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[P]
Valve, Steam and DRM

By Talez in Technology
Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:22:22 PM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)
Software

On September the 12th, a game developer known as Valve launched a new product designed to enable and promote digital distribution of software. This product, Steam, was supposed to be a gaming panacea. At last, companies could skip the arduous task of finding a publisher willing to take their games and sell directly to the gaming public.

A big part of Steam is its DRM. DRM--Digital Rights Management--is the digital lock on an application, stopping a user from running the applications without a proper license. What most people didn't realise until this day is how bad exactly DRM enabled software can be. This article is the experience that a humble gamer has had with Valve's own brand of DRM.


Steam's DRM is the kind of DRM that open source advocates have nightmares about. It takes a technical stance that is firmly in favour of copyright holders. While this may be good for drumming up business, it also highlights some of Steam's and DRM's biggest flaws.

First of all, there is no allowance made for playing offline. If you don't have an internet connection then you can't play your game, even if it's a single player game that doesn't neccessarily need an internet connection. That is, until Valve decides to make a version of Steam that will work without a network connection.

Now this by itself wouldn't be too bad. Most gamers have DSL or permanent 56K and wouldn't be too fussed by this. But what happens when the network itself becomes overloaded or worse, goes down?

This is exactly what happened the evening Steam was released. The network was just completely overloaded. If you could start a game you were lucky. If you could update your game data to the most recent version you were luckier still. For the past 18 hours the game has been unplayable despite the fact that every person on Steam has a legally licensed copy of Half-Life or Counterstrike which they paid good money for.

The second major evil is version control. Steam pushes new versions whether you want them or not. Sure, you can decline to update, but you won't be playing anytime soon. While this may look good on the surface solving incompatibility between revisions, the reality is much harsher.

During the CS 1.6 beta, Valve implemented bots, which are computer controlled players that could play Counter-Strike instead of a human. This was one of the most attractive features of CS 1.6 and about the only reason I became a beta tester for Steam in the first place. The latest release version has stripped bots. While I was quite happy with the quality of the bots in previous beta versions, the powers that be obviously thought that they weren't good enough and stripped them out completely.

Normally, you just don't update and keep playing like you always did. Now, you don't have a choice. Your entire gameplay experience is in the hands of some programmer. Whether you thought their previous effort was better is irrelevant. Whether you like an old feature or weapon is no longer your concern. Welcome to the DRM age.

As you can see, the DRM world isn't as rosy as the pro-DRM lobby make it out to be. Technical glitches and decisions made by the copyright holders are turning the simple act of buying a game, installing it and running it into a minefield of checks, any of which can stop you from playing your rightfully purchased game or software should they fail.

I suppose the question is now "will consumers stop feeding copyright holders now that they have bitten the hand?". From the comments I've seen so far, not on a scale that copyright holders will actually notice. Half-Life 2 is set to come out at the end of this month and looks set to be digital distribution's biggest test. Whether consumers will accept everything that will go along with it, only time will tell.

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Poll
Will you get Half-Life 2?
o Yes. I'll get it with Steam 7%
o Yes. If I can get it without Steam. 52%
o No. 39%

Votes: 185
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Valve
o Steam
o open source advocates
o stripped them out completely
o Also by Talez


Display: Sort:
Valve, Steam and DRM | 180 comments (170 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
Force fed content is not a drm issue. (2.37 / 8) (#6)
by noogie on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 02:53:53 AM EST




*** ANONYMIZED BY THE EVIL KUROFIVEHIN MILITARY JUNTA ***
But . . . (3.66 / 3) (#19)
by acceleriter on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:08:12 AM EST

. . . it's sufficiently tied into the DRM scheme to be relevant here.

[ Parent ]
How (4.00 / 1) (#127)
by Easyas123 on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:24:07 AM EST

Would people who are opposed to this particular FORM of control manage the situation?

I frequently read people who are against copyright control as it is being exercised now, but I rarely hear of any alternitives besides "let me do what I want, when I want."

***********************
As the wise men fortold.
[ Parent ]

Not sure about others. (5.00 / 1) (#146)
by acceleriter on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 09:36:01 PM EST

I manage it by not buying such locked down products. This isn't just about protecting copyright--it's about denying me my right to resell (right of first sale), and my right of quiet enjoyment (you sold it, it's mine, not yours anymore). I am not interested in financially supporting anyone trying to take away those rights with technology.

