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Garry's Mod vs Pirates

A tweet by Garry Newman, creator of Garry's Mod, asks a simple question: "Anyone unable to shade polygon normals?" In this post he explains this is him having a chuckle at the expense of pirates, as he has programmed a deliberate bug into his sandbox mod for the Source engine that causes this error. Word is: "Yesterday I made pirate versions of Garryís Mod pop up an error. This error only happens when people pirate the game. 48 hours ago there were no results for this phrase on Google. As I type this thereís 717 results (and climbing by the minutes). This is partly as a result of me stupidly mentioning it on Twitter and lots, and lots, and lots of news sites posting about it. I donít get why itís getting so much attention." He also makes an interesting note that: "The overwhelming response has been supportive. Which to be quite honest I donít really understand. If EA or someone does something like this people go crazy. Maybe itís the motive.." He proceeds to explain that motive and various other elements of this interesting situation. Thanks GamePron.

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61. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 17, 2011, 03:11 raVen
 
'most developers / publishers just upload incomplete builds to torrent servers'
I call bullshit.
Whoever wrote that has no idea what the shipping process is like. Even if there was an offshoot 'group/person' that their sole task was to do something like that it would be completely counter-productive. If the dev team found out, they'd be blood-thirsty.
 
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60. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 16, 2011, 06:03 Bhruic
 
In a culture seeped in piracy, you can't make money on easily-pirated software. As PC games target non-business, computer-literate PC users, theyíre also targeting the most common software pirates, an unfortunate crossover of audiences.

The problem is, you're looking at it the wrong way. Take internet access. Right now, I have at least 3 open wireless access points within range of my computer. If I wanted to, I could be easily getting "free" internet from any of them. But I don't. Why not? Because the advantages of having my own personal internet connection outweigh the costs associated with it.

The same should be true of games. Instead, developers, but even more so publishers are going out of their way to make the "free" alternative a better one. That's the ass-backwards approach. Instead, they should be doing their best to ensure that the people who pay for the game are getting the best experience.

Which is, of course, what developers are doing. Look at Blizzard - they released Starcraft II, and tied it to battle.net. So yeah, you can pirate Starcraft II, but if you want the full game experience, you need to buy it. Smart move on their part. There are definite downsides to that approach, but it's a more positive step than limited activations, etc. Or, as an alternative, Steam. Most Steam games get pirated, but you lose out on a lot of the advantages you get from Steam. Some people don't like them, but once you get used to them, they become a selling point on their own.

Nowadays, rather than spending code time or making cardboard password wheels, most developers / publishers just upload incomplete builds to torrent servers and other pirate havens

If developers/publishers are actually doing this, I really have to laugh. Although, honestly, sign me up, because if I can get paid to do something that's a complete waste of time like that, I'm all for it.
 
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59. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 15, 2011, 23:14 Jerykk
 
They do not upload functional-yet-broken builds, they upload junk disguised as builds.

I don't really see how that deters pirates at all. It's pretty obvious when a build is junk and pirates will just download a different copy of the game.

Just going off VGChartz. They're not 100%, and their digital tracking is poor, but they're usually in the right ballpark (+/- 15%).

I don't think VGChartz is very reliable. They don't cite their sources and they aren't a reputable market tracking service. For all we know, they could just be pulling random numbers out of their ass.

Consoles would still have an edge, yes. But as someone pointed out earlier though, why do games like Sims continue to sell on PC, while titles like Dragon Age Origins, can't? How did the 'hardcore' audience switch from PC to X360, yet, the casual audience still plays PC games?

The Sims outsells Dragon Age on PC for the same reason that Wii Fit and Wii Play and Wii Sports have outsold Dragon Age on consoles. The casual audience significantly outnumbers the hardcore audience on any given platform.

No, it does not. Not in North America. Asia and Europe? More so. But really, console/portable piracy is an order of magnitude less than PC piracy.

I didn't realize it mattered where piracy takes place. Of all the current consoles, the Nintendo DS has the highest amount of piracy worldwide. However, it is also the best-selling console. That effectively refutes your correlation between a platform's success and its level of piracy.

Civ 5 will continue to move more digital copies over time, but Civ Rev is likely to continue moving more physical copies.

Retail sales are declining. Digital sales are rising. Digital distribution services like Steam will continue to carry Civ5 for years because they don't have to worry about shelf space. CivRev will not be on shelves much longer, if it's even still there.
 
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58. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 15, 2011, 15:05 Verno
 
FreezeStrike wrote on Apr 15, 2011, 11:45:

DICE stated that the PC had more simultaneous players than the either single console version, during the first week of sales.

