Garry’s Mod Outwits Pirates, Bans

By Jim Rossignol on April 13th, 2011 at 9:23 am.

The pirates were tied to balloons and released into the atmosphere
Unfortunately-named news site Gamepron is reporting that Mr Garry Newman, creator of Garry’s Mod, has gone and done something clever: he introduced an error to his game, an error which only affects pirates. It was a trap! Said pirates even turned up on the G-Mod forums to discuss why their game didn’t work. Reporting the error even revealed their Steam id. Hilarity ensued.

More of this sort of thing, Internet. (Even if it is basically pretty sinister.)

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184 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    The problem with these sort of schemes is that just as games are bugged, so are sometimes the code that detects if a copy is pirated or not. This leads to legitimate paying customers getting locked out of their game, or even having their accounts suspended.

    But when it works, yeah, it’s hilarious how outraged the pirates get.

    Speaking of DRM, I’ve heard Dragon Age: Origins PC DRM servers have been down for a couple of days, so paying customers can’t play the game. Pirated versions work fine though! Worth a chuckle, if you are in a morbid mood….

    • Baboonanza says:

      It works in this case because of the ability to cross-check Steam ids with those that have legitimately aquired the game, so there should be close to 0 error rate.

    • Tei says:

      Yep.
      The clever thing here is that theres are a double check. Using the provided SteamID, can confirm if the poster have the game or not. So this work as … “self denounce”. People posting these messages are flagging thenselves as pirates, so is easier to check than after the fact.
      Is this combination of “I have this game”, “My id is X” and “player with id X don’t have buy the game”.
      So while this type of systems are almost always flawed, don’t seems the case here.
      —–
      update:
      Uh.. after reading a GMod thread about the topic. Seems there are a few false positives. So the tecnical part “failed” flagging people. But the human part (Garry) correctly flagged only the evil people. So the combination human+machine worked here, even after the machine part failing.

      update:
      I sacrificed brevity in the name of correctness.

    • Gnoupi says:

      In this case, there was indeed a false positive, which was fixed. Hopefully the ban is not automatic, but since the message is exposing the steam id, it is easy to check the list of games the person owns, before any measure.

      edit: ok, I’m late.

    • Lorc says:

      I was worried about that too – but in this case it looks like there was a safety measure.

      When the user outs themselves on the forums, the error code is actually their steam ID. This way they can check whether that steam account owns Gmod legitimately before dropping the hammer.

    • Dominic White says:

      Yeah, exactly – if you have their Steam ID, you can see straight away if they’ve bought the game. If they’re reporting problems with it, despite the game not being on their account, we’re talking about a vanishingly small chance (and probably a flat 0) that they’re not a scurrilous pirate.

    • Premium User Badge

      Fede says:

      There’s also the possibility that someone wanted to be a jerk and used another person’s id to get him banned :P

    • Schiraman says:

      You’re right about the problems with the Dragon Age DRM servers – half my saves refused to load at the weekend, and those that did load had DLC items vanish from my inventory without any explanation.

      Nice work EA. Anyone still think they’re any better than Ubisoft or Activision?

    • Archonsod says:

      One unscheduled outage and you’re baaawing already?

      Can’t speak for Activision since I’ve never actually owned any of their games, but bear in mind Ubi is a company who will happily schedule weekly maintenance on multiplayer servers to occur on a Saturday.

    • gorgol says:

      There’s also the possibility that someone wanted to be a jerk and used another person’s id to get him banned Indeed… Not amused by the DRM or the article.

      There’s always ways around it and in this case its open to abuse… So in other words its pointless and harmful.

    • Milky1985 says:

      If the ID’s for the pirarted ones are randomly generated (peopel posting on the forums will start doing that “for lolz”), if it gets banned it could ban a legit player who does not yet have the game, ironically stopping them from getting it. Or worst case scenario, could get a full steam ban because of it and lose all of there games. I assume there will be some proper investigations going on if they do throw bans around.
      Nothing to stop my steamID being randomly generated, VERY small chance (one in however meany steam users there are) but still there! Now its been reveled
      [EDIT] Also now if someone does have a false postive, as happened (and happened with steam , remember the whole COD4 VAC fisaco when legit people got banned but everyone replied with “you cheater”?) people have to wade throgh 100’s of “you sodding pirate” posts to try to get info on it. While tis a fun idea, it does have side effects
      As an extra note, enever played garry’s mod, don’t have it, don’t know anyone who had it. Admit its a fun way to catch pirates but again, they need to consider that the dectection is NOT infalible (imo same goes for valve and there “no response” for VAC, again never cheated but working with computers i know that nothing is 100%)

    • Baboonanza says:

      Do you know how big a 64-bit number is? The chance of randomly getting another players id is something like:

      (# of Steam users) / 18,446,744,073,709,551,616

      vanishingly small in other words.

    • Meneth says:

      It’s not that hard to get someone’s Steam ID:
      http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/SteamID#Steam_ID_as_a_Steam_Community_ID
      The community ID is visible in plain sight as part of the URL to a community account, unless the user has changed it.

    • JustOneWay says:

      Presumably there is added security in the check, from being able to cross check the community posters ID against the posted steam ID. If they are not linked (because someone has attempted to forge the steamID “for teh lulz”) it should be easy to spot that something fishy is going on.

    • Wulf says:

      I rarely ever say this, but… loooooool

      This is so open for abuse it’s not even funny, and some folks I’ve talked to who’re very in tune with this sort of thing pretty much agree.

      @JustOneWay

      Forum IDs can in no way be linked to Steam IDs. You can actually register for a forum account without even having a Steam account. So it would be amazingly easy to get the Steam ID of someone who doesn’t have Garry’s Mod yet, create a forum account, and then falsely indicate them.

      This is going to get funny, fast. I’m glad I do have a copy of Garry’s Mod, because if they’re still taking error reports now that this information is public, then a lot of people are about to get screwed.

      Not only that, but they’re only going to catch the dumb pirates, anyway. I mean, I’m as paranoid as hell with error reports wanting to send data about my PC when I’m not sure of everything contained, so I never allow that to happen. Ever. And I’d be incredibly distrustful and suspicious if a pirated game wanted me to report an error.

      Soooo… yes. Let me just go grab some popcorn…

    • dragonhunter21 says:

      Hold on to your trousers, guys- wasn’t the ban a forum ban? As in, a ban from the Facepunch forums but NOT from Garry’s Mod?

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Agree with wulf.

      Besides, anyone dumb enough to get caught with this kind of move isn’t a pirate, it’s an idiot. Actually many wouldn’t mind if they go as far as sterilizing those they caught and not only ban them, y’know, for gene pool’s sake.

      Finally, kinda tired of the recurrent piracy debate around here, but I’d still be curious about where the PC video game industry would be atm if it wasn’t for its long history with the pirate community.

      My guess is: not so healthy as it is right now (despite whatever bullshit the producers have been eager to broadcast these last years, although there’s a shift in paradigm lately), for a lot of reasons.

      And to be clear: no, there’s no such things as half way crooks. Ain’t making an apology, but if one stop playing the offended lambda-good-willed citizen and start to think, I’m quite sure he’ll see what I’m talking about.

    • Wulf says:

      Is it? If it’s only a ban from the Facepunch forums then no big deal, but if they hand this over to Valve, it’s bound to have false positives involved. And sigh, the lulz will certainly ensue. I hope they’re smarter than that. Please let them be smarter than that.

    • Azradesh says:

      Titan Quest is a good example of why devs should not do this.

