can see a lot of complaints coming from that.

EDIT:
It still crashed for me but it took quite a bit longer this time... so... progress? Anyway, I'll wait for the update.

Edited by plural, 27 November 2012 - 03:02 PM.

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#18 Mike.Dailly

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 04:36 PM

We're currently testing the new version. There's obviously lots more in it than just this fix, so it's going through normal testing just now.

@Steam: yes... the free one is actually the ONLY download, and it's all unlocked digitally once it's run.
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#19 trekkie

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 04:41 PM

god dammit , really wish i had been on the forums before updating, planning showing off something i made in GM studio tomorrow , and now have
skull all over my screen. hope the fix comes soon.
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#20 banov

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 04:44 PM

Can we get an estimate of when the new update gets pushed to us?
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#21 Mr. RPG

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 04:55 PM

Mike said today, but there wcould be delays.
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#22 Mike.Dailly

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 05:25 PM

currently testing..... shouldn't be long now - fingers crossed this end! :sweat:
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#23 Mike.Dailly

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 07:49 PM

Update is now out.
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#24 Robto

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:09 PM

Great job! Thanks
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#25 Danielzxzx

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:27 AM

Haven't experienced any crashes with this new version. Thank you!
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#26 Debels

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:37 AM

No skulls on my sprites now :D, but now i can't test my games on android, maybe it has something to do with today's update?
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#27 Andy

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:47 AM

We have considered a lot of these options, and I agree with Futhark, the world isn't quite there yet. Perhaps as an option in the future or something, but not yet.

This protection has been in for some time, and does help keep pirates busy trying to figure out how to remove it, but I also agree it's unacceptable that it's effecting paying users - which is why this particular check is being removed just now.

If I thought for one minute we were going to effect customers, I'd never have put it in. Something we simply didn't expect has been happening on end users machines, and while we think we now know, again, I agree, customers should never - ever - be effected by it.

Of course, how I feel about effecting pirates project files is less...err... clear. :rolleyes:/>

Remember the goal is to drive pirates to buy, and if they think a copy will destroy their game, that's a pretty strong incentive. However, we'll make sure our concern for paying customers now takes precedence over trying to force a sale from a pirate - which will probably not happen anyway.

We've become blinkered a little in trying to stay one step ahead, and for that I totally apologise, there are certainly other ways of doing this.

I am glad, you have decided to take out this type of DRM Mike, thank you.
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#28 daspirit

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:56 AM

I'm glad that the skull glitch has been fixed. It hasn't happened to me, but it happened to my friend whom I personally bought GM:Studio for. Our whole team shares files with Dropbox and it was only a matter of time before we noticed those weird skulls popping up.

If anyone is smart, they would make constant backups of their project files. Thankfully, my team has assigned days where each person updates the folder. Just had to replace the sprite directory with a simply copy and paste. It should not have set back too many people.

I hope you guys can find a better way to detect actual pirated copies. I figure it's tough to be a starting business as yourself, that's always the hardest obstacle for any company.
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#29 score_under

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:12 AM

Mike, why did you assume that people capable of enabling [not-]paid-for features in GMS would not be capable of disabling this one?

I'm not majoring in Law so I wouldn't know, but isn't targeting and destroying someone's data (in a malicious manner identical to that of a virus) of questionable legality at best? Regardless of whether or not the victim is committing a crime?

if they think a copy will destroy their game, that's a pretty strong incentive.

Here you have even stated that destroying data is the intent of this feature.
From what UK law leads me* to understand, it's completely illegal "to impair [...] the reliability of any such data". http://www.legislati...k/ukpga/1990/18 section 3.2.c
*IANAL, and other countries will of course have (slightly) different laws

The point I am making is that not only is this (likely to be) illegal, but it is also one of these DRM problems that are less likely to affect pirates.

/minirant, got linked here by a friend and this is one of the few ways to really raise my ire.

As for a slightly more constructive and slightly less "oh god the horror" comment (relating to data recovery ;) ) -
I wonder how practical it would be to keep GM projects under version control... If the GM IDE ever got plugin support, this could become more feasible with simple(r-than-commandline) right-click menus for your favourite VCS.
Alternatively, the GM IDE could support silent compiling via command-line (errors going to stderr instead of GUI, etc.) and people could use custom GM IDEs, which would sidestep the problem of plugin systems altogether.

inb4 delete

Edited by score_under, 28 November 2012 - 05:17 AM.

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#30 greyzebra

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:28 AM

Just sharing here. For windows users who regularly updates, this november updates has the potential to kill your system. I know because it just killed mine, for the first time ever, and I have to do reinstall. So make sure your system works correctly before updating GMS.


http://pcsupport.abo...m#comment-32205
(see the comment section)

So this week, at least for me, is skull terror and failing windows week. Wow XD

Edited by greyzebra, 28 November 2012 - 05:30 AM.

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