No, I'm referring to an entirely different piece of news, an interview which was reported here that I'm trying to dig up now. It was a few months after release, Dice basically commented that the PC individually outsold the console SKUs(as in PC vs 360 or PC vs PS3). It's possible that situation changed over the past 6 months but I doubt it considering BC2's relative staying power in most of the PC DD lists over that time vs console sales.

I'm not sure why anyone would be surprised by this anyway, it's a PC-centric franchise with a large player base. Dice is a smart company, making a singleplayer campaign to cater to the Call of Duty types on the console side while focusing more on MP for the PC players.
 
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57. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 15, 2011, 11:45 FreezeStrike
 
Verno wrote on Apr 15, 2011, 09:49:
DA:O and BC2 are two recent titles I can recall where the developer said they individually outsold console SKUs, just not both platforms put together.

DICE stated that the PC had more simultaneous players than the either single console version, during the first week of sales.

That is minorly indicative of first week sales being good for the PC, but in no way a long-term indication of sales (which were much, much higer on consoles).
 
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56. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 15, 2011, 11:30 FreezeStrike
 
Jerykk wrote on Apr 15, 2011, 01:32:
Actually, it's not really a coincidence at all. Microsoft went to great lengths to attract PC developers to their platform.

Agree here. For me, PC gaming started to lose it's importance when Gears of War was released.

You don't see console devs trying to make single-player games for China either. In any case, if a game has a publisher, the devs get paid regardless of how the game sells. Payments are made when the developers deliver milestones throughout the course of the project. Your logic is only really applicable to indie developers.

True on the console end; China's a wasteland.

But guess what? I work for an independent developer. Sales make-or-break our company.

Don't make me laugh. Dead Space is a shooter. If you want real survival horror, play Fatal Frame, Amnesia or Penumbra. Coincidentally, two of those are PC-exclusives. Truth is, very few developers still make actual survival horror games.

I've played Fatal Frame (several siblings LOVE the series). I'll concede that Dead Space is either a light survival horror game with heavy shooting, or a shooter with light survival horror. I don't consider it a 'normal' shooter though, because you can realistically run out of ammo (at least for several weapons), and, there are enemies from which you actually have to run away.

Dead Rising then? Not spooky, but lots of running away. Not really sure what genre Dead Rising counts as (but I like it).

Please include links to sources when citing specific statistics.

Just going off VGChartz. They're not 100%, and their digital tracking is poor, but they're usually in the right ballpark (+/- 15%).

Even if those numbers are accurate, you act like piracy is the primary reason why console games sell more than PC games. Even if PC piracy were to magically disappear, consoles would still be more popular because they'd still be more convenient and accessible.

Consoles would still have an edge, yes. But as someone pointed out earlier though, why do games like Sims continue to sell on PC, while titles like Dragon Age Origins, can't? How did the 'hardcore' audience switch from PC to X360, yet, the casual audience still plays PC games?

Perhaps the truth is more ugly in that hardcore gamers are the ones that are drawn by flash and pomp, while casual gamers are the ones that actually buy games based primarily on gameplay.

I'm pretty sure that's not true.

Can't comment on how widespread the practice is. Can confirm that publishers do it, and for some very major releases, games on the scale of Grand Theft Auto.

They do not upload functional-yet-broken builds, they upload junk disguised as builds.

No, we need to maintain a culture that buys good games. The games industry relies almost completely on marketing and slick presentations to sell games. This is because the average consumer is shallow and cares more about style than substance.

Agree with you on that. But changing the audience is not a fast process.

Although the reality is that the Sims has piracy, it's also obviously just hitting a bigger target audience too. I'd love to know how Sims piracy rates differed versus Dragon Age: Origins piracy rates, but that's not a feasible thing to gauge.

The Nintedo DS also has rampant piracy.

No, it does not. Not in North America. Asia and Europe? More so. But really, console/portable piracy is an order of magnitude less than PC piracy.

The average customer is vastly, vastly, less likely to engage in piracy that requires hardware or firmware modifications. If you want to know who the average customer is, go to a Walmart and talk to people in the game isle about their consoles or handhelds.

Most of the people that will read this are far smarter and more tech-savy than 90% of the game-purchasing audience.

Keep in mind that the previous PC Civ games kept selling for a very long time, whereas console games typically have very short lifespans.

Sales numbers taken from VGChartz again; comparing Civ Rev on consoles to Civ 5 on PC (and I do assume there's more digital sales of PC games than what VGChartz tracks).

