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Galactic Civilizations II Breaks DRM Mold 168

Machitis writes "A recent news item at GalCiv2.com says, 'Our license allows you to install the game onto as many machines that you own that you want as long as only one copy is being used at once. How many sales are lost because people want to have a game on their laptop and desktop and don't want to drag CDs around so choose not to buy the game? [...] we were quite disturbed to discover that the company that makes Starforce provided a working URL to a list of pirated GalCiv II torrents. I'm not sure whether what they did was illegal or not, but it's troubling nevertheless and was totally unnecessary.'"
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Galactic Civilizations II Breaks DRM Mold

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  • what assholes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Malor ( 3658 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:01PM (#14899591) Journal
    Boy, if you wanted any proof that the Starforce people are _serious_ assholes, there it is.
    • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:05PM (#14899611) Homepage
      Yeah, how Mafia-esque. "Games which don't use our product suffer from more piracy... if you catch my drift."
    • by cliffski ( 65094 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:08PM (#14899933) Homepage
      They seem to be ironically promoting piracy of a companies product just because they wouldnt use starforce.
      thats clearly illegal so...
      http://www.theesa.com/piracy/index.php [theesa.com]
      I've already reported them, the mroe who do so, the better.
    • Yeah (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Xymor ( 943922 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:54PM (#14900150)
      Starforce games are not pirated at all... Strangelly enought, right now there are thousands of people downloading torrents of: X3: Reunion, UFO: Aftershock, Splinter Cell3....
      Their half-ass copy protection is easly bypassed and if don't have IDE optical drives it's like there is no protection at all.
      • by sgant ( 178166 ) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @03:16AM (#14901469) Homepage Journal
        All the Starforce customers should gather together and sue Starforce because they obviously are paying for something that's not working. How many "Silent Hunter III" pirated copies are out there now? How many other games that use Starforce are pirated anyway?

        From what I understand, it's one of the easiest copy protection schemes to break. If I'm a company that paid good money to implement Starforce into my product to help curb piracy of my game, I'd be majorly pissed off because:

        A. It doesn't stop piracy at all and is easy to break.
        B. I would be getting a ton of complaints from legit buyers of my game that Starforce has broken their CD or DVD drive capabilities in one way or another.

        They should sue them for not delivering a product that works. It's money out the window.
        • I think you'd have a hard time suing StarForce, since you never bought anything from them, nor did you buy the product expecting StarForce to effectively prevent you from copying. At least, you'd have a hard time convincing the judge that you were concerned about your right not to copy, so the case would probably be thrown out.

          You might be able to sue the publishers for artificially increasing the product price, but that's a huge stretch as well. The only real hope would be for shareholders to sue publish
          • No, the customers of Starforce should sue them. We the consumers are not the customers. The customers I'm talking about are the game manufacturers like Ubisoft and others.

            THEY are the ones that should sue them, as they bought their copy protection scheme to protect their product and it's obviously not even working.
      • Re:Yeah (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Fweeky ( 41046 ) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @02:28PM (#14903207) Homepage
        I have an SATA optical drive, and Starforce is indeed almost like no protection at all; it quite happily verifies mounted DVD images as legitimate physical disks. In fact it seems significantly more reliable there than with a legitimate disk in a real drive, presumably because the scary barely working hacks they use work better on an emulated drive...
    • Re:what assholes... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by quantax ( 12175 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @08:02PM (#14900408) Homepage
      You said it.

      Previously, I have defended starforce on the basis that it does do what it advertises; hell I have seen warez forums where people actually complain about how hard it is to get around it. Its not terribly difficult to get past, but most people are too lazy to go through that much effort to play a game, so their approach does work to an extent; they cant stop piracy but they can make it a real pain in the ass. But having bought GalCiv2 the day it came out via their online-delivery system, this type of shit makes me regret my prior defenses. I have no problem that SF wants to make a copy protection, even if its invasive and overbearing, but once they go out and then take a fairly independant game like GalCiv which doesn't have major publisher backing and then hold it out on a stick as an example of the failure to copy-protect, complete with torrent links, that just means you're a giant asshole who gets no sympathy when people attack your products, legitimate or not.
      • by Arker ( 91948 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @10:35PM (#14900868) Homepage
        Starforce really illustrates what many of have been saying for years - when you come up with a 'copy protection' system that's enough of a PITA to slow down the pirates even a little, it'll also be enough of a PITA to drive your customers off. Little surprise that they would resort to such tactics, really - every time a game comes out with Starforce, a certain percentage of buyers are screwed hard enough they will boycott it. Not fun when you pay good money for a game you never get to play...
      • "Its not terribly difficult to get past, but most people are too lazy to go through that much effort to play a game"

