April 5, 2008
You may have noticed that despite all the talk of decompilers elsewhere recently GameMaker Blog has remained a decompiler free zone. Well, I can’t contain myself any longer so here are a few questions explaining what the situation is.
What is the decompiler?
At the end of January a program was released that enables anyone who has it to decompile executable files created with GameMaker versions 5.3a, 6, 6.1 and 7. The original resources, scripts and objects programmed into the game are retrieved and organised as they would be if you were editing the game. In effect this is a .exe to .gmd/.gm6/.gmk converter.
Why do some people see this a problem?
Many people weren’t too happy at the release of the decompiler. YoYo Games weren’t happy because it shows that the security on their product has been breached and the authors of the decompiler have breached their EULA. Some users of GameMaker fear that their games will be decompiled, their resources and code stolen and that the game could possibly be passed off by someone else as their own work. The chances of this happening to your game are very slim, I am not aware of any games that have been released where the authors have been accused of decompiling a previously made game.
Can anything be done to protect my game?
At the GMC many people [1, 2, 3] have come up with programs which they claim will protect your executable GameMaker files. So far all of them have not been able to live up to their claims, as most of them simply compress the .exe and uncompress it (to its unprotected form) before running it.
Will my game ever be 100% safe?
The simple answer is No. Now hackers have seen that it is possible to decompile GameMaker games chances are they will develop a solution to any anti-decompiling measures that are introduced.
What are YoYo Games doing?
Good question. Apart from “Just don’t do it or you’ll get into trouble” and a threat to take action against those who wrote the decompiler it doesn’t look like YYG are doing much. They promised “we do our best to make sure this can’t happen with future releases of Game Maker AND the website.“, yet no patch has been released almost 2 months after the decompiler was released.
What should I do?
- Firstly don’t panic. It is unlikely that someone will steal your program.
- Don’t believe these so-called ‘decompiler protectors’. All released so far do not work.
- If you are concerned contact YoYoGames and ask them why they still haven’t released a patch or a new version of GameMaker 2 months after the decompiler was released.
Initial source of news: Decompiler announcement at gmnews