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Convery: @jsjrodman
I was more thinking of it as a feature for publishers that don't have access to the original work anymore. Or, an option for the publisher to hand out the relevant parts of their servercode and have it made into a DLL so the game will always work offline / over LAN even when their servers are dead. Without having to modify their game in any way.
Really? It seems like the hooking of calls is the easy part.

The hard part is repackaging the server code to run in a different environment, or to do the reverse engineering work to re-create the server logic. Both are likely to be more expensive than they'd be willing to fund.

But hey, if you can become expert in this area, maybe you can become the specialist. The one who breathes life back into our games from the 2010s when the corps are ready to sell them to us again in the 2020s. ;-)
Reverse engineering is at least a intellectually engaging way to make a living.
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nightcraw1er.488: I would suspect your actually in breach of the agreement with the software for such a thing.
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rtcvb32: Probably... Most EULA's include specific words/phrases like no reverse engineering, no bypassing security features, and not responsible for damages caused by the software/product including the event of your computer catching on fire and exploding [tiny](among other things)[/tiny].
Luckily reverse engineering is specifically protected in some jurisdictions.
Post edited July 02, 2015 by jsjrodman
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Convery: ...That's enough rambling for now. What I'd like to know is how this community feel about DRM/servers being emulated as opposed to completely removed and if yous think that GoG would ever consider having a similar system for games where the publisher/studio have lost the source code or simply don't care enough to recompile it. ...
Technically it might just work although the risk is you cannot emulate it because they put part of the game logic on the servers. Then this idea dies instantly. Or it might be a lot of work to reverse engineer really everything. More than you or anyone can or would like to invest.

Legally this is a nightmare. Your ideas are completely illegal for sure. However many, many years from now, maybe nobody would care anymore.

All in all I guess insisting on 100% DRM free games and only (mostly) buying and playing them is the better approach.
Post edited July 02, 2015 by Trilarion
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Convery: What I'd like to know is how this community feel about DRM/servers being emulated as opposed to completely removed and if yous think that GoG would ever consider having a similar system for games where the publisher/studio have lost the source code or simply don't care enough to recompile it.
The decision wether to have DRM or not lies with the publisher.
If it can unlock DLC that is unpaid for, Steam/Activision will probably see this as an act of piracy and act accordingly by forcing even more draconian DRM measures upon the hapless gamer and we get one step closer to completely streaming of games.

I understand it is very annoying to have your mods not working after every update but I think it is best to contact Activision about that and see if they're willing to alter their code for it to work, if they don't, fuck'em, just put your energies in games from companies that don't treat their customers as moneycattle.

Your software does indeed become interesting in case of an older game where the original publisher is gone or the sourcecode couldn't be retrieved, so GOG can finally release Testdrive Unlimited (oh wait this game hasn't got always online DRM after all I think).
Post edited July 02, 2015 by Strijkbout
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Convery: 1. Technically yes. It does however query steam for account info to verify that the user have bought the game. Steams DRM (CEG) is left (mostly) intact which encrypts part of the game with keys based on your computers hardware. So you can't copy the game to your laptop/friend. I didn't want to remove Steams DRM as I didn't want to open a can of worms.
Bummer. So from the user point of view, if the game can only be played in an offline mode on that same PC/hardware where it was installed with the Steam client, what's the advantage compared to just running the games forever(?) in Steam's offline mode?

I also presume your workaround takes into account only Steam CEG, not helping with any 3rd party DRM that the game might have?

As for your question whether GOG should adopt a similar system... How would that work then? You seemed to suggest that emulating the online requirements would not allow one to transfer (meaning also, re-installing without the PC specific encryption) the game to a new PC, so... In order for it to work, shouldn't your emulation also somehow convince the game that it is running on the original PC where it was originally installed (those parts of the game encrypted with hardware specific keys)? Or what am I misunderstanding here?
Post edited July 02, 2015 by timppu
This method can be very useful both for dev and customers, plus while it can be seen as an act of piracy from someone, should i remind that a true crack DO NOT check if you have ever legally acquired the game or not?

This offline emulation can still give a sort of unique license for a game and then not need anything else anymore, beside steam game s are pretty much cracked day one already with little to no difficulty by now

There are even tutorial on internet on how to crack a steam game easily in a few steps

If anything an offline emulation prove how much always online DRM are completely useless both as a protection or as a service, and have no redeeming value whatsoever, pushing in this direction may one day help gamers free themselves of DRM forever

There is no need to fear even more draconian DRM due to this, they already want to implement such bull**** anyway, it never worked and it will never work no matter what. It seems that various company cyclically forgot that the more able an capable person on internet are hackers and crackers, and this kind of people usually have a natural aversion for companies or services that limit their freedom in any way

Plus this method has already been applied in the past with great success and got much popular support back then, most users may recall Ubisoft great idea to introduce an always on line DRM in their Assassin Creed 2 game

I think we all know how that turned out, with even paying customers using the crack so that could finally play offline without idiotic restriction or limitations

Stupidsoft learned their lesson that day, you cannot limit internet in that way or you'll inevitably end up paying the price, and degraded their always on line DRM, with a single on line check DRM, then the game could be permanently played offline. Still not enough, but at least it's a small step forward

Our voices are heard, and when we push hard enough, acknowledged as well. Steam didn't had a real refund policy unless the release where utterly disastrous back then, and although probably EU court got involved, they now have one

If this offline emulation is what it take, then i am all for it
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Convery: That's enough rambling for now. What I'd like to know is how this community feel about DRM/servers being emulated as opposed to completely removed
I'd be fine either way, as long as it allows me to freely install/move and play the game on my PCs as I please. I don't care if a game has DRM, if it is somehow made completely inert or ineffective. Say, I don't mind if a game asks me to find a word from the manual, if I'm provided with a PDF of that manual. The original idea of that "DRM" was nullified, the original idea was that it would be too laborious and/or costly to make copies of the manual, but that's not the case anymore with a PDF manual.

