Hi Philip,
That is a really tough question. Both as a game player and developer myself I'm faced with this very question. Here is my thoughts on the matter. What it really boils down to is a question of convenience for the customer or better security for your product. As a developer who is interested in seeing customers pay for the time and work I put into a project I feel compelled to use some form of hardware based product ID system or internet product activation. However, as an end user myself, of such product registration systems, I personally hate them. I generally find the registration system, if not flexible and easy to use, is a major deterrent from purchasing the product. I've actually stopped using certain products just because the registration system was too much of a hassle obtaining new keys for all of the time. For example, I often upgrade my computer if and when I have the cash to do so. Since I custom build my desktops it is easy to swap out a motherboard, processor, and memory so one day it might be a 3.0 GHZ system with 1 GB of ram and after I finish performing an upgrade it might be a 3.5 GHZ system with 2 GB of ram. Such upgrades are quite normal for me. However, because a lot of software now uses hardware based registration systems performing an upgrade like that causes me endless frustration and agrivation, because I have to contact every developer, explain to them why my product doesn't work, and ask for new keys. Obviously, this is a massive hassle. Some developers such as BSC Games, GMA Games, etc are pretty friendly about it, know I do this, and are willing to grant me a new key if and when I need them. Some developers, Microsoft to name one big one, tells me I have to purchase a new license for Windows because Windows was designed to be installed on a single computer where the hardware is assumed to be the same without major upgrades. So that naturally effects my desire to keep up to date with upgrades. As a result I've had to make major changes in what software I support, buy, and install on my computers. My desktop runs Linux because it is cheaper, doesn't have some draconian registration system, is easier to maintain, and does just about everything I want it to do. Since I don't upgrade the hardware on my laptop that is the system I install Windows on, plus my games, and have elected to register all of my Windows software on that system. Primary reason is that is the only way to keep from having to e-mail every developer under the sun for a new key anytime I perform a system upgrade on my desktop system. While an internet product activation system isn't that bad still it bars valid users from a clean and simple way to register his/her software. In the end knowing what I know about both the good and bad about registration systems Mysteries of the Ancients uses a user name product key system. That is the product key is tied to the user's user name. It is considered the weakest security system a commercial developer could use, but makes it simple and easy for an honest customer to use. Since I am not primarily writing my games for money, do it more as a side hobby, I tend to use the honors system on such things. I feel customers who really enjoy my work, want to contribute to USA Games for future developments, will pay for the games and legally register them. Those people who lack a conscience or just don't care will pirated it anyway regardless how secure I try to make the registration system. So I tend to try to benefit the customer rather than punishing them for what a few unscrupulous people will do anyway.


HTH

Philip Bennefall wrote:
Hi all,

I just wanted to throw out a quick question here. As expected, there are quite 
a few user keys for Q9 floating around as I am only using a name/key 
registration system. Now, my question is; is it the best way to do things, or 
should I adopt an Internet unlocking strategy? The product ID/key approach is 
out of the question as regenerating keys for people can become quite a 
nightmare, and so the only option left for me is to make it check the 
registration data online. This of course forces the user to have an active 
Internet connection at the time of registration, but I think most people do 
these days. So, should I keep the registration system as it is or change it for 
all my future products to be Internet based?

Kind regards,

Philip Bennefall


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