Sales lifespan depends on shelf-life. Digital's changing this, but Civilization Revolution is likely still on store shelves, thanks to it being a console version and retailers like Best Buy and Walmart stocking lots of console titles (few PC units).

Civilization 5, being a PC game, will probably have radically less shelf-space, and the fact that it's not a Blizzard game or a Sims game, runs the risk of being pulled from retail shelves (which would further decrease long-term sales).

Civ 5 will continue to move more digital copies over time, but Civ Rev is likely to continue moving more physical copies.
 
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55. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 15, 2011, 09:49 Verno
 
BioWare sold ~3.5 million of copies of Dragon Age on the consoles, and ~0.7 million on PC.

I don't believe that's true. DA:O and BC2 are two recent titles I can recall where the developer said they individually outsold console SKUs, just not both platforms put together. Last time we had a big kerfuffle about this it lead back to vgchartz which isn't a reliable or reputable source.
 
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54. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 15, 2011, 01:38 Sepharo
 
Does anyone know where I can get the incomplete developer builds? Thanks in advance.  
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53. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 15, 2011, 01:32 Jerykk
 
So was your point supposed to be that, in an era when high-speed internet and next-gen consoles did not thrive, PC games did well?

Next-gen consoles started thriving when the X360 was released in 2006, which is coincidentally when the PC started receiving less focus from publishers. Actually, it's not really a coincidence at all. Microsoft went to great lengths to attract PC developers to their platform. That's why almost all multiplatform games lead on X360 and why the biggest console developers used to be PC developers. The transition began with the original Xbox and was completed with the Xbox 360.

Devs don't get a paid when happy pirates play their games. You don't see PC devs trying to make singleplayer games for China now, do you?

You don't see console devs trying to make single-player games for China either. In any case, if a game has a publisher, the devs get paid regardless of how the game sells. Payments are made when the developers deliver milestones throughout the course of the project. Your logic is only really applicable to indie developers.

Survival horror has actually done fairly well on consoles (Dead Space counts).

Don't make me laugh. Dead Space is a shooter. Why? Because you spend the bulk of the game shooting stuff. You never have to run away or hide unless the enemy is an invincible boss that can only be killed in a specifically scripted manner. Having dark levels and creepy music doesn't make a survival horror game. If you want real survival horror, play Fatal Frame, Amnesia or Penumbra. Coincidentally, two of those are PC-exclusives. Truth is, very few developers still make actual survival horror games. I think there are maybe two Japanese developers and one western developer that focus on that genre. They all develop lower-budget Wii and PC titles because survival horror is an extremely niche genre and wouldn't sell enough to warrant bigger budgets.

Despite a potential PC install base that far exceeds that of the X360 or PS3, review scores that routinely beat the console versions, even Dragon Age could not move a fraction of the copies on PC that it did on consoles. BioWare sold ~3.5 million of copies of Dragon Age on the consoles, and ~0.7 million on PC.

Please include links to sources when citing specific statistics. Even if those numbers are accurate, you act like piracy is the primary reason why console games sell more than PC games. Newsflash: Console games sell more because consoles are more popular. Consoles are more popular because they are more accessible and convenient. Even if PC piracy were to magically disappear, consoles would still be more popular because they'd still be more convenient and accessible.

Nowadays, rather than spending code time or making cardboard password wheels, most developers / publishers just upload incomplete builds to torrent servers and other pirate havens. Much easier, doesn't cause any false positives, and only takes a few hours to fluster many pirates into wasting their time / bandwidth.

I'm pretty sure that's not true. For one, I've been a pirate for over a decade and very rarely have I seen incomplete builds uploaded anywhere. The last one was Crysis 2 and I'm willing to bet money that EA and Crytek were pretty upset about it. Secondly, publishers have and continue to invest significant amounts of money into the development of new copy-protection schemes. See UbiDRM, Solidshield, SecuRom, SafeDisc, TAGES, FADE, etc. Why would they intentionally leak their own games while putting so much time and resources into their copy-protection?

Piracy canít be stopped, nope, but we do need to maintain a culture that shuns it.

No, we need to maintain a culture that buys good games. The games industry relies almost completely on marketing and slick presentations to sell games. This is because the average consumer is shallow and cares more about style than substance. If consumers prioritized gameplay and innovation instead, game budgets wouldn't be so absurdly huge and it would be easier for both publishers and developers to make a profit.

Consoles that did have rampant piracy due to lack of effective hardware barriers, like the DreamCast, well, we all see how that ended up.

