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nuxil

Ebo files for the community. is it needed?

Ebo files for the community. is it needed?  

91 members have voted

  1. 1. Ebo files for the community. is it needed?

    • Yes
      29
    • No
      51
    • No Optinion on this matter
      5


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There should be ebo's for the community, definitley for models, textures, animations and maybe sounds.

point taken on sounds. animations? maybe to a degree. models? no. model.cfg? lods?

There is nothing you can learn from sounds, binarized models and animation files, at least nothing you couldnt learn from non-ebo vanilla files as well. Configs are not worth to encrypt, you can read them anyway ingame, and they hold very little "intelectual value" too.

you are just taking your own degree of modding knowledge for granted. it's very easy to say these things when you already know where to look. it's called modding. it always starts by modding something else and seeing it react and then learning from that.

i also don't think that anyone would just ebo their models and keep their code to read for others. this would just result in everyone who knows how to do it, with maybe very few exceptions, to do it. the "not everyone has to ebo" thought is also not realistic. even if. what then? someone learns from some special thing someone else, who doesn't ebo, did then creates something new and awesome based on it and then locks that down, fantastic.

it's naive to think that this will only be used to protect "art". knowledge is power. and people know that and will act accordingly. there was even an example of some terrain maker using his own encryption. result: modders being angry about it, encryption is ok until you need some knowledge yourself, and someone cracking it. (people from th skype channels will know who i'm talking about)

i totally get the motivation here and when i first heard Mikero made it possible to unbin my rtms my first reaction was the same. until i needed vanilla poses (not available) as reference for the first frame of my own anims. i simply think this will do more bad than good and make it even harder to get into arma modding.

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Reminds me of the big piracy debate in regards to video games, that the majority of piracy was caused by localization and so people took matters into their own hands.

Chances are very likely someone would make the tool out of sheer necessity, afterall look at what happened when the previous debinarizing tool was released, the creator stated that their intentions were not to steal content but to give others the opportunity to learn more. If we stand by that and that and then say that the answer is to lock things down further then...isn't that a bit self destructive to the cause we supposedly vouch for?

It makes me curious, in the grand scheme of it all what is the percentage of content stolen as opposed to the knowledge gained. Naturally we will never know, how could we, but still it is something to also think about.

Do the ends justify the means and when do we cross the line and wander into becoming that which we claimed to have opposed.

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Even if i am a new modder, I already receive a ton of messages here or on steam or on TS ect. from people asking for advices for their projects. I guess it is nothing compared to all the messages received by older modders. If addons are protected, it will increase the difficulty to enter the modding community and we won't be able to help everyone, hence leading to frustration amongst the newcomers...

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Encryption of community created .pbo's would in practice only be useful for:

* Hiding stolen content.

* Hoarding knowledge of the engine (as Bad Benson alluded to).

Tools for the unscrupulous to open the .ebo's would be as easy to find as debinarization tools. The only reason .ebo decoders aren't available right now has more to do with the lack of anything interesting in them, and as a courtesy to BIS by tool makers.

Even assuming it wasn't trivial to decrypt an .ebo style file:

* Models and textures can be captured as they are sent to Direct3D; Windows 8 even has this functionality in-built and no longer requires interception tricks. This is even easier with ARMA (compared to other applications) because the internals of ARMA materials and data files are already well known. That takes care of moving your assets into other games.

* Code can be grabbed automatically as it is submitted to the SQF compiler or preprocessor.

* The main audio decoder in ARMA is based on an open-source library, so could be ripped out much like Direct3D capture.

* The I/O routines for ARMA are likely to be unified internally (given that you have .pbo's, .ebo's, and file overlay from the native file system, plus numerous consumers of the API, anything else would be insane). A little mucking around in Olly would allow someone to find the entry points for this unified I/O system and request a verbatim copy of any file accessible to ARMA, even in .ebo's.

Because of the above (and especially the last point) the protection you would gain from the unscrupulous would only last days or weeks after the implementation of a community .ebo format.

It would, however, stop honest people from checking for suspected stolen content.

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A better solution would be to take the offenders to court.

Although I can see how a modder cannot afford to take legal action, especially on thieves like A3L once BIS has allowed them to make and keep the proceeds of the illegally earned cash.

