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Garry’s Mod Pirates Caught Red-Handed

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Earlier today Garry Newman, creator of Garry’s Mod, sent out the following tweet:

Anyone unable to shade polygon normals?

Newman uses his Twitter account to communicate with players of Garry’s Mod, and while this tweet in particular may seem nothing other than normal, it wasn’t. It was a trap for people who have pirated Garry’s Mod.

Garry’s Mod Pirates Caught Red-Handed

Newman had enabled this ‘bug’ as a way to catch pirates, for it only would occur if you were attempting to launch a pirated copy of the game. A simple Google search shows how quickly this was being reported by pirates of the game on the internet.

But how was Newman able to catch these pirates? The error only occurred in-game, so unless the user reported this error in public, they could not be easily tracked. Even if the user did report this error in public, how was Newman supposed to know which Steam IDs to ban? The solution was in the error message itself:

Engine Error:Unable to shade polygon normals(###)

The ‘###’ in the error message above represents the SteamID of the player who has received this error. So, if a pirate was to post this deceptively ordinary looking error on an internet forum in order to get help fixing their pirate copy of Garry’s Mod, all Newman would have to do is pull their SteamID from the error message, cross-check with the logs on the Steam Store (to see if their SteamID has ever purchased Garry’s Mod), and then swing the ban hammer. A simple and fun way of tackling piracy!


  1. LOL, one way to catch pirates

  2. How do you ban a pirate? 0_o
    I’ve never had gmod, neither pirated nor legal and I wonder, do pirates have to go online to play gmod? Do pirated versions have steamIDs?

  3. This is epic, Realy.
    Good job for Garry.

  4. This reminded me of the days I had HL2 pirated…
    Then I got myself the Orange Box.
    Some fun times, back then.

  5. Awesome first page, Flamov!

  6. What does this blog have to do with functional programming anyway? Valve? Is this some plumber’s blog?

  7. Those who fall for that don’t even deserve to call themselves pirates.

  8. Hahaha! Genius!


  9. Cleaver devil!

    This will surelly jarate a lota people.

  10. Awesome awesome man, love it.

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