        but most of these people will not go out and buy the game anyways... they want to play the game with (almost) no effort on their part, so I don't see them putting up the money for it. I've heard this thing is also a bitch to deal with when you use it legit, so thats why they will loose a sale from me.
      • Re:what assholes... (Score:4, Informative)

        by AlexMax2742 ( 602517 ) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @11:04AM (#14902524)
        Its not terribly difficult to get past, but most people are too lazy to go through that much effort to play a game, so their approach does work to an extent; they cant stop piracy but they can make it a real pain in the ass.

        Careful there. Sersious cracking groups are not dumb by any means. They had to destroy the first two generations of Starforce protection, along with pretty much everything SecurROM and Safedisc has come out with.

        • When I say make it a pain in the ass, I mean for the end-users rather than the pirates. I assume that all games no matter what will be pirated, especially by these experienced relase groups. End-users though, many will walk away when they see what needs to be done to run that game. Their approach does work in this respect; itll stop more end users from pirating the game since they are too lazy/dont know how to crack them. You can see this is the case simply by the number of people on warez forums complainin
  • by j0nb0y ( 107699 ) <jonboy300@y[ ]o.com ['aho' in gap]> on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:02PM (#14899601) Homepage
    Now everyone knows what gamers have been saying all along.

    Starforce encourages piracy.
  • Makes me wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by miscz ( 888242 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:03PM (#14899607)
    Makes me wonder if it was Starforce guys that released this torrents just to sell their product. Looking at how did they behave recently (threatening people, etc) I would bet some money on this.
  • by HeavensBlade23 ( 946140 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:08PM (#14899632)
    Don't make the same mistake I did and run out to purchase the game based on good reviews and the fact that the developers have a good attitude. At this point I'm pretty much thinking of GC2 in the same way I thought about Black & White: It was awesome for the first few days but over the course of a week or so I started liking it less and less. Even after a few patches I'd say the game is still suffering from a poor UI and a lack of information about how the game mechanics actually work. Wait for a demo, and then decide if you're going to buy, as always.
    • by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @07:03PM (#14900198)
      Don't make the same mistake I did and run out to purchase the game based on good reviews and the fact that the developers have a good attitude. At this point I'm pretty much thinking of GC2 in the same way I thought about Black & White: It was awesome for the first few days but over the course of a week or so I started liking it less and less. Even after a few patches I'd say the game is still suffering from a poor UI and a lack of information about how the game mechanics actually work. Wait for a demo, and then decide if you're going to buy, as always.

      Well what you say makes a certain amount of sense, but here's an alternate view:

      First, both good reviews and good developers sound like good reasons to consider buying a game. Good reviews for the obvious reason, good developers because i like to support such behavior. One can make a good theoretical argument that one should judge the merit of a piece of art solely on the basis of the work itself, completly isolated from the context of the artist(s) who made it. Although i understand the reasoning behind the argument i do believe that the actions of the artist should influence your judgement to some degree. If the artist is actively working to bring about changes to society that you disagree with then any interest you have in their work should be mitigated by the knowledge that supporting them will support a cause you disagree with. Likewise if the artist is working to support views you agree with then choosing to support their work in preference to other artists whose work may be technically superior but who are not "fighting the good fight" is a completely valid position.

      Furthermore, those who played the first GalCiv already know that Stardock has a history of not only listening to feedback from the players but incorporating those changes into completely free patches and add-ons. Everything they've said so far indicates that they plan to do the same for GalCiv2 as well, which greatly mitigates any fears i have about purchasing an unplayable or even just unenjoyable game. And if you did play the first GalCiv, consider how much you paid for it (about $50 in my case i believe) and how much enjoyment you got out of it compared to other games of the same price. In my case the amount of time i spent playing it and the enjoyment i got out of those hours far exceeded what i gained from many other games that i paid just as much for. Personally i feel i "owe" Stardock more than the original $50 i paid for the first game, and as such paying another $50 for the second game is well worth the risk. If the second game turns out to be mediocre or worse then i can consider my karmic dept for the first game to be repaid and be more wary when and if they release a third game in the series.