    • Synchrony says:

      It is only a ban from the garrysmod support forum, so that no one is wasting there time helping pirates get the game working, and also so everyone can laugh at the pirates http://www.garry.tv/?p=2410

  2. Nemon says:

    I lol’ed. That is clever, indeed.

    • Dhatz says:

      I’m sure “clever” is not how you spell “sinister”. WTF is this morbidity that modders dont team with pirates? Chance has it only pirated stuff will be modable in the wtfuture.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Yes, because Garry’s mod is such a black box game?

    • Dozer says:

      Dhatz, did you spell ‘wtfuture’ deliberately? As in ‘wtf future’? I am amused either way.

    • Nemon says:

      Dhatz, cry me a Reaver.

    • passingstranger says:

      Yeah, I really have no sympathy for people who pirate indie games, especially ones with such a small price tag, and then get caught. It would have been too much to prosecute them or threaten their entire Steam account, but simply breaking their game and parading them out in front of the community for having the gall to demand support for the game they stole? That’s just perfect.

  3. jymkata says:

    So it’s a bit like those things in America, when a police station tells tax dodgers that they’ve won a prize draw, then they get arrested?
    (That might have just been an episode of the Simpsons, I don’t know)

    • JWill says:

      Entrapment. Just means you can’t bring criminal charges against someone when you’ve basically ‘set them up’ to break the law. Since no-one’s getting charged for being scurrilous pirates, there’s no problem.

    • Archonsod says:

      The key word there being setting them up to break the law. If you entice or otherwise encourage someone to break the law and then arrest them for it it’s entrapment. If someone incriminates themselves as having already broken the law on the other hand it’s fine. In fact, there’s usually entire branches of the police department dedicated to getting them to do just that, often called “detectives”.

    • cliffski says:

      thats not entrapment. Thats luring already convicted criminals to a location to make their arrests easier, and it’s been done many times as i recall.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      The trick is, they’ve broken the law… the “grand prize” is just to get them to come down to the police station were they can be arrested for breaking said law, rather than play some sort of hide&seek game.

      Not entrapment as far as I’m aware (which is more to do with enticing them into breaking the law, say, with an unlocked car… and then arresting them)

    • Mr_Day says:

      The error doesn’t set them up to break the law, it just helps expose those that have.

      If he had created an error that allowed people to get the game without paying but made a note of them, then it would apply.

      EDIT: Oh, well, FINE. Everyone jump in whilst I type that, whydon’cha.

    • Melf_Himself says:

      It’s entrapment if you entice them to commit the crime. However there’s no problem with inviting people who have already committed a crime to come and receive some ‘reward’, and then arrest them for said crime.
      Also, Garry is my new hero.

      Edit: Wow, peak hour for posting.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “thats not entrapment. Thats luring already convicted criminals to a location to make their arrests easier, and it’s been done many times as i recall.”

      Think it would come under fraud then, or false advertising.

    • Mr_Day says:

      This isn’t entrapment.

      Entrapment was a rubbish film.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      “Think it would come under fraud then, or false advertising”
      That would only work if money had changed hands. The police are allowed to lie to criminals, as are you and I.

    • Dozer says:

      Well, do the criminals pay their taxes? If so, they’ve funded the police service and money has changed hands… :-)

    • Milky1985 says:

      @Ergates_Antius
      Nope could still be fraud as fraud can be defined as
      “deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.”

      This is from wikipedia but i know that fraud does not have to involve money.

      No money has to change hands for it to be fraud, just being dishonest to gain something, in this case to gain the advantage of knowing where the person is.

    • Berzee says:

      And is knowing where a person is, an unfair or dishonest advantage?

    • steviesteveo says:

      “cliffski says:04/13/2011 at 10:16
      thats not entrapment. Thats luring already convicted criminals to a location to make their arrests easier, and it’s been done many times as i recall.”

      The traditional order is crime then arrest, then conviction.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      @Milky1985

      Except for that you’re looking up a definition in Wikipedia and not the actual, federal law.

    • vodkarn says:

      “@Ergates_Antius
      Nope could still be fraud as fraud can be defined as
      “deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.”

      This is from wikipedia but i know that fraud does not have to involve money.

      No money has to change hands for it to be fraud, just being dishonest to gain something, in this case to gain the advantage of knowing where the person is.”

      Wow, undercover cops are totally screwed I guess, eh?

  4. StingingVelvet says:

    I love this kind of stuff. Inevitably everyone on the forum who got caught was doing nothing wrong at all!

    • Heliocentric says:

      Only if you are with the ‘all data should be free’ camp.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Lets remove the incentive for people to spend time, money & effort on making games (and software in general). That’ll get better games (and software in general) released. Right?

      Oh wait.

    • MadMinstrel says:

      No, let’s just make it smaller. Nearly a century of copyright and the ability to financially destroy people who disagree with your DRM is a little too much incentive, don’t you think?

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      MadMinstrel I think you missed the point. I was replying to Heliocentric’s point about the “all data should be free” brigade like that idiot BAREFoot (or however he capitalises it).

      Here’s how things work with everything else. Company make a product (be it a TV, a car, a packet of cornflakes, whatever) & decides to sell it for x. Customers then decide either yes x is a fair price for the product being sold & purchase it or decide no x is too expensive for what the product is providing me so I will continue to live my life without said product or purchase a competitors product which costs less/provides similar experience.
      Here’s how it seems to work for some people where software is concerned. Company makes a product (video game, operating system, application package, whatever) & decides to sell it for x. Customers decide either yes x is a fair price for the product being sold & purchase or decide no x is too expensive, I will simply use their product without paying for it. Oh and I’ll complain about the product not being up to the standards I expect even though I’m giving the person who worked on producing it nothing in return for their labour.

      In which world is the second example fair compared to the first?

    • Wulf says:

      @Malibu Stacey

      I pointed this out the other day, but… working personal attacks and insulting people only hurts your credibility rather than making for a good argument. It just looks like you’re trying to harm someone instead of just presenting an opposing philosophy, and therefore appears unnecessarily aggressive, and thus removes the weight your argument might otherwise have had.

      I’m not sure how I feel about BAREf00t either, but calling him an idiot in the middle of your argument, specifically him, just means that the entire point has become to insult him, with no other purpose attached. And just because someone has a different philosophy than you, it’s no grounds to insult them anyway, and if they can provide their counter-philosophy without insulting you, then they come out of it looking the more enlightened party, and leaving you to look like a politician.

      So yeah. Opinions good, but smearing people only hurts your own opinion, no one else’s.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Fair point Wulf, I’ll retract my description of BAREFoot as an idiot & simply label him a troll.
      Could everyone please read my earlier message as “that troll BAREFoot”.

      No I don’t see the difference either but whatever works I guess.

    • MadMinstrel says:

      @Malibu Stacey

      And I was just presenting a middle-of-the-road stance.
      You seem surprised by the latter behaviour. Here’s what might be going through a pirate’s mind while he’s making the decision:
      -> I will never see this in public domain as long as I’m alive
      -> This thing is not available in my local library and never will be.
      -> It costs half/twice my monthly pay! (depends on country)
      -> I’m not stealing, after all, nobody has less of anything after I download it.
      -> If I buy this, I’ll have to deal with the DRM (see today’s Dragon Age post for details)
      -> Copyright is thought crime and a ridiculous concept anyway, let’s ignore it!
      -> I’m not hurting the author because if I couldn’t download it, I wouldn’t have bought it anyway.
      -> They RIAA/MAFIAA sued my (facebook) friend! That will show them!
      -> I’ve already bought this nice console/PC/TV/book reader/iPod, I can’t let it sit there gathering dust…
      -> I’ll buy it when I have the money/when the price comes down.
      -> All my friends are playing/reading/watching/using it! What do i do?!
      -> I’ll just check if it runs on my system… after all there’s no demo.
      -> I’ll just check if I like it, then maybe I’ll buy it… after all there’s no demo.
      -> I can’t download the 2 GB demo and then the 16 GB game if I like it! My bandwidth caps! I’ll just get the game…

      None of these things applies to physical goods, hence the different pattern. The only real solution is to make prices and copyright acceptable.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Nope I don’t seem surprised by the latter stance, disgusted yes, surprised going by what I know of how human beings conduct themselves, most definitely not.

