Downloading pirated copies of videogames from the internet has been a thing for around three decades already but today’s scene stands apart from the earliest days of the web.
Where games of a few kilobytes once ruled the waves, these days files reaching tens of gigabytes are not unusual. Even now, not everyone has the bandwidth or time available to dedicate to grabbing these releases. Perhaps unsurprisingly though, people always step in to provide a way.
FitGirl is arguably the most famous videogame “repacker” in the world today. Of Russian origins and using the likeness of Amélie, FitGirl releases typically offer everything the average videogame pirate needs – games with protections removed (or bypassed), delivered via torrents, in a much smaller file size than the original.
With tens of millions of visits per month, FitGirl’s torrent index is one of the most popular around and is only growing in popularity. In part, that’s due to FitGirl’s popularity but also the quality of their releases. What isn’t mentioned often, however, is the sheer number of releases made by what is believed to be a single-person operation.
The Amelie Report October 2021
In what will hopefully become a regular feature detailing FitGirl’s work, in recent days the ‘Amelie Report’ for October 2021 was published on FitGirl’s site. It provides a unique insight not only into FitGirl’s releases but what appears to be an almost unhealthy dedication to the art of repacking and releasing.
In the month of October alone, FitGirl repacked an astonishing 157 games, which averages out to about five games every single day. An impressive 82% of those repacks (128) were of new games while 29 were updated titles.
“The source size of all releases, most of which are scene ISOs, is equal to 1370 GB (1.33 TB), which unpack to a size of 1905 GB (1.86 TB). The average unpacked size of the game comes to about 8.7 GB, while the median size is only 5.1 GB. Median here means that half of the games are larger than 5.1 GB and the rest half are smaller,” FitGirl reveals.
“When packed, those games take up from 698 GB to 808 GB, depending on selected components, which is basically half of the scene release sizes. The minimum average repack size comes to about 4.5 GB, while the median size is only 1.9 GB.”
In short and in broad terms, after pirated games are released by the original pirate groups, FitGirl’s repacking skills mean that they are redistributed to the masses more quickly and efficiently.
Repack Release Examples
The largest game repack released by FitGirl in October was Conan Exiles: Complete Edition, which began life as a 105GB file but after processing was cut down to just 45.5GB. The smallest was CADE PRIME which from a lofty 730MB was crunched down to 220MB. The size difference between games and their repacks can differ wildly though.
“The worst compression ratio recorded is for Disco Elysium: The Final Cut (9.5 GB –> 7.8 GB, only 17.9% saved), while the best result recorded is for Boomerang X (10.8 GB –> 859 MB), with a whopping amount of 92% traffic saved,” FitGirl reports.
Compression / Decompression
When FitGirl obtains releases and goes about the packing processes, plenty of things need to be done. Original ISOs have to be unpacked, analyzed, prepared and compressed, for example. FItGirl says that the overall processing speed is carried out at a rate of 63.5GB of data per day with compression writing speed taking place at roughly half that.
Importantly, when FitGirl releases are obtained by users, work has to be carried out on that end too. All of the compression has to be reversed on the users’ machines (similar to an automated unZIPping) and the overall time spent can be significant and heavily dependant on the hardware available.
“[S]tats show that the average repack installation time on a 16-threaded PC [with at least 16GB RAM] is 4 minutes 20 seconds with median timing being even lower, that is only 2 minutes. For slower machines [4-threaded CPU with 8GB of RAM], those numbers are 9 and 3 minutes respectively. Of course, there are slow installations (Killing Floor 2 will be killing your PC for two hours on a 4-threaded CPU), but average numbers are pretty low,” FitGirl explains.
Also, if users have a laptop rather than a desktop machine, FitGirl says that the installation time can be increased by a factor of 2 but that isn’t the only bottleneck.
“If you have an active antivirus, then multiply it by a factor of 1.2-2, but if you have an aggressive antivirus which checks ALL read/write data on the fly, then multiply it by a factor of 2-4. Yes, you guessed it right, being dumb is costly in 2021,” FitGirl adds.
While running an antivirus might slow down FitGirl repack game installations, turning off security tools isn’t generally advised for the average user. Then again, FitGirl is certainly not the average user, not by a long shot.
‘Amélie’ is probably the busiest and most productive gaming pirate online today and as things stand, there are no signs of a slowdown.
The full list of games released by FitGirl in October can be found here