Garry's Mod Pirates Get Stung

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Garry's Mod Pirates Get Stung

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With some sneaky programming and a little bit of trickery, the creator of Garry's Mod flushed out a bunch of unlucky pirates and then dropped an epic banhammer on them.

In the early afternoon on April 12, Garry Newman, the man behind the Source-powered Garry's Mod sandbox game, asked on Twitter if anyone was having trouble shading polygon normals. It was an innocent-sounding question about the sort of error that might pop up after the release of a new patch or expansion, but in this case Newman was asking about it not because he thought it might be an issue but because he knew it was. After all, he put it there on purpose.

Newman apparently enabled the error in the game in a way that only affected pirated copies, but that was only half the battle. Included with the error message was a large number in brackets which to most people probably looked like some kind of debug code but was in fact the unique steam ID number belonging to the person reporting the problem. A simple cross-reference of numbers culled from complaints with a list of accounts which had legitimately purchased the game quickly outed those who'd pirated it, leaving them with not only a non-functioning copy of Garry's Mod but also a perma-ban from the Steam forums.

Not everyone is fan of Garry's Sting, naturally; some forum commenters have expressed concern that the "exploit" could be abused or mistakenly target innocent gamers, while others are simply put off by the sheer unfairness of not being allowed to play a game they didn't pay for. I, on the other hand, find it all terribly amusing, and the pained squalling of those who got busted while seeking technical support for a game they illegally downloaded is just sweet, sugary icing on the cake of hilarity.

Garry's Mod, by the way, costs ten bucks and can be purchased via Steam.

Source: Gamepron

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BAN
...Hammer Time!
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That is fantastic. Whose pathetic enough to pirate a $10 game anyway?

I support this but do think that Steam should allow for some sort of review of cases where gamers claim they had a legit copy and were mistakenly banned.

I never even liked Garrys Mod but this is kind of funny. I love how some of the people got mad because they can't play their pirated game. Epic QQing shall ensue!

Damn, now if every developer could roll that out.

Catalysing error reports from people who were proven to have not bought the game, brilliant.

Truly Genius.

This is hilariously awesome. Reminds me of the time the pirate was wondering why he couldn't glide in Arkham Asylum, and it turned out it only affects pirates. Funny stuff.

dagens24:
I support this but do think that Steam should allow for some sort of review of cases where gamers claim they had a legit copy and were mistakenly banned.

The thing is, its in the coding to where if its not pirated...they wont have the problem. and you can only get it on steam sooo lol. I guess If you contact them and you did buy it...they have a record of it right there so they would be fine with giving you your account back (and knowing valve probably 5 games with it) but still...sounds like a rare case. GOOD JOB BIG GUY..YOU SIR ARE QUITE THE SMART

Looks like they all just jump on..
*Puts on sunglasses*
The Ban Wagon..
YEAAAAH!

My question is what exactly is stopping these guys from pirating it again? They obviously have no compunctions against it.

Lol, i've read about it 10 minutes before this news came out:)

Also, Garry has just won.

my god they don't make pirates like they use to do they? when would you ever seek help from official sources when you have an illegal copy. thats just plain stupid.

Well in any case HAH! that is brilliant! Good work weeding out them idiots XD

Curious, do they get their steam account banned or just on the forums? Cause its really not a big deal if its just the forums <.<

Read this earlier. I had a really good laugh about all of this. Simply loved it!

And as usual, small-time game devs prove that you don't need intrusive DRM to root out pirates. Just a bit of ingenuity.

Gotta love stings. It reminds me of the Black Friday, Sunday and Monday stings executed by various cable companies against cable pirates.

Oh, I love it when developers get pirates like this.

I mean, I stopped playing Garry's Mod a long time ago because I got bored of it, but this is pretty epic.

Also;

Andy Chalk:
Not everyone is fan of Garry's Sting, naturally; some forum commenters have expressed concern that the "exploit" could be abused or mistakenly target innocent gamers, while others are simply put off by the sheer unfairness of not being allowed to play a game they didn't pay for.

Some legitimate though unlikely concerns due to how the ban was done, but to the whining pirates;
U MAD!?

Lol. Owned in the face.

Andy Chalk:
Not everyone is fan of Garry's Sting, naturally; some forum commenters have expressed concern that the "exploit" could be abused or mistakenly target innocent gamers, while others are simply put off by the sheer unfairness of not being allowed to play a game they didn't pay for. I, on the other hand, find it all terribly amusing, and the pained squalling of those who got busted while seeking technical support for a game they illegally downloaded is just sweet, sugary icing on the cake of hilarity.

...

