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I need help with my garrys mod.
April 12, 2011 8:37 PM   Subscribe

Garry Newman, the creator of the insanely popular Garry's Mod, which is a sandbox game that uses Valve's Source Engine, has come up with an ingenious way to catch people who pirate the game.
posted by SpacemanStix (39 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Here in my car
I feel safest of all
I can lock all my doors
It's the only way to live
In cars




Oh, sorry.
posted by JLovebomb at 8:38 PM on April 12, 2011 [16 favorites]


Here in my car

Hello Newman
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:42 PM on April 12, 2011


oh awesome so all I need to do to get someone permabanned is know their steamid. What could go wrong.
posted by boo_radley at 8:47 PM on April 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


In theory, Garry should be checking that the SteamID has genuinely not purchased the game, before he takes any action.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:49 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


They claim they're doing that - that the error code is the SteamID, and they're banning the ones that don't match up to the list of who's bought the game. Whether that's holding true in all cases, who knows.
posted by kafziel at 8:52 PM on April 12, 2011


I should say that I found the more interesting detail to be the inadvertent self-exposure through inquiring about the problem rather than any sort of punitive action that may come of it.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:53 PM on April 12, 2011


Is there some sort of "extra" code in the pirated version of the game that triggers the error? Or does the program have to "call home" each and every time it starts up?
posted by ShutterBun at 8:54 PM on April 12, 2011


It is possibly catching some false positives.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:56 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just another lesson on why piracy is bad, supporting indie developers is good,

irrespective of the evilness, or not, or pirating, the sentence is a pretty meaningless statement in the context it is uttered/written.




This is insanely retarded.

This is why I never play games online that require me to listen to strangers act like 11 year olds.
posted by edgeways at 8:56 PM on April 12, 2011


oh awesome so all I need to do to get someone permabanned is know their steamid. What could go wrong.

People are being banned from the forums, not from the game. All you would accomplish here by using someone else's steamid would be to get yourself banned, and there's probably already easier ways of doing that if you're so inclined.
posted by 0xFCAF at 8:56 PM on April 12, 2011


It is possibly catching some false positives.

So, once again, paying users are inconvenienced by DRM.

I've never gotten around to buying Garry's Mod, and now I sure as hell am not going to.
posted by Malor at 9:00 PM on April 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


Once again I read a FPP and think, "Oh cool!" Then I read the comments and think, "Wow, I'm such an idiot to think that this was cool."

Now I don't know if thinking is such a good idea. At all.
posted by Splunge at 9:11 PM on April 12, 2011 [13 favorites]


I've never gotten around to buying Garry's Mod, and now I sure as hell am not going to.

/thread
posted by mullingitover at 9:12 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've never gotten around to buying Garry's Mod, and now I sure as hell am not going to.

Yeah, that'll show him! Now he'll never have that hypothetical ten dollars he maybe might have theoretically had at some undefined point in the future!
posted by IjonTichy at 9:29 PM on April 12, 2011 [12 favorites]


This isn't some faceless publisher or industry association tacking on DRM. This isn't a $60 game with no demo to speak of. This is an artist trying to ensure he is paid for his work and I for one think he deserves a little slack.
posted by m@f at 9:41 PM on April 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I wouldn't pirate from a local band or an indie band so I don't see why I'd pirate an indie game.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:45 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait a minute, now piracy is bad?
posted by KokuRyu at 10:26 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's a situational thing. It's probably always bad but you can sorta justify it with your EMIs and your EA Games and your Bob Dylans and your Call of Duties. But if somebody's sat around making a game in his basement and released it for a few dollars or cut an EP with what little savings she has it would be pretty scummy to pirate it.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:33 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I remember the time when I could just have a game, and play it, and it was fun.
posted by tumid dahlia at 11:03 PM on April 12, 2011


I remember the time when I could just have a game, and play it, and it was fun.

You still can! Most indie games on steam are absurdly cheap ($1-$10-ish). Just download and go to town. You don't even need to go to the store or wait for a disk in the mail!
posted by auto-correct at 11:43 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


SI have been doing the same thing with Football Manager series and yes, every year thousands of innocent people get stung. There's an infamous rant from the idiot MD about piracy stealing food off his table directed at someone who actually paid for the game.

