Is there any reason to encrypt games at this point?

What do you think about the ease of decrypting games?

  • Even if my game being hacked is inevitable, I'd still like to make my files as secure as possible.

    Votes: 43 79.6%
  • Leaving the game data "open source" allows for modding and reference material for aspiring creators.

    Votes: 9 16.7%
  • Other (please explain in thread if you'd like!)

    Votes: 2 3.7%

  • Total voters
    54

Romanticist

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EDIT: Oh no... There's already a recent thread on this. Drat! I suck at forums... :kaoeh:

Everywhere I look, people say that "if someone wants to hack a game, they will do it". It's impossible to encrypt a game, they say. Many people are even recommending leaving the doors wide open, inviting others to hack their game - well, no, at that point it'd be modding, not hacking... for there'd be nothing to hack through. And that is being touted as good game design.

Personally, I'm fine if some dedicated hackers can break through my encryption, with some effort. I don't want my resources to be wide open for the taking, where any noob like myself could download a simple decrypter and decrypt the game within less than 5 minutes!

This should probably be the least of my concerns at the moment, because I'm not anywhere close to completing my game, but I just can't get the topic out of my mind. I'm honestly just shocked that there's absolutely no decent encryption method, when I have lots of DLC resources and custom resources that I'd like to protect.

It takes less than 30 seconds to decrypt an encrypted RPG Maker XP/VX/Ace/MV game (previous Makers didn't even bother with encryption - and many people like that, for it allows modding).
It's sad how easy it is to decrypt and RM game... Though, I found this tool for encrypting RGSS games, and I cannot find any decrypting programs for it (probably because no popular games have used it, to my knowledge), but I'm sure it is very simple to crack if one is knowledgable in hacking.

Well, what are your thoughts? Is there even any point in locking the doors if your lock can be easily picked?
 

Poryg

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Everywhere I look, people say that "if someone wants to hack a game, they will do it". It's impossible to encrypt a game, they say. Many people are even recommending leaving the doors wide open, inviting others to hack their game - well, no, at that point it'd be modding, not hacking... for there'd be nothing to hack through. And that is being touted as good game design.
That's not exactly correct. You can always encrypt them. In fact I can transform an image file into a base64 text file and then back, loading it without issues. The real problem is, in the final step the resources need to be readable. Hence for example memory analysis tools are something you can never defend against.
Essentially encryption and drm should serve one purpose though: So that your resources are not accessible by everybody. Even pretty basic encryption will decrease the amount of people that can steal your resources by 80%.
Of course it's not the case of MV's basic protection for a good reason. It would be absolutely pointless to make any more complex encryption, because MV engine is mit licensed. As such it's easily accessible and reverse engineering the decryption process is always a possibility. So the authors made a really good choice making some basic encryption, which is enough from the legal standpoint to say that stealing these resources is bad.
If you want to create custom encryption, which I would recommend, I talk about it in one of the forum threads, you can find it in my signature. There I talk about the method of converting the image to a base64 text file btw. :D
 

Romanticist

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There I talk about the method of converting the image to a base64 text file btw. :D
Can I do that in VX Ace?

Obviously not with Javascript, I was just wondering if it's possible.
 

Uzuki

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Well for one there are legal reasons to do it if you're working with one the store packs or a particular artist/musician/programmer. A lot of EULA's from most creatives require that you encrypt the game in some form or fashion. Personally, I would be okay with leaving my projects "open sourced" for others to see, use, or just copy events, but the legal troubles wouldn't be worth the hassle.
 

Poryg

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I'm not knowledgeable about RGSS3. Standard ruby allows it, maybe rgss3 will as well. But I'm really not sure.
 

Ronove

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I've had resources that I've made taken and said person pretended the resources were theirs when they somehow found an unencrypted version of one of my projects (and for whatever silly reason, no one believed me even if it easily looked like stuff I made back then), and I've had a very old project opened up and changed and now won't even run correctly because the change made it run out of order so I am still very in favor of encrypted projects even if they can be opened in the end. At the very least, you've made a statement of 'hey, I don't want you in here' by encrypting it. People can of course open it anyway, but this way you've deterred the lazy and protected any purchased resources that you can't distribute yourself to the best of your ability.

Besides, a lot of people are lazy. If it's not as easy as just opening the folders and seeing what's there, some people won't go the extra step.

I see the merit in leaving it open so aspiring creators can learn, but it might just be easier to ask the creator than going through the hassle of opening it up and figure out why they did x instead of y. It's not like people leave comments to explain their thought process in their events to do complex stuff.
 

