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Java can be used by programmers to write code, and it can be used by end-users (you) to run that code. Two of the easiest ways for end-users to run Java code is through applets and webstart applications, both which can be run from an internet browser.
Java's default security settings do not allow you to run applets or webstarts unless the developer of the applet or webstart has paid for something called a certificate. This prevents malicious programmers from using Java to do bad things, but it also prevents innocent programmers (many who can't afford to pay for a certificate) from deploying their programs in a way that's easy for users like you to use.
This page goes through a couple ways you can change your security settings to allow Java to run applets and webstarts.
There are other ways to run Java programs, but applets and webstarts are what most people are used to. If you'd rather play a game as a downloadable jar or executable application, let the developer of the game know!
For more detail on this, check out the brief history of Java security. But the gist is: running an applet or webstart is no more or less dangerous than running any other program you download from the internet. It used to be dangerous because malicious programmers could run code without telling you, but now even the lowest security settings show you a prompt before running a Java program.
This leaves it up to you to decide which games and programs you want to run. We've never had a security problem here, and if we did, it would be dealt with right away.
Many games on this website are deployed as an applet, which embeds the game directly on the page. Here is an example of a game that uses an applet as a play option.
If you don't have Java installed, navigating to the Applet tab will take you to the Java download page.
If you do have Java installed, the first thing you'll notice when you navigate to the Applet tab is a prompt at the top of your browser asking for your permission to run Java:
It's up to you whether you choose "Run this time" or "Always run on this site".
Depending on how the developer created the applet (there is an extra step where the developer "signs" the applet, which is a way to include information about who created it), you might then see another prompt asking whether you want to run an "unsigned" application. Signing the application is a step that many programmers skip, but all it means is that the code doesn't include info about who created it.
Press "Run" in that window, and if your settings are correct (or if the developer has a certificate), the applet should start! However, if your security settings are the default, you'll see this message:
This means that you need to change your Java security settings to tell Java that you want to run applets from developers without certificates.
Java's settings are controlled from the Java control panel, which can be accessed like this:
Windows 7, Vista
Mac OS X 10.7.3 and above
The Java Control Panel looks like this:
The Java Control Panel gives you access to a bunch of settings, but we care about the Security tab. The default settings look like this:
You have two options on this tab: you can either change the security level slider to "Medium" to allow applets and webstart applications from developers without a certificate, or you can add StaticVoidGames.com to allow applets and webstart applications from this website while still restricting content on other websites.
If you run a lot of Java programs on the web, it's probably easier just to change the security level. To do this, you simply drag the slider down to "Medium" and press the OK button.
This will make it so your web browser still prompts you for permission to run Java programs (so you can still choose not to run programs you aren't expecting), but it won't block programs just because the developer couldn't afford a certificate.
If Static Void Games is the only place you run Java programs, then you might be better off just adding http://StaticVoidGames.com to the security exception site list. This will make it so Java still prompts you for permission to run Java programs, but it won't block programs *ONLY ON THIS SITE* just because the developer couldn't afford a certificate. All other websites remain unaffected.
To add StaticVoidGames to the exception site list, click the "Edit Site List..." button towards the bottom of the Java Control Panel:
This brings up the Exception Site List window:
Click the "add" button and type http://StaticVoidGames.com into the text field that becomes visible, and then click the add button and type http://s3.StaticVoidGames.com in the next text field, as pictured here:
You need both URLs for this to work. StaticVoidGames.com is the main site, and s3.StaticVoidGames.com is where all the game files are stored, and Java treats them as separate sites.
You might get a warning complaining about using http instead of https. Yeah yeah, I'm getting to it.
When you're done, your exception site list should look like this:
Now you should be able to run applets and webstarts on the website! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me, or leave a comment on the game you're trying to play to contact the developer directly!