Re: [stella] Emulator detection

Subject: Re: [stella] Emulator detection
From: Albert Yarusso <albert@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2005 23:37:55 -0400

Just wanted to give my two cents in this discussion, since I'm  
actively involved in producing homebrew games for sale in cartridge  
form.  It's impossible to determine if having homebrew ROMs floating  
around impacts sales of games in cartridge form negatively or  
positively.  I believe it helps in many cases, where people have a  
chance to try out a game before buying it in cartridge form.  In  
other cases, it hurts sales where people can play games on a real  
system using a Cuttle Cart, Krokodile Cart, or some other similar  
device.  Does it balance out?  I have no idea.  But I'd rather see  
the binaries out there where everyone can enjoy them, rather than  
just the small number of people who buy a game in cartridge form.

We started AtariAge to share information about classic Atari consoles  
and computers, and when we started selling games I never wanted the  
AtariAge Store to interfere with our support of the homebrew  
community. The store was started to help support the expense of  
running the AtariAge servers (there are two right now, one for the  
main site, and another that hosts several other classic gaming sites,  
such as, not to make anybody (such as myself)  
wealthy.  So I've always encouraged homebrew authors to release their  
binaries publicly, as well as development versions so they can get  
feedback before the game is complete.

While it's an interesting intellectual exercise, I don't really feel  
it's worth the effort to try and prevent 2600 binaries from running  
in emulators.  Even if this wasn't an open discussion on an open  
mailing list, it would be fairly trivial for someone to dump a  
cartridge, determine the scheme being used to prevent the binary from  
running in an emulator, and then either patch the emulator or patch  
the binary to allow it to run.

Albert Yarusso,
Atari News, Forums, Media, Guides, and more!

On Jul 5, 2005, at 12:35 PM, B. Watson wrote:

> On Tue, 5 Jul 2005, Glenn Saunders wrote:
>> --- "B. Watson" <atari@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>> Ugh. That leaves legitimate buyers out in the cold
>>> if they want to play
>>> the game on their laptop when they're not at home,
>> Then someone should come up with an encrypted DRM
>> wrapper specifically for commercial 2600 games.  The
>> DRM authenticator code would have to be a
>> closed-source component of the emulators.
> Can't do: both Stella and z26 are licensed under the GNU GPL. Can't
> distribute GPL code mixed with closed source code. The only way to  
> do this
> legally would be to have everyone who ever contributed code to  
> Stella/z26
> to agree to re-release the existing code under a different  
> license... not
> an easy task, particularly since some of us hate closed-source  
> software
> and/or the whole concept of Digital Restrictions Management.
> Besides which, there are plenty of people on this list who are  
> perfectly
> capable of reverse-engineering the closed-source emulator+DRM binary.
>> Of course, that would only work until the physical
>> cart gets dumped.
> Of course, we're moving into the absurd with this discussion anyway :)
> Any protection scheme you could come up with has one weakness: the  
> 2600
> itself has to be able to read it, and the 2600 is well understood and
> wasn't designed to do encryption/DRM. You're right, someone would  
> dump the
> ROM, no matter what kind of weird bankswitching/protection was  
> involved.
> Also, as Adam Thornton pointed out: nobody expects to make money doing
> homebrew 2600 games. We do it because we love it, or for the  
> challenge,
> or because we're obsessed... but not because we think we'll get rich.
> --
> B.
> Archives (includes files) at 
> archives/
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