      Actually most of your points apply to physical goods if you bother thinking about them. The difference between what you term physical goods & software is that rather than going without software when those points are considered, some peoples natural reaction is to illegally download.

      Look at it this way. Why do buses, trains, planes & every other public transport system have ticketing systems in place? That’s physical “DRM” right there yet you don’t see people starting massive internet threads complaining about how they’re forced to buy a bus pass to get to school/college/university/work etc. I wonder why eh?

    • MadMinstrel says:

      That may be true, but consider that the prices on public transportation, food and other necessities are invariably adjusted for local incomes. On some of those goods and services, prices are discounted for people with lower income like students, seniors, children, etc. While some companies offer student editions of their software, that is not generally the case. Some people will still board a bus without a valid ticket. And if they get caught, they will pay a small fine. But if God forbid, you torrent a few songs, you’re in for a long, long legal battle and possibly the forfeiture of all your material assets.
      I do not support or condone piracy, but neither can I support or condone the corporate greed of the publishers in good conscience.

      Edit: Oh, and please tell me how you could apply any of those to buying that bus ticket you speak of, or a hamburger? I’ve given quite a bit of thought to that list and excluded some points I had previously written because they could be applied to physical goods. I’m curious about how you did it.

  5. Valvarexart says:

    Good move!

  6. Premium User Badge

    heretic says:

    I really don’t understand why people who pirate games discuss issues they have with PIRATED games on the game’s public forums…

    how dumb do you have to get, or are these guys really all just 12?

    • Lorc says:

      That’s a good question actually. I wonder what percentage of pirates are children or young teens. You’d expect that demographic to have more leisure time than adults to play games, but correspondingly less income to buy them with.

      Anecdotally I know that my own (pre-internet) piracy dropped off when I became able to afford things for myself.

    • Baboonanza says:

      Me too. I was a dirty pirate when I was a kid, I don’t think I bought any games at all until I went to Uni. For that reason I find it hard to condemn kids who do it now, and from personal experience I know that I wouldn’t be rabid game consumer I am today without that early exposure that I wouldn’t have been able to afford any other way. That sort of piracy is IMO in the long-term interest of the industry.

      OTOH there is 0 excuse for adults to pirate games, all the excuses I’ve ever seen are bullshit. At least if you do it you should have to honesty to admit that’s it’s wrong but that you don’t care.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      my internet piracy dropped off when I found I could listen to all music on youtube, watch video on youtube, and play free indie/flash/F2P games… plus my computer’s graphics aren’t good enough to play anything that you can actually pirate nowadays.

    • Heliosicle says:

      having read a lot of the yahoo topics and forum posts on this stuff, seems most of these people are 15 or under.

    • Vexing Vision says:

      @Lorc and Baboonanza: My sentiments, exactly. Goes for movies as well!

    • Obliter8 says:

      Surely this is a great way of teaching kids that pirate games, who have lost their entire steam account that actions have consequences?

      I suspect the ban hammer has stopped being applied since it became internet-wide news so as to stop random steam IDs being posted. Indeed, if you now buy Garry’s Mod, surely you protect yourself from a ban? A clever marketing strategy!

    • Spider Jerusalem says:

      Considering it’s Garry’s Mod, yes, they probably are all 12.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Surely this is a great way of teaching kids that pirate games, who have lost their entire steam account that actions have consequences?

      This so very much. The majority of people I meet in daily life seem to think they can do what they like without any consequences of their actions then bitch, whine & cry when suddenly they’re treated with the contempt their earlier actions have earned them.

      By all means people, “do it for the lulz” but don’t act surprised when people treat you like the dick you are being.

    • Meneth says:

      “Surely this is a great way of teaching kids that pirate games, who have lost their entire steam account that actions have consequences?”
      No, most people would probably react somewhat like this?
      “WTF, you’re banning me from the games I didn’t pirate? I’ll just pirate all my games, then.” (Or possibly: “I won’t be buying anything from you again, that’s for sure.”)

    • Valvarexart says:

      Well, yes that is an issue. If I had been the one with the banned steam account, I would certainly not have bought the games again. I would just say “well eff you, I’m pirating these. I paid for them!”.

    • Tei says:

      Wait… are we undervaluating the potential for entitlement of people ON THE INTERNETS?

    • Deano2099 says:

      Are they actually Steam-banning them though?

    • Dozer says:

      The thing is, after the first half-dozen people asked ‘why can’t I shade normals’, all the smart pirates will have read those threads after googling the error message they got. And would either reply “yes I have this problem too”, or just lurk, or see the “HAHA u r baned!” followup and not post their steamid.

      But the pirated copies are still crashing 5 seconds after loading?

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      No they aren’t Steam banning anyone (yet). They’re getting banned from the official Garry’s Mod forums on facepunch.com.

  7. cytokindness says:

    So how long will it take before people complain on this thread that this is evil DRM, thus justifying piracy?

    • Gnoupi says:

      Apparently one minute was enough.

    • Spatula says:

      i had it at 54.356 seconds my self.

    • skurmedel says:

      Nice bit of strawman there. Why do you justify Piracy if you oppose DRM?

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Nice bit of strawman there. Which part of “on this thread” was too difficult for you to understand?

    • skurmedel says:

      My point stands for this thread in particular. It’s a veritable strawman factory in here.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      How can a point that didn’t exist in the first place still stand?

      Is this like the internet version of a tree falling in the woods?

    • skurmedel says:

      I can’t honestly tell if you are a troll or not. But I’m sure it’s hip whatever you are doing.
      What I’m wondering is, do you have anything meaningful to add to the discussion except quirky remarks?

  8. Bremze says:

    Less of this thing. Yeah, its nice that pirates get what they deserve, but there has yet to be a “pirate bug” that hasn’t affected legatimate users. DRM doesn’t like your dvd-rom? Tough luck, your weapon is permanently overheated, even though you bought the game. And posting in the forums only gets you ridiculing even when you post pictures with the case and a reciept.

    • Quxxy says:

      From what I understand, the way he did this was that the game asked the Steam servers whether or not the account being used had purchased the game. Since the only legitimate way to get GMod (that I know of) is via Steam, Steam knows everyone who actually paid for the game. If you were playing GMod and Steam said you hadn’t paid for it, then you had to have pirated it.

      There’s always the off chance that you purchased GMod but Steam says you didn’t, but in that case, the game shouldn’t start at all.

      I think what you want less of is badly-implemented DRM. Admittedly, that’s 99% of DRM in the world, but occasionally it’s done in a reasonable manner.

      Of course, I may be wrong about the above, in which case I’m happy to be corrected.

    • Vexing Vision says:

      It’s a major issue UbiSoft had with their Settler V game introducing a new version of SecuRom back in the day.

      It would install just fine, but then wouldn’t pass DVD check on start up. I actually had to wait a week for a cracked version to appear to play the game I owned. That’s one instance of pirating I don’t feel any remorse for.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Newsflash: Using a crack on a game you’ve already purchased isn’t pirating

    • CMaster says:

      @Malibu Stacey
      Indeed. It is however, illegal in many jurisdictions now.
      I believe the US DCMA for example makes it a crime to circumvent DRM.