I know I don't have the resources A3L has now, because BIS hasn't yet followed up on the theft.

I am surprised Steam cannot do anything about this though.

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A better solution would be to take the offenders to court.

I rather encrypt my models then to wait for somebody to make money of them. Instead of, additionally to my time i invested into the models, also invest money and time and nerves into legal action, lawyers etc. Just because someone sold your stuff doesnt mean you can so easily catch them with legal action.

point taken on sounds. animations? maybe to a degree. models? no. model.cfg? lods?
you are just taking your own degree of modding knowledge for granted.

Erm i'm sorry. What have you learned from looking at a binarized model in a mod that you hadnt learned from a binarized model in A3, or the now unbinarized models of A2 ? This has nothing to do with my "degree of modding knowledge" (which stems from 1 year of modding arma btw...)? What have you learned from listening to a soundfile?

And where are the people who actively withheld knowledge in the modelling sector? So far people always answered my question if i asked them directly and in a polite manner, and i'm doing the same in reverse, and this won't change.

What is so holy about the model.cfg? There is nothing secret about it, its just like a config, just with a little bit more freedom. It has simple rules and those can be learned from already unbinarized and released models and Biki. Also LOD's. What exactly is secret knowledge there that you can't get from already available sources?

Models and textures can be captured as they are sent to Direct3D

Except it takes a lot more knowledge to intercept that stuff. And also more time and work. There is no 100% safe way, but its making ripping off harder and thats what counts.

* Hiding stolen content.

And how is that supposed to work? Scripts - ok granted. But models textures animations and sound you will recognize ingame. And that's how most stolen content gets found in the first place. And the proof of ownership of models/textures can be conducted without accessing the model files themself.

Edited by Fennek

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Anything that can be encrypted can be decrypted. Now, I don't see this talked about too much, but it should be public knowledge now that somebody, I think a Russian guy, was uploading screenshots of the ripped DayZ source code, might have uploaded the files themselves, and there have even been rumors about the ArmA 3 source code being out there now. I distinctly remember in one of the screenshots of this guy's folder structure there being an ebo encryption tool in there. This was at least 6 months ago, maybe longer.

Can you actually say that with this person (who is apparently good at "hacking") having access to the encryption tool for so long that he or somebody he knows haven't reverse engineered it, figured out how it does what it does and make something that undoes it? That's if a decryption tool wasn't included in what this guy got. So no. Having an "ebo" encryption tool would do absolutely no good for the community, in my opinion, because all it would do is provide a false sense of security, locking out the innocent while still being open for the taking for those that would do so.

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If ebo encryption is so useless, why did BI choose to use it for their DLC then?

A video of some russian hacker doesn't change the fact that it is currently harder to open an ebo file than a pbo.

As for the impact on the community, it doesn't mean everyone will use that encryption - nonetheless, the choice should belong to the author in the end.

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there is not point to encryption. as people have explained before it can be broken and ebo most likely already is

also almost all types of content can be extracted by different means

you should read some technical info first about encryption - its not the magical protection you believe it is

nor would it helped in any signficant way in the A3L case

the sad story of this recurring debate is that its always coming from the modelers/artists group and gets most support from these people

for one as they somehow think they work is more valuable than all other kinds of modding - its not

the process of modelling/design work, the attitude taught at design universities and the ability to actually sell this type of work for good money is what leads to this

whereas configs, scripting, missions are often either programmers, who know how futile such attempt would be and have a very cooperative working ethos,

or just dedicated self learners to realize their dreams (also true for terrains designers)

really you guys need to do more research and listen to the arguments put on the table by knowledgeable people

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There are some unusual and clever technics that you cannot figure out easily without unpboing an addon. I am thinking for instance of a nice technique by GNAT to make a plane land on water. He answered nicely my questions on that matter, but it saved him a lot of time that I looked at is unpacked addon first and knew exactly what to ask. Also, If for some reason he had left the community and if the pbo was encrypted, I would have had to reinvent the wheel (or the float for the case at hand ;)). If you are aiming at making addons with exactly the same functionnalities as BI sample models, sure pbo encryption wouldn't be a problem, but there can be more to modding than that and ebo would be an obstacle to it.

