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Thread: Activation, registration code for a commercial plugin?

  1. #1
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    Activation, registration code for a commercial plugin?

    Does anybody have any experience writing commercial plugins?

    I was thinking about writing a plugin and selling it, but I don't have any experience with the commercial aspects of plugin development. If anybody has any recommended reading material (online or in paper form) so I can do it myself or third-party solutions that would do it for me, that would be great. Specifically:

    1. Plugin software
      • Activating a plugin via LW serial number (I know I could rig something up with the sysid global and PGP or something, but there's no sense in reinventing the wheel, and I don't know enough to make it harder to crack)
      • 30 day trials - how to implement something like that.
    2. Web, money, etc.
      • How to set up web order forms, process CC #'s or paypal or whatever.
      • How to automate license key generation or whatever the activation code in the plugin needs to run.


    Thanks for any help.
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    Ken

  2. #2
    I'm just a wanna be.
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    Well... for number 1... just get an install maker program... There's quite a few out there, and plenty of them allow for you creating a serial number for use in the product to do the install, but also allow for an alternate install within the file that you can use to install a demo version instead. Personally, if you aren't familiar with programming, that would be the way to go.

    Number 2... ShareIt works wondrously for automating everything, as well as several sites similar to it. Digital River being another one to come to mind.

  3. #3
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    Thanks! I'll look into them.
    --


    Ken

  4. #4
    obfuscated SDK hacker Lightwolf's Avatar
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    1) I haven't found anything out there that can be easily adapted. You might want to consider a limited demo instead.
    Don't make the activation code to weak, or you'll have a serialz generator out there in no time (well, it took one year in our case ).

    We basically have a registration window for users to enter their details. They can save their registration data, mail it to us, we run the key generator and return the resulting file which can be imported into the registration window again.

    We're not using an installer because we think LW installations can vary a lot, and copying and adding a plugin is easy enough to do by end users, plus it makes it easy to install them on a renderfarm (especially if it is one self-contained .p/.plugin file).

    2) I recommend Share-it as well (they do belong to digital river by the way)... have a look at any of the links in my sig to check out their shopping system (follow the "Buy Now..." buttons).

    Cheers,
    Mike

  5. #5
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    1) I haven't found anything out there that can be easily adapted. You might want to consider a limited demo instead.
    Don't make the activation code to weak, or you'll have a serialz generator out there in no time (well, it took one year in our case)
    That sucks. I was thinking of tying it to the lightwave serial number from the sysid global. Then I can do essentially an unbreakable (feasibly unbreakable, computationally anyways) RSA encryption. They send me the LW serial number, I take their LW#, encrypt it with my private key, send them back a license file, then the plugin decrypts the license file with the public key, and if the resultant string equals their LW serial number queried from the sysid global, it allows it to run. Then the weak point becomes LW's copy protection scheme (I know there are probably a billion hacked LWs out there, but still their copy protection is probably better than anything I could singlehandedly write).

    The reason I wanted a third party solution (or at least a pointer to books or webpages detailing the theory behind it) is, while I know enough about math and computers to make essentially unbreakable activation code, I don't know enough about warez/haxx0r/wh4t3v3r stuff to know how to make the plugin itself harder to hack. I assume that with a disassembler or something it would be not that hard to go into the compiled plugin, find where it does its activation code check, and simply change the function to return "True" all the time, or whatever.
    --


    Ken

  6. #6
    obfuscated SDK hacker Lightwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjl
    That sucks. I was thinking of tying it to the lightwave serial number from the sysid global. Then I can do essentially an unbreakable (feasibly unbreakable, computationally anyways) RSA encryption. They send me the LW serial number, I take their LW#, encrypt it with my private key, send them back a license file, then the plugin decrypts the license file with the public key, and if the resultant string equals their LW serial number queried from the sysid global, it allows it to run. Then the weak point becomes LW's copy protection scheme (I know there are probably a billion hacked LWs out there, but still their copy protection is probably better than anything I could singlehandedly write).
    Our inital scheme was weaker than that... the next one won't be. While it won't stop people from cracking, it will from writing a keygen.
    Quote Originally Posted by kjl
    The reason I wanted a third party solution (or at least a pointer to books or webpages detailing the theory behind it) is, while I know enough about math and computers to make essentially unbreakable activation code, I don't know enough about warez/haxx0r/wh4t3v3r stuff to know how to make the plugin itself harder to hack. I assume that with a disassembler or something it would be not that hard to go into the compiled plugin, find where it does its activation code check, and simply change the function to return "True" all the time, or whatever.
    Basically yes. There are a few tools out there that cost $$$ and help you, I have no experience with them and I do wonder if it really makes for the (potentially) lost sales.

    Cheers,
    Mike

  7. #7
    Heffalump
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    Even Worley's plugins get cracked and I'm told that his protection systems are well crafted.

    The evil scheme (from my POV, because it's system locked rather than dongle locked) in PointOven and Fiber Factory is also cracked.

    As ever, make the system inflexible (by tying to a system, rather than a dongle) and I'll be unhappy. Cause me pain by only allowing a single activation on a serial, and I'll be very unhappy.

    I hate activation. It's getting to be that every damn thing needs deactivating before a system rebuild these days (even on Mac!) and I'm buggered if I can remember to do this (and would be completely unable to if the system is hosed).
    Inactive.

  8. #8
    obfuscated SDK hacker Lightwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil
    I hate activation. It's getting to be that every damn thing needs deactivating before a system rebuild these days (even on Mac!) and I'm buggered if I can remember to do this (and would be completely unable to if the system is hosed).
    No discussion here, I fully agree. A dongle is the furthest that I think is pracitcal. A nice, portable license on a stick

    Cheers,
    Mike

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