What happens when pirates play a game development simulator, and then go bankrupt because of piracy?
This is a mirror of the post originally posted here: http://www.greenheartgames.com/2013/04/29/what-happens-when-pirates-play-a-game-development-simulator-and-then-go-bankrupt-because-of-piracy/
When we released our very first game, Game Dev Tycoon (for Mac, Windows and Linux) yesterday, we did something unusual and as far as I know unique. We released a cracked version of the game ourselves, minutes after opening our Store.
I uploaded the torrent to the number one torrent sharing site, gave it a description imitating the scene and asked a few friends to help seed it.
A minute after we uploaded it, my torrent client looked like this:
Soon my upload speed was maxed out (and as of the time of writing still is) and my friends and I had connections from all over the world and for all three platforms!
How does piracy feel?
The cracked version is nearly identical to the real thing except for one detail… Initially we thought about telling them their copy is an illegal copy, but instead we didn’t want to pass up the unique opportunity of holding a mirror in front of them and showing them what piracy can do to game developers. So, as players spend a few hours playing and growing their own game dev company, they will start to see the following message, styled like any other in-game message:
Boss, it seems that while many players play our new game, they steal it by downloading a cracked version rather than buying it legally.
If players don’t buy the games they like, we will sooner or later go bankrupt.
Slowly their in-game funds dwindle, and new games they create have a high chance to be pirated until their virtual game development company goes bankrupt.
Some of the responses I found online (identities obscured to protect the guilty):
Is there some way to avoid that? I mean can I research DRM or something …
And another user:
Why are there so many people that pirate? It ruins me!
As a gamer I laughed out loud: the IRONY!!!
However, as the developer, who spent over a year creating this gameand hasn’t drawn a salary yet, I wanted to cry. Surely, for most of these players, the 8 dollars wouldn’t hurt them but it makes a huge difference to our future!
Trying to appeal to pirates
I know that some people just don’t even think about buying games. They will immediately search for a cracked version. For this reason, when we released the game, we also published a page which targets people who search for a cracked/illegal version. Unfortunately, due to my lack in search-engine-optimization skills, that page has had no impact yet, but I hope it will convince some to buy the game in the future.
[…]if years down the track you wonder why there are no games like these anymore and all you get to play is pay-to-play and social games designed to suck money out of your pockets then the reason will stare back at you in the mirror.
I do think it’s important to try to communicate what piracy means to game developers to our consumers. I also tried to appeal to a particular forum a day earlier after someone who I gave early-access to the Store seemed to have passed on the copy to others:
We’re just a start-up and really need your support. The game is only 7.99USD, DRM free…
Clearly, my post hadn’t worked too well since on the same forum someone posted the earlier screenshot (“Why are there so many people that pirate? It ruins me!) just a bit after I made my appeal and this was followed by many others complaining about piracy.
I still hope that it made a difference to someone.
Anyway, how many really did buy and how many did pirate our game during this first day?
The awesome/depressing results
Today, one day after release, our usage stats look like this:
Genuine version: 214 users
Cracked version: at least 3104 users
To the players who played the cracked version!
I’m not mad at you. When I was younger, downloading illegal copies was practically normal but this was mostly because global game distribution was in its infancy. To be fair, there are still individuals who either can’t make a legal purchase because of payment-issues or who genuinely cannot afford the game. I don’t have a quarrel with you. To the rest who could afford the game consider this:
- Would you like to see a bigger/better sequel of Game Dev Tycoon in the future? Buy the game! Creating this game was already expensive and this was just a small game. If we ever want to make a bigger/better version we need a lot of support!
- Do you hate the trend towards social or pay-to-play free games? Buy games from independent developers! (start with ours )
- Do you hate the recent trends in the industry? Buy DRM free games.
We are not wealthy and it’s unlikely that we will be any time soon, so stop pretending like we don’t need your 8 dollars! We are just two guys working our butts off, trying to start our own game studio to create games which are fun to play.
The game is DRM free, you can use it on up to three of your computers for your own use, you get copies for Mac, Windows and Linux, you can continue your game before piracy wrecked your company and we even aim to provide you with a free Steam key once the game is on Steam. All for a mere 8 bucks.