The war on Schrödinger Money is like the other wars, a waste of time and resources and absolutely fuck all to do with noun reduction.

Here's another reason why Notch is God.

also, anyone who hates paying for expensive games, seriously try steam. Paying 1.74 for a game is wonderful in a "this is how it should be" kind of way
posted by fullerine at 12:06 AM on April 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


In college, my friend had a Netflix account, and he got something like three discs at a time. We'd watch the movie, and then anyone who wanted a copy only had to ask. Rip, burn, on to the next batch of movies. And then we ran into the single most effective piece of copy protection we've ever encountered.

At the very beginning of The Animation Show, instead of a copyright notice, was a simple screen that read (to paraphrase), "Hey, we're all independent animators. We'd really appreciate it if you didn't make copies of this movie."

We were dumbfounded. We pirated things that we'd never watch again. We'd certainly watch the Animation Show again (seriously, do. It's great). But they asked nicely that we didn't, and we were powerless to resist.
posted by gc at 12:11 AM on April 13, 2011 [13 favorites]


0xFCAF: "oh awesome so all I need to do to get someone permabanned is know their steamid. What could go wrong.

People are being banned from the forums, not from the game. All you would accomplish here by using someone else's steamid would be to get yourself banned, and there's probably already easier ways of doing that if you're so inclined
"

Oh, hey from the Facepunch forums. I thought they were confusing the Steam Forums with Steam itself (e.g. VAC ban). Carry on.
posted by boo_radley at 12:11 AM on April 13, 2011


I remember the time when I could just have a game, and play it, and it was fun.

here is a hoop and a stick, enjoy!

I remember Sid Meier's Pirates! had a piece of paper with dates and locations of the Treasure Fleet and Silver Train, and before starting the game you had to answer a sailor's questions about where and when the loot would be in town. Once they were "impressed by your knowledge", you'd have to then fight a duel and the game would start. Sure, it's a really absurdly simple kind of copy-protection that assumes you aren't going to just write all the names and dates down, but it was there, and that was the late 80's.
posted by dubold at 12:36 AM on April 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


At the very beginning of The Animation Show, instead of a copyright notice, was a simple screen that read (to paraphrase), "Hey, we're all independent animators. We'd really appreciate it if you didn't make copies of this movie."

yeah that's the thing. i go to shitloads of shows. you've seen a guy from 5 feet away, maybe said hi to him after the gig, and now you're going to steal his music? kinda a dick move

which reminds me. gotta buy Dino Run CE. those guys deserve the money
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:43 AM on April 13, 2011


oops, this bit got cut off:

DRM and other forms of rights management or what have you are just going to get more and more complex as developers try and protect their creations. Although it wasn't clear from the FPP, this only bans the alleged pirates from a forum, not from ever playing games, or from life itself.

So, once again, paying users are inconvenienced by DRM.

If you read to the end the link that you quoted, you'll see that the admin said only two people were banned.
posted by dubold at 12:45 AM on April 13, 2011


If you read to the end the link that you quoted, you'll see that the admin said only two people were banned.

But before the update there were paying users who could not play the single player game because of the DRM.

Pissing off the people who pay you money is not going to make pirates pay for your game. Asking nicely is more effective ffs. The biggest problem is getting over the toryesque fear of people* getting something for nothing. People will cheat, steal and ignore their responsibilities, fighting it is not worth the effort.

*I say "people", I find that those who properly hate "pirates" have the biggest fucking blind spot when it comes to the rich and powerful "getting away with it". Also, Union busting, The War on Drugs and Welfare scamming. It only seems to matter when the numbers are small.
posted by fullerine at 1:29 AM on April 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


The biggest problem is getting over the toryesque fear of people* getting something for nothing.

If you're talking purely in terms of political abstractions, I would agree that part of the problem involves addressing that fear, sure. I don't consider it "toryesque" to lock up my bicycle or take other measures to prevent my possessions from being stolen.

What's hilarious about this particular case is that the creators of these games or music, especially indie developers, aren't asking to exchange hundreds or thousands of man-hours of work for an equivalent amount of YOUR work; they're relying on the economy of scale to make it partially worthwhile. Taking the approach that they're the ones acting entitled? I dunno, i see it a bit differently. If creative people aren't able to see some kind of return for their work, it's not like they'll stop doing it entirely, but they might not be able to justify as much of an effort or expense, and that's ultimately a loss for the community as a whole.