    • That game blew me away. For about three days. Then I deleted it and never had the slightest urge to ever play again.
    • I'm definately enjoying it. There are some vague parts of the game mechanics but most of the ones I've looked into are really stunningly obvious. I expected something to be hard and complicated while instead it was simple and straight forward. I won't say that waiting for the demo is a bad idea, but I'm still having fun mixing in some GC2 when I'm not knee deep in world of warcraft.
  • Good on them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:10PM (#14899643) Homepage Journal
    A sensible approach to a modern world.
    The trust model can work.

    Gaining the trust of your user base WILL be beneficial.
    If you treat them fairly, they will pay you back.

    As long as the torrent sites follow the DMCA rules (as it suggests the one in the article does) then the piracy can be tamed (and having lots of well intentioned customers warning them of torrents will help)

    Word of mouth will get this game far, I wonder just how many torrent downloaders will purchase this game vs an EA game?

    Does high downloads turn into high profits?

    I see something similar happening with Serenity, I saw it months ago after downloading it, but today went out and bought a copy.
    I want to tell Wheldon and the backers I support it and want more.
    • A sensible approach to a modern world. The trust model can work.

      Gaining the trust of your user base WILL be beneficial. If you treat them fairly, they will pay you back.

      An unproven assumption.
    • Re:Good on them (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ultranova ( 717540 )

      As long as the torrent sites follow the DMCA rules (as it suggests the one in the article does) then the piracy can be tamed (and having lots of well intentioned customers warning them of torrents will help)

      Better yet, have them follow honor rules: only pirate games that have copy protection, and refuse to distribute non-protected games. A bit like the warrior ideal of fighting other warriors but refusing to strike at civilians.

      So, does that mean that a hackers debugger is his soul ?-)

  • by dougmc ( 70836 ) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:12PM (#14899655) Homepage
    we were quite disturbed to discover that the company that makes Starforce provided a working URL to a list of pirated GalCiv II torrents.
    Well, if you actually read the URL, he's saying that `thousands of people are downloading the game from there', not `go here for a copy of the game' (though the end result is the same -- those who aren't smart enough to find torrent searches can just use the given URL, though the purprose of the URL was presumably to prove his point.)

    And it is the most effective way to prove his point that I'm aware of, so I'd like to give the Starforce guy the benefit of the doubt (as odious as I find copy protection and DRM and similar things), even though he probably should have considered how his comment would be taken -- piracy of a program that's sold by somebody who is not their customer is NOT ANY OF HIS BUSINESS, even if it does suggest that his software is great or something (it's not, but I digress.) (And really, even if this were a customer of his, posting a link like this is bad form. A screen shot of how many people are involved in the torrent would have proven the point almost as well, and get him a lot less flak.

    However, the point that he's trying to make is easily rebuffed by simply posting another link (or many other links) to software that was protected by Starforce and yet people are still downloading it, because the protection has been cracked, either via things like SecuROM or a cracked binary that removes the Starforce checks. Copy protection negatively affects those who paid for the software the most -- the pirates just emulate it, or use cracks to bypass it, so it doesn't really affect them at all.

    • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:15PM (#14899664) Journal
      though the purprose of the URL was presumably to prove his point

      I don't think anyone browsing the forums of a copy protection product is actually needing proof that web sites involved in piracy exist, much less via direct links.
      • True, but I don't think anyone on a copy protection product forum is going to be surprised to hear that bittorrent sites have pirated copies of the game. It was poor form, but I doubt it resulted in a single extra case of piracy - at least, not until Slashdot and the news article picked up the story.
    • by svip ( 678490 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @08:16PM (#14900455)
      Disclaimer: Even though I'm going to correct your facts I agree with your post. Also these things were true at the end of last year but I'm not 100% sure about the present state.

      Firstly, I'm not sure what you were making it out to be, but SecuROM is a competing copy protection. EA, LucasArts and several other major publishers use it. On to Starforce.

      Starforce is an in some ways really effective copy protection. First of all making a 'cracked exe' is a lot more work than just stripping the copy protection, as the Starforce protection produces heavily modified and obfuscated binaries, this is why you practically don't see backup CD cracks or 'NoCDs' for Starforce protected discs.

