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CD GAME COPY PROTECTIONS

SafeDisc 3

SafeDisc 3 is the latest CD protection methods in a series to come from Macrovision, it has much more advanced features, and instead of one main protection method, SafeDisc 3 incorporates many different methods to protect the CD from duplication and the games exe from reverse engineering, these include:  Access Control Manager, which prevents copied CD's from running. Patented digital signatures which uses a unique key encrypted into the CD when the CD is duplicated which will prevent modern CD burners and software from copying the game. Emulator detection, which prevents authentication from a virtual drive, such as those used by Alcohol 120% or Daemon Tools. Strong automated "memory lift" protection and debugger detection which can prevent crackers/hackers from using unwrappers to automatically remove the protection, this leaves crackers/hackers to resort to manual disassemble methods, using a debugger to disassemble the exe and or dll's to manually view code, line by line in an attempt to reverse engineer Safedisc 3. 

One of the main new features of SafeDisc 3, which has already been done by other protection companies, one notably being Codemaster's "Fade" protection, is called SilentAlarm, which involves the protected game "silently" detecting modifications to the protection at various points during its execution, and later degrading the quality of the game in a 'subtle but effective way'. Examples of SilentAlarm can include guns that won't fire, car wheels that fly off the vehicle or continuous scene loops, making the game very difficult or near impossible to complete. These API (Application Programming Interfaces) methods allow the game developers to create multiple and fully customizable authentication checks throughout the entire application. This technique disguises the specific point of failure, making it difficult for hackers to verify if they have successfully "cracked" the protection.

For more information visit Macrovisions website.

Detection Of The Protection

You can use the latest version of ProtectionID to successfully detect if this protection is being used.

Burning/Backup Solution

The only way to successfully create a backup copy that can be played from a CD is to use a "Fixed Exe" from the PC Game Fixes section, in which the entire SafeDisc 3 protection has been completely removed from the various exe and dll files, this includes the API checks, which is very important, as the game-play will progressively degrade if not successfully removed.

Another method protecting your original CD's from damage and backing up your game is to use a CD Emulating tool, these tools will create a virtual drive on your computer, and the entire game application and protection will be emulated to your hard drive, where it can be run from your hard drive without the need for the original CD, which will protect it from damage. The tools/software which can emulate your games are Alcohol120% and Daemon Tools, as long as these two tools have not  been blacklisted by the latest SafeDisc 3 version your game has, then they will be able to emulate the game. If it has been blacklisted you will need to wait until the programs fix the blacklist for the version, which normally comes in an updated version of the software.

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