How Game Companies protect their CD/DVD’s from Copying?

7 Sep

CD/DVD Copy Protection is the most common Protected process used by almost all the Game Development Company these days. In other word, the Original Game CD get protected by using softwares like SecuROM in order to stop hackers and commercial pirates from developing illegal copies to sell on the black market.

These protection works by checking if whether the Original Copy of Game is available in the drive or not, and if not, then you get an error “No CD Found, Please insert the Correct CD” or similar message. Using softwares like SecuROM, the game companies embed a code in the games executable file which detects whether the game’s original executable file is present or not.

Let’s check out some of these CD/DVD Copy Protection Softwares in the market.

SafeDisc : SafeDisc is one of the most common and most known CD Protection used. There are various version of SafeDisc since its presence, the current version is SafeDisc 4.90.010. The major role of SafeDisc is to add a digital signature to the Optical media, which checks the security and verifies the SafeDisc digital signature while replicating the Original Copy.

Popular titles protected by SafeDisc : Splinter Cell – Pandora Tomorrow (DVD-Version), Quake 4 and Call of Duty 5 – World at War

SecuROM : SecuROM also is one of the most popular Copy Protection developed by Sony Technologies. The latest version of SecuROM is 07.38.0009. It also plays a similar role of storing Digital IDs in the SubChannel Data of the Original CD. But the most popular feature of secuROM is the Online activation of the Original Copy. During the Game Installation, the game require user to activate the game online in order to complete the installation.

Popular titles protected by SecuROM : Far Cry 2, Crysis Warhead, Need for Speed Undercover, Tomb Raider – Underworld and Neverwinter Nights 2

There are lot of other players too who play similar role of Copy Protection, some of them are : StarForce, LaserLock, Rootkit, TAGES and Illegal TOC.

The Excellent PC Game Covers designed

26 Jul


PC Game Covers are not easy to design. You just can’t add Posters of Game Characters, Backgrounds and Colors, it takes more than that. Game Covers should catch human’s eye and also should also convey the plot of the game to the non-gamers too.

Although it always follows the common layout of main character with background design at front side and game information on the back side. But here I present some of the best designed PC Game Covers that really strikes out well.

STALKER Clear Sky

Rainbow Six Vegas 2

Splinter Cell Double Agent

Alone in the Dark

Tomb Raider Underworld

Assassin’s Creed

Crysis Warhead

Far Cry 2

Grand Theft Auto IV

Race Driver GRID

Game Piracy in India… Let’s know, how it works?

23 Jun


Piracy of Game CD’s exist everywhere, in almost all the country. Game Piracy refers to several practices which involve the unauthorized copying of computer games.

note : insidepcgames.wordpress.com does not promote piracy…

The Current Scenario
Lets figure out how approximately it works in India, specially in Metro city like Mumbai. Its very easy to get the Pirated Copy of latest PC Games on the streets of Mumbai. Check out any Mumbai’s Railway station, or Shopping Mall, or at any corner of the streets. You’ll find it everywhere. Even the Authorized Shoppers keeps the pirated copies of PC Games.

Who behind this?
One of my friend (hiding the identity) in Mumbai, who use to work with such guys who sells the pirated cd’s around CST station, Mumbai disclosed the process.

Game Piracy is a huge market with more and more people involved. These people worked according to the zone they’ve been allocated. Either they buy Original Games from the store or download the games from Peer-to-Peer network or Internet, and make their millions of copies on a low cost DVD’s.

They also make millions of Print copies of the Original Game CD cover, which they use for the packaging of the games. One of my ex-colleague got the job offer for designing Game CD Covers of Multiple games packaged in single DVD. (see image below)

They distribute it among all the pirated CD retailers across Mumbai with their recognizable sign (It means CD bought from Shop 1 cannot be replacable with the Shop 2). These Shopkeepers can easily makeout whether the CD’s sold by them or someone else.

The Price

A single Pirated Game DVD of latest games like FAR CRY 2 will cost you Rs.40/- (Less than a dollar). And you’ll also get discount offered if you purchased more titles at a time.

Although the number of these sellers has been decreased since Mumbai Cops raided most of them, but you can still find them rounding up at such locations.

But the question remains same, Is there a way to stop this Piracy Industry?