      Additionally, Starforce refuses to load the CD from a SCSI drive if an IDE CD/DVD drive is present in the system. That includes the popular virtual CD programs, as they emulate SCSI drives (there's the not-released-yet Daemon Tools IDE version which apparently shares release date of Duke Nukem Forever). Older Starforce versions required you to disable the IDE controller in Windows to use a virtual drive for a Starforce game. Recent versions go to the level of requiring you to physically unplug the drive. However, anything that prevents the PC from having a standard IDE drive will, currently, let virtual drives run Starforce-protected games. This includes PCI raid controllers and USB CD drives. As such it's a fairly easily beatable protection but requires different hardware.

      However, the really funny thing here is that most burners can burn working copies of Starforce games given a proper source image. So it fails at the most base level of preventing copying of the CDs. However, copying fails if the Starforce protection drivers are present in the system doing the burning. Yes, the Starforce drivers monitor all the CD drive access. Luckily, there's an offical tool to remove the protection drivers.
  • Wow. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Txiasaeia ( 581598 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:14PM (#14899662)
    I didn't really like the first game, but I bought the second because of their distribution model & lack of DRM. It's a pleasant sidenote that the game is actually half-decent, but more important than the game itself, I wanted to support a company that provides games without DRM. Another news item on galciv.com says that they sold more copies of GalCiv2 in 10 days than they ever sold of GalCiv1, which says to me that their method certainly isn't *hurting* sales.

    But if I ever needed a tangible reason to not use Starforce products, this [star-force.com] would be enough.

    • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cliffski ( 65094 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:02PM (#14899908) Homepage
      Theres no shortage of games without DRM and without the big 'EA / Sony' attitude. My own companies one of them:
      There is enough choice to buy the DRM-free games that you enjoy, this game isn't the only option.
      That said, galciv 2 IS a superb game, and one I've been addicted to since the day it was released. All power to them.
      • Re:Wow. (Score:3, Informative)

        by Nataku564 ( 668188 )
        Democracy rocks. Played that thing non stop for a while. Its also a great game to jump into for a few turns whenever you have a few minutes. Haven't quite figured out how to get Japan out of debt yet, though ...
    • Re:Wow. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by forkazoo ( 138186 )
      You know, I don't game much anymore, but I think I may go and buy this game just to make a point, too. I basically never buy any PC games any more for fear that they might have some junkware copy protection. Games are a diversion, not the reason I have a computer. So, if a game has any potential to interfere with my ability to burn CD's and DVD's, then I won't even think about bothering with it.

      The companies pushing strict DRM need to remember that they are providing entertainment, not our only source of
  • Proof of claim? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Crash24 ( 808326 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:17PM (#14899679) Homepage Journal
    The forum admin linked to a torrent search of GalCiv II [star-force.com]...that is utterly shameful.
  • by babbling ( 952366 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:19PM (#14899685)
    id Software have been making the most popular games in the industry for over a decade, and have never bothered with heavy copy restrictions. They tend to put in copy restrictions as long as they have zero chance of inconveniencing their customers.

    If only more game companies would just follow the leaders and dump this Starforce DRM crap...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      id hasn't been releasing the most popular games for the PC since Quake I. On top of that their titles do CD checks, which are latter removed in patches after a certain quantity of time. They don't rely on any special anti-piracy techniques, but they aren't exactly the most user-friendly with their tendency to require CDs at launch.
    • However, you still need a key to play online on legit servers (not cracked ones).
      • Can you please explain to me how that effects a legitimate user?

        I admit that having to a key to play online is a minor inconvenience, it doesn't stop me playing the game in my environment on either my laptop or one of my desktops.
    • Dude. iD has had some of the harshest copy protection in history.

      Of course, DOOM II is a trademark of id Software,
      copyright 1994-95, so don't mess with it. Remember, if you
      are playing a pirated copy of DOOM II you are going to HELL.
      Buy it and avoid an eternity with all the other freeloaders.
      If you have any problems playing DOOM II, please call our
      technical support line at (212) 951-3126.

      Maybe Starforce are thugs who promote software theft if you don't do business with you, but at least they're not sending you into the Inferno...
    • Bullshit. I remember having to uninstall Daemon Tools just to play Doom 3.

      Admitedly, the only ID games worth playing don't have any. (Everything from Quake 1 and earlier, and Quake 3)

  • by mrRay720 ( 874710 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:35PM (#14899762)
    I'm sure I don't need to finish.

    It's a great game by a great company and I pre-ordered it and have been enjoying it for a while now.

