ScummVM on iOS without Jailbreak

TGIF! And therefore I’m going to write about gaming in our blog today. No image processing this time, sorry… ūüėČ

I have played my first computer games in the early 90s. It started with Super Mario Bros. on the NES, then at a friend’s with his C64 and then my dad brought home our first PC. Finally, Lemmings and Indy 3 were my first mouse controlled games. As an avid NES kid, I was fascinated over the better VGA graphics and the fact that Indiana Jones is¬†not a Native American. I did not understand anything since our version of the game was completely in English, but I think playing those games was a good foundation for my English lessons at school.

Although I’m still buying contemporary video games, they typically end up dusted and stay shrink wrapped forever. The same for Steam games, except the dust and the packaging. Every now and then I’m still playing games, but not modern games. Yep, right: I love and play my old retro games.¬†I guess the¬† Lucasfilm/LucasArts classics¬†will always be¬†my favorite games – from Maniac Mansion to¬†Grim Fandango, I played them numerous times until the credits get rolled and although adventure games are not the most versatile games, they will never boring for me.

When getting my¬†first iPod Touch, I immediately jailbreaked it to run¬†a single app “illegal” app: ScummVM, an open source gem that finally brings all the LucasArts, Sierra, Revolution and XYZ adventure classics to any computer-like platform that ever existed, or so…

Since iOS 9 and the latest Xcode major update, we finally can do what Android users can do from time immemorial: Installing homebrewn open source software! The lovely folks at¬†the ScummVM forums have now added support for the newest iOS and updated the build script so that it builds for the iPhone or iPad without any hassle. Because it is still a very technical task to install ScummVM on your iOS device, I’ve put together the following step-by-step guide¬†to show you how to bring back¬†Guybrush & Co on your mobile Apple gadget without jailbreaking it.

The voodoo recipe

For playing Monkey Island on your iOS device you need the following ingredients:

  • One or more iOS devices
  • A computer running Mac OS X El Capitan with administrator privileges
  • Xcode
  • A free Apple Developer account
  • Patience
  • Original game files

Getting Xcode

Before you can start playing games with ScummVM, you first need to install Xcode on your Mac. Xcode is the development tool for Mac OS X and is available for free. To get its latest version, just search for it in the Mac App Store.

By installing Xcode you will also get Git installed on your computer that is required to download the ScummVM source code from the Github repository.

That was an easy one. Let’s see what’s coming up next…

Getting a free Apple Developer account

We need a Apple Developer account to install software on our iOS device. Therefore, go to the Apple Developer Member Center to sign up for a new Apple Developer account. Since you are already an Apple customer, you probably also have an Apple ID: Just enter your Apple ID and sign in, then your account gets activated.

Preparing the Xcode project and getting the code

The next step is by courtesy of ScummVM team member bSr43. As mentioned in the dev forums, bSr43 coded the following shell script to download the source code, its dependencies and create the Xcode project automagically. Big up for the script!

Copy the code snippet above, fire up your editor of choice (TextWrangler or TextEdit for example) to create a new file and paste the code into it. Then save the file as¬†prepare_workspace.sh¬†into your folder of choice. This folder will be your project folder where all ScummVM source code gets downloaded to. Therefore, I’m creating a new folder in my home folder with finder called scummvm.¬†After you have saved the script in the newly created folder, open¬†Terminal.

After you have started Terminal, navigate to the folder you have saved the script into (if you need help read the following article). Then copy the following line into the Terminal window and hit return:

The first command chmod marks the shell script as executable, the second command after the semicolon runs our shell script.

After hitting enter, you will need to wait for a few minutes. The script will download all sources, dependencies and create the Xcode project and configuration for you. As soon as the script has finished its work, Xcode gets opened with your very own ScummVM source code.

Compiling and deploying ScummVM to your iOS device

Now we need to adjust a few more settings to get ready. First, I’m clicking the scummvm project in the left tree (1) to open the project settings. Next¬†the Bundle Identifier (2)¬†and the¬†Provisioning Profile (3) need to be configured.

Setting the ScummVM project settings in Xcode
Setting the ScummVM project settings in Xcode

The bundle identifier needs to be an individual ID. I’m choosing at.pmlabs.scummvm¬†for my personal iOS deployment build. After setting the bundle identifier, I’m clicking the¬†Fix Issue¬†button to use¬†my developer account for signing. The following dialog gets opened by Xcode then:

Adding our Apple Developer ID to sign the app for deployment
Adding our Apple Developer ID to sign the app for deployment

Click the Add button and enter the Apple ID we¬†have used before when logging into the Developer Center. The Apple ID gets added then to Xcode’s Accounts tab in the settings. Select your new account and click View Details…¬†to display your¬†Signing Identities.