If you just want to try the game then there’s the free DEMO:
Do we need DRM?
Whether or not to use DRM isn’t clear at all to a new start-up. The main argument against it is that all it does is to inconvenience genuine customers. Fact is that any game can be cracked, so all you do is spend time on something that in the end just annoys your real customers while only slightly delaying the inevitable. The only way to protect yourself is to create an online game. I guess that’s why so many studios focus on these types of games and it’s probably a driving force to eradicate traditional single player games.
Personally, I love single players games and hope to be able to continue down this path and if more people would buy our game, we might even be able to.
Would I do this again?
This was a unique opportunity. You need a game development simulation game to make this particular joke work. The more general idea/experiment to release a cracked version which inconveniences and counts pirates can probably work for any game and might work in the long run.
If pirates are put through more trouble than genuine customers, maybe more will buy the real game. Sadly, for AAA games it is currently the other way. Customers get the trouble with always-on requirements and intrusive DRM, while pirates can just download and enjoy. A twisted world.
To our genuine customers
Thank you for your support. Your purchase is more important to us than you might think. We hope to be able to bring you more games in the future. Also, please update to the latest version of the game by using the download link from your purchase email. Before writing this blog post I’ve fixed most of the known issues
- Greenheart Games ♥
If you want to comment on this post, please do so on our forum.
If you just want to try the game then there’s the free DEMO:
It is with heavy heart I report I am leaving Mythic Entertainment. I have worked with Mythic since 2007, and it quickly became my family. I have made long-lasting friendships with a wide variety of people, thanks to my employment here; friends, not only with those I worked with, but also with fans and players of the game.
These last few years in particular have been very rewarding for me, particularly with respect to the player base – We started communicating more directly with players, bouncing ideas around in “hypothetical” dev discussions, and got a much better idea of where the player base was head-space wise.
Being more collaborative with the players resulted in some amazing development cycles. I’m by no means saying everything was perfect – there was a lot I could have done better, in hindsight, but I think we really managed to take some giant steps forward as well, as non-perfect as those steps may have been.
As I look back over my time with WAR, my only regret is not being as involved with the community as we have been over this last year. I have done some of my best growth, thanks to the fires the community lit under me.
My heart breaks to walk away from WAR, and from my family at Mythic… But the time to go, and explore new growth and new career possibilities, has come; and though it does hurt to leave, I have nothing but love for my Mythic family, and for my WAR player base brothers & sisters.
Thank you all for some of the best years of my life… and I’ll see you on the battlefield!
March 26th and 27th will be pretty monumental for the country, regardless of your orientation. SCOTUS will hear two cases this week, on these dates:
On Tuesday the 26th, the court will hear Hollingsworth v. Perry -- "Issue: (1) Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman; and (2) whether petitioners have standing under Article III, § 2 of the Constitution in this case."
On Wednesday the 27th, the court will hear United States v. Windsor -- "Issue: (1) Whether Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their State; (2) whether the Executive Branch’s agreement with the court below that DOMA is unconstitutional deprives this Court of jurisdiction to decide this case; and (3) whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives has Article III standing in this case."
In case you did not already know, dear reader, I am both a Gay Man as well as very Religious. I am a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church which does not recognize a marriage between two members of the same sex. But that, in this particular argument, is completely beside the point. Why? Because...
THIS IS A CIVICS ISSUE, NOT A RELIGIOUS ONE
Civics, as (please God) you should know, is all about your rights and duties as a citizen of the State (as in, the general civil government of a country, not as in The State of Wyoming). In the United States, there is no State Religion; our laws and ordinances may be guided by our personal, individual faiths (don't steal, don't kill, don't lie under oath, honor your contracts), but they don't take the tenets of a single faith and impose them on all citizens.
Marriage is a contract between two consenting adults and the State, signifying a domestic and economic interdependence, which help to give stability and foundation to the State. This contract establishes rights granted to the new Unit by the State as an incentive, and responsibilities as a bond of trust between the Unit and the State for the formation of that stability and foundation.