    The point is though that they're not treating their customers like criminals by default. This is something that we really should all support. Mutual trust between company and buyer is something that's been almost eradicated over the past few years by rape-artists like Starforce and Sony.

    The proof of what Starforce is all about is right there in front of you. "They didn't pay us loads of money to crap all over their customers, so DAMMIT WE'RE GOING TO PROMOTE PIRACY OF THEIR SOFTWARE." You know, does this remind anyone else of mafia-like tactics? That's because that's exactly what this is. It look for all intents and purposes like a protection racket.

    Starforce are saying by their actions - "Give us money or we'll encourage and make it easier for people to take from you."

    Support Stardock, Screw Starforce.
  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:36PM (#14899779) Homepage Journal
    I wish someone would have posted a bunch of links to that forum for torrents of games that _are_ protected by Starforce. They aren't hard to find. This was little more than a scare tactic.
  • by Ryz0r ( 849412 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:41PM (#14899799)
    ..to coin a phrase. Although the actual game has no DRM in it, the guys at Stardock use the unique serial number method to access online content such as frequent updates and bugfixes, giving people a good incentive to buy it instead of pirating it.

    On top of there being no DRM, the game is also $10 cheaper than most retail games, which makes up for there being no multiplayer in it (at the moment.) The guys over at IGN reckon there's multiplayer architecture hidden in the game at the moment, and think they'll incorporate the multiplayer later on as part of their 'geniune advantage' scheme. Who knows, it may boost their game sales up a notch after the initial release sales have died down. Good on 'em!
  • Sell me the CD key (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spiffness ( 941077 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:52PM (#14899847) Homepage
    I think, a strong deterrant to piracy, based off my own experiences and those of people I know is: Allow me to buy just the CD key (and patch it so it doesnt need the CD to play).

    People will download the games, piracy isnt going to go away. But alot of games have awesome online play, that you can access with a stolen copy (usually).

    So allow these people, who downloaded the game, to just buy a real KEY from you. Sell the retail box, a download copy, or just the CD key, users choice.

    personally, It is very difficult for me to GO OUT and buy a game. My work schedule and living situation, plus where I am simply doesnt permit it more than once every three months. If I could download a torrent copy of a game, then purchase the CD key. Boy, we'd be in business.
    • by mrRay720 ( 874710 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:02PM (#14899909)
      www.galciv2.com - go there and you can buy, download, install, and play the game with minimum hassle.

      IT sems to me that they're giving you exactly what you're asking for, and that's great. I did it and I have never had to touch a CD. I have a backup stored on my HD, and can re-downoad it from them whenever I want and all I have to do is supply them with the serial number to do so.

      Oh, if I lose the serial number too, if I can prove ownership (via registered email address, receipt, etc) they'll give me the serial number I lost so I can get playing again.

      Pretty neat, eh? (Not a fanboy, just VERY impressed with a company where supporting the customer is priority)
    • by Fweeky ( 41046 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:40PM (#14900092) Homepage
      Go ahead; grab a torrent of Gal Civ II. When you're ready to buy it, do so from the website, install Stardock's little management tool, and it will happily go ahead and upgrade your "pirate" install to the latest version with your legitimate activation key, no fuss.

      Personally I almost bought it purely for this enlightened attitude but it's also a really good game so.. :)
  • Good for them! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by (H)elix1 ( 231155 ) <slashdot.helix@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:53PM (#14899857) Homepage Journal
    About fracking time a game company figured out that people don't like the CD dongle. One of the reasons CounterStrike was such a huge hit was once you installed it, it just ran. No CD needed in the drive. Anytime I clicked it, I was good to go. I've got a mess of banged up media - three copies of some games - just because they need the physical disk in the drive.

    The net dongle (via Steam and their ilk) is OK for multiplayer games, but it still pisses me off when I want to do single player. I got HL2, but don't plan to buy any more stand alone games that have to call home every time they start up.

