TexturePacker Content Protection

Andreas Löw
TexturePacker Content Protection

Learn how to protect your sprites from getting ripped out of your applications.

  • Setting up TexturePacker for encryption
  • Preparing your cocos2d project for content protection
  • Apple's requirements on encryption and Content Protection

I've added a new feature to TexturePacker which helps you to prevent your assets from being stolen. It's called ContentProtection and simply encrypts the images.

Your app or game will still be able to decrypt the data, but somebody else is going to have a hard time getting it done.

In theory, it would still be possible for somebody to extract the key from the source code and write some decoder, as the decoder and key have to be stored in your app - otherwise it would not be possible to use the assets in your game at all. But it will take knowledge, time and effort to decrypt your assets. So instead of stealing your assets, it's likely that they go and find some easier prey.

Encrypt your assets!

Your app will still be able to decrypt the data, but somebody else is going to have a hard time getting it done.

Designing the encryption, we had the following goals in mind:

  • Ease of use Enter the encryption key in TexturePacker and copy 2 files into your Cocos2D folder, add 4 lines of code - that's all.
  • Memory consumption The runtime requires 4kB while decrypting the spritesheets. The file sizes stay the same.
  • Performance The decryption uses nearly no time at all since only parts of the spritesheet are encrypted.
  • Security It should be hard to decrypt the data.

All of this works! Encrypting your assets is a piece of cake - it comes at nearly no effort - and does not have any impact on your game.

In theory, it would be possible for somebody to extract the key from the app and write some decoder. The decoder and key are stored in your app - otherwise it would not be possible to use the assets in your game at all. But this will take knowledge, time and effort - and it is something that not every 6-year-old school boy or girl can perform. So instead of stealing your assets, it's likely that they go and find some easier prey.

Setting up TexturePacker for encryption

I assume that you already have TexturePacker running to create sprite sheets. So simply open an existing .tps file.

Download the latest TexturePacker - here you'll find a new option on the left: Content Protection . Press the "lock" icon and a new popup opens:

TexturePacker Content Protection settings

You can enter your own key in the line edit - or simply create a new one by pressing Create new key .

To disable encryption use Clear / Disable . Save as global key stores the key in TexturePacker as global - using it for decryption in the .pvr viewer and allowing you paste it into other sprite sheets by simply pressing Use global key

It is important that you change the file format to pvr.ccz

  • which is currently the only file format that supports encryption.

Press Publish and you are done in TexturePacker.

The corresponding command in command line is --content-protection <key> where the key must be a 32-digits hex value.

Preparing your cocos2d project for content protection

Download and copy the following 2 files inside your cocos2d folder: libs/cocos2d/Support - replacing the 2 files that are already there:

Now set the key in your app. You can do this by placing 4 calls inside your startup sequence before the first sprite sheet is loaded. Try to distribute the calls among several files to make them harder to spot.

If your license key is aaaaaaaabbbbbbbbccccccccdddddddd , you have to split it into 4 parts with 8 digits each:

  • aaaaaaaa

  • bbbbbbbb

  • cccccccc

  • dddddddd

Each value is a 32-bit part of the whole 128-bit encryption key. It's quite hard to spot inside the app since it's simply another value passed to a function.

caw_setkey_part(0, 0xaaaaaaaa);
caw_setkey_part(1, 0xbbbbbbbb);
caw_setkey_part(2, 0xcccccccc);
caw_setkey_part(3, 0xdddddddd);

Make sure to add the following line to each file in which you use caw_setkey_part :

#import "ZipUtils.h"

If you had to change the file format, make sure to now load the .pvr.ccz file instead of whatever you used before. Also add the new files to your project.

That's it!

Conclusion

Protecting your game assets from content thieves is easy. Using the new ContentProtection feature can be set up in less than 5 minutes!

Apple's requirements on encryption and Content Protection

I am no lawyer & this is no legal statement!

My understanding of Apple's iTunes Connect Guide and the Bureau of Industry and Security is that you don't need to get the ERN approval for your app/game if you use TexturePacker's Content Protection. The encryption is used to protect your intellectual property only and is not accessible to the user - excluding it from the regulations.

See the Bureau of Industry and Securitys Encryption FAQ - Question 15 (What is Note 4?):

Examples of items that are excluded from Category 5, Part 2 by Note 4 include, but are not limited to, the following: Consumer applications. Some examples:

  • piracy and theft prevention for software or music;
  • music, movies, tunes/music, digital photos – players, recorders and organizers
  • games/gaming – devices, runtime software, HDMI and other component interfaces, development tools
Apple iTunes Export Compliance

Picture taken from a former version of iTunes Connect Developer Guide - Chapter "Submitting the App to App Review"