    • csuzw says:

      It was the same in Settlers 3. There were various “pirate bugs” in it but unfortunately even with a legitimate copy and a latest model (at the time) Plextor CD drive it regularly failed the check and the game was mostly unplayable. I eventually got banned from the official forums for asking/complaining about it (I can’t say for certain, but it’s very unlikely what I wrote was abusive/ban-worthy – I’m just not like that). None of the other patches fixed it for me either and I’ve never bought another Settlers game which is a shame as what I saw of S3 I liked (even if it’s not generally well regarded compared to other Settlers games).

    • steviesteveo says:

      Yup, anti-circumvention is part of international trade law ever since the WIPO Copyright Treaty. Most countries or regions have to implement it somehow.

      It’s one of these things where you can so clearly see why it got proposed but you can also see why it’s never quite worked as it’s supposed to.

    • Urthman says:

      I don’t bother pirating games on Steam since you can get most of them on sale for approximately zero dollars (plus or minus a few dollars), but use cracks on most of them so I can run them without worrying about the Steam client being online or wanting to update itself or to patch my game before I can play it or other such annoyances.

      Fortunately, if Steam banned me or otherwise tried to punish me for this, I could always just pirate my games instead.

  9. Deano2099 says:

    It is interesting but err… what’s the point? They’ve been banned from the game forums… right that fair enough, but how does the Steam ID help?

    Surely knowing the ID won’t allow them to stop the pirates playing? They say they have a list of all the legit Steam IDs that have bought the game, so they don’t have anything more than they had to start with.

    Unless the idea is that they get those users banned from Steam which… no. Yes, I know the pirates ‘deserve’ it but that’s not the decision of Valve.

    It is a little sinister too, out of interest how would people feel if someone used a similar approach to say, upload your name, address and browser history to a website? How much personal info is too much?

    • vandinz says:

      If you play a pirated version of a game that is on Steam you’re in breach of the TOCs. This allows Valve to ban you. By knowing these people are using a pirated version of GMod, they can then check with the SteamID if they have bought it and if not, BAM! Ban them from Steam. It’s a good idea.

    • Deano2099 says:

      The Steam TOCs let them ban anyone for any reason they want, so they don’t need any justification. They could ban everyone tomorrow if they want. The point is those are still unfair terms – it’s generally not legal for a company to take punitive measures against customers for breaching terms.

    • bagga says:

      If it’s the kind of ban that cuts them off from playing their bought games, I’m not sure it makes a lot of tactical sense. The likelihood is that their Steam account games are the only PC games they’ve ever paid for. Cutting off their account just reinforces their motivation to steal and means that they’ll never pay for a Steam game again. Lose/lose for everyone.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Yeah I’ve never understood that. Microsoft do it too. If you’re caught with a modded 360, you’re banned from Xbox Live. Except pirated games won’t play online anyway.

      So feasibly a pirate that wants to play online might go and buy a legit copy of the one or two games he wants to do that for. Except he can’t, because he’s banned. And remember MS charge a sub for an Xbox Live Gold account, needed to play online. So he’s banned from giving them money.

      The solution: buy a second, un-modded Xbox. The ones that, until recently, MS were selling at a loss.

    • Hallgrim says:

      @vandinz says:
      “Ban them from Steam. It’s a good idea.”
      As pointed out above, why? To stop them from buying games? When did pissing on pirates (who are potential customers, by Valve’s direct admission) become so awesome? I bet more than half the people on here have pirated games, music, movies, books, etc before. (and no I don’t give a crap if you haven’t so don’t post just to tell me how angelic you are).
      The library doesn’t come to your house and burn all your books if you steal a book from them. They charge you what you owe them for the book, and go about their business. (And the library actually LOST A BOOK in this scenario. They don’t charge you if you let your friend read the book)

    • nimnio says:

      @Hallgrim

      “I bet more than half the people on here have pirated games, music, movies, books, etc before. (and no I don’t give a crap if you haven’t so don’t post just to tell me how angelic you are).”

      Or,

      “I don’t care if I’m wrong, because I already know I’m right.”

  10. Gnoupi says:

    I remember other games like that, but with a crippling “feature”.

    There was Sacred which was randomly teleporting you to a desert island, each time you changed zone.
    Or mirror’s edge which was making you slow down to a complete stop (ironic in a running game, of course), after a few chapters.

    • Icarus says:

      I do recall reading that Batman: Arkham Asylum crippled the cape-glide feature in some way, thus leading to many pirates crying on the forums about how Batman fell to an untimely end, and then being smacked down by the developers for not buying the game in the first place.

    • karry says:

      You dont have to go that far. Half-Life 2 had a crippling “bug”, which turned off enemy’s AI on illegal copies.

    • Bhazor says:

      Actually that AI issue happened to me when I bought The Orange Box. After being called a pirate for about five pages in the tech support forum another user said the same thing happened to him and gave me a solution. It just didn’t like Vista 64 and I had to run it with “-32 bit” as a boot instruction.
      I have no idea whether that was a real attempt to trap pirates or just a genuine glitch that happened to be included in a pre release torrent version and was fixed for most users by the release date. My guesses are the latter unless someone at Valve have actually mentioned it.

      http://www.sharkyforums.com/showthread.php?t=311417

  11. tanith says:

    Been done.
    Although in that case it was probably not intended.
    In Gothic 1 there existed a crack for a very long time which let you start the game without the disk check. As far as I remember it was a modified version of the demo executable or something like that.
    Anyway, whenever you tried to change worlds e.g. when you had to go to the old mine the game just wouldn’t load or would crash (I don’t remember which) and when people came to the forums or to IRC with this problem it was pretty easy to spot the ones who have cracked the game (some of them actually owned the original but used the crack only so they would not need to use the CD).

  12. Lobotomist says:

    This trick was done in many other games.

    But there is a down side too.

    Iron Lore Entertainment creators of great Hack and Slash game Titan Quest
    Claim that the game failed and that they bankrupted because of including this type of copy protection.

    Namely the “pirate bug” caused game to crash when entering certain area.
    But when the game was released word got around that the game is buggy and unplayable due to crashes.
    When they announced that it only happens in pirated versions , it was to late and game got very bad hype all over and missed the initial sales tide.

    Since than this copy protection is used sparingly

    • Dominic White says:

      Erm. Titan Quest sold huge numbers and remained one of the publishers best sellers for years. The developers didn’t go bankrupt – the publisher disbanded them for apparently no logical reason.

    • DuckSauce says:

      That seems like a nasty downside, but Garry’s Mod has been around for ages, so that’s not really an issue.

      Awesome idea this was imo, but sadly not one that’ll work on every game(for one, can all steam games check the id or only source games? Second, not every game is sold on a platform).

      But imagine if stuff like this were mainstream, the damage wouldn’t be nearly as much and it seems like there’s no harm for the customer who bought it, only for the pirate thus it appears a better form of DRM than any I know of(except for No DRM :P).

      I wonder if it really is only affecting pirates though…

      Also what vandinz said, pirates might find a way around it eventually, but for the moment it works hehe.

    • Lorc says:

      @Dominic White

      I’m not saying you’re wrong, but that’s this ex-Iron Lore guy’s story at least. http://www.quartertothree.com/game-talk/showthread.php?t=42663

    • Hallgrim says:

      @Dominic West: “Fitch said that rampant game piracy was primarily responsible […] for the downfall of Iron Lore”.

      http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/81926-THQ-Creative-Director-Opens-Up-About-Iron-Lore

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Hallgrim the post above yours by Lorc links to the actual post on Quartertothree rather than Escapists own interpretation of what they think he might have meant.
      Interesting article all the same. The choice quote would be
      “There are few better examples of the “it can’t possibly be my fault” culture in the west than gaming forums.”
      which (unfortunately) sums up the attitude, around even lofty perches such as RPS of late, perfectly.