    Lastly, the StarForce stuff can badly munge up a system. I can't see any titles worth building a SCSI only box for just so my other software continues to run after they try to rewrite system drivers. I hope the support calls bury any profit those who opt for this type of 'protection'.
    • In all honestly I crack the majority of games I legitimately own. The laptop I run them on has no CD drive, (well. It has an internal linux drive and a windows drive that goes in the removable bay so I copy the disk to the linux drive from the removable cd-rom, then from the linux drive to the windows removable drive.) I also crack many games on my home computer because, simply, I enjoy switching games in a drive on the other side of the room as much as people enjoy swapping CDs instead of just copying a
      • Umm, I guess you don't remember when games required you to read little bits out of the manual to verify that your copy was legit? That was more of a PITA than having to have a CD with you.
        • Until you memorized the answers to all of the questions. After a while of playing Civ1 I got to where I didn't have to even crack the manual anymore.
    • Re:Good for them! (Score:2, Informative)

      by JNighthawk ( 769575 )
      Just FYI, if you don't have an internet connection (or you can choose so, I believe) you can set Steam to offline mode which won't do a phone home when playing single player.
    • About fracking time a game company figured out that people don't like the CD dongle. One of the reasons CounterStrike was such a huge hit was once you installed it, it just ran. No CD needed in the drive.

      That's because it hitch-hikes on Half-Life's multiplayer system that did not require the CD to connect to remote servers. IIRC, CS was well more popular than Half-Life - so much that a CS "vet" thought that HL was some wierd server-side mod.

      As for the CD... Image it. It works on most games that were o

  • by s3n10r d1ngd0ng ( 930410 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:14PM (#14899971) Homepage
    Here are piratebay links to torrents of a few of the better Starforge protected games, most of which currently have cracks. King Kong: (action/adventure, Ubisoft)
    http://thepiratebay.org/search.php?q=king%20kong&a udio=&video=&apps=&games=on&porn=&other=&what=sear ch&page=0&orderby=se [thepiratebay.org]

    Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones: (action/adventure, Ubisoft)
    http://thepiratebay.org/search.php?q=two%20thrones &audio=&video=&apps=&games=on&porn=&other=&what=se arch&page=0&orderby=se [thepiratebay.org]

    Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (stealth action, Ubisoft)
    http://thepiratebay.org/search.php?q=chaos%20theor y&audio=&video=&apps=&games=on&porn=&other=&what=s earch&page=0&orderby=se [thepiratebay.org]

    Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood (first person shooter, Gearbox)
    http://thepiratebay.org/search.php?q=brothers+in+a rms+earned+in+blood>

    X3 (space sim, Enlight Software)
    http://thepiratebay.org/search.php?q=x3+reunion&ga mes=on [thepiratebay.org]


  • SF == limited evil (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:47PM (#14900121) Homepage Journal
    Yes, I consider StarForce evil. Anything that installs in order to protect a software I paid for against me, the owner of the machine it's installed on, has its priorities seriously messed up.

    Check: X3, a game I considered buying until I found out it's got SF in it. No sale.
    Check2: GalCiv2, a game I might buy when it becomes more affordable (sorry, 50 for a game isn't fair. Let's talk again when it's 35). No stupid copy protection is a good argument - my main machine is a notebook...

    Also, there's literally tons of tools out there to circumvent SF. Most of them appear to be a PITA to use, but they're there. The largest group of gamers who copy regularily are kids with not enough money and more than enough time, so they won't mind.

    Plus, of course, the cracker groups who'll break any new SF game in a day or two.

    Nah, to me SF and its likes are a big scam designed to rip off software companies who should better spend the money on making their games less buggy.
    • forgot the limit (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tom ( 822 )
      One thing, though: At least SF does provide a removal tool. That's the one reason I don't consider it a trojan.
    • umm, GalCiv2 is $39. you should atleast check the price before you say it's too much =P but i can see how that would be easy to do, most games are $50 anyway..
    • by Devistater ( 593822 ) * <devistater@nospaM.hotmail.com> on Saturday March 11, 2006 @10:16PM (#14900806)
      http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000 BPBAPI/ [amazon.com] less than $39 with free shipping and almost all places no tax. Thats equivelent to $35 in a store with tax :)
      • Great! Less wait until I'll consider buying it.

        Thing is, I'm not in school anymore, I don't need to brag that I've already played the latest game released yesterday. I can wait until stuff hits the bargain bin, and I've got more than enough other games to cover me in the meantime.

        I understand the pricing model - if you have people willing to pay 50, you'd be stupid not to sell to them at that price. And then you have people willing to pay 35, 25, 10. After you've emptied the 50 market, and since you've alre
        • Uhm $5? haaahha no. Retailer takes like $35 out of a $50 box. Then publisher takes a chunk of the rest. The actual game development studio is lucky to even see $5 out per box sale. Which is why things like Steam have popped up, they make bank off of every online copy of hl2. Which is why vivendi/sierra sued them.
          • Maybe things have changed, but when I worked in retail as a student, the shop's cut was about 30%. That'd be $15 of a $50 box, or $3 of a $10 box.
            • Ok, the shop takes about 30%, I'm sure the distributer takes another 20%-30%. The publisher takes some as well.

