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Thread: what's the best way to provide exclusive content to some but not all players?

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    Volnaiskra's Avatar
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    what's the best way to provide exclusive content to some but not all players?

    So I'm preparing for Spryke's kickstarter in a few weeks, and I'm still tossing up different reward options.

    I'm keen to include some sort of cosmetic in-game reward for kickstarter backers, such as a unique skin or in-game pet, or something like that. But what would be the best way to do this logistically?

    I can think of a few ways, each with potential hassles:

    -give players a secret code that they can enter in-game (though if/when it leaks it'll no longer be exclusive)
    -create some sort of standalone program or file that I send to backers, which flicks a switch in-game
    -have users enter their email address and check on a server if they're eligible for the extra (probably closer to how AAA games do it, but annoying for user and a lot of work for me).

    I'm hoping there's a really good solution I haven't thought of. Suggestions, please!

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    casleziro's Avatar
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    I'm definitely no expert on situations like this, but I believe I know the standard "safe" way this is done: key and server combo. Similar to your third solution:

    -you create a keygen that randomly generates codes for bonuses
    -set up a server that can keep a list of said codes, and modify that list
    -all backers get emailed a key
    -the game connects to your server and compares the key the backer input to all keys on the server. If it finds a match, delete it from the server's list of valid keys, grant backer bonuses in-game.

    The bonus values would probably be best stored in an encrypted array to deter cheaters.


    Definitely not super simple, but if you want real security and no chance of key sharing I don't see any other way. Using a keygen instead of manually recording and comparing emails of every single backer should make things easier on you, but I don't know the specifics of how kickstarter even works.


    Oh, and you could combine this method and your second solution if you think having your backers entering their codes manually would annoy them:

    -send a text file with the key via email instead of just the key
    -your app reads the key from the file and checks the server

    It wouldn't have to be some special thing that way; you could even have your app hide that it does this in a loading frame that's all black or at the title screen.

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    Clicker Fusion 2.5 DeveloperAndroid Export ModuleiOS Export Module

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    I think your third solution would be the best if you're looking for safe and secure. It may be a bit annoying for you, however in my opinion if someone is willing to back your product, they'd have no problem going through an extra step to get the extra if they really wanted it. I'm sure there's other ways to do it, but either email checking or a random keygen/predetermined key checked against a server list would be the best ways, if you chose not to do the email route of course.

    My suggestion is the email route, but whatever fits you and your build best! Good luck with the kickstarter!

  4. #4
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    zip2kx's Avatar
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    A simple way would be to generate a bunch of keys and have it in e.g. an array that comes with the game and the backers get keys from that array. That way you won't need a server side even though in worst case somone could probably hack it and see all the keys.

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    @zip2kx: what would be the purpose of multiple keys in that case, if there's no server side? Wouldn't it be the same if I just send everyone the same identical key? Sorry if I've misunderstood.

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    You must have some sort of online verification. You can avoid a server and manually verify each user with e-mails, but if you have many backers, that could be alot of e-mails... In any case, you would need them to send you some variables that Fusion can retrieve from their system. For Windows runtime you could for instance use the OS object. Then you send them back a code based on those variables that your game will validate to unlock the content. You could also let Fusion generate a random key for them to send to you that is also stored on their computer, but then you must make a system to make it very hard to hack that key.

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    The OS object would be problematic because you wouldn't want their game content locked to that installation of Windows.

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    I think zip2k meant if you generate say, 100 keys, you can then give a unique key to each of 100 different backers. In an encrypted array they'd be moderately safe.

    If backer 1 gets a special in game pet but backer 30 gets a custom skin, you'll need unique keys for them. So you can't just have one key.

    Honestly this is probably the way I'd do it.. the keys may eventually be leaked/cracked, but not before your backer (who obviously will be keen to play right on release) has enjoyed the exclusive experience.

    I also hate online verification as a consumer, it really annoys me when I go to play something I own but I can't because of server issues.

    Finally, many rewards in kickstarters offer some kind of personalised design of something (achievements designed/named by a backer, the backers name on a statue in game, a room where you can talk to digital recreations of the backers etc. ) these can be universal, so you could offer something like this in combination with the exclusive stuff that might one day be hacked.

    Also even with a server check your rewards can be easily cracked, Adobe (and many other) software has a server check on install / boot and cracks are made for them all the time.

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    ok, so you just mean I'd have 1 key per reward type, right?

    OK, I think I am leaning that way too. Less hassle for everyone involved. I think I need to think of this in terms of the 'don't punish paying customers' principle, where you don't want stringent DRM that hurts customers but not pirates.

    Anyway, obviously I won't need to implement any of this stuff for a while yet, when the game is launched. But thanks everyone for helping me think it through and see the options.

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    Have the in game rewards in all versions,some players who were't backers might not like knowing they can't access certain parts of the game,plus having individual versions for each backer or a server would be a pain.
    Try doing something like what shovel knight and undertale did by making a level dedicated to the backers or a end game mini game with their names.

    https://youtu.be/wAk1TuwOT88?t=1m9s
    Pixel portraits of the backers.123 backers paid $200.

    https://youtu.be/np_OCZ5LV1k?t=4m4s
    End credits mini game.99 backers paid $25.

    Also if you want some backer reward recommendations than-
    Ost
    Beta testing
    Artbook pdf
    Desktop wallpapers
    Posters
    cds
    Design Npc,Enemys,banners,mini boss,secret boss
    Face in game

    Make sure you don't have many physical rewards because it might be too costly and ultimately not worth it.

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