Originally Published on Game Politics.
Popular indie game making tool, Game Maker, has a bit of a DRM problem. Over the weekend, some users noticed that the tool was permanently vandalizing their sprites with images of a skull.
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, overlayed with an image of a skull and crossbones. The resources are permanently edited, rendered useless.
In response to these complaints, YoYo Games has decided to remove this particular action from the many things its current DRM does when it detects a pirated copy of the software. However, the DRM and the many more ‘passive’ things it does will remain.
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.
While YoYo states that it would love to remove DRM completely, it feels that because it is targeted by pirates so much, it cannot do so. It feels that it would not be able to retain the same level of sales without it. This is an unfortunate decision as many game developers, such as CD Projekt, have found that without DRM, it is still possible to make money.
For now, YoYo advises those who have this problem to uninstall the application and delete all the data and registry files and then reinstall.
The current solution is to uninstall, delete both %appdata%\GameMaker-Studio and %localappdata%\GameMaker-Studio, delete the GameMaker-Studio registry key, scan your machine in case its a virus, and then reinstall.
What this DRM will do to Game Maker’s reputation among indie developers is yet to be seen. Few if any people would willingly use software that would vandalize their game projects. Hopefully, those affected by this DRM will be able to properly recover their projects without losing much if any of their progress.