              In the end, I'm pretty sure that the actual game developer/studio is lucky to see $5 out of that $50.

              Just like the music industry, when you buy a music cd, the actual artist is lucky to even see $1 out of that $15.
  • by arstal ( 955852 ) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @08:00PM (#14900401)
    Stardock isn't primarily in the games business. In fact, the only "major" game they produce is the GalCiv series. (They did make some other games their interns made as very low-budget titles, like Lightweight Ninja) GC1 was published by Strategy First, and had DRM on the original title (they removed it in a future patch). Strategy First stiffed Stardock, so they published GC2 themselves at a budget of $300,000. I think they've made their profit on it already due to initial sales, which have been stronger then anything Starforce has gotten so far. The thing most people don't get about piracy is that the economic cost of piracy isn't the cost of the game for each copy downloaded. Most people who download a game wouldn't even consider buying it without the download (a few will buy if they like) This is one reason, to go on a related topic- that anime companies have allowed fansubbers to continue in most cases- while it's illegal, they view it as a form of advertising- the only change in their business model is that they have a tendency to pick up series now before they're fansubbed. You can tell by looking at the Starforce forums their forum rep, whoever he is, has no concept of English grammar or tact. Basically, I think the lesson we're learning from all this is that at least for the radical fringe of games (I don't think the average gamer knows what Starforce is, or even if he's infected by it)- we view non-invasive DRM as part of customer service. Of course, if GC2 was crap, no one would have this discussion- it's a kudos really for Stardock that the oligarchs (using a term that's perjorative to Russians) at Starforce felt a threat and struck at them.
    • I'm pretty much a casual gamer these days and I am ashamed to admit that my computer is indeed infected with Starforce due to the purchase of two games on the infected list. At the time of their purchase I hadn't yet heard much about StarForce, but now I wish I had. Generally, when a game is pretty invasive about their copy protection (FarCry not cooperating with Daemon Tools as an example), I try to stay away from it. But it is the unfortunate truth that I just don't have the time to devote to games tha
  • I worked in tech support for a software package that is effectively trusting the user to respect the legalities. The user purchases a certain number of licenses for the product, and gets a CD. Now the weirdness starts.

    The "license key" is installed from the CD. It is identical to that on every other copy of the CD sold. It is good for a certain date range, usually beginning when that version of the software was produced and ending at some arbitrary date in the future where whoever chose it is sure that no

  • It's pretty stupid that every game I buy I have to find, download, and install a no cd crack. This opens me up to security issues just so that I can play my game. This issue alone encourages me to just download the already cracked versions of the games or to avoid the problem altogether by just not playing games very much. For non-hardcore gamers this kind of thing is enough to keep us from buying and playing games we might otherwise be interested in.

    It seems a lossing fight for these companies. The people
    • It's pretty stupid that every game I buy I have to find, download, and install a no cd crack. This opens me up to security issues just so that I can play my game

      This isn't too big an issue if you only run the games under a standard user account rather than an account with full Administrator privledges.

      One of the main reasons I download CD cracks is so that I don't have to run games in the Admin mode that many CD checks demand, though -- to the credit of the companies producing that garbate -- more and more
  • by Barbarian ( 9467 ) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @03:43PM (#14903531)
    A while back, in 2003, I downloaded the XIII demo. It was quite an interesting game concept but I didn't buy the game. Around the same time, my DVD reader/CD writer combo drive from Benq quit working--windows would only recognize it in PIO mode, and it made a lot of coasters. I didn't make the connection--instead, I reinstalled windows xp, and bought a new drive. That seemed to fix the problem. I just realized yesterday that the demo probably came with Starforce (most demos also come with it to prevent cracking the demo exe to aid in cracking the game) and hosed my writer just by being installed. Even after I uninstalled the demo, the drive still wouldn't work. The drive is still sitting on a shelf, and I bet it still works if I install it.

    There are probably at least thousands of people who got screwed like me.

Sendmail may be safely run set-user-id to root. -- Eric Allman, "Sendmail Installation Guide"