      Also this sort of stuff isn’t new. Games dev’s have been doing these sort of things since the days of the 16-bit era Commodore Amiga & Atari ST (possibly even further back to the 8-bit PCs). I remember a guy at school complaining about his pirate version of Hired Guns kicking him out after a certain amount of play while the rest of us had hours of fun without issue on a legitimately purchased copy (this was a split-screen game best played as 4 player co-op rather than singleplayer).

  13. D3xter says:

    He don’t seem banned: http://www.facepunch.com/threads/1078199-GARRYS-MOD-STARTUP-CRASH (and apparently has only one game on Steam anyway)…

    But let me get this straight, you find it “hilarious” if someone’s Steam account be banned with possibly 100’s of games they bought taken away from them because of something like this? (that’s surely gonna make sure they stop pirating…)
    Or was that reffering to the forum ban?

    • Heliocentric says:

      Hand caught in the cookie jar?

    • D3xter says:

      That would Imply that I either play Garry’s Mod or that my Steam account got banned which is a no on both.

      I rather find the people “hilarious” that rally against DRM (see one article above), but find someone losing all their games (for whatever reason be it pirating, credit card declined or using a crack) “hilarious”… which is one of the worst kinds of DRM imagineable and its counter part in the “real world” would be someone stealing a TV or a toaster and then everything he ever owned being reposessed instead of a fine and sentence according to the severity of the crime (and that’s actual stealing not “copyright infringement”). Companies like SONY (GeoHotz case) are trying to implement the same for their physical products e.g. you not “owning” something you buy while others have completely accomplished said in the digital world and large amounts of people apparently not only being “okay” with that but appreciating it.

    • Hallgrim says:

      @Heliocentric: Shit! I forgot to cut my son’s hand off yesterday!

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Companies like SONY (GeoHotz case) are trying to implement the same for their physical products e.g. you not “owning” something you buy

      First of all, this is entirely off topic. It was cute when people thought the Sony v Hotz case was actually going to be important in the long run, but now it’s sad.

      Second of all, you’re entirely wrong. Sony wasn’t after changing the notion of consumer ownership. They were going after a hacker who compromised the security of their hardware, but most importantly, distributed security keys of the console (keys that no consumer ever owns).

      You still “own” your console. Sony never disputed that. If you want you can still hack your own console and write your own custom firmware to your heart’s desire and Sony’s not going to bang on your door unless you start distributing said hacks along with security keys. Learn the difference.

  14. vandinz says:

    Codemasters used to use FADE which made the game gradually get more unplayable. Worked for a while but the pirates found a way around it. You’ll never totally stop pirates but if they catch some along the way then I’m for it. Maybe in the end the PC will have a better rep and sale to help the market and keep games coming our way.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      I assume the developers/publishers hope that people playing the pirated version which performs terribly hear from people who legitimately purchased the game that it runs fine & then decide to get a legitimately purchased version themselves.

      Unfortunately I live in the real world where the people using the pirated version will simply bitch & whine about how bad the game is even though they haven’t purchased it and/or just give up & move on to the next pirated game because the 5 seconds of attention they gave this game have been exhausted & they have a dozen other torrents which just completed that they compulsively have to look at so they can brag to people how many games they played or how massive their collection of pirated games is.

    • Muzman says:

      I think that actually resulted in more people downloading illegal copies to try and see if FADE worked for them.

  15. reticulate says:

    So, morons, then.

    I mean, complaining on the official forums about your pirated game? That has to be some new standard of stupid I hadn’t been made aware of.

    • godgoo says:

      I laughed heartily at this. Brains filled with donkey juice.

    • cliffski says:

      This is nothing new, I’ve had dozens of people do this on my own forums. I even get people emailing me demanding bugs be fixed when they even admit without prompting that they pirated it.
      It’s not exactly very motivating.

    • Gnoupi says:

      @cliffski : I’m sure some of them will even justify it saying that “they are helping you find the bugs to improve your game, they are unpaid testers!”

  16. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    This is really dumb, on his part, I’ve been trying to get my company to stop this kind of thing since we started doing it, it’s counter effective.

    • mondomau says:

      Counter-effective? Why? How? Expand s’il vous plaît.

    • Premium User Badge

      The Sombrero Kid says:

      Because people who pirate your game & who find out it only affects the pirated copy develop an adversarial relationship with you & people who pirate your game & don’t find out it only affects the pirated copy tell people who are thinking about buying it that it’s buggy, there are much cleverer ways to go about convincing someone to buy your game once you’ve proven they are pirates.

    • adonf says:

      We used the same kind of trick on a game I worked on 10 years ago. Is was a strategy game with ants and on pirated versions after a few levels your ants turned reds and started moving way too fast, making the game extremely hard. I don’t remember the exact details but lots of people stared complaining on the internets about our game being unplayable due to what they saw as a bug*, it was not clear at all that this was an anti-piracy feature. I think even in the (paper) press they complained about this bug, probably because stupid people in publishing had sent them a version that they had copied themselves. Huh, stupid people in publishing… So anyways, bad idea.

      Also, no computer program is 100% fail proof so when you implement this kind of tricks you know that it will affect some legit customers…

      * a programming bug, not an insect.

  17. Unaco says:

    I don’t think anyone comes out of this positively. Bit of a mess really. And how can you pirate a Mod?

    • skurmedel says:

      The mod moniker is a bit of a misnomer these days, it’s more like a Steam Engine game in the latest reincarnation. But I guess it stuck because it’s a good trademark.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Contrary to the name Garry’s Mod has been a fully fledged retail product on Steam for many years now.

  18. Vexing Vision says:

    There has been one of these suspect japanese interactive anime games that leaked a few pirated versions itself on various torrent clients. It would then take a snapshot of the user’s desktop, and publish it on a dedicated website until the user bought the retail version.

    At least I found it hilarious.

    Then again, I converted from silly teenage pirate to actual buyer of games that interest me after I got my first job, so I have very little remorse for cheaters, hackers and pirates, especially since working in the industry myself.

    • Heliocentric says:

      I have some issues with some of these methods as i have pirated games i own when the physical media has broken, but steam doesn’t have physical media so i find this event amusing.

      But say if this was done by a game where you need the disk in the drive? Should a tiny nick in your disc really cost you rrp?

  19. Mr_Day says:

    This reminds me of Sensi Soccer – the test version of the game was leaked and pirated to buggery and back.

    Since it was for testing, the game had a feature where pressing a key – ‘F’, I think – caused you to win the match you were playing. This was to let play testers quickly advance to check later stages of the game.

    The story goes that people who had a dodgy copy started calling up Sensible Software complaining about the bug, so they were asked to leave a name and address for a replacement and got a visit by the fuzz.

  20. Milky1985 says:

    “Do you know how big a 64-bit number is? The chance of randomly getting another players id is something like:
    (# of Steam users) / 18,446,744,073,709,551,616
    vanishingly small in other words.”
    Vanishingly small is still magnitudes above “No Chance” thats all i am saying. Yes we are more likely to be hit by lightning while theres a metoer storm overhead and aliens invade, but its still possible

    [EDIT] Stupid reply button, was meant to reply to something said higher up

    • NikRichards says:

      But isn’t is possible to retreive the ID’s of people you’re playing with in some games?