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And how is that supposed to work? Scripts - ok granted. But models textures animations and sound you will recognize ingame. And that's how most stolen content gets found in the first place. And the proof of ownership of models/textures can be conducted without accessing the model files themself.

I've picked up models and textures that have been nicked based on file name listings alone, and then by opening them to compare. They wouldn't have been obvious in-game itself; and even if they were, how do you confirm your suspicions?

Many of the issues found with A3L would not have been found based on Youtube alone.

It would also break automated systems for scanning for stolen content that are currently being used by some authors.

A video of some russian hacker doesn't change the fact that it is currently harder to open an ebo file than a pbo.

As for the impact on the community, it doesn't mean everyone will use that encryption - nonetheless, the choice should belong to the author in the end.

That .ebo's are currently harder to open wouldn't last more than a week or two, like I said before. As a similar example, any time BIS changes the binarization formats (which it never documents or even announces) it's typically only a day or two before they are reverse engineered and the tools updated to decode them. (It has already happened a number of times with ARMA 3, including most recently only a week or two ago)

Except it takes a lot more knowledge to intercept that stuff. And also more time and work. There is no 100% safe way, but its making ripping off harder and thats what counts.

The last method in that list wouldn't take any knowledge at all; you'd just download a mission that included callExtension DLL, run it, type in the EBO prefix into a UI pop-up, and it would just take perfect copies of every file in the .ebo.

A tool that _did_ decode .ebo's would also be no more difficult to use than DePBO.

It's a bit like saying hacking ARMA MP will never happen because it takes time and work, and a lot more knowledge. Only one person needs the time and knowledge; the rest just need a download folder.

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If hackers can break those ebo files while community members eager to learn can't, sure that it won't be a good solution...

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Erm i'm sorry. What have you learned from looking at a binarized model in a mod that you hadnt learned from a binarized model in A3, or the now unbinarized models of A2 ?

i'm talking about hypothetical things. people are trying all kinds of shit that is going beyond vanilla assets. one recent example is motocycles in arma 3 based on physX. we are also not talking about advanced model encryption but the ability to lock the whole addon. i'm really starting to wonder, if there's any other modding community out there that would have a problem with people looking at their stuff.

it's really strange and totally overkill. and i'm also wondering how an ebo is keeping anyone from using your addon for profit like a3l did. afaik they didn't even rip stuff but mainly simply used it for their money scam thing. all you need for that is a server some shady description of your "donation system" and some addons from armaholic. kind of weird how that is suddenly justification to let everyone be a paranoid hermit.

do people really think that this solves anything? seems more like a move of defiance.

binarized models can be analysed with Mikero's tools without being "offensive". that would change. i fail to see how it makes sense for BI to allow access to their commercial models like that and then allow modders to lock their's down entirely.

What have you learned from listening to a soundfile?
point taken on sounds

although should be obvious that i was never talking about sound files :rolleyes:

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Anything that can be encrypted can be decrypted. Now, I don't see this talked about too much, but it should be public knowledge now that somebody, I think a Russian guy, was uploading screenshots of the ripped DayZ source code, might have uploaded the files themselves, and there have even been rumors about the ArmA 3 source code being out there now. I distinctly remember in one of the screenshots of this guy's folder structure there being an ebo encryption tool in there. This was at least 6 months ago, maybe longer.

That is correct. The entire RV-Engine its self was leaked which includes its tools and everything. The only challenge that you have is knowing how to compile everything. The tool that BI uses to "encrypt" pbo->ebo is already out there and it works vice versa. The only thing a person will ever need to make that tool work for the current version of ARMA 3 is the key that is used during the "encryption" process. They changed the key that is floating around out there with the source files back in August I believe it was so it leaves the current key completely useless as the engine will not recognize the ebo pattern (I've tried...)

If a tool to convert pbo->ebo was released by bohemia making the actual original tool they use work would be rather easy because digging through a single executable that is only around 230Kb is a lot faster and easier then digging through arma3.exe

This will never be a feasible option for the modding community and to even make it "secure" like it is suppose to be would mean a rewrite of the packing method to make their source files that were leaked obsolete. This is not something I ever see Bohemia doing just for the modding community when it's not even a great option to begin with.