There are no religious overtones in this contractual obligation between the Unit and the State. The Religious ceremony, while often performed at the same time, is separate from the Civil act of formalizing the contract. The lines blur in the United States because Officiants are most often also Priests/Pastors/Rabbis/Ministers, but they aren't required to be.
Yes, it does bother me that my Church maintains a hold on on these archaic, chauvinistic, interpretations of (very proof-texted) scripture, which can be shown to be completely inaccurate through an objective and holistic reading of scripture, but as I said earlier, that's not the point. My church is allowed to disagree with same-sex marriage; that's their right, and I would never advocate forcing all Religious to perform or acknowledge marriages of those they didn't want to.
But it's not the marriage within a Church at stake here: it's the Marriage contract with the State. And in the United States of America, we have Equal Protection Under the Law, and SCOTUS has already declared, in Loving v. Virginia, that "classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law."
SimCity has traditionally been (mostly) a single-player game. I really like the way multi-player has been integrated into this reboot of the series, I just disagree with the decision to tether the game to their online servers when they give you the option to create a personal city region with no one else playing in it. If you’re allowing me to play a “single player” version of the game, why are you still forcing me to log into your servers (beyond a simple authentication… which I would still complain about, but at least it would prevent the 20+ minutes of waiting to play my single-player city experience).
But... fine, whateves. I do honestly feel the addition of city specialization, and resource/research sharing makes it a much more interesting place to play, when you’re playing with people you know (I doubt I’ll attempt playing in public regions). I’m even looking forward to exploring the Global Market some more
All that being said, this trend to tie online game-play to a very public Name, is starting to get on my nerves. Not because of any lack of personal responsibility, but because of the marginalization of gamer households; John and I both love playing SimCity, yet in this incarnation of the game, we each have to buy separate copies of the game, even though we would use the same computer, because otherwise one of us would be online “as” the other, playing games under the other person’s name… quite publicly, with all my friends wondering why I’m playing SimCity in the middle of the day instead of working (yes, there’s an invisible mode, but that’s not the point). What if we had two or three kids, who also liked playing?
Where before, we had one copy of the game, installed on one computer, and I had a login, and John had a login, and each (hypothetical) kid had a login, and everyone could play their own games, with everyone being happy… Now, we have each person needing their own copy of the game (at $60 a pop), despite the fact we’re still all playing on the same machine. The other option is… what, the loss of that online identity completely with everyone in the household playing under a common “house” name? That’s no fun either.
I dunno… I really like SimCity, and I really like the game play of this version. I also really like the multiplayer aspects they’ve integrated from the ground up, so it’s all very natural and works very well. I just really, really wish I didn’t feel like I was being held upside down, having the change shaken from my pockets :\
Anyway.. that’s my two cents. I’m going to keep playing, because I do really like the game play, despite the crap it’s wrapped it.
What do you all think? Is the single-online-identity move simply thinly veiled avarice, or is it an honest attempt to thwart piracy? Do you think this kind of always-on game architecture, even for single player games/scenarios, is a good/appropriate move, or is it just an inevitability we will have to learn to deal with?
A new year is here, and so I'm taking a moment to go over the two routines i've used for a while. I would love to have some help in crafting a better system.
What I've been working with is two routines which switch up ever three weeks ... three weeks on rotation 1, then three weeks on rotation 2.
I work out at my office gym, which is kind of limited in what equipment I can use. We've got dumbbells, and free weights; a bench, and a squat/deadlift frame; medicine balls, and cardio stuff (treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals).
For a while now, I've been working a 4-day split - I have workouts on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, with Wednesday as a rest day. Any suggestions on how to shake things up, or what to add/remove, would be greatly appreciated
I offer this with a sincere heart, and in the hopes that even just one person's mind can be opened to the possibility that personal and cultural biases have clouded biblical teachings on the matter.
This was written by the Reverend Justin R. Cannon, and it is my honest prayer that you take the time to read it and allow the Spirit to move on your heart.
The full text of the 50 page PDF has been embedded for ease of reading. There is a download link below it, but you may also download the file directly from Inclusive Orthodoxy, and clicking on the "Homosexuality" option in the nav bar.
I've recently started playing around with the Unity3D development tool, and I really like it so far! One of the cool features it has is that it's able to build for multiple platforms, so you can cross-develop a little easier.
