GOG.com has moved away from inno’s own compression to storing a password-protected RAR archive inside their installers; a move that brought a lot of complains from various GOG users. According to fans, this new decision to include password-protected RAR files is basically a form of DRM, something that is against what GOG really stands for. On the other hand, GOG.com’s developer ‘Gowor’ shed some light on what exactly is currently going on.
According to Gowor, the archives are password-protected because the GOG.com team wanted to avoid the situation where someone tampers with the archive and uploads it to a torrent site, and because the team wanted to avoid the situation of ‘when user will see a unprotected rar file, download and unpack it, and get a “broken” installation, because he didn’t use the installer.’
“There were situations, when users would download just a single part of the installer, or try to unrar it manually (because apparently some browsers detect our new archives as rar files), or even try to open the .bin files with the VLC Video Player.
In such a situation I think it’s better to give immediate “it won’t work that way” message, rather than allow someone to make a “partial” installation, which may or may not work, without any information. “
Gowor claimed that the Installer is designed mostly for reliability and ease of use for any user, and that most users won’t be affected by those password protected files (as the Installers never ask gamers to insert a password).
As Gowor added:
“Mind you – if you are using the supported installation mode, you don’t have to enter the password anywhere. Nor is it in any way dependent on username, or hardware, or anything else. It’s more or less hardcoded into the installer (I see you guys already figured out how), as much as the decompression algorithm. You can still use the installer exactly as you could since the beginning of GOG, and install your games wherever, whenever, and however many times you want. It doesn’t detect where was it downloaded from either. That hasn’t changed at all. “
Of course this decision to move to password protected RAR archives comes with a price. This new method now prevents the use of tools such as innoextract to dump installer contents. By a number of users, this was the go-to method to set up games with DOSbox/emulators/ScummVM/Freespace 2 on phones, Linux and other platforms.
Users have already figured out ways to gain the passwords for GOG.com’s password protected RAR archives, so at least there is a workaround for those few who are affected by it.
“We don’t really support installing the game by manually unpacking the archives (for whatever reason you do that). On the other hand, I see you already figured out the algorithm for obtaining the password, so you are still able to do as much. I’m not going to say “Hey, good job hacking into our software guys!”, but I’m not going to try and make the password harder either.”