The Nintedo DS also has rampant piracy. We all saw how that end-wait... what? The DS has been the top-selling handheld system for years? Whoops, there goes that theory.

Civilization 5 is not a big seller. It did not fail, but it is likely to sell less copies than Civilization Revolution did on consoles.

Again, you need to support your statistical claims with actual statistical sources. Exactly how many units has Civ5 sold thus far? And how many units has CivRev sold? Keep in mind that the previous PC Civ games kept selling for a very long time, whereas console games typically have very short lifespans.

This comment was edited on Apr 15, 2011, 01:41.
 
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52. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 14, 2011, 16:38 FreezeStrike
 
tuddies wrote on Apr 14, 2011, 00:06:
[
Destructive to an industry awash in record profits? And as someone mentioned - console piracy is rampant, yet we see incredible growth and profit year over year.

It's almost as if piracy is fueling these profits and pushing the industry's record revenues even higher!

Console piracy is far from 'rampant' and far from the levels seen in PC piracy. The vast majority of customers will not engage in practices to modify their console hardware or firmware to allow the operation of pirated software. Classically, hardware has always been many times more effective at stemming piracy than software.

Consoles that did have rampant piracy due to lack of effective hardware barriers, like the DreamCast, well, we all see how that ended up.

Game revues currently come in bulk from mediums that are naturally resilient to piracy, such as, consoles, subscriptions, microtransactions. As someone pointed out, budget titles too (Minecraft) also slip past it because of the very low barrier to entry.
 
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51. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 14, 2011, 16:28 FreezeStrike
 
Dev wrote on Apr 13, 2011, 21:26:
FreezeStrike wrote on Apr 13, 2011, 20:36:
The offline / singleplayer PC market is dead, selling only a fraction of the units that you'll sell on consoles (except in Germany, you lucky country you).
I know, that dang new civ game didn't make any money did it. Neither does the Sims right? Or minecraft. I bought starcraft 2 for the single player game, despite the fact I could have easily downloaded it from the tubes.

Civilization 5 is not a big seller. It did not fail, but it is likely to sell less copies than Civilization Revolution did on consoles.

Minecraft was a budget title. Budget software still sells well on PC, yes. Purchasing barriers go down a lot once you're under $15.

Sims is a casual gamed aimed at a set of the PC audience that's largely not-capable of piracy. A rare exception, indeed, but successful.

If your point was that Firaxis should have put out Civ 5 on consoles instead, and that PC developers should switch to making budget or casual titles, you certainly proved it.
 
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50. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 14, 2011, 16:27 shul
 
Even OnLive could conceivably be reverse engineered

huh? enlighten me please.

 
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49. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 14, 2011, 16:18 FreezeStrike
 
Jerykk wrote on Apr 14, 2011, 03:57:
Look at the top-selling PC games of all time and you'll notice a trend: none of them use excessively elaborate copy-protection. The vast majority of them use a rudimentary disc-check and/or CD-key.

Most successful PC titles released past the boom of high speed internet in North America (~2000-2004) had either heavy online components (Diablo 2, Battle.Net) or online-enforced DRM (Half-Life 2, Steam). By ~2006, the PC market had begun itís evaporation, after which it only thrives in genres that require subscription fees, microtransactions, etc.

So was your point supposed to be that, in an era when high-speed internet and next-gen consoles did not thrive, PC games did well?

It doesn't matter who's playing.

Devs don't get a paid when happy pirates play their games. You don't see PC devs trying to make singleplayer games for China now, do you?

In a culture seeped in piracy, you can't make money on easily-pirated software. As PC games target non-business, computer-literate PC users, theyíre also targeting the most common software pirates, an unfortunate crossover of audiences.

Last I checked, adventure games, mech sims, flight sims, vehicular combat sims, turn-based strategy games, survival horror games and hardcore CRPGs were about as easy to pirate as shooters and RTSes. And none of the former genres are doing great on consoles either. Those genres died because they didn't see the same growth in popularity as other genres. It had nothing to do with piracy and everything to do with gaming becoming more mainstream.

Survival horror has actually done fairly well on consoles (Dead Space counts). And singleplayer RPGs, regardless of being Ďhardcoreí or not, are doing quite well on consoles. Yes, TBS, RTS, and sims are mostly dead (Firaxis and Blizzard aside), although I argue RTS could have thrived on consoles if there was a reasonable control scheme (FPS made the jump afterall). Sims, well, they were some pretty niche games to begin with, and their popularity had begun to rapidly erode long before next-gen consoles and the internet came around.