I have a Galaxy TAB 8.9, so I was looking into how difficult it would be to create a game for a tablet, and since Unity can build for it, I thought "Why not!"
I happened upon an indispensable application for my tablet: Unity Remote. This lets you connect your Android tablet to the Unity engine, and test your controls as you're developing without having to deploy builds constantly! ::drool::
I had huge issues trying to get it to work though :\ I found a fantastic walk through, and wanted to mirror it here, with just one extra step at the beginning which I (in my total stupidity) did, in fact, need spelled out to me ::blush::
- Make sure your device's syncing software is installed (for my TAB8.9, that was Kies)
- Install the Android SDK
- Connect your tablet with USB cable
- Make sure your tablet is in USB Debug Mode: Settings -> Developer options
- Open a command window, and go to the platform-tools directory of the SDK
- type: adb kill-server
- type: adb devices
You should see something like:
* daemon not running. starting it now on port <port number> *
* daemon started successfully *
list of devices attached
<serial number> device
- Open Unity, and set the path to the Android SDK: Edit -> Preferences
- Exit Unity
- Install the Unity Remote application on your tablet
- Launch Unity
- Hit Play
- most important -> BE AMAZED!!
You may have to stick lines 6 & 7 in a batch file and have it run every time you start your computer, or right before loading Unity ... not 100% sure on that part yet :\
==[ UPDATE ]====
It turns out, yes, you do need to restart the service every time you plug in your tablet and fire up Unity. Incontinent, but not too much of a thorn. Just make a batchfile, then make sure to:
- Plug in Tablet
- Run Batchfile
- Fire up Unity
This is what my batchfile looks like:
@echo off echo ==[ Killing Server ]==== adb kill-server echo ==[ Restarting server and checking for connected devices ]==== adb devices pause
I participated in Round 8 of NPR's Three-Minute Fiction contest. If you follow the link, you'll notice I did not win. A shameful day for House Freeman.
If you're unfamiliar with the contest... <nutshell> they give you a sentence, and this sentence must be the first sentence of your story, and the story must be under 600 words. </nutshell>
It would have been against the rules of the contest for me to share my story before it was over, but now that a winner has been chosen, I don't think there's any harm in posting my story here. I hope you enjoy it.
"She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally decided to walk through the door."
The sentence hung in the air, as the silence that followed made Dave increasingly uncomfortable – his hands still poised at the end of the “picture it” gesture he used as he rattled it off. The Committee members looked at one another uncomfortably, with darting glances to the Chairman trying to gauge his reaction. Dave, feeling the increasing weight of the silence, felt his smile and expression begin to creep from one of proud self-confidence, to more of a tense anxiety.
The Chairman briefly tilted his hands up on the table and asked, “Is that it?”
Dave lowered his hands, shifting his weight from foot to foot awkwardly. He tried to smile and sound enthusiastic again, despite the tone in the Chairman’s voice creating a sea of doubt in his mind, “Well, yeah. See, it’s totally open – both the front and the end are a mystery: Who is this woman? What is she reading? Why is her movement through the door described as ‘finally?’ Writers can take this in just about any direction!”
More silence, save a single uncomfortable cough from somewhere in the room.
“Uh huh.” The Chairman picked up his tablet and started typing; his expression a mixture of annoyed and uncaring.
Dave looked to the other members of the Committee for some kind of reassurance and support, but found only active attempts to avoid his gaze. After a few moments of this, Dave clears his throat with some trepidation, and attempts to state his case again, “Mr. Chairman, sir, if you would…”
But he is cut off. The Chairman puts his tablet down with enough force for the sound of it hitting the table to stop Dave mid sentence.
“No, Mr. Francis, I will not. This committee prides itself on the fostering of literacy in general, and creative writing in particular. This year’s contest was to be something special – to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Reestablishment of Order.” He pauses for emphases. The rest of the committee begins to shrink in their chairs. “All you, and your team, had to do was develop a seed sentence that the populace could then use as the start of their submissions, and you have the audacity to walk into this room and hand me this piece of CRAP,” his fist meets the table with sufficient force to launch the closest water classes an inch into the air, “and expect me to put my stamp of approval on it.”
