Worried about my own copyrights with RPG Maker

updog

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Hi everyone!

First of all, I'm sorry if I posted this in the wrong sub-forum. While I didn't find any specific one this question might fit, I thought at least this is something many commercial developers have thought about.

I'm new here, planning to get into making games by hopefully finishing a horror/adventure title this year using RPG Maker VX Ace, though I'm not sure at this point whether or not make it free or commercial.

I've got a pretty good idea of what I want to do so far, but one jarring question remains: can I really not protect my own resources in anything I've made using said application?

My background is in music, and this game would base a lot of its focus on sound and music, which I feel are more or less the most important part of the horror genre. I really don't want people to just be able to click one folder within the game's files and get access to everything I've produced, and using them in something of their own. You might say, "well, it would be illegal anyways so most people wouldn't do it anyway," or something else perhaps along the lines of "do you really think your stuff would be so great someone would want to steal it?" I think those points are irrelevant, though. You should be able to have your art files protected, if you so wish.

I can't for the life of me understand why there doesn't seem to be an option to encrypt the game's files if you're willing to do that. I own the game "To the Moon" which is a fantastic RPGM title, and relatively successful one as well, and looking at the game's files I noticed that it's the same thing - you can go through all the files just like that. Why is this? Did they purposefully make RPG Maker as something you wouldn't really even want to use for serious titles? I know you can extract files like this from anything assuming you have the skills to do so, but what bothers me is that here it's just so... Easy...

And to top it off, you're prohibited from altering the .exe file in any way whatsoever. I'd be interested to hear the reasoning behind that one as well. Is it because you'll then have to stay within the limitations of the system, and every game ever made with it has to be a demo of what RPG Maker is capable of so they can market the program to more people? Again, this only makes it seem like a lesser development platform.

I'm sorry if I'm coming off as ranting, but this is one of the things about the RPG Maker that I find are just plain odd. Does anyone have any sort of solution to this, or should I just either live with it or perhaps move on to Unity or some other development engine altogether? Or am I simply too worried about something like this?
 

Sharm

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Most people use an external encrypter, I've seen a number of topics here about how to use them and which to use. Take a look around this section of the forums, I'm sure you'll find lots of info about ways to protect your files without breaking the EULA.


I think the rules about not editing the exe come from Enterbrain not wanting people to reverse engineer or alter their program to make something that would compete with them. It's a real concern too, it's still extremely easy to get ahold of the earlier versions that were hacked and fan translated.
 

whitesphere

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I just did a quick search and found something that might work:

http://crypt.rubyforge.org/

It is a pure-Ruby version of various encryption algorithms like AES and Blowfish.

So, if it is very important to you, there might be a way in scripting to encrypt and decrypt your music files with that library.
 

updog

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Thanks a lot guys!

This is some reassuring news. It'll certainly take some looking into, but at least I know there are ways to encrypt my files. Of course, nothing is ever 100% safe, but at least looks like this could be as safe as it would be on other development platforms.

I am glad I finally decided to join up and clarify this for myself - it definitely feels like a friendly and helpful community so far.
 

Zeriab

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You are being very specific about the protection of audio files which are indeed out in the open by default. One problem with audio encryption is that audio files can easily be fairly large. The linked project states "Performance is what you would expect from a pure-ruby implementation: it is adequate for shorter messages but I wouldn't try to encrypt my whole disk with it."

Whether it is too slow or not I do not know, but I do seem to remember an instance or two with a scripter struggling to get enough performance out of audio encryption. You really do not want stutters in the music. The best case would be if player supported some streaming encryption out of the box, but unfortunately not.

Still, there could easily already be scripts I am not aware of ^^

I get where you come from. I personally feel that encryption should be well enough that a deliberate act is required for breaking the protection, as it is with non-audio resources.

*hugs*
 

Lars Ulrika

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Unfortunately music is easy to rip , encrypted or not. :(
 

Jomarcenter

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Unfortunately music is easy to rip , encrypted or not. :(
Yup since You just need some program and/or hardware to record the sound that being show on the game. So It still easy to rip even if the file is encrypted or not.
 
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Clord

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Yeah and there are things that specialize to ripping stuff from sites even if they try to protect it. That's why for example some people can steal Youtube videos and try to claim them as their own.
 

Tuomo L

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There are ways to steal all your music and audio as many have said, heck you can do it without any additional software, Windows already comes with Sound Recorder avaivable, you can just make it pick computer sounds and then record all the game muisc, letting it play in the backround since the music doesn't even stop if you run the game in windowed. It's inconvenient but as some others said, there's really no way to 100% fool proof protect your audio.

The best way of action however, would be to instead post it yourself to places like Youtube and offer it as an official soundtrack and proffit off it using ads and such. That way you can give the high quality music (making rips obsolete) and you getting the money for people still listening on it, plus it's easier to take down the fringing content if you've uploaded the original matterial yourself.

During this information age,  the best way to protect yourself is to spread your wings and not try and shelter yourself.
 

updog

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Thanks guys!

Yes, I was actually thinking about releasing the soundtrack separately. I guess, in a sense, it's sort of a battle against time if you want to be pessimistic about it - get known for your work before someone might get the chance to steal it and get credit for themselves. It could be a little off-putting, but maybe it should be viewed as an incentive for doing the publicity work as well as possible. I sadly have no experience in that field, though - but I guess I'll try and tackle that problem once it becomes relevant.

I know you could just record it directly from the game, but I hope doing that would be more trouble than it's worth:

- You'll have problems trying to loop the music properly at that point.

- The quality will have suffered.

- Cutscene pieces most likely have sound effects, or even voiceover playing over them.

- The actual in-game music will inevitably consist of readily compressed audio files.

There always might be someone with malicious intent who doesn't care/know about this, though.

I do hope any sort of encrypting scheme won't make the files too large. I'll try and keep the music as around one minute loops, but in a full game, there will likely be something in the neighborhood of 30 pieces required. That'll be half an hour of music, give or take.
 

Tuomo L

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Like I said, upload the soundtrack to youtube. Not only can you legally monotize the content to earn extra money, people who've heard and listened the soundtrack may even use it as medium of contacting you and reporting about someone using it illegaly. Really, releasing stuff like that for all to enjoy has its benefits in that the community tends to try and help the "good guys." 
 

Mouser

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Pretty much what everyone has said. I'll add for those that don't know that it is often a requirement when using 3rd party assets that they cannot (easily) be extracted to be used by themselves, so some form of encryption is required in order to even use these assets in your games.

Also, be sure to spend the $35 and have your works registered with Dept. of Copyrights (if you're in the US). It's the only way to have an enforceable claim. Even if you can prove you wrote the music/dialog/whatever, if you didn't register your copyright, it doesn't matter. Mailing something to yourself does nothing.

Read the FAQ on the Dept of Copyrights website for loads of good info on this topic.
 

nio kasgami

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You can always change the path of the cache module for your music place and place it in Graphics file but I think it will reduce compatibility but i am not sure...
 

Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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yeah, if you do that, you will need to make sure that every call to audio files use the new path...
 

Tsukihime

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I don't know how fast the suggested decryption code up there is, but this script would allow you to use RM's proprietary encryption by simply taking your audio folder and dropping it in the Data folder instead of leaving it outside.


http://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?/topic/25235-simple-audio-encryption/


For 1 or 2 MB ogg's, you don't really notice any delays.


You will still see noticeable delay for sufficiently large files. For example, a 10 MB mp3 took over a second to process, but it's still better than not having any protection.
 
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