Lets know the DirectX

4 Jan

While you were enjoying your game on your computer, DirectX takes care of the interaction of your mouse movements, keyboard inputs, sound playing and graphic card acceleration with your computer’s Operating system.

So Finally what is DirectX?

DirectX developed in 1995 by Microsoft, is a set of APIs (Application Program Interface) which communicates between the operating system (Windows) and the hardwares installed on your PC. This Micrsoft product allow all programs (softwares) to write instructions for hardware within your computer. In other word, Microsoft DirectX is a group of technologies designed for creating games and other high-performance multimedia applications which supports 2D and 3D graphics, sound, music, input devices, and support for networked applications such as multiplayer games.

The birth of DirectX?

DirectX is only available with Microsoft Windows Operating Systems. By this writing, DirectX 9.0c is available for Windows XP and DirectX 10.1 is available for Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008. The release of Windows 95 OSR2 shipped with DirectX 2.0, and with continous updation Windows 98 came with DirectX 5.0, and then followed the series i.e DirectX 6.0, 7.0, 7.0a, 8.0, 8.1, 9.0, 9.0a, 9.0b, 9.0c and 10.

So how it helps your Gaming?

During Initial days, Game Developers found it difficult to develop games for the PC, as one person’s PC Architecture was different from others. Developers use to program the game to check whether the mouse and joystick is attached to the computer or whether the sound is playing. Developing games with certain specification doesn’t worked on everyone’s computer. So, Microsoft decided to come up with DirectX standards which has been followed by all the Game Developers and they started developing games using DirectX Technologies and also provides the latest DirectX Softwares bundled with the PC titles.

The use of DirectX

DirectX provides a new level of graphics quality. The latest games like Crysis and Quantom of Solace requires new version of DirectX installed on your machine, absence of which may not start the game, as the game developers uses the feature of the latest DirectX Technologies. For Example, When a game developer wants to display a graphics during gameplay, it asks DirectX API, which in turn displays the graphics. The Developers doesn’t need to know what type of card he’s dealing with, or whether it is capable to do the task. Microsoft has provided DirectX, and the Graphic card manufacturer has provided a DirectX-capable driver, combination of which helps games runs smoothly.

Where is your DirectX?

Installation of the Windows includes DirectX installation on your machine, which you cannot remove. In order to find which version of DirectX is installed on your machine, Simply go to Start > Run > DxDiag. which will come up with DirectX Diagnostic Tool Window, where you can see all the Displays, Sond, Music and CPU related information of your machine. The best place to install the latest version of DirectX is the Microsoft Web site, which is found at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/directx.

DirectX Problems

A lot of issues that DirectX may cause, such as error messages, lockups, and or crashes, can be resolved by completely shutting down the computer, waiting a couple seconds, and turning the computer back on.

Lets read the EULA of PC Games today…

1 Sep


EULA stands for End User Licence Agreement. End User means you, who have bought a particular game from its manufacturer. EULA is nothing but the licence agreement between the game manufacturing company and you.

You might have come across EULA during the installation of particular game or software on your machine, it appears during the setup process of the game, which gives you an option to agree with the Terms and Conditions according to the manufacturing company policies in order to complete the setup.

Most of the time, user doesn’t read it and blindly gets bound by its T&C, and completes the installation of the game.

Lets check out what exactly EULA contains or explains to its end users.

Introduction
This consist of the companies introduction and basically the most common conditions like the licence is legally binding an agreement between you and the company and by using the software, you are bound by the licence, and if you’re not agree with it, pls do not install the game.

1. Grant of Limited Licence
It explains that the company grants you the non-transferable, non-sublicenseable, personal and limited licence to install and use the software on single computer and to explore the artwork, pictures, text, audio, media files, programs, or applications.

2. Restrictions on Limited Licence
The Company also restrict you of not using the game or its content for the commercial purpose. It also stops you of not installing the game on more than one machine at a time, and also puts a restriction of decompiling, deconstructing, modifying, renting, distributing, transmitting or sharing the game or its content.

3. Updates
The software makes use of your computer’s most advanced hardware accelerated media capabilities, and will have the rights to make changes in your computer’s configuration such as operating system patches, video driver changes, browser updates, etc. The software will periodically prompt you to check with the company website for the game updates and the patches.