Same if I have a fully working 1:1 CD image of a game. The original idea was that it would be hard or costly to make copies of the CD (when games on CDs first appeared, people didn't have CD-R drives for many years yet, nor tools to make CD images), but now it is meaningless even if the game required the "CD" to be in the "drive", if that is simply emulated with virtual CD software.

But as I said above, your emulation doesn't really seem to grant all that, as far as I could tell. How can I transfer (re-install) the game to my secondary PC, without the DRM affecting me?
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timppu: but now it is meaningless even if the game required the "CD" to be in the "drive", if that is simply emulated with virtual CD software.
Unless it's like NeverWinter Nights which if it suspects you are using a virtual drive it refuses to let the game load...
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Maxvorstadt: Well, replacing a DRM with an emulated DRM sounds to me as if there is still DRM involved, coz the game won`t run without it.
If you run an old CD game using a 1:1 CD image loaded into MagicISO or DOSBox's own CD emulator, the game might still have a CD key check, ie. regularly check whether the CD (image) is still in the "drive".

From the usage point of view, I don't care much if the CD key check is just fooled to believe everything is fine, or if there is an actual noCD crack applied. As long as it works without problems and extra hoop jumps.

I think even many GOG DOSbox games currently have an ISO image loaded into DOSBox, not sure if it is in some cases for the CD key check. So the "DRM" is not removed, it is just fooled.
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Maxvorstadt: Well, replacing a DRM with an emulated DRM sounds to me as if there is still DRM involved, coz the game won`t run without it.
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timppu: If you run an old CD game using a 1:1 CD image loaded into MagicISO or DOSBox's own CD emulator, the game might still have a CD key check, ie. regularly check whether the CD (image) is still in the "drive".

From the usage point of view, I don't care much if the CD key check is just fooled to believe everything is fine, or if there is an actual noCD crack applied. As long as it works without problems and extra hoop jumps.

I think even many GOG DOSbox games currently have an ISO image loaded into DOSBox, not sure if it is in some cases for the CD key check. So the "DRM" is not removed, it is just fooled.
Hmm, good point!
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timppu: but now it is meaningless even if the game required the "CD" to be in the "drive", if that is simply emulated with virtual CD software.
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rtcvb32: Unless it's like NeverWinter Nights which if it suspects you are using a virtual drive it refuses to let the game load...
Naturally I was referring only to cases where the workaround works fully. I don't care about the cases where it doesn't, because obviously then there is no other choice but to e.g. remove the whole DRM completely.

"But what if the game doesn't work after you remove the DRM?", Yes, indeedy, I guess everything is pointless...
Wow, that's a lot of replies. In hindsight I should not have had 'DRM' in the title but instead have 'servers of any kind' as the system itself has more than one application. Not to mention that the suggested method of removal would work with reverse engineering for some games, but as a feature the publisher would supply any servercode. It also seems like some have confused consensual emulation of servers with piracy. But onto the replies;

@jsjrodman
In a proper environment, such as GoG making it a feature, the publisher/middleware would be able to supply enough info or code to make it easier. Personally I fine RE to be the best part. The system I currently have covers Demonware gen 2, 3 and IWNet. Which in theory would be all Activision games since Cod:MW2. Just implementing the basics to make the game function took about a week for each middleware, but since I do it for learning I have ~80 more services that the games use. So ye, if the publisher/middleware retailer would be working with you it'd be a lot faster.

@Trilarion
Indeed, as a GoG feature the cornerstone would be that the publisher wants it to happen and helps. Otherwise it'd be piracy which is not what I'm advocating =P

@Strijkbout
Fun fact, every year for the past 4 or so years I have contacted Activision and the studios about a buffer overflow exploit in their CoD engine (or, the parts copy/pasted for the next game). An exploit that lets the attacker take over a victims PC. Each and every time they just respond with "we'll lookinto it". So in Jan this year some kids found it and exploited it to gain access to a serverhost and steal serverfiles (posted publicly on cheat sites). Activisions response was to patch CoD:AW, CoD:Ghosts and CoD:BO2 (their three latest titles), make a small note about a security update for their anti-cheat and leave the older games still vulnerable.

@timppu
The DRM that doesn't allow reinstalling is Steams, not mine. My mods for CoD do indeed remove that DRM as it tends to get in the way but it's not a feature as the publisher will have an unprotected binary or can ask Steam for one. I just wanted to stress that the system is fully compatible with offline DRMs and that it would get rid of the 'always online' part rather than whatever protection runs locally.