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Old 04 February 2015, 03:52   #16
Mark Wright
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Hove, actually
Posts: 205
Originally Posted by IFW View Post
Your assumptions are a bit off.
These publishers worked on the basis they had for the C64 and were very well aware of piracy and used commercial duplicators that were geared up to make hundreds of thousands of disks if it was needed.
Actually, early EA releases have better copy-protection than later ones.
Even the very first C64 games were professionally duplicated, cca 1982.
You're far better placed than I to comment on such things, and I continue to applaud the amazing work that you (and your colleagues) have done in the realm of archiving/precision preservation of magnetic media. In fact, you're well-placed to answer the question, "what was the first mass-produced commercial Amiga game to employ deliberate measures against casual copying, therefore requiring a crack." If you'll pardon my re-definition of the original query... ;-) What's your best guess?

Typically, in my original post, I failed to explain myself clearly. I never meant to suggest that the early, pioneering publishers of Amiga software had nowhere to turn for professional replication of 3.5" disks. I was merely speculating that those with contractual obligations (typically established concerns in the USA) to supply the Amiga market, then in its absolute 85/86 infancy, likely scrimped on the production process. Maybe not. But kudos to anyone who was able to implement an effective Amiga copy-protection system back then, while even the authors of the actual software were all at sea with this new-fangled Amiga.

Of course, the likes of Epyx/EA/Activision were already old-hands at high-volume, mass production/distribution of hundreds of thousands of well-protected C64/Apple/Atari 5 1/4 floppies by then - in fact, years before the Amiga came along. (By the way, I'm purposely using US companies to illustrate my point as they were first to market with Amiga releases.) But there's a big difference between Epyx hoping to shift (say) 0.5m units of Winter Games upon a mature/buoyant global market of (say) 5m potential buyers (while taking steps to combat expected piracy) and EA releasing its Amiga version of Archon, presumably hoping it'll be 100% snapped-up by the Worldwide handful of Amiga 1000 owners.

It would fascinate me to know - though I'm sure no-one will be able to supply any answers - what would have constituted a "production run" in those days (85/86). Presumably some kind of business equation would dictate whether a release could be justified, with projected loss/break-even and profit points. From a UK perspective, if in 1986, Ocean Software hoped to sell (say) 100,000 cassettes of its Knight Rider game, to a domestic 8-bit multi-platform market of (say) 1m - with protection against piracy - you can see the logic. But I wonder how many copies of Amiga "Brataccas" Psygnosis was hoping to sell in the same year? And to whom? Would the 10,000th copy have rolled off the production line just like the first, or would a "cottage industry" ethic have been in place, with each copy "manufactured" to order...

The SPS article on the Amiga version of LCP is a fantastic read. I'd love to hear more about the embryonic age of copy-protection on the Amiga, before it was worth mass-duplicating disks and thus taking advantage of all that Trace offered, etc. Is there even an example of a commercially released title being evidently "hand-made" rather than professionally duplicated? ;-)
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