Re: [stella] Copy Protection

Subject: Re: [stella] Copy Protection
From: Kevin Horton <khorton@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 18:48:58 -0500
At 09:14 11/21/01 -0800, you wrote:
At 04:22 PM 11/21/2001 +0100, you wrote:
I don't know, but after you have posted all the almost
finished beta versions here this seems pretty pointless.
Anyone who really wanted to hack your game without your
permission could just use a beta version and get almost
the same result.

Can anyone come up with a truly working copy protection scheme?

I can't really think of one. You could encrypt the game and have it decrypt itself on cart, but since the 2600 itself reads it unencrypted, something like the 7800 cart dumper would be able to read off the unencrypted ROM.

I say concentrate on programming, rather than some easily broken "protection" scheme. Any scheme can and will be broken, and games patched to work. Instead of trying to hamper legit users, why not put that energy into the game to make it that much better?

As for stopping pirates, face the fact: they can never truly be stopped, not to mention the market for Atari 2600 (or any classic system) cartridges is very small. Small enough that you know when your game gets pirated!

My Colecovision game (Kevtris) was pirated by Adam's House awhile back. They were selling copy carts of it for $20. I got them to stop selling the carts.
Speaking of, I am glad that I released my ROM for everyone to play on the emulators despite the fact that it got pirated. The last Kevtris that appeared on E-bay sold for more than $300!!

Getting the game to not work on the Supercharger or Cuttle Cart is fine, but it would still run on emulators. And yes, it could theoretically be patched to work.

You'd have to talk to the emulator authors to try to get them to block running certain games. But there are so many 2600 emulators you'd never get them all to agree to that.

Come on now. This is bordering on ludicrous. If you don't want anyone playing your game, it's easy. Don't sell any carts of it, and don't release any ROMs.

If you REALLY want to impress everyone and make an uncopyable cart, there is one good way to do it-- you design your own custom bankswitch / cart hardware. This will not totally prevent people dumping it, but it will prevent playing of the game on emulators, and it will prevent copy carts from being made. Bonus points for including things like real time clocks, savegame RAM, or similar on the cart :-)

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