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Yeah, there will be some folks to try to make this the next "grand arena" against so-called restrictive DRM practices. This is one of the hidden costs of piracy, though. A lot of time and effort (and thus money) go into technical support for people who didn't even buy the game. It's a fair approach to stopping pirates, and I call it fair for the following reasons:

1. It does not delete or alter the contents of the pirate's computer in any way.
2. The information was not taken. It had to be sent.
3. It specifically targets offenders by parsing out pirated copies.
4. It was double-checked via the unique numerical ID.

This action maintained proper scope, it used non-invasive methods, and it was only carried out after checking for errors.

Of course, you can only spring this trap once. It's not going to stop the more hardcore pirates out there, but that's not the point. Something like this is going to stop the casual or "bandwagon" pirates who pirate games out of convenience.

Love it :3 very nice idea, and yet it's so simple to put an account ID in an error report - even without using it to exclusively target cracked copies, a cross-reference with the steam database for purchases linked to accounts could have caught people reporting issues with games they hadn't bought :)

How easy is it to obtain this ID number? My chief concern is that if someone figures out a way to get SOMEONE ELSE's number, they could fake the message and get that person banned. For example, I don't own Garry's Mod (yet), so if somebody pretended to be me on the Garry's Mod forums, and claimed to have the error message along with my ID, *I* could get in trouble for it.

This strikes me as a very dangerous form of antipiracy.

P.S. Thanks

Gary is bro tier. Suck on that, pirates

That's one sneaky little bastard. Awesome dude, I'm glad he's on our side.

Now that is some clever detective work there. I tip my hat to Garry Newman. Also, those faces are just...just wonderful. XD

Rivers Wells:
That is fantastic. Whose pathetic enough to pirate a $10 game anyway?

The same people who would pirate a 1 cent game.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/100576-Who-Would-Pirate-the-One-Cent-Humble-Indie-Bundle

Andy Chalk:
I, on the other hand, find it all terribly amusing, and the pained squalling of those who got busted while seeking technical support for a game they illegally downloaded is just sweet, sugary icing on the cake of hilarity.

Couldn't agree me. Gary, my hat is tipped in your direction.

This was just pure brilliance.

Epic, I fully support this.

Excellent

*in Dr. Burns voice

While I don't like Gary himself (used to stalk his forums for community mods back in the olden days of gmod) this was both funny and useful and for that I take my hat off to him.

DTWolfwood:
my god they don't make pirates like they use to do they? when would you ever seek help from official sources when you have an illegal copy. thats just plain stupid.

Well in any case HAH! that is brilliant! Good work weeding out them idiots XD

Curious, do they get their steam account banned or just on the forums? Cause its really not a big deal if its just the forums <.<

No, they don't. Steam doesn't use evidence gathered from 3rd parties.

Big kudos to Garry for this one. I love it. I wish this happened more often instead of the kind of crap that EA and Ubisoft routinely pull.

dagens24:
I support this but do think that Steam should allow for some sort of review of cases where gamers claim they had a legit copy and were mistakenly banned.

Problem is, people who had a legit copy didn't get banned in the first place. Check the article again: the problem only occurs in pirate copies, and they already double-checked all the steam ID's to see if the person bought Garry's Mod or not before swinging the banhammer.

Anyone claiming they didn't do anything wrong is full of shit. It's like the Halo Reach rank resets all over again. What's that? You say you didn't cheat and your stats got reset anyway? They already know you cheated, shut up and start over.

qwerty19411:

DTWolfwood:
my god they don't make pirates like they use to do they? when would you ever seek help from official sources when you have an illegal copy. thats just plain stupid.

Well in any case HAH! that is brilliant! Good work weeding out them idiots XD

Curious, do they get their steam account banned or just on the forums? Cause its really not a big deal if its just the forums <.<

No, they don't. Steam doesn't use evidence gathered from 3rd parties.

ah so this amounts to nothing more than a simple slap to the wrist until they find another cracked copy of Garry's mod.

guess its a moral victory XD

I own my copy of Gmod, so I'm fine. Besides...pirating Gmod is just a dick move. It's the best value you'll get out of 10 bucks in gaming. I'm also glad Garry isn't throwing DRM at us.

Covarr:
How easy is it to obtain this ID number? My chief concern is that if someone figures out a way to get SOMEONE ELSE's number, they could fake the message and get that person banned. For example, I don't own Garry's Mod (yet), so if somebody pretended to be me on the Garry's Mod forums, and claimed to have the error message along with my ID, *I* could get in trouble for it.

This strikes me as a very dangerous form of antipiracy.

P.S. Thanks

The person who generated the information had to willingly submit said information. From a technical standpoint that equates to perfect security while from a practical standpoint (as demonstrated with the reality of this case) such a mechanism is clearly open for exploit. For example, one could simply ask for it.

This has made my day, beautiful piece of work. I might have to go buy Garry's Mod now...

(I have been on the fence about it for awhile now)

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