Protecting bought assets (adhering to license)


I generally avoid asset stores but sometimes use them for things like trees and especially panoramic sky textures.

One of the unfortunate restrictions on many asset stores is that to include the asset with a released game it "cannot be opened in a publicly available software application" and "cannot be extracted or decompiled without reverse engineering."

Is any way to meet this requirement without going to the source and writing something yourself?

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  • TwistedTwiglegTwistedTwigleg Posts: 2,458Admin

    Good question.

    If possible, I would try to contact the original creator(s) directly and see if it is okay with them. If you cannot get in touch with the creator(s), then I'd see about getting in touch with someone who has law/legal experience and work out the details with them.

    I'm not a lawyer, nor do I have any legal training or expertise, so please do not take what I say as legal advice!

    All of that out of the way, here is my thoughts on the matter.

    If you can, I would contact the creators directly and ask them if using their assets in a game engine like Godot is okay with them. This would be the most idea case, as then you can get written consent from them that it is okay to use their assets in your Godot games.

    The .pck file does place assets in a harder to access form, but due to Godot being open source it is not 100% secure. That said, it should keep the majority of users from accessing the assets. I have no idea if the .pck files are secure enough to fit the "cannot be extracted or decompiled without reverse engineering" requirement or not.

    Personally, I do not think it is any less secure than the ways other game engines protect game assets. However, that is just my opinion, and I have no idea whether that is the common opinion, nor whether the asset creator(s) would agree. Ideally you should ask the creators of the assets, and if you cannot ask them or cannot get a response, then I'd ask someone with legal experience.

    The "cannot be opened in a publicly available software application" part is a little confusing. I'm assuming they mean by this is you cannot just place it in something like a 7Zip file and call it 'protected', when all someone needs to do is download 7Zip, which is both easy and free. I know there is at least one tool for extracting data from .pck files, though whether it counts as a "publicly available software application" or not I have no idea.

    Once again, my opinion on the matter is that .pck files cannot be opened using common software, just like other popular game engines, and so it is okay. However, I am no expert and this would be a good question to ask the creator and/or someone with law/legal experience.

    All in all, I would say your best bet is to get in touch with the creators if you can and just ask them directly. If they are okay with it, then you're probably good. If you cannot get in contact with the creator(s), then I'd talk to someone with legal/law experience and sort out the details from there.

    Hopefully this helps :smile:

  • JRRRRRRJRRRRRR Posts: 5Member
    edited January 2019

    Thank you for the reply.

    I can contact the authors for models from turbosquid, like you I'm not a lawyer and am not sure if that would be sufficient if I still made payment via Turbosquid - though if they tell me I can I'd be inclined to go for it since they can do whatever they want with their models outside of Turbosquid. For my skies I believe it's the author's website, who has set those conditions, might not make any progress there.

    I was wondering if it is possible to put assets in a zip, password it, and somehow have the password compiled so you have to reverse engineer to get it.

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