4. Title
It says that the game titles, ownership, intellectal property rights, patent rights are the sole property of the company and its licensors or the suppliers.

5. Warranty
The company warrants to you that the game or computer file that contains the game or content will be uncorrupted when you receive it. If any portion of the game is corrupted when you receive it, the company will use commercially reasonable efforts to provide an uncorrupted file to you or, in company’s sole discretion, to reimburse you the amount paid by you to the company for the game.

6. Limitation of Liability
In no condition, company will be liable to you for any incidental and consequential damages like loss of business, loss of profits or any business interruption because of the game.

7. Termination
The company will terminate the license agreement, if they find that you have violated any of the terms and conditions. And even you can terminate this license agreement at any time by destroying or returning the game to the company and to certify in writing that all the known copies, including the backup copies, have been destroyed by you.

8. General
This license agreement constitutes the complete and exclusive agreement between you and the company. This license will be governed by the laws of the State (where company resides) and any and all unresolved disputes arising under this License will be submitted to laws of the State.

So, next time, make sure to read and agree with the licence agreement before blasting that army tank. Gotcha!!!

Are PC Gamers Vanishing?

31 May


This question must have dawned on you when you (or your friend) would have experienced the all time favourite RPG game GTA IV on Xbox 360 or PS3. It has recorded a tremendous selling of around 926,000 units for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions combined. With the availability of titles like Army of two, Gears of War, 25 to Life on consoles, it is natural for a casual gamer to stick with the consoles and so the number of console gamers are increasing.

But lets focus on the PC Games, I feel the PC Games still rules the Gaming Arena. PC game industry wont get effected even if the console gamers are rising. People i know waited long for the release of GTA IV on PC Platform which indicates the assumption of selling maximum PC copies compared to the consoles.

We’re not starting a war between PC and the Consoles here. Every game platform has its own ups and downs, but as a PC Gamer, i always prefer playing games on my computer.

Lets look at some of the important aspects that makes PC Games so unique :


PC Gaming – Playing games in higher resolution is only possible on your computer, the maximum resolution its support is 1280 x 1024 (in case of Crysis) by the time, this post is added.
Consoles – Although Console game can only be played on Television, it supports the screen resolution of 640 x 480 only.


PC Gaming – You can always configure your own keypress options on your Computer keyboard.
Consoles – You’ll have limited keys on joystick, also need combine keypress sometime, which aren’t viable or easy for the casual gamers to play.


PC Gaming – Play game of any genre, be it FPS, RPG, Sports or Strategy, you’ll always have a wild experience.
Consoles – The FPS genre are not for consoles, sports are great.


(insidepcgames.com does not promote game piracy)
PC Gaming – Ripping and mounting of PC Games are easy using programs like Alcohol, CloneCD and Daemon’s Tools.
Consoles – You just can’t rip and mount the console games in order to run it on consoles.


PC Gaming – PC gamers can create their own maps using game editors, and even create all new games with the use of game engines (remember Counter Strike).
Consoles – Console gamers have no such options.


PC Gaming – For PC Games, there are plenty of cheats and trainers available online that one can edit files in Hex-editor etc and expand game substantially.
Consoles – In case of modern games, there are no cheats available for console.


Gaming on PC’s will never die, because the games for consoles are developed on PC’s, and PC’s are used for a variety of other purposes, and as long as that happens, PC Games will be made.

Insidepcgames

30 Jan

What is insidepcgame ?

The idea behind insidepcgames is primarily to be a channel for me to write about the in and out of the PC Game Development. insidepcgames will make it possible to deliver useful and innovative information for the PC Gamers and Developers.

You’ll find a variety of informative content that makes a PC title successful, things that you’ve come across while playing a game, but don’t know about it.

I don’t try to convince you with the quantity, but with the quality of the information i will present. That’s how i want insidepcgames to make different.

Who is behind insidepcgames ?

insidepcgame.com was created and developed by me, Vicky Nimbalkar, a Indian Web Developer and a PC Game Freaker.

My first contact with the computer games happened in 1995, when i encountered with DOS based DOOM Game. Since then, i’ve tried to play almost all the genre title available on PC Platform.

Read more at insidepcgame.wordpress.com

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