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Here we go again... - 10/2/2008 9:13:33 PM   
JudgeDredd


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Just some snippets of info about copy protection (and one I hadn't heard of before). No Agenda, except to say wtf is going on when everyone is tarnished with the same brush?

Read some of these...some cases of people apparently having a cracked copy so the game makes it unwinnable or messes up the graphics, only to find the anti-piracy software detected a pirate copy incorrectly...others where some system/program setting conflicts with the game

People having to jump through ridiculous hoops in order to play something they've purchased!!

Unbelieveable.

So if the justice system has to use innocent until proven guilty, how the hell does the software industry get away with this???

Worst thing is, when the copy protection screws up, people can spend hours or days trying to solve the problem...looking in all sorts of other places other than the cause!!

Securom
prevents the game from running at all if older versions (before v11) of Process Explorer, a free tool by Sysinternals/Microsoft, has been run since the previous reboot. However, a workaround for this SecuROM detection bug (v9.25 is not affected) can be found here. Microsoft has worked around this particular bug with Process Explorer v11.0.

Under Windows Vista, this same version of SecuROM also prevents the game from running if Explicit Congestion Notification is enabled in Vista's networking configuration.[4] The workaround is to disable ECN by running the command netsh interface tcp set global ecncapability=disabled.

The version of SecuROM that is installed with the first German retail version of the game Das Schwarze Auge: Drakensang installs a shell extension that makes explorer.exe crash at least on some systems running Windows XP. The same can be seen in systems running Windows Vista with the version of SecuROM that comes with Neverwinter Nights 2 (see forums). SecuROM is hosting a fix to the issue that apparently removes the extension. As of version 1.0.1, this fix is not included in the official patches.

TAGES
Some users of Ubisoft's The Settlers: Rise of an Empire, which uses Tagès, reported that the game gives them a message instructing them to insert the DVD into the drive, when the DVD is already in the drive. Various proposed remedies only worked for some users. A moderator on Ubisoft's forum posted a workaround for the problem, which removes the disc check by deferring to online product activation instead.[1]

The usage of Tagès in The Witcher, spawned some controversy. Upon detecting a supposedly pirated copy, Tagès quietly and undetectably sabotages the content of the game to the point it was unwinnable by making certain key non-player characters disappear permanently. Tagès has been found to conflict with disc image drive emulators and react similarly to the presence of SCSI and SATA drivers in the system, resulting in the copy protection system preventing users from running legitimately purchased copies of the game. These problems can sometimes be avoided by uninstalling the Tagès driver with the official installation program and then starting the game (which will automatically install the appropriate driver version)[2], but saved games already in progress must be abandoned and the game started over from the beginning.

SafeDisc
SafeDisc installs its own Windows device driver to the user's computer, named secdrv.sys. In addition to enabling the copy protection, it grants ring 0 access to the running application. This is a potential security risk, since trojans and other malware could use the driver to obtain administrator access to the machine, even if the programs are running under a limited account.

A more serious issue is that (beside the default configuration on Windows XP), most installers don't set the security configuration appropriately, allowing every user to let the driver configuration point at an arbitrarily chosen executable which (at the next reboot) is started with administrator privileges.

On November 7, 2007 Microsoft stated that there is vulnerability in Macrovision SECDRV.SYS driver [1] on Windows and it could allow elevation of privilege. This vulnerability does not affect Windows Vista. The driver, secdrv.sys, is used by games which use Macrovision SafeDisc. Without the driver, games with SafeDisc protection would be unable to play on Windows.



< Message edited by JudgeDredd -- 10/2/2008 9:14:08 PM >
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RE: Here we go again... - 10/2/2008 9:20:37 PM   
JudgeDredd


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Oh...meant to say...Wiki info here and what I gleaned from the net....could be total b*****s

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RE: Here we go again... - 10/2/2008 9:26:42 PM   
BoredStiff

 

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I didn't read all of that, Judge, but am I to assume this deals with hardcopy, store-bought, CD games?