Romanticist

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I will be going a step beyond leaving my current big project unencrypted and will actually be putting the games source files out there for people when its completed in the hopes that people use them to make fan games. <3
Well, people could make fan games regardless, lol. If you leave the files open, that's all they'll need. Or even if you encrypt them with the standard RPG Maker compression method, it's super easy to find a program (won't mention the name...) to decrypt it.

Besides, a lot of people are lazy. If it's not as easy as just opening the folders and seeing what's there, some people won't go the extra step.
I'm pretty lazy myself but I've been able to decrypt RPG Maker games, just out of curiosity. Which is what inspired me to make this topic, because it was so dang easy to decrypt the games...
 

Shaz

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Leaving the game data "open source" allows for modding and reference material for aspiring creators.
If that reference material includes stuff you've purchased from the store, you legally have to encrypt it as the terms of use prohibit sharing. Resources purchased elsewhere (eg Unity store) might have similar terms. This could also be true of resources you pay someone to make, though you and they should negotiate the terms of use beforehand so you'll know whether you need to encrypt or not.


If I were making a free game and purely using RTP resources or those available for free, I probably wouldn't bother encrypting at all. I don't mind if people look at my events and learn from them, or even show me better ways to do things. If someone then took my game and tried to pass it off as theirs, even selling it, I would probably change my mind.

If I were an artist, and a good one, I might encrypt if I don't want other people to take my stuff and use it. But I am not, so if I did create my own resources, nobody would want them anyway ;)
 

TheoAllen

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Well, what are your thoughts?
Encrypting the games comes from many considerations. Including:
1. Resources EULA you bought from other people.
2. The desire to protect your resources/games

For the first case, it's forced. You have no choice. Some people I know that they had to encrypt their game because of the resources EULA. They would love to share their game unencrypted. Whether if the encryption is easy to break or hard, they didn't mention it. They just need to be encrypted. I'm sure if they mentioned that you need to use very specific encryption, it will turn away potential buyers.

Edit: Your question can be interpreted wider. "Should we stop creating new resources because the encryption can be easily broken?"

For the second case, it's more common for people who wish to only use their own resources in their game. Encryption is definitely harder to get the resources since you have to do an extra step to get the resources. However, they need to accept that nothing is perfect. So in the end, it's their choice to keep trying to protect their resources or just share it anyway.

Is there even any point in locking the doors if your lock can be easily picked?
Nature evolves. One antibiotic may prevent the germ to multiply. However, the germ that resistant to the antibiotic may appear. And more of them will come. Should we stop making antibiotic at this point?
 

Shaz

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Is there even any point in locking the doors if your lock can be easily picked?
Your lock can only be easily picked by someone who wants to pick it, has the right tools, and knows how to use them.
Leaving your doors unlocked means anyone can get what's behind them, even if they didn't start out with that intention, even if they have no idea how to pick a lock.

A car can be easily broken into by someone who has the motive and the equipment. Does that mean you'd go to a place where there are a lot of people and leave yours unlocked, with valuable stuff inside?
 

bgillisp

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Well, let's put it this way. Unless you intend to only use RTP or resources that are public domain that no one cares how they get it, you HAVE to encrypt the game for legal reasons. That is not negotiable. So yes, there is a reason to do it, and that is due to legal reasons and the TOS on the art that you use.

Incidentally, ACE does not encrypt music files, and that is seen as fine if you use those engines as encryption of music files is not a provided option in that engine. Of course, that is true of about any game. I remember back in the DOS days figuring out where a game kept the music files, and swapping in my own music for a game. So that's been an issue since at least the 80's/90's with about any game, regardless of who you are or what you use.
 

Romanticist

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Well, let's put it this way. Unless you intend to only use RTP or resources that are public domain that no one cares how they get it, you HAVE to encrypt the game for legal reasons. That is not negotiable. So yes, there is a reason to do it, and that is due to legal reasons and the TOS on the art and music files you use.
I definitely do want to encrypt my game, I guess I didn't make that clear. I just wanted to know other people's opinions on encryption. And I have a small hope that someone will offer a decent encryption method for VX Ace, lol. Because as of now, there is none that I know of.
 

peq42_

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Obviously not with Javascript, I was just wondering if it's possible.
Well you see, on PC you could use this
http://docs.nwjs.io/en/latest/For Users/Advanced/Protect JavaScript Source Code/
+ basic encryption(not hash[ing?]) of images/audios(unencrypting them in the loading)

With the code compiled(and the key to dencrypt the other stuff in it), it would be pretty hard to hack the resources. Mainly if you use AES using 128bits+ and a secure mode such as CTR to encrypt stuff.
 

bgillisp

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The default in the engine is seen as decent enough in ACE, because if someone decrypts that, then you can sue them, as that is an intentional act on their part.
 