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That is correct. The entire RV-Engine its self was leaked which includes its tools and everything.

Ouch... i knew that part of the dayz was leaked, but not the entire RV engine..

If a tool to convert pbo->ebo was released by bohemia making the actual original tool they use work would be rather easy because digging through a single executable that is only around 230Kb is a lot faster and easier then digging through arma3.exe

True. But you can make very advanced subroutines and also have part of the encryption can be done over the net to a bis server using TLS/SSL or other protocols.

But this is rather not likely something Bis would do.

Just because encryptions get cracked. its not a bad thing.

Given enough time any encryption can be cracked.

Why do Banks and other firms protect their data with encryption.? they know it can be broken. it just makes life a bit harder for the cracker.

Why do you lock your door when you go out.? isnt the lock for a extra protection, even though all that is required to break in is a lock-pick or a (chainsaw) ;p

Also if Bis released a Ebo-Packer to the community. they could take legal actions against the person releasing the ebo-cracker.

At the moment Bis will do shit if your work gets stolen. only time they step in is when the people/person monetizing on your work inside the armaverse.

This attitude from Bis. or lets say the lack of attitude against theft i believe is more harmfull to the community in the long run than allowing people to protect their work

Edited by nuxil

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Just because encryptions get cracked. its not a bad thing.

Given enough time any encryption can be cracked.

Why do Banks and other firms protect their data with encryption.? they know it can be broken. it just makes life a bit harder for the cracker.

The scenario used by banks is different. They are either:

* Encrypting data that is carried on public networks. The encrypted data can be stolen easily but the decryption key (and the data once decrypted) is physically secure in bank premises.

* Encrypting stored data so that both the physically secure data and the physically secure decryption key must be stolen to access the data. Usually the decryption key is kept in a different place (on a different computer for example, so that an employee can't just steal a single hard disk drive to get access to the data).

In the .ebo scenario:

* The encrypted data is on my computer.

* The decryption key is on my computer.

* Once ARMA decrypts that data, the plaintext data is also on my computer.

That's why breaking the bank encryption is NSA level work, and grabbing files from an .ebo is script kid level work.

True. But you can make very advanced subroutines and also have part of the encryption can be done over the net to a bis server using TLS/SSL or other protocols.

But this is rather not likely something Bis would do.

That's completely draconian; these kinds of DRM systems are awful to use and again are simply ineffective (and would be more so with ARMA since--even if it was downloading encryption keys on demand--the data would still be available to save from ARMA's internal "file system" using a simple mission and DLL).

Also if Bis released a Ebo-Packer to the community. they could take legal actions against the person releasing the ebo-cracker.

Like they took legal action against T_D and then later Synide for publishing debinarizers?

Even if they did it would simply keep the tools out of the hands of honest people and they would remain only in the underground; only the unscrupulous would be able to copy or even just learn from the internals of .ebo's.

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The scenario used by banks is different.

True. That example was indeed a bad one to use as a comparison.

That's completely draconian; these kinds of DRM systems are awful to use and again are simply ineffective (and would be more so with ARMA since--even if it was downloading encryption keys on demand--the data would still be available to save from ARMA's internal "file system" using a simple mission and DLL).

Why do all this hassle with making a mission and a dll file..

If you got models you want to steal you can just use some tool that will rip it out of the D3d api directly.

Ofc if you want to get your hands on the scripts then you probably want to do this or other methods by exploiting the scripting engine in arma.

But the time you will spend on making these methods to rip out the code. you could have spent the time on making the scripts your self.

If you skills to do this.. You most likely also got skill to code something like what you want to rip/steal.

Like they took legal action against T_D and then later Synide for publishing debinarizers?

Even if they did it would simply keep the tools out of the hands of honest people and they would remain only in the underground; only the unscrupulous would be able to copy or even just learn from the internals of .ebo's.

The binarization of models in arma isnt for encryption. its to gain performance.

But i see you point here.

But even so. it still means that there is one more step to take to get your hands on the data.

And if it would remain only in the underground. that be good. because less people would know about it and ofc that means less people would use it.

Not everyone got the skill to rip out content. Adding one extra layer of protection might do so that the person who want to steal you work moved on to an easier target.