This brings up another curiosity I've had for a while, namely, how effective is the Matrix copy protection for their shipped (CD) games? I mean the ones that have the registration number on the disk (which presumably might be all of Matrix' games, certainly all of the wargames I've bought from them in the past 3-4 years).
Isn't this kind of copy protection effective?

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RE: Here we go again... - 10/2/2008 10:28:47 PM   
oldspec4

 

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Precisely why in the last 4-5 years my gaming sources are Matrix, AGEod, and a few HPS CD titles from NWS. IMO, both Matrix and AGEod have good, non-intrusive download systems (aside from having the games I'm interested in playing).

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RE: Here we go again... - 10/2/2008 10:48:53 PM   
JudgeDredd


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The registration number is the least obtrusive...however, it does have it's flaws...it's not really safe at all.

But that's the difference between Matrix and other game publishers...they are not willing to treat customers as thieves.

There are differences of course...I suspect war strategy games do not sell nearly as much volume as, say, the latest 3D FPS (eg Crysis)...so they will not be losing nearly as much because IF any of their software  made it onto bit-torrent, then the people who would download and try it are most likely not going to buy those games anyway.

That does not excuse treating your customers as thieves as most of the big companies do.

I think perhaps Paradox had a good system with EU Rome...and Matrix, to a certain extent, with their "membership" options. With EU Rome, you did not get access to the Technical Forums unless you registered your game online. Matrix, you get special content and Beta updates by registering your game...I don't mind that at all.

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RE: Here we go again... - 10/2/2008 10:49:50 PM   
JudgeDredd


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One of the protection devices actually reverts to online activation if the disk security fails.

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RE: Here we go again... - 10/3/2008 6:24:06 AM   
Perturabo


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quote:

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd

Just some snippets of info about copy protection (and one I hadn't heard of before). No Agenda, except to say wtf is going on when everyone is tarnished with the same brush?

Read some of these...some cases of people apparently having a cracked copy so the game makes it unwinnable or messes up the graphics, only to find the anti-piracy software detected a pirate copy incorrectly...others where some system/program setting conflicts with the game

Well, they bought it, they deserve what they got. My only contact with such DRM was when bought Hammer & Sickle. I saw the Starforce screen and googled up what it is and then uninstalled it and returned it to the store. Then I said: never again.

< Message edited by Perturabo -- 10/3/2008 6:27:07 AM >


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RE: Here we go again... - 10/3/2008 7:40:58 AM   
JudgeDredd


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Deserved it? It isn't always apparent what copy protection is used...in fact it's bloody downright difficult to find out.

Deserved it is not the answer. DRM, if it's going to stay, needs to be made unobtrusive and so it works...so the user isn't spending days trying to find out what the hells gone wrong with his system.

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RE: Here we go again... - 10/3/2008 8:25:43 AM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd
Deserved it? It isn't always apparent what copy protection is used...in fact it's bloody downright difficult to find out.


Well, if you don't rush out and buy it on release day a simple google on day + 1 will turn up the answer pretty quickly.

It can get tricky when the copy protection used in the US is different than the one used in Europe, or the one used on the disc version differs from the one on the download version, but I only got tricked into buying a "Starforce" game once and that was because I didn't check it beforehand.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

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RE: Here we go again... - 10/3/2008 9:32:56 AM   
JudgeDredd


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Well, 'tis true to say that the only way to get them to understand we won't allow this crap is to not buy the software with the crap on it....maybe deserved it is true enough. And you can find out, pretty much on day of release what system is used...alot of times, with some research, that information is available prior to release.

For my own situation, with Silent Hunter IV, I just read that they had dropped Starforce and was so over the moon, I bought it.

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RE: Here we go again... - 10/3/2008 10:32:16 AM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd
For my own situation, with Silent Hunter IV, I just read that they had dropped Starforce and was so over the moon, I bought it.