What about singleplayer RPGs? A thriving genre on consoles, now dead on PC? Despite a potential PC install base that far exceeds that of the X360 or PS3, review scores that routinely beat the console versions, even Dragon Age could not move a fraction of the copies on PC that it did on consoles. BioWare sold ~3.5 million of copies of Dragon Age on the consoles, and ~0.7 million on PC.

Whether itís piracy or not, not even BioWare has the clout to get PC players to just buy software in numbers large enough to justify a next-gen budget.

A "consistent stand"? What exactly did this noble endeavor accomplish?

Nothing. It failed. We couldn't stem the tide anymore than the music industry could with MP3s, even though we tried offering digital alternatives far earlier than the music industry did.

Nowadays, rather than spending code time or making cardboard password wheels, most developers / publishers just upload incomplete builds to torrent servers and other pirate havens. Much easier, doesn't cause any false positives, and only takes a few hours to fluster many pirates into wasting their time / bandwidth.

You need to understand that piracy cannot be stopped. Instead of wasting time figuring out how to stop piracy, they invest their time in making games that people actually want to buy.

Piracy canít be stopped, nope, but we do need to maintain a culture that shuns it.

 
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48. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 14, 2011, 12:32 Verno
 
Even OnLive could conceivably be reverse engineered. I don't think it's practical but it's certainly possible. At that point though consumers have given up all ownership rights entirely and I don't think we'll ever get to that point without major concessions in other areas. The broadband infrastructure issues alone are staggering and many ISPs are now trying to institute caps which would severely impact things like OnLive.

There is no piracy silver bullet. Simply put, if it can be played there is a way to do it illegitimately. Many industries have tried and failed with DRM, there is plenty of precedent for it's ineffectiveness.
 
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47. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 14, 2011, 11:56 shul
 
The industry has yet to find a decent DRM implementation that has any meaningful effect on piracy

Actually, there is a good way to stop piracy and it's already working. Sadly, it means that no one will ever hold a copy of the game they bought, I guess we'll need to find our endorphine rush in other ways.

The way is services like onlive, off-course; with faster networks, higher quality of service etc. etc. we will end up playing online, immediately, and then the price will be determined by normal parameters of demand and supply. Good games will have the lead, bad games will drown. I think that that's why some gamers who hear about onlive dismiss it immediately - it's a new way and it will end the piracy.
 
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46. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 14, 2011, 10:34 Verno
 
If someone don't want to play the game, don't play it. You can't go both ways saying the pirate won't pay but wants to play, it's either this or that.

That's the root of the problem though - people can have it both ways. Should they be able to? No. Do they? Yes. That's what is important here. Developers and publishers need to deal with it and move on. There is no silver bullet protection method, everything can be beaten in some way, it's just a matter of time and patience. The industry has yet to find a decent DRM implementation that has any meaningful effect on piracy without frustrating legitimate customers. The best examples I can think of would be platform services like Steam and multiplayer functionality.
 
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45. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 14, 2011, 10:22 shul
 
Very true. The system should not create a self advertising bug. maybe the change should be that the game will work with lower than minimal difficulty. the pirates will go through it quicker, forget it faster and all will be good... although they might cry its too easy and too short..

reminds me of the batman arkahm asylum anti pirate thing..
 
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44. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 14, 2011, 10:05 shul
 
If someone can't be wooed for a buck then what makes you think obnoxious DRM will somehow change that situation?

If someone don't want to play the game, don't play it. You can't go both ways saying the pirate won't pay but wants to play, it's either this or that.

The problem is that this one cracker makes the software and means of cracking accessible to others, then it's just a matter of seconds to having a working copy free of charge.
 
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43. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 14, 2011, 09:40 Verno
 
shul wrote on Apr 14, 2011, 09:38:
That's another fallacy, the iphone appstore has plenty of games which are less than $2 and people still pirate them. How low would you like devs to go? .99c is already a price point that most devs can't make money on, and I'm speaking from experience.

If someone can't be wooed for a buck then what makes you think obnoxious DRM will somehow change that situation? The overwhelming majority of the time it just affects your actual customers and doesn't influence the pirates in the slightest.
 
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42. Re: Garry's Mod vs Pirates Apr 14, 2011, 09:38 shul
 
Is piracy hurting your profit ? Lower the price to the point that pirates feel ashamed to show a illegal copy of your game to their friends!

That's another fallacy, the iphone appstore has plenty of games which are less than $2 and people still pirate them. How low would you like devs to go? .99c is already a price point that most devs can't make money on, and I'm speaking from experience.
 
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