Garry's Mod developer exposes pirates with fake error

By on April 13, 2011, 5:23 PM
If you're among the many Garry's Mod users experiencing the startup error "Unable to shade polygon normals," you should probably keep that information to yourself. According to GMod creator Garry Newman, he introduced the error this week and it's designed to only appear on illegal copies of the game as a means of flushing out pirates.

Upon receiving the error, unsuspecting pirates posted on the Steam forum looking for assistance. Those individuals are being banned from the message board. Making the situation even more interesting, the polygon error message is followed by a number in parenthesis that most folks would associate with an error code. See the example below:

"Engine Error:Unable to shade polygon normals(#################)"

The kicker is, that's actually a SteamID, so pirates are unknowingly revealing their Steam identity. Speaking with Bit-Gamer, the developer claimed that 2,500 pirates were identified 15 hours after rolling out the error. Newman doesn't have the power to ban Steam IDs and it's unclear if any accounts have been banned outside of the forum.


Instead, he wants this to serves as a point of humiliation for people running illegitimate copies of the game. "I did this for the people that did buy Garry’s Mod. They get to point and laugh at pirates. If we leave it easy for people to pirate we're betraying the people that paid," Newman said. "I'm just having fun at the pirates expense."



User Comments: 39

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krayzie said:

Well played sir!

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

Awesome job!

Cota Cota said:

Epicness, now can you make something to lower PC games prices? im getting sick of eating cups of noodles

Cueto_99 said:

Awesome... Did you saw that Ubisoft... That's how you treat with pirates... Not with a prohibited and SecuRom... Watch & Learn...

Nima304 said:

Whoever thought of this is a ******* genius. I agree with Cueto, SecuRom is a terrible way of dealing with piracy.

KG363 KG363 said:

I like this... a lot

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Wow, so many angry people on his Twitter feed, LOL.

How can you call a guy a **** for catching you pirating his game?

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Nice job!

Cota said:

Epicness, now can you make something to lower PC games prices? im getting sick of eating cups of noodles

I'm sure there are higher paying jobs out there for you.

Win7Dev said:

Wouldn't be surprised if this guy gets a job offer in the near future...

I think that this is a creative way to deal with it, but they really need to come up with a bunch of little tricks like this to get all the pirates. As soon as one is discovered, most of the pirates won't post about the "error". There really needs to be a bunch of things that happen, maybe like defaulting all graphics settings to low and putting the game in 8 bit color?

wujj123456 said:

That's epic. Valve guys are so humorous.

Guest said:

Hahaha, that is awesome. This is how Anti Piracy measures should work, exposing the pirates without hurting the actual paying customers.

Only other similar approach I have seen/read about was Batman Arkham Asylum's "bug", you couldn't glide with a pirated copy so you would fall to your death when you jumped from a high place. Making it impossible to make it to the destination to fulfill the games objective.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

This is funny but hasn't this kind of thing been done many times before in the past?

If I recall ages ago if you pirated "Red Alert 2" all your units would blow up within a few minutes or something like that... Still all great ways of tackling piracy as it only annoys the pirates.

treetops treetops said:

lol why would someone ask for advice about a pirated game on the steam forum

herpaderp said:

Nima304 said:

Whoever thought of this

Are you serious?

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

Nice hahahaha. A bit cruel, the guys have been blindsided but nice never the less. Oh well. Its not that expensive anyway, just drop like what? 2-3 cans of beer and you're all set lol

hellokitty[hk] hellokitty[hk], I'm a TechSpot Evangelist, said:

*Troll face*.

Timonius Timonius said:

Nice. Goes to show you that using pirated software could potentially bite back. Who knows what else has been engineered in the code...

bugejakurt said:

"If we leave it easy for people to pirate we're betraying the people that paid"

Thumbs UP!

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

How could they have this pirated on steam? For me its odd... you could have it "pirate" but as "aplication outside steam", thats the whole deal of steam isn't it??

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

Nima304 said:

Whoever thought of this

I agree with Nima304's genius part. And the SecuROM part as well. This way of flushing out pirates should be more widely used, haha.

doradhorror said:

Anybody retarded enough to fall for this deserves to be banned.

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

Awesomeness!!! anti-pirating without screwing over legit buyers!!! woot!!!!!!

Guest said:

For PC games, anti pirate code should be:

if (pirate) {

string shd = detect system hard drive;

format shd;

}

:-)

fimbles fimbles said:

Charging for a mod?

Cant blame the pirates tbh.

edison5do said:

Guest said:

For PC games, anti pirate code should be:

if (pirate) {

string shd = detect system hard drive;

format shd;

}

:-)

Nice one There!

Red87 said:

fimbles said:

Charging for a mod?

Cant blame the pirates tbh.

Have you ever played Garry's Mod? Its essentially a whole new game. Its quite a lot more than your standard 'mod' and there is no reason not to charge for it.

Guest said:

"Charging for a mod?"

Red87, yes, you are correct, how dare Garry get paid for software he wrote? I mean, hes charging a whole $5, how dare he ask pirates to pay that exorbitant fee!

Os

Lurker101 said:

If I recall ages ago if you pirated "Red Alert 2" all your units would blow up within a few minutes or something like that... Still all great ways of tackling piracy as it only annoys the pirates.

You recall slightly wrong. Playing a pirated version of Red Alert 2 or Yuris Revenge was possible. The units blowing up thing would happen if you tried to play a mod with a pirated game, and considering the high quality of most mods for RA2/YR, this really was a sufficient punishment for pirates.

isamuelson isamuelson said:

treetops said:

lol why would someone ask for advice about a pirated game on the steam forum

Kind of like how people will post on various legit sites on getting game keys. One word: stupidity.

Lurker101 said:

Kind of like how people will post on various legit sites on getting game keys. One word: stupidity.

For the greater good, can we sterilize these people?

Guest said:

nice.. one just needs to start posting messages with legite non pirate steamids to get them banned

Siavash Siavash said:

Nice trick xD

freythman freythman said:

Well played. Well played, indeed.

gingerbill said:

tip my hat to him . Was trying to remember some other games that caught out pirates in a unique way , struggling to remember what they were. Definetly been a few but my puny memory cant recall. Didnt black & white do something?

Guest said:

Very well done.

anguis said:

What about a pseudo-random error message being generated rather than a single line reused error message? Would be more useful.

T77 T77 said:

I like that......:P

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