When "No DRM" becomes a selling point, and it really has, one wonders why Matrix doesn't profile itself a little better regarding this. Oh, sure, the regulars know, but a new guy checking out the website might me more enticed to take the plunge if he sees the "No DRM" banner

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

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RE: Here we go again... - 10/3/2008 11:28:35 AM   
Goblin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: sterckxe

quote:

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd
For my own situation, with Silent Hunter IV, I just read that they had dropped Starforce and was so over the moon, I bought it.


When "No DRM" becomes a selling point, and it really has, one wonders why Matrix doesn't profile itself a little better regarding this. Oh, sure, the regulars know, but a new guy checking out the website might me more enticed to take the plunge if he sees the "No DRM" banner

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx



Excellent point, Eddy.


Goblin


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RE: Here we go again... - 10/3/2008 12:09:13 PM   
Perturabo


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quote:

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd

Deserved it? It isn't always apparent what copy protection is used...in fact it's bloody downright difficult to find out.

Yeah, I agree. If they were tricked into buying a DRMed product, it's the producer's fault.

quote:

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd

Deserved it is not the answer. DRM, if it's going to stay, needs to be made unobtrusive and so it works...so the user isn't spending days trying to find out what the hells gone wrong with his system.

Again, no one would use DRM if people wouldn't buy DRMed games. It's voting with one's money. The thing is that most of gamers lack self-discipline necessary to resign from buying games they want to play.

_____________________________

People shouldn't ask themselves why schools get shoot up.
They should ask themselves why people who finish schools burned out due to mobbing aren't receiving high enough compensations to not seek vengeance.

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RE: Here we go again... - 10/3/2008 12:28:42 PM   
Grell

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Perturabo




Again, no one would use DRM if people wouldn't buy DRMed games. It's voting with one's money. The thing is that most of gamers lack self-discipline necessary to resign from buying games they want to play.


This is so true!

Regards,

Grell


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RE: Here we go again... - 10/3/2008 1:50:19 PM   
Peter Fisla


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I'm really happy the way Matrix Games deals with the DRM in their games, you download the game you insert your serial and you are done. I salute Matrix Games for that!

Stardock is another great publisher, I got few of their games and all I need is serial as well.

I was thinking to buy PS3 version of Fallout 3 but then I red an interview with the developers from Bethsoft I was glad to know that Fallout 3 will only have a simple CD Check (same as with Oblivion). So I'm definitely buying the PC version instead.


I'm now pretty much skipping everything from EA and Ubisoft on PC because of their draconian DRM. I'm voting with my money. I bought Crysis Warhead and was really pissed off with what SecuRom 7.x did to my computer. It took a while to get it out of my system....never again! I also have PS3 and PSP...and some boardgames to play with so no need give admin rights to my PC to EA or Ubisoft, it's my computer and I own it. And I'm not "renting" games from them either...none of this "3 times installation only" junk for me.

Peter


< Message edited by Peter Fisla -- 10/3/2008 2:00:39 PM >

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RE: Here we go again... - 10/3/2008 9:50:09 PM   
Jeffrey H.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Perturabo

quote:

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd

Deserved it? It isn't always apparent what copy protection is used...in fact it's bloody downright difficult to find out.

Yeah, I agree. If they were tricked into buying a DRMed product, it's the producer's fault.

quote:

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd

Deserved it is not the answer. DRM, if it's going to stay, needs to be made unobtrusive and so it works...so the user isn't spending days trying to find out what the hells gone wrong with his system.

Again, no one would use DRM if people wouldn't buy DRMed games. It's voting with one's money. The thing is that most of gamers lack self-discipline necessary to resign from buying games they want to play.


I think the technical nature of the DRM's flies over most gamers heads. Thus they don't understand what is happening so there is nothing to avoid in most peoples minds.



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RE: Here we go again... - 10/3/2008 11:56:14 PM   
Titanwarrior89


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I agree and will not buy anymore EA products.
quote:

ORIGINAL: Peter Fisla

I'm really happy the way Matrix Games deals with the DRM in their games, you download the game you insert your serial and you are done. I salute Matrix Games for that!