      If so that could make pissing someone off online a bit of a risk.

    • Baboonanza says:

      Fine, but then you have to apply that to everything. Sometimes things are so unlikely you can say they are essentiaslly never going to happen, especially given the number of ‘rolls’ in this case is going to be a few thousand at best.

      It’s about as likely as me slapping my hand on the keyboard and typing out the Grand Unifying Theory.

    • D3xter says:

      @Baboonanza: What he is saying is that people could just get people they don’t like to be banned, e.g. I just googled your name and found your Steam account: http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561197970580471
      The number after /profiles/ is your Steam ID, if this would actually lead to a ban I could just go make an account on their forums with your name and make a post saying hey I got this message “Unable to shade polygon normals(76561197970580471)” and you’d just be left wondering why you can’t login anymore… which would be a retarded thing to happen…

    • Deano2099 says:

      The error you’re making is assuming it would random trolling in terms of guessing a random 64-bit number. It’s not too hard to find out someone’s Steam ID.

    • adonf says:

      The way I understood the story, the pirates complained on the Steam forums, and I believe that your account on the forums is linked to your account for games.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      76561197970580471 isn’t a Steam ID genius. That’s a Community Profile ID.
      Steam ID’s are viewable in Source engine games with the status commmand in console. They look like STEAM_0:0:???????? or STEAM_0:1:???????? where the ???????? is the actual ID number (8 digits is the highest I’ve seen so far).
      You can convert a Steam ID to a Community Profile ID using the Steam API but I don’t think you can convert the other way (could be wrong but last I checked it wasn’t possible).

      Also adonf Steam forums accounts are completely separate from Steam accounts so no that’s not what they did. I’ve had a Steam account since it launched but I’ve never registered on the allmighty cesspit that is the Steam forums.

    • NikRichards says:

      D3xter and Deno are spot on.

      While at first glance this story is quite funny, the system is open to abuse and could easily be used to punish innocent parties.

      Personally I hope Jim might read these comments and after some thought change his mind on the amount of praise this deserves.

    • D3xter says:

      @Malibu Stacey: Uhm… yes it is (it is the ID used in the Error Message mentioned in the article, see here: http://www.facepunch.com/threads/1078199-GARRYS-MOD-STARTUP-CRASH ) and yes it can: http://steamidfinder.com/ Take Baboonanza’s ID and you’ll get “STEAM_0:1:5157371″

    • Kazang says:

      Forum accounts are not linked to Steam accounts, steam accounts do not get banned because someone posts an ID on the forum.

  21. The Dude says:

    Hasn’t Bohemia been doing this with the ArmA games since forever?

  22. Schmitzkater says:

    While a good idea on the outset, this thing seems REALLY open to abuse?

    With websites like SteamIDFinder.com it’s not that hard to find the ID of anyone on Steam, then go to the forums and post the error message in his name, isn’t it?

    And yes it’s a sucky thing to do, but there’s jerks all around (and there seems to be no shortage of them on GMod or other Source games).

  23. Robert says:

    How I hate the people who justify copyright violation*, for any reason.
    Mostly they reason from the wrong side: while it might not hurt anyone directly when you pirate a game/movie, it would not exist if everyone would do it. So essentially you are letting other people pay (or work) for your entertainment. It’s this out-of-proportion feeling of entitlement that’s growing rampant in the internet community. I mean, who are you that you are morally freed of spending money on a ‘service’ while others are not?

    *Formerly ‘erroneously’ described as piracy. See replies.

    • trjp says:

      Firstly, you’re using the term ‘piracy’ which is a derogatory term christened by those who champion their right to limitless, restrictive and anti-competitive copyright protections. It’s actually “copyright violation”.

      You’ll be invoking ‘theft’ next – which it isn’t, either…

    • Robert says:

      STICK IT UP TO THE MAN EVERY CHANCE YOU GET! Even if the so-called man is alone, in his attic, taking care of his family. Not that it should matter who’s copyright you are violating. (If you put words in my mouth, so can I.)

      Actually, as far as I know (and a check wiki-check confirms), the term piracy predates modern copyright laws. Even if it is a derogatory term, it’s one reappropriated by copyright violaters. One of the biggest torrent sites refers to it. But, fine, to please you and humour me, I shall edit it in.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      I see what you did there Robert. You put forth a properly reasoned argument that disagreed with what vast numbers of people seem to think is completely acceptable if not “normal” practice without any thoughts to the consequences of their actions.

      What were you thinking?

    • cliffski says:

      “Firstly, you’re using the term ‘piracy’ which is a derogatory term christened by those who champion their right to limitless, restrictive and anti-competitive copyright protections.”

      Ever worked on something for two years, 60 hours a week, put it on sale for $20 and seen people not only distribute it for free, but whine at people on forums to THANK THEM FOR THEIR work as they did so?

      I suspect not, and if you ever do, i assure you your attitude to such silly pedantic posturing will change forever.

    • Wulf says:

      The interesting thing is that you’re also slamming piracy as an avenue of advertisement. What if someone pirates the game, and then realises what a great game it is and pays for it? You’d be surprised how often this happens, and yet there’s this myth that anyone who pirates anything won’t pay for it. (See my example involving films below.) Whereas, in truth, it might compel them to do so where otherwise they might have had no interest in your game.

      Yes, scoundrels that never pay, not even in the Steam sales that they can afford, are rather deplorable, but let’s please stop believing that everything is so black & white, because in doing so you’re only driving away potential customers. Even Gabe Newell realises this, and said so in a quite famous quote – that pirates are simply under-served customers. If he gets it, then why doesn’t anyone else?

      And he’s Gabe bloody Newell for crying out loud!

    • Wulf says:

      Just so this doesn’t get lost in the sound and fury…

      Cliffski, as someone who’s genuinely interested in your success, had you ever considered trying a Pay What You Want thing? I’m not sure if you’ve done it yet, I haven’t seen it though, but you could test it out on one of your products. It’s been a massive success though for a whole bunch of people because it allows everyone to set their own price point. You can even put a minimum if you want, explaining that it’s to do with PayPal transaction costs, but I think you should try it.

      Not everyone has buckets of money, but if someone has been waiting for the chance to give you some money, then this might be a good way to let them do that. It might work out better than you think. And I’m using the Humble Indie Bundle here as an example. In fact, why not get in touch with the HIB guys and see if you can’t work out a promotion via them? It’d get your games some great publicity as well, because they’re so, so good at that.

      Just an idea.

    • cliffski says:

      I don’t support ‘pay what you want’ but I did do this:

      http://www.positech.co.uk/gratuitousspacebattles/registernomads.php

      Standard Sales: 730
      Standard (Gross) Revenue: 4,372.7
      Discount Sales: 470
      Discount (Gross) Revenue: 1,405.3

      The trouble is, when asked, everyone thinks that whatever something is sold for, should be cheaper. And people will pay more than they say they will pay, if given a choice. There are tons of studies on that. PWYW is great PR, but not a great business model, IMHO.

    • Robert says:

      “The interesting thing is that you’re also slamming piracy as an avenue of advertisement. What if someone pirates the game, and then realises what a great game it is and pays for it?”

      Good things can come from bad things, but that doesn’t make the bad thing right. This is about people making their own rules. While some good may come of it, it should not be a carte blanche to do whatever you want. I dislike the constant validation of of an illegal act because of, frankly, minor reasons. I dislike the backward reasoning: I shall take your work, use it, enjoy it and by my grace you shall have a alm. While there are people who handle this with respect, there are many who do not. It’s the utter arrogance of people to do whatever theywant with another mans work.

