Following the first post of the series (no need to click it’s not that interesting) I did some initial testing with some SWF encapsulation and obfuscation software. Let me remind you that the exact same testing many months ago wrecked our game, by that time Tech Wars.
What I want to achieve
For any of the software tested to pass this initial test the game I chose had to run without breaking anything. As a reminder I checked the previous testing and the problems were:
1. Sound not playing
2. Actions not being called (like opening a menu or something)
3. Problems with text
Assuming no new issues would arise I would keep an eye on these three.
Software and prerequisites
I downloaded the following demos (in alphabetic order in case you are wondering):
1. Amayeta SWF Encrypt 6.0
2. DComSoft SWF Protector 2
3. Kindisoft SecureSWF 3.4
One thing I recall was trying to get help to make Tech Wars work and found myself tunning preferences and stuff like that. So I decided that I wanted nothing of that! All my effort had to be minimum. I would install the demo software on my harddrive and throw an SWF at it, check for problems, try some minor things. I wanted no complications and no tunning.
Maybe I’m being to picky, but my know-how doesn’t include encryption, not to this extent. As a game developer there is so much stuff I have to learn every week, that software like this, while extremely important is just a tool. I just want it to work with minimal fuss.
Last but not least, the chosen game was Atomik Kaos 2. I did some small testing with a build of Hajime, but I guess that’s a perfect game for later testing, right now I needed something that I knew in and out, so AK2 it was.
Amayeta SWF Encrypt 6.0
Amayeta’s SWF Encrypt Interface looks easy and fine. Choosing and protecting the file was an easy job, but my problems with dynamic textfields emerged almost instantly and the game had a slight hicup when a level was finished. Apart from that all was fine. The hicup wasn’t serious, but I had to take a look at the textfield issue.
Took a deep breath, looked at the options before me (not many, minimalist, just the way I like it) and I had a vague idea about encrypting names being an issue. So I decided not to encrypt names… it worked perfectly. A little tiny thing, but nothing serious.
DComSoft SWF Protector 2
Next on the list DComSoft’s SWF Protector 2 and I must say I’m really impressed. The interface is just perfect and it was begging for a drag and drop of the SWF, which I did and it worked wonders. I had to do nothing, absolutely nothing, just drag the file and click a button.
It was perfect! Just like I imagined it.
Kindisoft Secure SWF 3.4
Secure SWF doesn’t need installation, that’s a big plus in my book. The interface feels old though but it does the job. I tried to drag and drop the SWF and that also did the trick, cool! Time to protect the file and run it. A couple of severe problems happened. For starters as soon as the swf opened the player threw an error. The game went fine after that until I checked the achievements screen where dynamic textfields were messed up.
I returned to secureSWF to try a different approach. One fine thing is the protection presets it offers. Being my middle name “minimal” I enjoy not having to go through all the options trying to find out what it is and what it is not. So I chose the preset “Safe – less protection but will always generate working files” but the results were exactly the same, both for the starter error and the textfield issue.
I started to look at all the options, aiming for a custom solution, but I was overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I had to try on to eventually make it work. I gave up at this point.
I’ll give decompilers a shot next and see what happens, what can I see, extract and so on, but for now Amayeta’s SWF Encrypt and DComSoft SWF Protector 2 did the job although I’m very impressed with SWF Protector 2 because it just did its job and I did not have to worry about anything. If I recall correctly that was what I was not able to do with Tech Wars testing. If I had to make an early pick, I’d go SWF Protector 2.
There will be a lot of news in the upcoming days, stay tunned.
Almost two years ago, I went through the trouble of using some trials of encryption/obfuscation software in order to protect our swf files. I don’t know how that worked out for you, but to me it didn’t work at all.
I tried and retried and tried again. I messed around with several settings and it never, NEVER worked perfectly… or actually it did if I turned out most if not all useful stuff.
Well… I really put it behind my back and never really thought about it again. But today I tried it again… and it worked… and it worked nicely!
So this is good news and since it went so nicely I’ll be making a small series of posts with our findings, from initial testing to a final game. Stay tuned.