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View Full Version : AsProtect vs Armadillo



Sybixsus
02-21-2005, 11:46 AM
Armadillo is pretty popular, I've noticed, but at $300, it's a bit overpriced IMO, particularly when you can get ASProtect for 1/3 of that. But how do they stack up? I know Plimus can automate Armadillo 2.x keys, whereas I'd have to supply a key list of my own with ASProtect, but that doesn't seem worth an extra $200 on it's own.

I also noticed pages with tutorials on cracking ASProtect were quite commonplace, whereas pages for cracking Armadillo are thin on the ground. However, the ASProtect tutes weren't particuarly recent.

Any thoughts and comparisons from people who have used both? I'm mainly interested in having a timed trial all taken care of in a wrapped exe, so I don't have to code it manually. It's a quick game that has taken a couple of weeks so far and I don't really want to double the dev time integrating and writing my own timed trial system.

EDIT: AS Protect : http://www.aspack.com/asprotect.htm

Sirrus
02-21-2005, 11:56 AM
Is Armadillo $300 now?

Isnt the standard version $99?

I'm not sure many of us have experience with ASProtect (haven't even heard of it), but I love Armadillo.

Sybixsus
02-21-2005, 01:11 PM
The standard edition is now $150, but from a read of the comparisons, the few missing features from the pro edition seem to be the best ones ;)

The standard editions lacks a project setup wizard, compression, keys that expire after a number of minutes, keys that expire after a number of uses and the ability to show a reminder when exiting, which is most of what I like about Armadillo ;)

george
02-21-2005, 01:28 PM
there is another one called softwareKey, it's pretty expensive (starting at $329), but it looks really good. if you are planning to spend $300 on armadillo, check this one out first. http://www.softwarekey.com

Sybixsus
02-22-2005, 10:07 AM
Software Key looks interesting, thanks George. The multiple program license is a bit pricey at $500, but as you say, with Armadillo costing $300, it's certainly worth looking at both.

I gather ASProtect is not very popular or widely known?

sunnygames
02-25-2005, 08:13 PM
We used to use ASPProtect and it is pertty good. However it does not have some functionality and some companies like Plimus does not support it.

Recently we switched to Armadillo Pro and it is *really rocks*. Just for couple of hours we built in time restrictions into the game (as far as I know nobody here use this feature like we do), created new Plimus product and started selling our new game "Amazon Quest".

BTW Armadillo has excellent support, usually your question willl be answered within 2-3 hours. Also they have really good forum.

My recomendation to you is Armadillo Pro or Armadillo (but in this case you will miss some functionality).

Sybixsus
02-25-2005, 08:27 PM
Thanks for the comments. It does look as though I'll be going with Armadillo. Being able to have Plimus send the keys is a bonus, but Armadillo seems like more of a serious and complete product than any of the competition.

Winterwolf
03-03-2005, 11:20 AM
Create your own software protection mechanism, that's the way I do it. I can know what's going on and tweak to the tune I like.

Jay_Kyburz
03-03-2005, 01:51 PM
Create your own software protection mechanism, that's the way I do it. I can know what's going on and tweak to the tune I like.


Nobody is going to think your cool because you wrote your own system. Spend the time polishing your game. The basic version of Armadillo does everything I need for $150. That's only 10 sales. (I hope I sell more than 10 copies)

I hope to never write anything I can just pull off the shelf for a reasonable price.

BoX
03-04-2005, 03:13 AM
Sybixsus:
I also noticed pages with tutorials on cracking ASProtect were quite commonplace, whereas pages for cracking Armadillo are thin on the ground. However, the ASProtect tutes weren't particuarly recent.
There are plenty of tutorials for cracking both of them. But, on the other hand it gets more difficulty to find one for more recent version of both of them.
Anyway, considering using any of these two is cool idea, since they are good code protection tools. Unprotected code is always easier to crack than protected one (e.g. it took me 10 mins to crack Raptisoft's HamsterBall).