So we will and shall have no right to protect our work because the protection used can be broken?

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Wouldn't ebo files for the community blow their original intended purpose straight out of the water and out into space?

They were made in the first place to specfically protect Bohemia's addons from people attempting to unpack and modify them (probably more to protect their DLC system from tampering, they knew people would try to dink with it if it was left in pbo format).

Allowing the community to use this means that there has to be a program that is capable of reversing the encryption. Dig into the program, and you get the algorithm used to decrypt it, so you can decrypt any addon in ebo format you want.

Regardless for all the clowns that think putting something on the internet means nobody else will use for learning or for other purposes is just being a blind bat to the obvious facts. If you aren't expecting your work to be shared and used by others, simply DO NOT make mods for this game. Then you won't have to be a paranoid hermit watching constantly for somebody to use your work. simple. as. that.

Edited by austin_medic

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Allowing the community to use this means that there has to be a program that is capable of reversing the encryption. Dig into the program, and you get the algorithm used to decrypt it, so you can decrypt any addon in ebo format you want.

You already can do this by go digging around in the arma exe file with a debugger.

Ofcource it requires some knowhow and a little time.

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...it still means that there is one more step to take to get your hands on the data. And if it would remain only in the underground. that be good...

Keeping the data out of the criminals' hands is the stated purpose behind your idea, and yet here you admit that not only would the underground continue to maintain access, but, in fact, they would become the ONLY people with access. You want to punish legit users in order to create a minor inconvenience for the outlaws.

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If you got models you want to steal you can just use some tool that will rip it out of the D3d api directly.

So then what was the point of all this again?

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Keeping the data out of the criminals' hands is the stated purpose behind your idea, and yet here you admit that not only would the underground continue to maintain access, but, in fact, they would become the ONLY people with access. You want to punish legit users in order to create a minor inconvenience for the outlaws.

Please quote the hole part of what i said. and not only parts of it.

...

because less people would know about it and ofc that means less people would use it.

Ofcource its not good that the ebo file format gets cracked. but the fewer that know of the exiting cracker tools the better.

You have to actively seek out these so called underground groups. and most likely pay for the tools aswell. they might not even share with with you if your a newcomer.

In what way would i be punishing legit users if i where to ebo my files?

You could still use the ebo files and enjoy them.

Besides. no one would force you to encrypt your work. it would only be a choice you have..

Why do people assume that they have a right to peek at other people stuff all the time.

Why must it be in "Open source" all the time. "dont confuse open-source with example a gpl license which is somewhat synonym with open source. but it isnt."

Its like.. if you dont want to do open source. dont release your work.

If i want to protect my work somewhat. why not give me the ability to do so.

If you are curious how things you could always ask the author how it was done.

So then what was the point of all this again?

Its not just about models. its also about textures/images, scripts. sounds etc.

As i said. it will just add a extra layer of protection, encrypting the data does not guaranty that its safe, but it will make it more inconvenient and harder for the people who want to rip out your work.

It seems like you all have a little bit of panic about this.. (damn no ebo pls.. it will prevent me from looking at other peoples work so i cant learn anymore).

Seems like people are more obsessed with be able to open up work by other people than letting people protect their work if they want to.

As we seen from a3l senario. a license doesnt help much these days.

I bet if example tonic was able to ebo his work as a addon or even the mission itself. there would have be no a3l in the 1st place..

He had no such choice. But he most likely would not have done this anyway.

Edited by nuxil
typos, there are more i guess

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Why not go a further step and include a program inside the files somewhere that more or less scrambles the data if its opened. Or hey if we can't be held responsible for any damage caused to a persons computer why not include a program that acts as a virus if you want to go further with insuring people don't peek.

I'd like to toss out a few things I've learned from looking at other people work (that doesn't mean necessarily opening a pbo) topology, UV islands, meshflow, the ways in which various angles and surface shading interacts with textures, etc.

A few things to consider on the "learning" process being down to contacting the author, what is the questionare and author do not share the same language? For example if someone messages me something in French I'm going to have 0 clue what they are saying and my only venue is going to be trying an online translator. What if they don't know how to reach the author, authors inbox is full, author isn't around anymore or has a very tight schedule and doesn't check their messages often.

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