Saturday, June 16, 2007

GL Intercept

Written 13 June, 2007

GL Intercept

Back in the day I was something of a software pirate, defeating copy protection on floppy disks and cartridges for my VIC-20 (and then Commodore 64). I had hundreds of programs I and my friends broke and then never even loaded.

It was fun matching wits with the software companies, figuring out how they protected their software and then unprotecting it and giving copies to my friends.

Most recently I’ve been bypassing Symantec. It started when I renewed my anti-virus protection and it didn’t “take.” Symantec was absolutely non-responsive to my pleas via e-mail, telephone, and U.S. mail first to activate my protection and, later, to refund my money, so I decided to hack them. After all, I had already paid!

It took like five minutes. All I had to do was download the latest virus definitions to my desktop; set the clock on my computer back to a time when my protection was current; run the file installing the definitions; and then set the clock back to real time. Makes you wonder how much their virus software is really worth, doesn’t it?

I’ve been doing it to Symanec for years and telling others how to do it, and fuck you, Symantec. I wouldn’t have done it if you hadn’t ripped me off and then ignored me.

I no longer have quite the cavalier attitude toward intellectual property rights I had in my early years, but I have my limits, and when they’re surpassed, my pirating instincts are activated.


Recently I read about something called GL Intercept, which is code that captures textures displayed to the screen in video games and even in Second Life. It consists of a set of files you place in your Second Life folder. When you run SL, GLI begins its work, capturing textures.

Or so they say.

Well, not exactly. I know it works because I tried it.

A couple of weeks ago I went to a new and for the most part empty island owned by my friend Aldo Zond, rezzed a Mystitool platform high in the sky, set out some prims and texturized them, logged off, and logged back on with GL Intercept activated. The frame rate was abysmal (think .5 fps), but I wasn’t there to walk around. I set Busy and walked away from the computer to clean the house for a while.

When I looked at the Images folder later, it was filled with thousands of files.

It would have taken forever to look at all those files, so I sorted them by size and killed those smaller than 64x64. Then I spent fifteen minutes highlighting and deleting blocks of files that were either empty or looked like images from the SL interface. With that done, I made another folder and dragged the interesting-looking files to it.

When I looked at that folder later, I found copies of the files I had pasted onto my prims—and of the grass and rock from the Mystitool platform—but I also found images of the Second Life moon and clouds, the body tattoos and body textures from my avatar, and even files of my eyes and jewelry (clothing textures would have shown up too, I’m sure, but I was doing this experiment sky-clad at 700 meters on an empty sim inside an opaque Mystitool platform.

GL Intercept had certainly been thorough!

The files were saved in .png format, with the images upside down (but not, for some reason, backwards as well). Some were as large as 2048x2048, reflecting the density of the originals. Files tended to be saved at different densities (128x128, 256x256, and 512x512 being the most common). I think this is because textures tend to rez in at progressively higher densities, and because (I seem to remember reading this somewhere) far-off textures are read at a lower density than those that are close by.

I trashed the images. I mean, most of them were my test textures, I already had the Mysti platform textures, and most of the rest were images from Second Life for which I had no particular need. My skin is modifiable and copyable, so there was no need to save the body tattoos, either, although I was tempted because the skin images were complete with nail color, which comes off whenever I wear socks or gloves.

I am, however, tempted to use GL Intercept in earnest.

I don’t plan to go hang out at Textures ‘R’ Us and rip them off, or at Bliss Gardens to grab the neato terrain textures.

Rather, I have a few textures for which I paid good money, and which are No Modify (some are even No Copy, which renders them perfectly useless!).

No Copy textures are a pain because they don’t show in the menu under textures. You apply them by dragging them directly onto one side of a prim. This causes the texture to shout out in surprise and pain. Since the texture must be applied to each and every side of every prim, it makes for a lot of screen spam.

How nice it would be to capture all of my No Modify textures! I could put them into multi-texture organizers (I’ll blog on that soon) and apply them to prims in conventional ways.