Winterwolf:
Create your own software protection mechanism, that's the way I do it. I can know what's going on and tweak to the tune I like.
I would not recommend developing protection system on your own.
Armadillo and ASProtect are both protection tools built by experienced people. Building your protection system might take you much more time to develop resulting in much weaker protection.

ibsta
03-04-2005, 08:21 AM
I'm intereste in Armadillo very much. Can anyone tell my a very brief desciption of the mechanism Armadillo uses to protect your application? Does it right registry entries, does it run as a Windows service and protect your exe, or what?

p.s I know I could have looked this up myself at the Armadilo site, but I'm really not in the mood to scroll the tomes and tomes of whitepapers for a simople question.

Thnx!

dburger
03-08-2005, 05:20 PM
Hello,

I've used Armadillo with two games we released. I found it to be a good product and very well supported. We got great tech support from them. They went out of their way to help us solve a couple sticky problems we were having protecting a Flash game. (We were the first to try this and they bent over backwards to make it work for us.)

Armadillo also is integrated with RegNow. You could easily distribute your game through several ecommerce providers if you choose. (Each has their own network of affiliates that you can take advantage of.)

Good Luck.

-Denis

george
03-15-2005, 11:21 AM
another alternative:

http://www.chosenbytes.com/

aiosup
03-28-2005, 08:36 AM
The basic version of Armadillo does everything I need for $150. That's only 10 sales. (I hope I sell more than 10 copies) [...] I hope to never write anything I can just pull off the shelf for a reasonable price.

The problem is exactly that Armadillo seems to have grown from an affordable tool (pro version 1 was about $100 if I recall correctly) to a complete rip-off...

Now the tech issue: takes about one day to write a copy protection system that can provide minimal protection - just about the level of protection you need to *claim* you have a secured product. Your game makes $300 each day? Then, yes, you definitely need pro stuff... Otherwise, probably 90% of the game buyers are going to be fenced off by the simple protection approach.

...and to clear figures: it takes one day (let's call it two for extra-testing) for the equivallent of $150 (or $300, if you need the extra-features of Armadillo), given your needs. You will get nowhere near the quality of the pros, but you don't need it, and your job gets done.

...into muddy waters: Multiply by code reusability and small binary overhead, add code ownership and the fact that RegNow and the likes offer you the possibility of uploading the registration source code itself (aside from uploading generated lists of registration codes)... I have just done the math.

My conclusion is that you can spare $300 until you make more than this in sales per day, then go for the pros...

stanchat
03-28-2005, 09:57 AM
A friend of mine recommended a product called Shareguard (http://www.zappersoftware.com/products.html) to me and I finally checked it out. For the price ($29.95) it is actually pretty good. I played with the demo and was impressed. It does not appear to have the time limit demo feature (60 min etc..) but it had everything else.

aiosup
03-31-2005, 11:21 AM
A friend of mine recommended a product called Shareguard (http://www.zappersoftware.com/products.html) to me and I finally checked it out. For the price ($29.95) it is actually pretty good. I played with the demo and was impressed. It does not appear to have the time limit demo feature (60 min etc..) but it had everything else.
One thing that I do not like about this program (and all other that do the following), is that it is impossible to have a customized registration screen. I would like to make my registration screen/warning window similar to my application look, and, if I can't, I see another reason for not investing even a single buck...

stanchat
04-01-2005, 07:14 AM
One thing that I do not like about this program (and all other that do the following), is that it is impossible to have a customized registration screen. I would like to make my registration screen/warning window similar to my application look, and, if I can't, I see another reason for not investing even a single buck...


They do allow you to make customized skins for your screens using whatever bitmaps you like though, this option is under the tools tab. I do not know if this would fit your bill.

A completely free program that I found is Trial Creator (http://www.softwarekey.com/swk_products/trial_creator/) , it allows you to make a 30 day demo with a BUY NOW link. It does not have a lot of options but if you are looking for a quick way to make a 30 day demo for your game this will work. If you signup for their e-commerce solution more options will be exposed.

aiosup
04-03-2005, 11:09 PM
They do allow you to make customized skins for your screens using whatever bitmaps you like though, this option is under the tools tab. I do not know if this would fit your bill.
Hmmm, probably not. I would like to have full control -- display nice preview pics of the full version, have flying saucers and alike :)



A completely free program that I found is Trial Creator (http://www.softwarekey.com/swk_products/trial_creator/) , it allows you to make a 30 day demo with a BUY NOW link. It does not have a lot of options but if you are looking for a quick way to make a 30 day demo for your game this will work. If you signup for their e-commerce solution more options will be exposed.

