Hidden mines that could cause future mods to behave erratically if cracked.
Image showing performance comparison in Starfield between using frame-gen and not using frame-gen.

Starfield shipped on PC with only support for AMD's FSR and CAS for upscaling options. This left a lot of fans of DLSS out in the cold. While Bethesda has recently stated they will officially add DLSS to Starfield in the future, it has been up to the community to implement this highly sought after feature.

One of those community members goes by the name of PureDark and it is PureDark that put out one of the first DLSS mods for Starfield almost right after the game's early release. PureDark has created various DLSS2 and DLSS3 with frame-generation mods for a variety of games. PureDark also typically charges for access to those mods by way of a $5 (USD) per month subscription to their Patreon.

While PureDark released the DLSS2 version of his Starfield mod for free, the DLSS3 version remains locked behind the Patreon subscription. The DLSS3 version of PureDark's mod implements DRM in order to make sure only those subbed to his Patreon can use it. It is possible to subscribe for a month, download the mod, unsubscribe, and continue to have access to the mod. It does not require a persistent Patreon subscription to use.

This isn't anything new for PureDark. They have used Patreon for years now to protect some of their more difficult to create mods. It hasn't been much of an issue until Starfield came about and a bright spotlight was shown on PureDark and the more general issue of charging for user-created mods. The idea of paying for mods, even if it goes directly to the mod maker, is something that really doesn't sit well with a lot of people. Still, there are plenty of people that have no issue with paying someone for their work.

The DRM added to their DLSS3 mod was already cracked by other members of the mod community. PureDark spoke with IGN recently where they defended their decision to implement DRM into their mods in the first place.

"It's funny that people think this is new, I've been providing it as a service for more than 10 months, way before Starfield," PureDark said. "I've been making my subscription an Xbox Game Pass-like service that anyone subscribed [to] at any time can have access to all my mods previously made without having to pay for each, and they work after the subscription expires... I've been making new mods and keeping mods updated for months for my subscribers, is $5 too much for such a service?"
PureDark also spoke about how quickly their Starfield DLSS3 mod was cracked by others. He also mentions about adding "hidden mines" in his mods that could cause a cracked version to behave erratically.

"It was expected since it was something I put together within a day or two, but I did get enough patrons so it's done its job. So from now on I will place hidden mines in all my mods to make it harder for these people. They might be able to find and bypass some of them, but they will never know if they have found all of them. The cracked mods will sometimes work, sometimes fail, sometimes work but [be] very wonky, sometimes even crash and they won't even know if it's a bug or just them using the cracked version, and they will never have the support I've been always providing to my subscribers."
They continue to say that most of the subscribers are happy with what they paid for and "consider it a good deal." PureDark notes that they will keep doing what they've been doing for years now. Once their Starfield mod is in a stable state, PureDark plans to move on to modding whatever game he wants to next.

There are other DLSS3 with frame-gen mods for Starfield available. One such alternative comes from mod maker LukeFZ who released their own Starfield Frame Generation mod. The image used for this news post comes from LukeFZ's frame-gen mod.