Dave has taken the pallor of a ghost. Would he but take on the ethereal qualities of one as well, he would have sunk through the floor at that very moment.
The Chairman makes a quick motion with his arm, and barks at the poor man standing at the opposite end of the table, “Get out.”
A last plea; a final attempt at redemption, “But sir…”
“Y… Yes sir.” Dave leaves the room, the heavy weight of embarrassment and shame pressing down on his shoulders. As masked officers of the Order Guard take step beside him, leading him to what very well may be his final moments of life, David Francis hears the echoed voice of the Chairman addressing the rest of the committee.
“Okay, so now what. Does anyone have any GOOD ideas for this year’s National Pride Revitalization contest?”
Zombies are undead, with non functional internal organs. They do not feel pain, so fire wont make them stop lumbering towards you. They will continue to walk around until the fire destroys their mobility - which could take upwards of 10 minutes depending on their level of decomp.
Lighting a zombie on fire only creates a mobile torch, lighting everything in his path on fire, potentially creating a burning inferno for you and your once-survivor friends.
Save your fire for the disposal of their re-dead corpses ... or, if you're secure in the stability of your building, perhaps as grenades on the mass of zombies on the street. But only with forethought and caution!!
Remember: The only thing worse then an undead hord trying to eat your brain is an undead horde trying to eat your brain WHILE THEY ARE ON FIRE!
Maybe you've heard of the Alternate-Day Diet, or the Fast-and-Feast Diet, or maybe you've heard me call it my Salad-and-Cake Diet™. It's had quite a lot of press over the years, so it's safe to say this isn't exactly a fad.
The basic premise is this: You spend one day consuming as few calories as possible, and then the next day you can eat whatever you'd like.
There are two major eye-brow raisers with this system. First, if you are prone to eating disorders, this diet should be avoided. It can exacerbate an existing, or underlying, disorder. Proceed in solid self awareness, and with caution. Second, there is no official call for any kind of exercise.
Why do I like this diet? It's super easy to follow, and has actually made me eat better. Here's the thing... by only being able to eat every other day, after about a week and a half, on my eating days, I started craving things like celery, lima beans, cabbage, and pop corn (that last one isn't such a shock.. I love pop corn ;P ). Apparently, with only a limited number of calories coming in, my body began sending stronger signals to my brain for what it really needed.
Don't get me wrong, I still look at cookies and cakes and lick my lips, but it's with less ferocity than when I was just eating whenever I wanted to. When your body dons't know when your next meal is coming, it will make sure you crave what it needs.
Okay, so.. here's what I've been doing over the past few weeks:
Exercise: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday - Take Wednesday off to rest. I do primarily strength training / toning exercises. 30 - 45 minutes, each day focusing on two different areas.
Micro-Cal Days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday - Protein shake in the morning after working out (180-200 kcal), and a light meal at night. The whole day shouldn't total more than 500 kcal.
Normal Days: Called Normal Day because that's what it is. Do NOT use this as an excuse to binge eat. Normal Days are the days you just eat as you normally would. Have your cake and eat it too ;P In my personal experience, I started to eat even better on these days as my brain was more in tune with my body's needs (I suppose I should say "individual results may vary").
Weekends: Because I try to keep the work-week as routine as possible, having a true alternating-day schedule is impossible for me. Weekends, therefore, are days I try to use my best judgment. Saturdays and Sundays usually find me consuming less than on a Normal day, but much more than on a Micro-Cal day. But if there's a party to go to, or it's one of those rainy days where you just sit on the couch all day, meh, i'm not going to worry too much about it. Just be sensible and conscious of what you're eating. As you begin to recognize your body's cravings better throughout this process, the weekends will become semi-splurge days
And there you go. That's it. In the first two weeks of following this plan, I lost the 10 Christmas pounds I've been struggling to get rid of. Keep your protein high as you work out with this plan, and you should be fine.
There a many theories as to why this kind of diet not only works, but also helps in the regulation of all kinds of things (like blood sugar and cholesterol), but those are of secondary concerns for me. I just like how I'm eating better, losing weight, and not feeling deprived.