      Gabe Newell has to cheerful and nice and friendly to sell more games.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      cliffski it’s a bit disingenuous to ask people to choose between paying half or full price for the 4th expansion to a game that they’ve already paid four times that & then act surprised when the majority decide to pay full price. These people are already your audience, of course they’re going to be happy to pay the extra cash to a small indie like yourself as they probably already forked out around $20 for the base game & $5 each for the first 3 expansions (I don’t know what the actual USD prices are/were since I’m from the UK & see prices in GBP).

  24. poop says:

    Garry newman :D

  25. Javier-de-Ass says:

    it had false positives immediatly http://www.facepunch.com/threads/1078239-Pirate-catching-catches-me.-I-did-not-pirate
    amazing work garry. let’s applaud this sort of thing eh rps

  26. trjp says:

    A developer of an Android ‘app recently did something similar – and so far the feedback he’s getting isn’t terribly positive.
    He pirated his own App into the dodgy AppStores (they generally charge a one-off fee for a tonne of pirated Apps) but with a trick up it’s sleeve.
    The dodgy version works as the full version does EXCEPT that at a certain point it sends an SMS to everyone you know, telling them you’re a software pirate…
    The problem with this sort of approach is that it’s neither accurate nor helpful in converting people from their ‘immoral’ ways. Some people probably use these dodgy Appstores thinking they’re legit (they charge money!) and others may have received the dodgy App from friends or whatever…
    Overall, he’s just made Android users paranoid about the level of access an App requests (something most Android users probably never checked before).

    • Milky1985 says:

      The police and general public are not allowed to break the law to catch criminals (it is both annoying and sensible, how can you say “Don’t hurt poeple when you have just hurt the guy to catch him”).

      I don’t care if its a pirate version (its possible someone didn’t know it was pirate, assumed it was “ad supported” as its the free version) , that company has now broken rules themselves, ironically opening themselves up for revenge (why shoudl i buy the real version if they don’t follow rules)

      People are intrinsically stubborn , and yes I know that is spelt wrong :P

    • trjp says:

      I don’t think they broke any rules – they simply requested the permissions required to access Contacts and send SMSs and people granted that (probably without noticing).

      Even if they did look – Contacts access is often requested by Games which contain social network stuff (Scoreloop/OpenFeint) so that they can connect people to ‘friends’.

      The problem is one of harming people you don’t intend to harm – it’s impossible to avoid ‘collateral damage’ when you do this stuff – and even one case can backlash against you.

      End of the day, copyright violation is becoming a very, very common crime tho – to the extent that we should really be asking how we can change copyright and not how we can change people.

  27. SpinalJack says:

    I seem to remember Operation Flashpoint had a similar anti-pirate bug which slowly degraded the performance of the game so it wasn’t immediately obvious their game was going to stop working.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      not a bug. a complete drm package called FADE. bohemia uses that in arma as well.

  28. Wulf says:

    This whole thing is a giant facepalm for everyone involved, no one wins. I mean, Garry’s Mod has had plenty of free weekends and such, and even a prior version available as a demo, so there’s absolutely no reason why anyone would want to pirate it. Yet, on the other hand, if this information gets turned over to Valve to do anything with then all those false positives are going to be made pretty apparent.

    • Oak says:

      Garry’s Mod has had plenty of free weekends and such, and even a prior version available as a demo, so there’s absolutely no reason why anyone would want to pirate it.

      It costs money.

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, but there are Steam sales for that. I realise that not everyone is rich and that some people might pirate until a Steam sale comes along, where they can at least offer some money for the game they’ve been enjoying, and it’s surprising how many people do that. I don’t subscribe to the whole belief that piracy is like terrorism myself, and all the screaming about 9/11 that that entails. People are just people at the end of the day, some of them are rude, some are obnoxious, but they can all still be decent.

      This makes me wonder what sort of mindset it would take to pirate something and never pay for it, I’m guessing that the pirates who do that must either be kids with no pocket money, or people who have so much money (very rich people) that they can’t bear to see even a minute amount of it being ‘wasted’ on something so frivolous and trivial as a game. Then again, maybe this is me just thinking the best of people, I don’t know.

      I wouldn’t be surprised though if the numbers of people pirating Garry’s Mod are not huge. It’s cheap, it’s been cheaper in sales, there have been free weekends, there is a demo of sorts… so I don’t see piracy being huge for it. I’d certainly sadly shake my head at someone who’s passed up a Steam sale for GMod and continued playing their pirated version of it, that’s for sure.

      But equally I’d shake my head at the GMod folks for pulling a stunt that’s so prone to false positives and could easily impact upon legitimate customers. I don’t think that locking someone out who’s actually bought the game is a good way to convince them not to pirate, myself.

      But what do I know?

  29. Kazang says:

    Crysis’s was the best, in pirated copies of the game guns would shoot chickens instead of bullets.

  30. lamzor says:

    i dont get this. i just checked and there are plenty of nonsteam versions of this game(pirated). does this mean that this happened only to few people playing some shitty cracked version?
    i also think that pirates couldnt care less about their (facepunch) forum accounts being banned.
    i dont think that valve would do anything(apparently didnt in this case). mostly because its so easy to create false positive forum post. and as it seems, this also happened to people who bought the game. they posted on forums and also exposed their steamID.
    i think that developers should provide more reasons WHY to buy the game and not create evil schemes how to ban them on some forums and irritate some paying customers in the process.
    take super meat boy. so may addons and new levels were added to the game. no sane person who would like to play this game will pirate it.
    i also dont believe that Mr Garry Newman did not pirate any music/game/app when he was younger and could not effort each new game, album or app. so why the evil schemes?
    i like Amanita Design approach(pirate amnesty-lower price for all) or humble bundle pack approach. im sure that nobody will beat piracy(ever). but they can lower the number of pirated copies.
    sometimes piracy can also help. remember the movie ‘man from earth’ ? i dont think that you would see that movie without help of piracy. movie creators think the same. read their comments below.
    http://www.rlslog.net/piracy-isnt-that-bad-and-they-know-it/

    • Wulf says:

      Piracy is a funny thing.

      I watched a cam version of Megamind. I now own the Bluray release.
      I watched a cam version of Alpha & Omega. I now own the Bluray release.
      I watched My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (damn the people responsible). And I’m now set to buy the DVD box set, if/when it happens.

      Why do I watch cam versions? I’m… not a healthy person. Never have been. So the whole cinema thing just can’t happen in my case, if I’m exposed to too much loud noise, I get tinnitus, then I get nauseous, and after having thrown up a few times, I’ve learned to avoid cinemas. But people keep talking about these damn films that I should watch. So I watch them, and what do I do? I end up buying them because I loved them so much.

      In the case of My Little Pony, I watched ‘em because Hasbro has no issues with it. They make money from toy sales rather than the cartoons themselves, so they haven’t been pulling any of the shows related to their toy lines, they haven’t made a single effort to do so, so all shows relating to their toy lines are widely available for download. But I’m going to buy the box set anyway because I love that show and I want to let them know that I’m interested in seeing more. Voting with my wallet and all that.

      So there you go.

      (It’s actually gotten to the point where I watch a bunch of trailers to ensure that I’ll like something before I grab the cam version, since I know I’m going to end up buying it anyway. And I want to support the right people with my money.)

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      i like Amanita Design approach(pirate amnesty-lower price for all) or humble bundle pack approach.

      That would be the same Humble Indie bundle which was massively pirated then? This is something these people could’ve simply paid $0.01 for to download legitimately.

