Skull & Crossbones Vandalize Studio Games

Skull and crossbones as seen in GameMaker Studio

A recent update to Game Maker Studio has left many developers confused and frustrated after an anti-piracy system went haywire.

Those who use a legally obtained version of Studio have had game resources, such as sprites, branded with an image of a skull and crossbones. The resources are permanently edited, rendered useless.

Mike Dailly urged people to not assume those experiencing the issue were using pirated copies. He also speculated that the new delta updater could be the cause of the problem.

Although staff have encouraged users to run virus scans on their computers to ensure the program was not tampered with, reports of the issue have become more widespread suggesting it is an official bug and not an anomaly.

No official fix has been released, however some have managed to fix the problem by uninstalling Game Maker and deleting folders in %appdata% and %localdata%. The solution can be found here.

People who have recently updated Studio should make immediate backup copies of their projects.

Update: This issue has since been fixed in a recent patch.

What do you think?


Leave a Reply
  1. this wouldnt even be that hard to patch from a crack perspective,
    just place a breakpoint on file writes, and wait for it to trigger,
    itll try overwrite all your shit and then break execution, then you can just patch out the write calls..

  2. Andrew McCluskey :
    The affected public builds are .666 and .676. If you are not using either of these, you won’t encounter this. Public versions beginning with .690 removed this piece of DRM, and versions below .666 were unaffected.

    I’m using v1.1.711 r20951 and facing the problem right now.

  3. Same thing here. I bought my first copy of Game Maker to move from the GM 8.1 Lite to a GM Studio Professional Edition + HTML5. I need to finish my game this week and know this is on my way. Probably I will have to continue using the free GM Lite and losing the opportunity of using the Professional version.

    • Just to clarify, for anyone worried about getting this issue:

      The affected public builds are .666 and .676. If you are not using either of these, you won’t encounter this. Public versions beginning with .690 removed this piece of DRM, and versions below .666 were unaffected.

  4. Congratulations, guys. I was thinking seriously about buying the Pro version. Now, I never will. And I will make sure neither do any of my friends, ever.

    When will developers understand that DRM ONLY HURTS THE CUSTOMER?. DRM never ever EVER stops pirates. That is not an “interesting opinion”. That is a FACT. And the fact that you think otherwise only shows how little idea you have about how this industry works and/or how little you care about your customers.

    Any lawyer that defends himself is an idiot. Any developer that uses DRM without a publisher forcing them to do so deserves to go broke.

    In breaking the trust your customers put on you and destroying god knows how many hours they put in the games they were making with your app, I certainly hope you pay the price. You deserve nothing less.

    Especially when you won’t even remove your idiotic DRM even now. Way to go, guys.

  5. Seems the only people you managed to tick off are people who bothered to pay, and Judging by the results from a search on a popular torrent search site it would seem the pirates are undeterred. The only people punished by your DRM are honest people, and there seems to be a couple of these stories about DRM gone wrong lately.
    Anyway, I hope your little war on pirates was worth destroying your own customers work.
    Serious who thought this was a good idea?

    • Hello, sorry I couldn’t give you an accurate date but there isn’t enough known about the bug yet to establish exactly when.

      It is believed the bug started since v 1.666 and affects subsequent versions. I can confirm version 1.622 is fine.

      A new update, v 1.1.690 has removed the copy protection system– fresh update I’ve just noticed.

  6. Affects their own tutorials in the FREE Steam version:

    It is is also crashing a lot, especially when I try to change the bloody obj_apple properties in the 2nd tutorial(Win XP). It wasn’t 2 days ago, well, at least not in the 1st tutorial.

    Honestly, glad I didn’t bite in Steam sale, I’ll probably wait until dev decides this kinda dumb invasive DRM is not worth it.

  7. We’ve ruled out the updater, but are removing currently this particular check just in case. We’re still not 100% certain why it’s effecting some users, but it may be that checks are failing because a virus scanner or something is getting in the way, so we’re trying to accommodate this.

    I totally understand that those who have paid for GameMaker and are getting this are feeling very upset by the whole matter, and I can only apologise for the problems. As to why it’s in there should be reasonably clear. GameMaker has traditionally been one of the most pirated programs around, and it’s simply not right that some pay good money for it, while others simply pirate it. We try hard to make it as smooth an experience as possible for paying users, but are constantly fighting pirates understanding of the protection systems.

    We’d LOVE to be able to remove the protection completely, but we know that vast numbers would simply copy it if it was that easy. There are many levels to the current protection system, and while many are visible like this, there are also many hidden so that we can always tell when a final game was created with a crack.

    We expect an update to go out tomorrow to remove this protection, and will move away from the “destructive” protection like this, to more passive methods to help protect innocent users who through no fault of their own, somehow trigger it.

    As to why we don’t just switch into FREE mode, this is because crackers can simply activate features while the program is running, so doing this serves no purpose other than to annoy paying customers.

    So again, I whole heartedly apologise for the issues, and we’re working hard to get a fix out as soon as we can.

    • “it’s simply not right that some pay good money for it, while others simply pirate it.”

      It’s also not right that some pay good money and get branded as criminals, but there you go.

    • Mike Daily, you do realize that issues like these are why people don’t want to pay for your software in the first place? Almost makes me welcome pirated copies. If I was to pirate Gamemaker Studio, you know what I wouldn’t get?

      Prompts to put in my licence repeatedly after I bought it legally.
      Updates that never download and thus never update.
      Anti-piracy software that just fucks up the game after months of working on it.

      One crack could just erase all that hassle, THE HASSLE YOU JUST ADMITTED THAT YOU REFUSE TO GET RID OF??? And you know damn well someone WILL DO THAT.

      You would LOVE to remove the protection? You know what I would LOVE to do? Never use GameMaker Studio products again. Fuck Studio. You had absolutely no business in releasing ANY VERSION of it if you knew it had this many bugs and to make people pay 100s of dollars/euros for it and all you have for them is a BS apology on a blog is crap. Someone should sue Yoyo games out of existence.

  8. I’m still running the version of game maker before this update was released. I never updated. Should I wait to update so they can fix this issue and I don’t get strewed. I have a ton of backups of my game anyway so its not that big of deal for me.

    • I recommend you do not update. There is no need, it will do more harm than good. Wait until YoYo releases a fix, then observe how other users get along with it. If its all good, go for it.

      Updates are regular at this stage. People who develop for iOS or Android tend to skip every second update because it also requires the runner to be reinstalled on their devices (which is a pain). A long time Studio user once said “things will work today, and break tomorrow” when discussing updates.

      There is no harm in waiting; in this case, its much safer to wait ESPECIALLY if you need to export your software.

  9. Why does GM even have this counter-piracy measure built in? If something goes wrong (which it has) it’s very bad for the people who’ve actually paid.

    if GM can detect a pirate copy why doesn’t it just limit usage to “Lite” features until the person can confirm they got it legitimately?

    • I agree, people have been talking about anti-piracy measures like this being ineffective for pirates and really just causing trouble for legitimate users. Its an interesting opinion, hard to argue at this stage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Windows Phone 8 Module Officially Released

25% Off Construct 2 for GameMaker: Studio Owners