[ Parent ]
Enough with the whining already! (2.64 / 17) (#8)
by Greyjack on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 03:48:54 AM EST

Seems to me that the reason a net connection is required when you're playing a game over Steam is so that it can actually download the content of the game as you play.  It doesn't download the whole game first -- it pulls down enough to get started, fires up the game, and keeps downloading as you play.

IE, you don't have to wait for the whole gigabyte of stuff to download before you can start playing.

As far as your "legally licensed copy of Half-Life", you still HAVE your legally licensed copy of Half-Life.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but Valve hasn't come over to your house and smashed your CD.

And nobody's FORCING you to use Steam.  Half-Life 2 will be available as a boxed, retail package, as well as over Steam.

Now, as far as the disappearing bots, yeah, sure, that sucks.  However, you were playing a beta of a game released via a streaming content distribution system.  For free.  You KNEW they could change any part of the game ANY TIME THEY WANTED TO.  And, again, it was free!  

When HBO does one of their free trial weekends to lure new subscribers, I watch a movie or two, then go back to my regularly-scheduled non-HBO life.  I don't bitch at them for taking away something that was provided free, and entirely at their whim, in the first place.

If you don't like the way Valve is distributing their software, the solution is easy:  DON'T FUCKING BUY IT.

God, I swear, the online gaming community is the biggest collection of self-absorbed, selfish whiners that the world has ever seen.

--
Here is my philosophy: Everything changes (the word "everything" has just changed as the word "change" has: it now means "no change") --Ron Padgett


Hello... Reality calling (4.30 / 20) (#9)
by Talez on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 04:13:26 AM EST

Seems to me that the reason a net connection is required when you're playing a game over Steam is so that it can actually download the content of the game as you play.  It doesn't download the whole game first -- it pulls down enough to get started, fires up the game, and keeps downloading as you play.

Why don't you go download steam and try to play something with it offline? You need to physically login to the Steam network to play the game as part of Valve's current DRM policy.

As far as your "legally licensed copy of Half-Life", you still HAVE your legally licensed copy of Half-Life.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but Valve hasn't come over to your house and smashed your CD.

If you buy a game over Steam and Steam fucks up and won't let you play. Then what?

And nobody's FORCING you to use Steam.  Half-Life 2 will be available as a boxed, retail package, as well as over Steam.

Of course. I'll just sit in my dark little corner playing Half-Life 2 v1.0 for the rest of my life. Multiplayer HL2 will require Steam to run online. Hell, everything based on the Half-life engine will require Steam to run properly online once Valve ditch the won.net servers and moves over to Steam for user authentication instead.

Now, as far as the disappearing bots, yeah, sure, that sucks.  However, you were playing a beta of a game released via a streaming content distribution system.  For free.  You KNEW they could change any part of the game ANY TIME THEY WANTED TO.  And, again, it was free!

Here we go. Part of the "I'm gonna take this whinger out of context" brigade. Did you even read what I wrote? I was using the disappearing bots as an example of how publishers can use forced version control to take away game features at their will.

If you don't like the way Valve is distributing their software, the solution is easy:  DON'T FUCKING BUY IT.

I thought thats what I said. The market will decide how they accept DRM enabled distribution systems like Steam won't it?

God, I swear, the online gaming community is the biggest collection of self-absorbed, selfish whiners that the world has ever seen.

Of course. Concerned about not being able to play a game that we rightly paid for because of technical glitches, fuckups and nazi DRM policies is so self-absorbed.

Dipshit.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]

Oh God... (2.80 / 5) (#14)
by spaceGhost on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 06:34:54 AM EST

Why don't you go download steam and try to play something with it offline? You need to physically login to the Steam network to play the game as part of Valve's current DRM policy.

Aside from the fact this has nothing to do with DRM, it's not even true. Please see CSNation and Halflife2.net

If you buy a game over Steam and Steam fucks up and won't let you play. Then what?

Yeah, what if? Well when it happens then you can whine. Or even better, if you're worried, don't buy it over Steam!