So one night soon, sky-clad at 700 meters inside an opaque Mystitool platform, I may be running GL Intercept.

Just to make my second life a little bit easier.


Melissa Yeuxdoux said...

Alas, there's only a Windows version on the web site.

I would be sorely tempted to use such a utility. As I've said (perhaps at excessive length), as a wearer of prim breasts I am effectively denied the use of things I have purchased, namely the textures on tops I have legitimately bought.

If I do not in any way give those textures to anyone else, shouldn't I be able to capture those textures so I can apply them to the clothes I wear?

Anonymous said...

You can have its saveing correctly oriented TGA's as well. Just check the ini file.

- Peter

LillyBeth Filth said...

The problem is people get handy with it and temptation takes over...Hell why pay L$ for some textures an artist has spent hours of time creating when you can help yourself freely! Even the best intentions in the world would find that hard to resist ANYONE I find using that software on my sim is banned infact anyone I hear who uses it I ban..would be the same as allowing a known theif into a department store, the fact you have got it on your PC and know how to use it makes me nervous enough to protect mine and TRUs artists from the slightest temptation.

Cheyenne Palisades said...

Lilybeth, I just spent about $750 for textures. I have no intention of taking GL Intercept off my home property.

Dui Zhang said...

"Even the best intentions in the world would find that hard to resist "

Hey, don't question my integrity and I won't dismiss you as judgmental. Seriously, if something goes across a wire, ANYONE can take it. That doesn't mean everyone is a thief. Might as well ban cars cause people might be tempted to speed. If I pay for content, and I shudder to think at the cash I've wasted on this game, I should have the right to modify it as I see fit.

Anonymous said...

I find it rather funny Lillybeth filth comments on this... thousands among thousands of TRU "Custom textures" she claims artists have spent hours of time creating is bullshit and only a half truth. Go to or any other sites like that and you can find thousands of "TRU's custom" textures there, made by OTHER artists that they bought from, uploaded in game, and slapped the label "TRU Copyright" on. Search google images and find tons of other "TRU customs" as well! There are a couple TRU artists that do original work, but over half don't. So next time you need a texture, search google! Works for me :)

Anonymous said...

Would this be handy for getting tats off your underwear layer? I do my own tats but having to go without underwear is a pain. You shouldn't have to juggle layers to keep your tats intact.

Cheyenne Palisades said...

It would be a way to make changes to your skin, if you wanted to.

Anonymous said...

I'm enormously tempted to do this just so I can change my make-up without having to buy another skin with different coloured lips for another L1000.

Anonymous said...

For someone so savvy to be cracking software for so long, etc.. etc.. it's amazing that you couldn't figure out to go through the .ini file and set up your preferences so that it's not capturing every frame and running you at ".5 fps", and upside down .png's. Facepalm. Here's how it works when you "do it right". You're doing whatever it is you do when you have the requirement to grab a texture.. oh, say, that you lost due to hd crash or whatever and also happens to have been bitten by a bug and perms changed so that you can't simply download it. You don't log out, you don't run at .5 fps, you run normal, and like this all the time, and you hit your capture hotkey. The screen will pause for, oh, half a sec and you're back to normal, with a folder with your textures in it safely saved, to targas and right side up.

Oh and Lilybeth... BWAhahahahahah... that you should even comment about this issue is absurd. You'd never, ever know if anyone was in your precious store with it anyway, or your garden ;).

Cheyenne Palisades said...

My thievery was pretty much limited to Commodore 64 programs. I knew little three years ago when I wrote this post and I still know little about how PC graphics work.

And play nice, please.

Anonymous said...

As I don't particularly want to get banned from lots of sims in SL, posting anonymously.

I'm neko. I also happen to have a great affinity for latex and a lot of those use a skin for the hood. There's no way I'm gonna put up with having a pasty, clammy, human face (no offense)

GL Intercept lets me buy content that would otherwise be off limits to me.

Anonymous said...

Would someone be willing to talk me through HOW to set this up so it works for me? apparently I must not be doing it correctly because I do not see an image folder to look into.