Stardock is another great publisher, I got few of their games and all I need is serial as well.

I was thinking to buy PS3 version of Fallout 3 but then I red an interview with the developers from Bethsoft I was glad to know that Fallout 3 will only have a simple CD Check (same as with Oblivion). So I'm definitely buying the PC version instead.


I'm now pretty much skipping everything from EA and Ubisoft on PC because of their draconian DRM. I'm voting with my money. I bought Crysis Warhead and was really pissed off with what SecuRom 7.x did to my computer. It took a while to get it out of my system....never again! I also have PS3 and PSP...and some boardgames to play with so no need give admin rights to my PC to EA or Ubisoft, it's my computer and I own it. And I'm not "renting" games from them either...none of this "3 times installation only" junk for me.

Peter




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RE: Here we go again... - 10/4/2008 12:00:10 AM   
Perturabo


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jeffrey H.

I think the technical nature of the DRM's flies over most gamers heads. Thus they don't understand what is happening so there is nothing to avoid in most peoples minds.

I met a lot of people who didn't like DRM and had problems with running games due to DVD-rom drive incompatibilities, etc. but were addicted enough to accept any, even most Orwellian conditions to get their fix.
Personally, the older I am, the less tolerant to the antics of game publishers/developers I get. Actually, since I started working for my own money, I'm more and more critical about the whole gaming culture - for example I'm completely unwilling to pour thousands (or even hundreds (ok, tens too)) of Polish Gold Pieces into my gaming hardware just to be able to lose my time and money with more flashy graphics and generally, I find myself spending much more money on music, books, manga, comics etc. than on computer games (about 6 Gold Pieces this year).
I'm mostly playing/modding Close Combat Modern Tactics and some good old games like Fallout and Baldur's Gate 2 these days.

As for the DRM themselves. Matrix is my second favourite as it doesn't seem to install any weird things and doesn't require keeping CD in drive. My only problem with it is that game installs break when Windows is reinstalled.
My favourite are Interplay games from 1997 like Die By The Sword and Fallout. They don't have CD-checks and installations are pretty durable. My Fallout install has two years and survived 3 windows reinstalls.

_____________________________

People shouldn't ask themselves why schools get shoot up.
They should ask themselves why people who finish schools burned out due to mobbing aren't receiving high enough compensations to not seek vengeance.

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RE: Here we go again... - 10/4/2008 1:52:05 AM   
NefariousKoel


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quote:

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd
The version of SecuROM that is installed with the first German retail version of the game Das Schwarze Auge: Drakensang installs a shell extension that makes explorer.exe crash at least on some systems running Windows XP. The same can be seen in systems running Windows Vista with the version of SecuROM that comes with Neverwinter Nights 2 (see forums). SecuROM is hosting a fix to the issue that apparently removes the extension. As of version 1.0.1, this fix is not included in the official patches.



Yep... reinstalled NWN2 & auto-updated it not too long ago on my Vista. After that, every time I tried to rt-click on anything, windows would crash & restart. I was fuming about it. Took me awhile to track down a repair program for it that someone was nice enough to link after they were forced to play e-mail tag with SecuROM to finally get it.

This stuff is getting ridiculous and lately I've been browsing forums for games before I buy them to see what kind of DRM nastiness could happen. I've been burned by Starforce and now SecuROM. I don't intend to give another cent for the same in the future.

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RE: Here we go again... - 10/4/2008 8:44:10 PM   
E

 

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Beyond any copy protection screwing up my system, my biggest problem is when the pirates end up with a better/more convenient to use program than I do!  To their benefit, Matrix games currently uses the least intrusive (to paying customers) copy protection.

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RE: Here we go again... - 10/5/2008 3:59:44 AM   
ilovestrategy


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That's why I am a loyal customer to Matrix and Stardock!




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After 16 years, Civ II still has me in it's clutches LOL!!!
Now CIV IV has me in it's evil clutches!

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