Multiplayer HL2 will require Steam to run online. Hell, everything based on the Half-life engine will require Steam to run properly online once Valve ditch the won.net servers and moves over to Steam for user authentication instead.

Yes, and at the moment it all requires WON to play online. Tell us how authenticating through Steam is worse that authentication through WON, without FUD please.

Here we go. Part of the "I'm gonna take this whinger out of context" brigade. Did you even read what I wrote? I was using the disappearing bots as an example of how publishers can use forced version control to take away game features at their will. Take out a feature from a free game which was only being beta tested. HOW DARE THEY!!!!!11 Please explain how this is different from removing a feature in a standard update. Oh, and bear in mind that all previous updates to CS will still be playable even without WON. If you can find someone who wants to play with you that's another matter....

Jesus Christ, get a grip. There's no secret evil plan.

[ Parent ]
Re: Oh God... (4.63 / 11) (#24)
by Talez on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:42:08 AM EST

Aside from the fact this has nothing to do with DRM, it's not even true. Please see CSNation and Halflife2.net

Did you miss the word current in my sentence? I think you most certainly did.

Yeah, what if? Well when it happens then you can whine. Or even better, if you're worried, don't buy it over Steam!

You seem to have lost the plot. I want this to succeed but I don't think its right in its current state. Why must it always be a battle of Good vs Evil with you people? Why must it always be "well if he's complaining about it he must be dead against it". I want people to look at the problems, not denounce it as evil.

Yes, and at the moment it all requires WON to play online. Tell us how authenticating through Steam is worse that authentication through WON, without FUD please.

Hmmm... Lets see. How about the fact that WON doesn't care about which version of HL or CS you use to connect to it while Steam forcibly pushes updates onto you before you can even touch any of the games?

Take out a feature from a free game which was only being beta tested. HOW DARE THEY!!!!!11 Please explain how this is different from removing a feature in a standard update.

Let me connect the dots for you:

  • Valve removes features in beta.
  • You lose features
  • What magical force is going to stop them pushing updates that remove content from a real game if they don't think it belongs?
Jesus Christ, get a grip. There's no secret evil plan.

It's a flawed plan. I explained what I thought was wrong with it. Or did I slip the word "illuminati" in there by mistake?

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]

Steam is worse than WON (5.00 / 2) (#68)
by ftobin on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:37:52 AM EST

Yes, and at the moment it all requires WON to play online. Tell us how authenticating through Steam is worse that authentication through WON, without FUD please.

Steam is worse than WON because all WON does is authenticate you. Steam does authentication and has the ability to change your game under you without your bidding. Additionally, WON is not required for LAN play; this is a significant issue for an arena my coworkers and I participate in, where the machines do not have Internet access. Steam will be required for all multiplayer play, and hence unusable for our purposes.



[ Parent ]
bleh (none / 0) (#167)
by Xcyther on Thu Sep 18, 2003 at 01:39:42 PM EST

If you buy a game over Steam and Steam fucks up and won't let you play. Then what?

If you buy a game on a CD and then the CD fucks up and wont let you play. Then what?

_________________________________________
"Insydious" -- It's not as bad as you think

[ Parent ]

Day-um. (3.75 / 12) (#10)
by Zerotime on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 05:09:23 AM EST

I just went to download the HL 1.1.2.0 update, only to realise that I can't just grab an ~80mb file (over dialup) at my convenience anymore. Instead, if I ever want to play a HL1-derived game online in the future, I'll have to get all 380mb of this "Steam" thing, which also installs CS and TFC, and then wait for it to download further things. Nice one, Valve.

---
"You don't even have to drink it. You just rub it on your hips and it eats its way through to your liver."
Technically (2.66 / 3) (#11)
by Talez on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 05:11:38 AM EST

You don't have to download anything except Half-Life updates.

I'd show you a screen shot but I already converted over my files to Steam cache format. I can assure you, it gives you a list and you can turn on and off packages to download at will.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]

Yeah.. (3.40 / 5) (#13)
by spaceGhost on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 06:25:19 AM EST

I had Half Life and Counterstrike already installed so it just copied over all my stuff, custom maps included. I'm, on a 128k connection here and it took about 45 mins to get through the setup, even with the network congestion. In other words, I didn't download very much.

