SafeDisc 3 is the latest CD protection methods in a series to come from
Macrovision, it has much more advanced features, and instead of one main
protection method, SafeDisc 3 incorporates many different methods to protect the
CD from duplication and the games exe from reverse engineering, these
include: Access Control Manager, which prevents copied CD's from
running. Patented digital signatures which uses a unique key encrypted into the
CD when the CD is duplicated which will prevent modern CD burners and
software from copying the game. Emulator detection, which prevents authentication
from a virtual drive, such as those used by Alcohol 120% or Daemon Tools. Strong
automated "memory lift" protection and debugger detection which can prevent
crackers/hackers from using unwrappers to automatically remove the protection,
this leaves crackers/hackers to resort to manual disassemble methods, using a
debugger to disassemble the exe and or dll's to manually view code, line by line
in an attempt to reverse engineer Safedisc 3.
One of the main new features of SafeDisc 3, which has already been done by
other protection companies, one notably being Codemaster's "Fade"
protection, is called SilentAlarm, which involves the protected game "silently"
detecting modifications to the protection at various points during its
execution, and later degrading the quality of the game in a 'subtle but effective
way'. Examples of SilentAlarm can include guns that won't fire, car wheels that
fly off the vehicle or continuous scene loops, making the game very difficult or
near impossible to complete. These API (Application Programming Interfaces)
methods allow the game developers to create multiple and fully customizable authentication checks throughout the
entire application. This technique disguises the specific point of failure,
making it difficult for hackers to verify if they have successfully "cracked" the protection.
For more information visit Macrovisions
Detection Of The Protection
You can use the latest version of ProtectionID
to successfully detect if this protection is being used.
The only way to successfully create a backup copy
that can be played from a CD is to use a "Fixed Exe" from the PC Game
Fixes section, in which the entire SafeDisc 3 protection has been completely
removed from the various exe and dll files, this includes the API checks, which
is very important, as the game-play will progressively degrade if not
Another method protecting your original CD's from
backing up your game is to use a CD Emulating tool, these tools will create a
virtual drive on your computer, and the entire game application and protection
will be emulated to your hard drive, where it can be run from your hard drive
without the need for the original CD, which will protect it from damage. The
tools/software which can emulate your games are Alcohol120%
Tools, as long as these two tools have not been blacklisted by the
latest SafeDisc 3 version your game has, then they will be able to emulate the
game. If it has been blacklisted you will need to wait
until the programs fix the blacklist for the version, which normally comes in an updated version of the software.