That's an interesting and *free* alternative to writing my own thing, thanks!

george
09-04-2005, 01:07 PM
i'm resurrecting this thread because i just found another promising alternative to armadillo/asprotect. it's called "SerialShield SDK", and its only 79.95 euro or about $100 USD.

http://www.ionworx.com/SerialShield.html

I've read good things about it in newsgroups... Anyone have any personal experience with it or heard about it? They also have another product called ICE License, but its only for Borland C++ Builder and Delphi, and its like 300 euro for the pro version. http://www.ionworx.com/IceLicense.html

Any thoughts? SerialShield looks really promising, it looks like it has all the features needed, like creating trials, generating serials, etc. etc.

Thanks!

Jay_Kyburz
09-04-2005, 03:25 PM
Looks cool, but I'm still on the look out for a cross platform solution.

I hope some enterprising young indie makes one soon. (hint hint)

tonyoakden
01-19-2007, 03:06 PM
I've read this thread and it seems a bit inconclusive. The game I am protecting, Snaky Jake, has already been released by a major online publisher and unfortunately it seems likely that it will soon be available from a Warez sites near you :(. However I am now going to sell the game direct through my site too and I want to protect it somehow even if it's only to stop casual players from sharing the game around. The solution I'm looking at using is the basic version of Armadillo. Can anyone tell me if this definetley will do the job? I am planning on using BMTMicro as the retail solution. 149 USD is about all I want to pay on protection at this stage.

Anyone have any strong oppinions?

regards,

http://charliedoggames.com
tony@charliedoggames.com

toastytoad
01-19-2007, 08:50 PM
I don't like Armadillo because I found it was simple to contrive a time-limit workaround. Activemark is better, it quits out immediately on detecting a debugger. Unfortunately; Armadillo is probably the best product in the realistic price range.

Anyone else on here had more luck with Armadillo? (I bugged the Armadillo customer support about it, but it was not considered a defect since I didn't defeat or remove any protection)

Matthew
01-19-2007, 09:49 PM
I don't like Armadillo because I found it was simple to contrive a time-limit workaround.

Simple for you or simple for your customer?

toastytoad
01-19-2007, 09:56 PM
Well, if you can't be your own first best customer, who is? ;)

Seriously, if a company makes a promise that a product does something, like say, protect a game, isn't it up to us to verify that and provide feedback as to it's efficacy?

I only bring it up in case other people have a better relationship with Armadillo devs, or have found a solution that I may be unaware of.

Bad Sector
01-20-2007, 01:22 AM
How about checking by yourself (in your game) if the game runs from a debbugger and refuse to run if so?

toastytoad
01-20-2007, 08:37 AM
How about checking by yourself (in your game) if the game runs from a debugger and refuse to run if so?

IsDebuggerPresent() cannot be called without nontrivial performance implications. It's better to do debugger-presence checking in ASM. I have observed that some DRMs do a better job of it than I could do, that's why licensing a existing product has potential greater value than roll-yer-own. Plus I don't have copies of OllyDbg, SoftIce, WinDebug, IDA Pro to test against...

nbkolchin
01-21-2007, 02:20 AM
What about protection for MacOS-X and/or Linux? All listed solutions are windows only.

Any alternatives for homemade copy protection?

mash
01-21-2007, 08:26 PM
Did you try the eSellerate API (www.esellerate.net)?

nbkolchin
01-21-2007, 10:22 PM
As I understand eSellerate has no support for Linux. Only Windows/Mac.

lennard
01-22-2007, 01:56 PM
I wasn't aware of IsDebuggerPresent - cool. Here's a link that provides a few lines of asm to do the same thing:

http://www.codeproject.com/debug/debugger.asp?df=100&forumid=2784&exp=0&select=1833921#xx1833921xx


Does anyone know if this will also detect the presence of programs that will allow access to your programs memory area? Even though I've now written some obfuscation stuff to check for obvious cheating in my game I would prefer to know if anything is running that could alter any memory in my game.