People will cheat, steal and ignore their responsibilities, fighting it is not worth the effort.

I dunno whether you didn't extend that to its logical conclusion or you are a really big fan of the Thunderdome...?
posted by dubold at 3:22 AM on April 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Valve's Robin Walker on why they don't worry about piracy.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 5:09 AM on April 13, 2011


I absolutely love, love, love the predictability of the pirates that complain.

Step 1: new way to beat pirates is found.
Step 2: False positives are claimed! (No mention of percentage.)
Step 3: Righteous indignation!
Step 4: LOLS

Whatever. Garry smacked some people's pirating ways around. Good for him.
posted by andreaazure at 6:18 AM on April 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


So this "ingenious way to catch pirates" is

1) introduce a crashing bug in your product, with an error message that reveals the user's ID
2) depend on the user to report the bug in a particular forum and include that ID
3) PROFIT!!

...but since he was able to cause the 'bug' to appear only in pirated copies, the method for catching pirates is whatever unexplained technique he's using to cause the bug to appear only in pirated copies. The stuff we can see is just an extra layer of public mockery.
posted by ook at 7:05 AM on April 13, 2011


(not only entitled to view/possess/play the media, but entitled to pay the price [or no price] they want to pay and enjoy in the format they wish...)
posted by gagglezoomer at 7:27 AM on April 13, 2011


Garry smacked some people's pirating ways around. Good for him.

Of course some paying customers also got smacked around in the process but I suppose a little collateral damages is to be expected.
posted by the_artificer at 7:28 AM on April 13, 2011


...[came] up with an ingenious way to catch people who pirate the game.
Does not do what says on tin.

I'm simply curious about how he did it, given the innumerable methods out/available for copy protection/DRM validation. I seriously doubt this guy came up with something new. What he did come up with is some way to shame folks publicly ..
posted by k5.user at 7:32 AM on April 13, 2011


Hey, I pirated this game and now I want help with it! But don't worry, by helping me you can ensure I tell other people about this game, and so forth, and eventually somewhere along the chain someone might buy it!

I just had a strange urge to do some kind of simulated network where players have a 50% of telling another player about the game, a 10% tryout rate on hearing it, and a 1% chance to buy upon playing.
posted by adipocere at 7:45 AM on April 13, 2011


from fullerine's link:

why fight the biggest revolution in information flow since the printing press when you could easily work with it by adding services that actually add some value beyond the free act of making a digital copy?

I realize that model does not work for everyone or even most, but piracy is inevitable, because, again from fullerine's link, "The alternative is too scary."
posted by mrgrimm at 8:27 AM on April 13, 2011


Does not do what says on tin. ... I seriously doubt this guy came up with something new.

It's not that the technique was new, but that it was utilized in a way that people inadvertantly outed themselves for public accountability (at least, in theory). Whether this was an accurate method -- or should have been done -- is a different question, but using it in this way is one that hasn't been done before, to my knowledge. The only reason it hasn't been universally chastised, really, is because it's an indy project. If it was a big company, I'm not sure that there would be anyone sympathetic to this method.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:58 AM on April 13, 2011


Yeah, if it was EA or Microsoft doing this people would be calling for heads to roll.
posted by Jairus at 9:29 AM on April 13, 2011


andreaazure writes "Step 1: new way to beat pirates is found.
"Step 2: False positives are claimed! (No mention of percentage.)
"Step 3: Righteous indignation!
"Step 4: LOLS

"Whatever. Garry smacked some people's pirating ways around. Good for him."


Imagine a car security system that worked by letting the air out of the tires when the car detected someone stealing the car. Someone gets pilloried on AskMe for asking why his tires go flat all the time. Later the engineer responsible posts a reply that "hey you actually own your car, oops, there was a bug in the firmware." The car company would be nailed to the wall even if it was Honda or Toyota. This really isn't any different. DRM shouldn't make things more difficult for paying users.

Also I've used a no-cd crack for both Alpha Centari and Dawn of War, both of which I paid for but were a pain in the ass to play uncracked on my laptop with a defective CD-rom. DRM regularly gets in the way of paying customers even when it isn't as egregious as Sony's rootkit.
posted by Mitheral at 3:41 PM on April 13, 2011


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