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Thread: Releasing a game in Steam - About .INI files, location, encryption.

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    Releasing a game in Steam - About .INI files, location, encryption.

    Hey!

    I'm going to release my game in Steam October 1st.

    Alright, currently I load my dialogues and save my game data in .INI files. Now, it is very easy to modify these files if player so wishes. I was planning to add encryption to these files but I have not found a good way to do it.
    I'd like to have something simple but efficient, so all the suggestions are more than welcome!

    Another one is that I'm storing all the files in app path, it seems simple to have them there. However I'd like to hear if this is going to be a problem for some reason, or should it be good to go? I was thinking all the writing permissions when writing a save data etc.

    Has anyone released in Steam? How does the updates work? Do you need to submit some sort of update or just a new .exe?

    I'd also love to hear how did your game releasing go, anything surprising or things I should take in consideration?

    Thanks already!

    Jesse

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    Try the blowfish encryption extension.

    You can decrypt and INI, modify it or read it, AND re-encrypt it all in the same frame. Just make sure your order of events are correct (ie: De-crypt, read/write/modify, encrypt.)

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    Hello!

    Thanks for the reply!
    I actually played around with blowfish object and I managed to encrypt and decrypt my .INI files to certain level. At some point it started to make my dialogue files empty. Also I'm a bit worried if the player force-quits the game when it's encrypting/decrypting. That would totally kill the files. O_O

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    One approach you could take is not encrypting the INI files, and then mentioning that players can make story mods for the game on the official website or mentioning something else along those lines somewhere that if you want to. You could even make a tool specifically for it.

    Just one approach, though. If you don't want people to be able to do that, though, then you could always try embedding the INI files in the EXE file itself using the binary data feature of CF2.5. Not sure if it works right now, though, since I've come across a bug where it doesn't seem to work.

    If it doesn't work, then you could perhaps embed some encrypted INI files in the EXE, and then, instead of simply reading the embedded INI files, you could extract them when the game is started (there is an action for that if I remember correctly), and then decrypt them as necessary. That way, you won't have to worry about the files getting destroyed in the encryption/decryption process if the game is closed early, since they will be replaced with a non-damaged encrypted version whenever the game is started.

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    Hi Mr. Frog!

    That sounds like a plan. I'll try playing around with binary data and see if I can make it work. Though I would still need to encrypt the save data file.

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    Here's my approaching to INI files and keeping them safe... I don't!

    Years ago I use to spend HOURS/DAYS/WEEKS/MONTHS worrying over this issue! I have a game, the players data is saved in an INI file but it is so easy to edit. How do I prevent this!?! In the end something dawned on me... Here I was wasting HOURS/DAYS/WEEKS/MONTHS trying to prevent the player from editing their save game file, and for what...??? If a player opens their save game INI file in Notepad and gives themselves 100 lives or a 1,000,000 health or whatever, who are they cheating?
    Are they cheating you, the person who made the game? No.
    Are they cheating other players? If you game is not some sort of multiplayer game then no.
    Who are they cheating...? Themselves.

    So there you are, ready to release a game on Steam, so I'm assuming they will pay you for the game, so why are you worried? They've paid you, they've got the game, if they want to cheat their way through a game they paid for, then why are you committing so much time to stopping them when you could be putting that time to making the game !!

    I no longer look for any way to protect the players save game file. It's a raw basic text file and they can open it in Notepad and tamper away with it to their hearts content, because at the end of the day, the only person to lose out on playing your game by cheating their way through it, is the player who cheats by editing the INI file .

    Best of luck with your game. I'd actually be interested in hearing how you got your game on steam more then how you protected your INI file.
    KnightTrek Productions
    http://www.knighttrek.com

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    If you do want to go down the path of encryption, I recommend the Binary object. After messing around with the Blowfish extension for a while along with the INI++ encryption, I discovered Binary has blowfish encryption, compression, and loads much faster than using an edit box to save/load.

    I've created a binary quickload example in the examples section. You then can load ini data into ini++ as a string from the binary object, and export it as a string back to the binary object.

    Paul has a good point in that most games don't need to protect the user because they'd only be cheating themselves... and modders love the idea of open files to play around with. Sometimes encyption is necessary though, if you need to stop players from cheating an online scoreboard, or if you're storing personal information such as passwords that you don't want hackers to steal by simply copying the data files.

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    Paul has a point there. But messing with save data could break the game. Though I agree it's not on my responsibility if player chooses to do so.

    Thanks Ryan, I'll check that out!

    Another one crossed my mind is ESRB Ratings. I have billion things going on at the moment, so I have not read about them yet. I will, but if someone has any info about how to use them (do you need to submit your game somewhere, or can you add their "rating-logos" to your game) or how does it play out?

    Thanks for all the great answers, testing and using Google to solve these things would take a big chunk of my working time!

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    Honestly, I'm in the camp that says if the player paid for a game they should be able to modify these kinds of things should they wish.

    PROVIDED, of course:

    1) That this won't give a competitive advantage to them over other players via multiplayer online (Dark Souls, Diablo, etc)
    2) That if they screw around with the data files and wreck their games they don't come crybabyin' back to the developer demanding this, that, and the other.

    Personally, I hate modifying game data myself as it ruins the enjoyment and / or point of playing the game in the first place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_Boland View Post
    Here's my approaching to INI files and keeping them safe... I don't!

    Years ago I use to spend HOURS/DAYS/WEEKS/MONTHS worrying over this issue! I have a game, the players data is saved in an INI file but it is so easy to edit. How do I prevent this!?! In the end something dawned on me... Here I was wasting HOURS/DAYS/WEEKS/MONTHS trying to prevent the player from editing their save game file, and for what...??? If a player opens their save game INI file in Notepad and gives themselves 100 lives or a 1,000,000 health or whatever, who are they cheating?
    Are they cheating you, the person who made the game? No.
    Are they cheating other players? If you game is not some sort of multiplayer game then no.
    Who are they cheating...? Themselves.

    So there you are, ready to release a game on Steam, so I'm assuming they will pay you for the game, so why are you worried? They've paid you, they've got the game, if they want to cheat their way through a game they paid for, then why are you committing so much time to stopping them when you could be putting that time to making the game !!

    I no longer look for any way to protect the players save game file. It's a raw basic text file and they can open it in Notepad and tamper away with it to their hearts content, because at the end of the day, the only person to lose out on playing your game by cheating their way through it, is the player who cheats by editing the INI file .

    Best of luck with your game. I'd actually be interested in hearing how you got your game on steam more then how you protected your INI file.
    Damnit, you stole my thunder big-time lol. Good post!

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