Romanticist

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The default in the engine is seen as decent enough in ACE, because if someone decrypts that, then you can sue them, as that is an intentional act on their part.
Hah, fair enough.

Well you see, on PC you could use this
http://docs.nwjs.io/en/latest/For Users/Advanced/Protect JavaScript Source Code/
+ basic encryption(not hash[ing?]) of images/audios(unencrypting them in the loading)

With the code compiled(and the key to dencrypt the other stuff in it), it would be pretty hard to hack the resources. Mainly if you use AES using 128bits+ and a secure mode such as CTR to encrypt stuff.
That's pretty cool! I'll keep it in mind whenever I get around to making a game in MV.
 

bgillisp

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One other thing to note is a lot of those online decrypters have viruses and malware. And malware does a REALLY good job of hiding on computers these days. I know someone who found a malware on a computer that would only trigger if you went to a website and it had two precise ads on the site. No other condition would trigger it. But because it would only trigger then, no anti-virus to date has been able to find or remove it. So anyone who uses those is risking getting a computer infected, even if the anti-virus program says it is clean, just due to how well malware hides these days.

Edit: BTW, if anyone tries to say I won't get a virus I use (insert OS here)...false. If your OS uses drivers, then someone can write a virus for that OS.
 
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Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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Can I do that in VX Ace?

Obviously not with Javascript, I was just wondering if it's possible.
Yes, you can do something similar in Ace using Zlib etc, but depending on how you do it, people might easily know what you did especially if they have RPG Maker too.

I implemented something like that, works flawlessly with images but with some reservations when it comes to audio (the audio file if more than a few seconds need to stay in a file while playing, leaving it vulnerable to copying I believe). But tbh, the main purpose why I tried it is more of so I can easily make smaller patch files containing only what was changed since if I encrypt using the normal method, all files will be lumped inside the rgssa file.
 
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Aesica

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As I've said in a few other threads about this, I think it's pretty much a waste of time to do much beyond the basic RM encryption.
  • Hackers (like, the actual groups that crack and illegally distribute games) are going to break your encryption no matter what you use--unless your game is too low on the radar, in which case you shouldn't even be concerned with this in the first place. Note that many of those groups do it because they enjoy the challenge.
  • If your game is mostly just RTP or freely available assets, nobody is going to care about ripping anything from it.
  • Even if you paid good money for those hot hot "adult" scenes in your game, and even if you paid even more to encrypt them using the latest greatest technology, all I have to do is alt-f4 them when they come on the screen and I've got a copy. If I was determined enough, I could probably even grab a few of your better custom tiles this way, too. Same with music--what's to stop me from capturing audio device output?
  • If your game's truly good enough to build a fanbase, you'll find that people will actually want to throw money at you, either through buying your game legit or even in a "we want more" way like 127.0.0.1/banned.url.
  • Media companies have done a good job at spreading the lie of "every pirated thing is a lost sale" or whatever, when that's simply not true. Just becomes someone pirates your game, that doesn't mean they were ever going to buy it legit. However, if someone pirates your game and absolutely loves it, who's to say they won't decide to "go legit" either with the title they pirated or with future titles?
That said, I really don't have any plans to ever encrypt any of my games beyond the basic in-house encryption method. I think it's far more important to try to make really good games than it is to lump on the encryption. (Especially if that encryption is so heavy that it runs the risk of reducing the number of people who can successfully run it)

Your lock can only be easily picked by someone who wants to pick it, has the right tools, and knows how to use them.
Leaving your doors unlocked means anyone can get what's behind them, even if they didn't start out with that intention, even if they have no idea how to pick a lock.

A car can be easily broken into by someone who has the motive and the equipment. Does that mean you'd go to a place where there are a lot of people and leave yours unlocked, with valuable stuff inside?
I don't really feel like this is a fair comparison because one is a zero sum game while the other is a positive sum game. If I leave my car unlocked with a mystery box inside and someone takes it while I'm gone, then yeah, I'm out a mystery box while they have gained a mystery box. But in the software world, it would be more like somebody broke into my car, copied my mystery box, and then left with the copy. I didn't actually lose anything because they did this.

Unless they're planning on profiting from what they took, does it even really matter?
 

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