Opening the Signing Identities window
Opening the Signing Identities window

This screens provides you to setup a development provisioning profile for iOS. To create the certificate, just click the Create button next to iOS Development:

Creating the development certificate
Creating the development certificate

Once Xcode has completed fetching the certificate, click Done.

Now we are back for fixing our issue as we promised Xcode before. Just select the Development Team that should be used for provisioning and click Choose. The issue fades away and we can start building, deploying and running ScummVM on our iPhone or iPad.

Therefore we need to plug our iDevice into the Mac, selecting the device and press Cmd+R to start building.

Plug your device in and select it before start building
Plug your device in and select it before start building

Time for a short coffee break!

Because the build process takes a few moments, your iPhone or iPad will probably lock the screen in the meanwhile. Xcode will then prompt you to unlock your phone or tablet to start installing the app. And there it is:

ScummVM on an iPhone without Jailbreak!
ScummVM on an iPhone without Jailbreak!

Hm, but Xcode just displayed a security error?! Yep, there is one more thing: Open your mobile device’s Settings, tap¬†General¬†and then¬†Profiles & Device Management. Tap¬†the Apple ID we previously used for deployment. You will see a short list with ScummVM in it and above an entry that says Trust¬†[Apple ID]. Tap it and a popup opens that asks you again if you really really sure. Just tap¬†Trust¬†once again to keep Apple happy.

Voil√°! Just try to open the app again you will be welcomed by the ScummVM launch¬†screen! ūüôā

It works! :)
It works! ūüôā

Copying ScummVM compatible games onto your iOS device

Copying games onto your tablet or smartphone is done via iTunes. Therefore, simply open iTunes and select your iDevice. Immediately afterwards we are selecting the Apps entry and scroll down to the bottom to another section called File Sharing. In this section you can upload or download files directly into an installed app. Select ScummVM and then click Add to select files or drag & drop them from Finder. I do not make more screenshots here as the whole dialog in iTunes is somehow messed up because I have installed too much apps on my iPhone.

Well hidden on the very bottom of the Apps section you will find the File Sharing feature of iTunes
Well hidden on the very bottom of the Apps section you will find the File Sharing feature of iTunes

If you need to know which files you need to copy for the favorite games of your childhood, just follow this guide here: http://wiki.scummvm.org/index.php/Datafiles

Recap

I started to replay The Curse of Monkey Island on my iPad and I’m quite happy with it. ūüôā So no need for half-assed remakes anymore! You can play adventure games from the golden era again with the iPad as the perfect platform for Point & Click.

I hope this tutorial was not too technical, since it was also new to me as a software developer, who has not shipped software for an Apple device for ten years.

I wish you hours of fun with ScummVM on your iDevice and a nice weekend! ūüôā

Cheers,

Phil

How to find watermarked photos on the Internet with Google Image Search

Customers often ask us how they¬†can find their¬†own images over the internet they have watermarked with bulkWaterMark. This is not a feature of bulkWaterMark, but most people do not know that¬†it is a free service of Google’s powerful¬†Image Search.

Just click the link to open the image search and hit the camera icon like shown in the image below:

Google Image Search to search watermarked photos
Google Image Search to search watermarked photos

Afterwards, Google offers you two modes for the “Search by image” mode of the image search:

In the¬†Paste image URL tab you can grab¬†a link to an image of your website or any other page in the internet. Afterwards click the “Search by image” button and Google starts searching its index for the specified image.

Less popular¬†is the option to upload the image you are searching for. Therefore, click on the¬†Upload an image¬†tab and select an image file from your local computer’s file system:

Uploading an image to Google
Uploading an image to Google

After you have selected the picture of your choice, the file gets uploaded to Google Image Search. I’ve selected one of our bulkWaterMark sample template file screenshots for search and found my blog post from last week in the results:

The search result with an image file as "keyword"
The search result with an image file as “keyword”

Voilà, Google lists the searched results and my blog post about watermarking photos.

But what happens if the copycat changes the image file format or resizes your original picture? Google Image Search is very tolerant when searching images and is even able to deal with compression artifacts.

So this is a nice tool for searching and identifying your watermarked photos on the Internet. You do not need expensive services to search for your images anymore and can focus on making great photos.

Hope that this short post was helpful for you!

Cheers,

Phil

From Paper Watermarks in Bank Notes to Digital Watermarks in Photos

I have no new tutorial for you this time, but I think a little history lesson about watermarks can also be very interesting. To get my bachelors degree in computer science back in 2006, I wrote a thesis about digital watermarks. In this blog post, I would like to sum up the most important facts that I have investigated in my thesis and provide an overview about digital watermarks. And yes, this time we will not only talk about watermarking photos.

Watermarks in history

Everybody knows watermarks in bank notes. The first paper watermarks were initially spotted in the end of the 13th century in Bologna, Italy. In these days people did not add watermarks to of send hidden messages, copyright protection or copy protection. Paper manufacturers embedded symbols and messages into paper to sign their product. These identification marks are also often used to date historic documents.

