Venting my frustrations with PC game-dev

At least agree with your end users it was a stupid, if out of your hands, move.

Or if you want to stay in the publisher’s good graces, then at least not try and defend it.

Maybe you do, but I don’t. Which is part of the reason I don’t work directly in the game industry, I suppose. If the person signing my paycheck says to eat shit and like it, I tell them to fuck a duck and find a new job.

Microsoft has tried to do stuff like this. It’s called “trusted computing”. The thing is, that hands Microsoft free rein to do whatever the fuck they want in people’s computers, dictate what sort of software they can and can’t use, etc. People, quite understandably, don’t like the idea.

Maybe they could put together some sort of better-functioning copy protection system without using trusted computing methods, but I suspect that more than likely such a system would be cracked every bit as quickly as the middleware folks’ solution.

If everyone did that, I can guarantee you that 90% of the games you’ve played and like would’ve never shipped.

If 90% of the customers stole the game, that’s just incredibly depressing.

Might be true, but if so, why aren’t there more of these games that get pirated less? There are a zillion PC shooters.

I suspect Stardock does OK because they cut out the middleman, not because they don’t suffer from a lot of folks stealing their games.

Not much to say, other than ouch. Move to consoles, I guess.

Yeah, without low-level hardware support (which is what they were trying to do with all of that Palladium stuff, which was widely criticized by PC owners back when it was being discussed), they are just as doomed as other middleware and if everyone used the OS routines it would be a single point of failure that all the crackers in the world would be working on every time a new update was made.

Weren’t there legitimate issue with the mid game piracy checks, though? I had tons of crash issues with my (legit) copy, generally related to quest things, but those issue went away after the first or second patch if I recall.

I understand the point you are making Charles, but the OP hasn’t clarified where this particular copy protection scheme came from. Nor has he responded to questioning as to whether it’s a valid approach to the problem. So, the question is why did he bring it up? Is it because he thinks it’s a valid scheme and that view has nothing to do with whether they were forced to use it or not? Or is it a hidden jab at the scheme they were forced to use and he’s outwardly decrying piracy while also making a point at how copy protection schemes can backfire?

If you are going to make a post in a public forum decrying the awful aspects of PC development, then people are going to question some of the details of things you cite as examples.

For me at least it was absolutely rock solid all the way through the game and then some, all before the first patch. Weird stuff can still pop up of course from machine to machine, but I sat around scratching my head over all the crash complaints till the copy protection was outed as the cause. By then the damage was already done, the game was unfairly labeled as buggy.

Amen. PC hardware peripherals are the only reason I can’t do my gaming on consoles. Or, that the games I play can’t be ported to consoles to be properly playable.

I prefer to play my console games with a gamepad, generally, but… A growing number of PS3 games allow you to play your way if you really want to. It is kind of ridiculous that Microsoft hasn’t started pushing keyboard/mouse as an option for devs on the 360 considering their PC ties. Also ridiculous that they are the only console out there without a web browser built in. They tried so hard for so long for the Xbox not to come off as a PC that now that console/PC convergence is considered OK and even desirable, they are way behind the curve and don’t appear to be trying to catch up… the dumb fucks.

Consider the case of Starforce. Did using Starforce result in an overall net gain in sales? Sure it was pretty good at preventing piracy, but it also alienated a large amount of honest customers who would have paid full price for the same game sans Starforce. I belong firmly in the “honest customer” category, but I would never buy a game with Starforce. I’ve heard several other posters on this forum and elsewhere express the same opinion.

If even a 1% sales increase can make a huge difference to revenue, then the dev and/or publisher should think long and hard about trying to maximize sales and choosing the right copy protection (or no copy protection at all) accordingly.

I really have no idea how you could accurately measure this, but I think my point is valid. Which group has more people: people who would normally warez the game but are effectively deterred by copy protection so they buy it instead or honest customers who would normally buy the game but are deterred by reports of the game being a buggy POS so they chose to spend their gaming dollars on another title (or warez it)?

The “casual pirate” you describe who uses Nero to burn a copy of his friend’s disk probably isn’t going to be deterred by copy protection that causes an unexplained CTD, since he’s likely not even saavy enough to determine the cause of the crash. If anything, he’ll assume his PC is at fault and return to playing “crash free” console games, which only further feeds the PC gaming is d0med meme.

Agree 100%.

I see this as a bigger problem than piracy for PC gaming.

I really appreciate the original poster’s post. Thats great insight. In a lot of ways I wish Microsoft would have commited to battling the consoles with gaming on the PC instead of going direct with their own console. Who knows what could have have been done with enforcement of common standards, common API’s, etc.

I don’t understand much of the hindsight advice. I dont think anyone is telling them anything they dont know, and I doubt the situation is as simpel as some would imply. Regardless the point of the thread isn’t to give advice back on how to stop it from happening, but so that we can understand a little better whats going on in the industry. A little less “they should have done!” and a little more “why didnt they do?” may be a good thing.

Yeah, the problem with that is that I wouldn’t tolerate the system except to play games, so I might as well just use a console.

I had no problems with pirate checks or crashes, but the slowdowns were HUGELY annoying.

Why do people leave PC gaming because of invasive DRM to use a console? Consoles have hardware DRM, and limit who is allowed to publish games on them. You could not get a more DRMed, restricted, corporately controlled platform than a console.
By all means hate PC gaming, but leaving it in favour of consoles for DRM reasons seems counter-intuitive.

Yeah, but console DRM doesn’t fuck with the other functions of the console. PC DRM can break other functions of one’s computer, such as Starforce fucking things up, Sony rootkits, music CD’s with DRM that breaks the computer’s optical drive if you use it on a Mac instead of a Windows PC, etc.

And when was the last time you heard a story about a console gamer not being able to play a game properly because the DRM was messing with their system? OTOH, we hear horror stories like that on the PC side of things often enough. Didn’t wumpus (?) start a thread recently about the copy protection on his NWN2 CD causing him all kinds of problems?

Yes. Yes! If console games allowed you to select between a keyboard + mouse and a gamepad I’d buy both the 360 and the PS3 tomorrow. Not gonna happen, unfortunately.