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All posts for the month November, 2012

Game Maker DRM is EvilCross Posted from Divine Knight Gaming.

I will never understand why companies continue to insist on using DRM. It makes absolutely no sense to punch your paying customers in the gut, call them pirates and tell them to stop stealing your stuff. These are your paying customers. They paid you. Why would you insist on treating them like thieves?

DRM is absolutely one of the most evil inventions in software. If you read anything I write here or elsewhere, you will know how I feel about DRM and companies that use it. I will never use it in any game I develop nor would I be willing to deal with DRM as a consumer. As a Linux user, I have to deal with the fallout from DRM on a most everyday basis. I am not legally allowed to watch DVDs on my computer. I couldn’t until recently watch Netflix on my computer. (I only can because some very clever developers not affiliated with Netflix made it possible.) And many games will not run properly even through Wine because the DRM is incompatible. All these things have soured me to any company that uses it.

That is why the recent news of Game Maker’s absolutely disgusting DRM implementation has me gagging. YoYo games go so far beyond what most companies do with DRM that they are beyond redemption. This company has designed their software that if it so much as gets a hint of you being a pirate, they will permanently vandalize your game. Seriously. They will force images of the Jolly Roger onto all your sprites in a bid to shame you into… what… paying? Paying for software you already paid for? That is the kicker. The people getting hit by this “retribution” paid for the software. They are not pirates.

The problems with this DRM seem to be so bad that the only way to recover from it is to completely uninstall Game Maker, delete every last trace of the program from your computer and reinstall. That is absolutely unacceptable. So not only is the developer out the time it take to clean up their computer and reinstall the software, they also have to spend days possibly weeks restoring their artwork. For what? They privilege of paying? I am sorry. That is evil.

To make matters worse, according to one former paying customer, they have absolutely horrid customer service that will at the earliest possible moment, accuse you of piracy. Then they will treat you like crap and silence you if you try to complain. No. That is wrong on every level.

I had long ago made the decision to not use Game Maker in my game development work. Primarily because it lacks support for Linux. But this seals the deal for me. I will never recommend this tool for any game developer, ever. I will never willingly submit anyone to such destructive and abusive developers. No one deserves to have their hard work destroyed in that way.

It doesn’t even matter that YoYo has promised to strip out that particular action from the DRM. Why? Because they will continue to rely on other just as bad if passive attacks on you the paying customers. It is time that this company felt the pains that come with such tactics. They need to lose business. Those using the tool, need to stop. There are plenty of other great tools available that you could use. I have talked about several. There are many more that I have not talked about.

We just need to stop supporting DRM using companies altogether. If they insist on treating paying customers like trash and thieves, they do not deserve our business. They deserve to fail. That is all there is to it.

Making Games With Python and PygameCross Posted from Divine Knight Gaming.

In my efforts to get game programming further under way, I have been busy going back to school so to speak. I have been in web development for so long, I have all but lost my touch in adapting to new programming styles and projects. Since most of what I have done over the last 5 years has been almost nothing but form handling , I have all but forgotten what it means to program something as dynamic as a game. So I have decided to not only work on Demon’s Hex via Actionscript and Flixel, but explore a new language and library as well.

In deciding what language to take up, I stumbled across a new venture called Udacity. This excellent online curriculum for computer science (and more too) has been a great resource for me. They have courses on Algorithms, AI, Physics and more. All the programming courses are based on the Python scripting language. but the processes and ideas are universal.

As I spent time taking the Intro to Computer Science course, I have grown a fondness for Python and what it can do. The potential for such a language is excellent. As I grew to love it, I decided to see what it has to offer for a game developer. Knowing the game development scene and hobby, I figured that someone out there has already put Python to the use of making games and I was not disappointed.

Enter Pygame. This game engine seems to be a powerful engine for making any number of 2D games. The library, much like the nature of Python itself, is cross platform for Linux, Mac and Windows. There are also many people out there working to port the games to Android and Iphones. So it could be a great engine for what we have planned once Demon’s Hex is done. Shoot, it might also be what we use to bring Demon’s Hex out of the browser and onto phones.

There is also a really great and free book on using the Pygame library. I am always a sucker for books. Of course it is only free if you don’t mind getting the PDF version. The paper book will cost some money, which is fine by me. I have run through the first couple of chapters and played around with it. The book is a good introduction to Pygame. However, you should be familiar with Python before you dive into this book, which is where Udacity comes in. Or you could also look at the Invent with Python book by the same author, which introduces the reader to Python..

Beyond 2D, there are also plenty of options to make 3D games with Python. For example, the popular and free 3D modeling software Blender uses Python in its game engine. Another engine I have looked into is Panda3d. This one isn’t as full featured as I would like, but it does hold a lot of promise. I am sure there is more out there.

I can’t wait to really dive into Python programming on a much larger scale.