Basically, there are multiple definitions for the word “watermark” that are used by authors, historians and scientists. Mostly, a watermark is defined as not immediately visible data within different kinds of media. Usually, this data cannot be separated from the carrier. Watermarks are therefore part of the science of steganography.

Nowadays, visual watermarks are mostly used to protect photos with logos or texts. Their hearable counterparts are audible watermarks like noise or spoken words. Some people are claiming that noticeable watermarks are ruining a picture or a song, therefore the distribution of additional hidden informations with watermarks is getting more and more important these days. The big problem with hidden informations is that they can be removed from the medium easily when transforming digital data. Invisible photo watermarks for example can get lost if the image format or size gets changed for example. On the other hand, watermarking photos with visible logo or text watermarks can be removed by cropping the watermarked parts of the image. So the more robust and stable a digital watermark is, the more effective your image, music, video or document gets protected from content thefts.

The rise of digital watermarks

Digital watermarks are not an invention of the internet era. You are probably surprised to hear that experiments with digital watermarks have started back in the 1950s. These efforts were not really honored by the industry then.

The first application of watermarks was used for signing audio signals by Emil Hembrooke of the Muzac Corporation in 1954. It was a patent entitled “Identification of sound and like signals”¬†that allowed the positive identification of the origin of music. So it was the first electronic watermark to prevent piracy.

But, it should take a little longer that digital watermarking gets popular. In the mid-1990s when the Internet conquers the world, the entertainment industry sits up and takes¬†notice. The¬†Internet connects the whole world digitally and is a new medium for distributing data and services. In the end of the 1990s, the situation escalates when the file sharing service Napster gets fought by the music industry after distributing music files for free. Of course, the music industry defeats¬†Napster and after the shut down of the service, the huge media groups are working on copy protections and digital rights management solutions. Now digital watermarks are on everyone’s lips because unprotected¬†published content can be copied easily digitally.

Characteristics of digital watermarks

The characteristics of a digital watermarks are dependent on the type of medium and how a person can consume this medium. The problems when designing a watermark are often the robustness and noticeability of the watermark. These two characteristics play off against each other because one behavior effects the strength of the other.

As mentioned before, robustness is a big factor when considering to watermark photos or audio files. Watermarks are robust when they survive within their carrier medium. Take a photo watermarked by bulkWaterMark or other batch watermark software for example: The watermark is only robust as long as it is visible on the picture. By removing the watermarked parts of the picture, the watermark gets also removed. If the watermark is positioned on the most interesting part of the photo, the watermark will probably never get cropped from the picture.

And so the dilemma begins: The most robust visual or audible watermarks are destroying the image or audio data Рthey are noticeable. So the more robust, the more noticeable. Invisible audio and video watermarks are often realized with proprietary file formats, but there was never a popular and inexpensive solution for image protection. While invisible watermarks can also be embedded into photos by adding fingerprint data to the image, robustness is very difficult to achieve since the watermarked image must be a standard image file format. iTunes has proved that people are ok with proprietary audio and video files, but this approach does not work for photos and images. The aforementioned resize and compression of image data can eliminate an invisible watermark easily. Most professional photographers today tend to use discreet visual watermarks for photos, while scaling down the pictures additionally. In the times of HD displays, nobody wants to steal a pixelated and heavily compressed JPEG image with a watermark.

Conclusion

So noticeable watermarking is still the most used type of watermarks for protecting photos and audio files. Photo watermarks can be used not only for image protection, they are also very popular for transporting advertising messages. The days of invisible DRM audio watermarks are probably over, but audible watermarks are still used for demo clips on content marketplaces like Envato.

I hope you liked the excerpt of my thesis! Stay tuned for our next blog post – it’s a tutorial again! ūüėČ

Cheers

Phil

Funky and fresh samples to watermark photos

Hi folks!

With the¬†new release 1.0.1482.121 of our batch watermark software, we are delivering¬†a bunch of fresh design ideas for your text watermarks. We have included our well known¬†“drop” sample from the watermark photos¬†tutorial video and many text watermarks with advanced layer styling.

I hope that these templates can be useful for crafting your own special watermarks for protecting your photos:

Event Photos Sample
Event Photos Sample
Green Life Sample
Green Life Sample
Local News Sample
Local News Sample
On Fire Sample
On Fire Sample
Party Reporter Sample
Party Reporter Sample
Phil's BBQ Joint Sample
Phil’s BBQ Joint Sample
PhotoZone Sample
PhotoZone Sample
Rocky Sports Bar
Rocky Sports Bar
travelClub Sample
travelClub Sample
Wedding Photographer Sample
Wedding Photographer Sample

 

Furthermore, the new version fixes also problems with computers without Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 by downloading and installing the framework automatically if it can not be found.

Get the new version here to start watermarking photos.

We wish you a pleasant weekend!

Cheers

Phil