    • Wulf says:

      The Humble Indie Bundle was also massively successful. I wonder how many of those who did pirate did a turnabout and went back and bought the games? I’m betting it’s a bigger number than you think. I’m willing to think that, on average, there are more decent people out there than you realise.

    • lamzor says:

      @Malibu Stacey
      “The Humble Indie Bundle experiment has been a massive success beyond our craziest expectations. So far, 138,813 generous contributors have put down an incredible $1,273,613. Of this, contributors chose to allocate 30.85% to charity: $392,953 for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child’s Play Charity.”
      “The second Bundle was able to break $500,000 in sales within one day. The sale cleared $1.8 million in sales after ten days of sales.
      Bundle#3 made $440 000 sofar.
      – you can hardly call that failure.
      I myselves pirated some of those games in the bundles. Didnt play them so i didnt buy them. But i bought each pack for ~15eur. Not because its value is bigger, its because i think its very good idea which deserves my money. Now when i have them added on my steam acc, maybe i will get around to play them more often.
      btw not all pirates are bad. for example, on each decent scene torrent tracker Humble bundle pack torrents were removed while they were availible.
      DRM and nasty schemes is no way how to boost your sales. for example, mr Garry Newman can create the best game ever and i still wont buy it because of this stunt(im sure im not alone). same as any game using online validation, spyware, constant connection check etc(uplay, starforce). steamworks, clever securom(without need to activate all the time) and few others is as far as im willing to go.

  31. roy7 says:

    Alternate Reality: The City had something like this. You could play a while but then some FBI agents would attack you with The Long Arm Of The Law. They were unbeatable, so you’d always die. In AR:TC death was permanent. :)

  32. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Can you actually pirate a game and link it to your steam account? I would have thought that a) Valve have a record of all your purchases centrally b) those purchases would correspond with your steam account. If you are playing something they have no record of you buying, wouldnt that be obvious? Or is the loop hole with games you might buy elsewhere and then link to steam? Or is it just legally they arent allowed to do that kind of surveillance?
    I’ve never pirated a game so I have no clue how it all works.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      I don’t think pirated steam games hook up with the steam client or steam accounts at all?

  33. Rii says:

    Clever work by the GMod folks, but the fascist response from Steam – indeed, the fact that such a response is possible at all – nicely demonstrates why I sold my previous Steam account and use my new one only for purchases at rock-bottom prices. If you’re going to sell me less than a half a game, don’t expect me to buy it at less than 75% off.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      I missed the fascist response. Could you point it out for those of us whom are similarly afflicted.

      FYI a ban from the facepunch.com Garrys Mod forum isn’t the same thing as a Steam account ban last time I checked. No matter how many people in the comments claim it is.

  34. Pathetic Phallacy says:

    Nice!

    Now when someone griefs or rages in L4D2 I can get them banned from Steam. I’ll simply get their ID, report the bug on the forums and watch them disappear!

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Good luck with that.
      You’ll get them banned from the Garrys Mod forums even though they don’t have accounts there?
      Try reading the article first before commenting, I find it helps.

    • lamzor says:

      to be honest RPS article gives an impression that steamIDs were used to ban steam accounts(i couldnt believe that myselves so i checked linked article).
      they could have written it better in RPS article. to specify that only 2 users were banned on game forum, which had nothing to do with their steam accounts or official steam forums.

  35. steviesteveo says:

    Whoa, the comments on gamepron are particularly ridiculous there. There’s one guy who mocks another commentator for his town’s structural unemployment.

  36. Javier-de-Ass says:

    I like this garry quote “The overwhelming response has been supportive. Which to be quite honest I don’t really understand. If EA or someone does something like this people go crazy. Maybe it’s the motive..”

    and jim rossignol made a post about ea directly after this one. haha

    • Premium User Badge

      frymaster says:

      indeed, compare and contrast with the EA post.

      Or, for that matter, with Titan Quest – an error in the crack caused the game to crash randomly at certain points (it turned out that the game performed periodic sanity checks of the DRM system that the crack-makers hadn’t accounted for, and that made their modified code error out) and the general consensus for months was about what a buggy game it was.

  37. iggypopbarker says:

    Sports Interactive did this for a while – problem being it affected hundreds of legitimate purchasers of Football Manager. FM08 was worst – it had one of these ‘deliberate bugs’ where if you pirated the game, tournaments like the World Cup would be filled with the worst-ranked teams (San Marino, Tonga, Vietnam etc) instead of those that qualified. They tested it so badly that nobody noticed it affected everyone who continued their savegame from the demo in a legal copy of the full game.

    What made it worse is that SI’s head honcho, the uniquely charmless Miles Jacobson, was lurking the forums full-time on week of release, posting rants at people reporting this bug about how they were ‘filthy pirates’ ‘stealing the food off his family’s table’. When, very soon after, it was undeniable that this bug was affecting real customers, he went quiet at first, and when prompted for an apology to those he had slandered, variously banned people, maintained they were pirates, and threatened to sue for claims that his rants had been directed at particular people (despite their tone and the fact they were in response to a quoted post making it obvious they were). Customer service at its finest

  38. Best Gaming Mouse says:

    I think if this is the way to stop Pirates stealing software then i’m all for it. If a few, and it does need to be a few, “Real” owners get hit by it, then they can prove they have the right to own the game or software, sound in the knowledge that the next item they buy should be even better.

    It is of course not the first time this type has been tries with games, going beck to the Amiga days it was common for software publishers to deliberately write errors into their games just to catch the Pirates out.

    They didn’t have Steam then.

    Still, even with Steam the Pirates manage to bypass the copy-protection and online measures anyway in the end.

    Gary’s Mod though, still made me chuckle.

  39. absolofdoom says:

    Wow, I’m kinda scared. What if someone takes my steam id and fakes me on the forums? I’ve never even played the game in my life, but the danger of people having fun with this is very real. Perhaps…this is actually a sinister plot to get people to buy Garry’s Mod so they have no chance of being banned?

    • lamzor says:

      dont worry. steam didnt ban anyone. only 2 people were banned on official games forum(not even steam forums).
      again, only 2 users on “http://www.facepunch.com/forum.php” forum were banned.
      Much Ado About Nothing.

  40. 1dragon_red0 says:

    yea i think this thing thinks my game is pirated cuz i got off and about an hour later i come back and theres an update, so i update and then my game closes as soon as it opens, but i know for shure i bought the game with css

  41. frackewe says:

    I second that, i Bought this game for my son and now he cant play it, WTF is going on here, I am pissed

  42. RiffRafff says:

    Help me! I bought it legit and now I cant finish my montage!?? Nooooooooooooo! :(
    Is there a way around this?

  43. TheModerGuy says:

    uhhh.. i cant play my gmod and i bought the game (you can check my steam account: TheModerGuy)
    can i please play it?

    • lukeme99 says:

      Dont wory everyones got a bug like this, its in the latest update, source engine has been modded to be faster, but means that something in gm,od got messsed!

  44. CNCJ says:

    My Gmod won’t work either, i updated it today and now it just comes up with an error message ‘hl2.exe has stopped working’. My brother bought it for me last year for Christmas along with L4D2 and have no major problem with either until now (apart from Gmod’s occasional crashing due to toybox).

  45. s4sponge says:

    PLEASE!!! I bought Gmod, I swear it!!!!!!!! But when I press play, the window that reads “Preparing to launch Garry’s Mod” comes up, but then it disappears and nothing happens!!!!! My steam account is rmeliso, or s4sponge. (my username is s4sponge, but when I chat in Gmod it says my name is rmeliso, or at least when I was able to play it) I download stuff like maps from garrysmod.org so maybe thats why.(?)