[ Parent ]
Okay, but... (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by Zerotime on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 01:49:23 PM EST

  1. Is there rate limiting?
  2. Is there an option to choose between different servers to download stuff from? My ISP mirrors most game patches (amongst other game-related things), and it'd be quite nifty to download stuff from their server instead of an overloaded one in the US.
  3. By "download at will", do you mean that I can pause and resume a download at any point without losing data?



---
"You don't even have to drink it. You just rub it on your hips and it eats its way through to your liver."
[ Parent ]
In answer to your questions (4.00 / 1) (#77)
by Talez on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 03:41:17 AM EST

  1. Not yet but theres an option greyed out in the Steam monitor called "rate limiting".
  2. No.
  3. Yes. Also, you can decline the updates for some packages, although you won't be able to play the games (online or offline) until the updates are complete.
HTH.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]
FUD -1 (2.35 / 17) (#12)
by spaceGhost on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 06:23:18 AM EST

"First of all, there is no allowance made for playing offline." Your research is pitiful. Dave Johnston, designer of dust, dust2, and cbble has stated that this will not be the case when things get straightened out. That was on CSN. Gabe Newell replied to an email which has been posted here rubbishing the whole idea. Your problem is that you've listened to the vocal minority. The ones who are having problems are posting rumours and nonsense on every forum they can while they don't have the patience to leave Steam running and do it's thing while network congestion slows it down. You're aware of a product called Half Life 2? Think on this: Valve have an opportunity to load test Steam before using it on a commercial product. At the moment, they aren't going to be making a cent from releasing the free Counterstrike software. Why make it worse by spending money on more content servers? Save money for the HL2 release. You're blabbling off the spam that the forum monkeys have been ranting about without actually applying any thought to it. Steam is a good idea. Valve have yet to deploy it in a flawless way, and if you expected them to do so for a free software release you are a fool. And DRM? Oh, you mean protecting the software you download from them by encrypting it? Right. So preventing software piracy is DRM now? You're an anti-Valve troll who slapped in a token anti-DRM mention to get sympathy from the Slashbots here.

Why must I repeat myself? (4.69 / 13) (#15)
by Talez on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 06:44:27 AM EST

First of all, there is no allowance made for playing offline. If you don't have an internet connection then you can't play your game, even if it's a single player game that doesn't neccessarily need an internet connection. That is, until Valve decides to make a version of Steam that will work without a network connection.

And the rest of your comment you fail to address my points. You merely spout off that I'm some spewing robot.

Listen carefully:

I just spent 18 hours enduring one of the worst releases in history and there are lessons to be learnt from this. I stated what was wrong with both the plan and the execution and why it's wrong.

I haven't said anything misleading, I haven't spread any fud (unless voicing serious concerns is considered FUD these days) and I definately haven't been listening to "forum monkeys". If I was listening to forum monkeys I could spout off for another three pages. This is what I've gained through my own personal experience with Steam.

If you think that Steam will lead the way into the new millenium that's your opinion. If you think future releases done via Steam will go off without a load of horror stories I can respect that. However, this does not give you the right to call someone a troll if their opinion doesn't match yours.

Get over yourself already. I stand by what I originally said. If you can address my points in a rational matter I'll come to the table and discuss with you. But until you grow up (and learn to use the enter key), I bid you good day.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]

Well... (3.33 / 3) (#16)
by spaceGhost on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:07:03 AM EST

The reason I failed to address your other points was because you have introduced the spectre of DRM where it has yet proved to be relevant.

However, I will say this: if you had connected via Steam, downloaded the updates flawlessly and begun to play CS without hassle, would you have written this article?

I suspect not.

And I say this: how much of your frustration is down to network congestion?

Oh, and I can use the enter key, just not break tags :) I have learned my lesson now however.

[ Parent ]
Re: Well (4.40 / 5) (#23)
by Talez on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:29:30 AM EST

The reason I failed to address your other points was because you have introduced the spectre of DRM where it has yet proved to be relevant.

What do you think people from executing code or playing media by software means is?

Just because its Valve's name on it doesn't make any more or less DRM.

However, I will say this: if you had connected via Steam, downloaded the updates flawlessly and begun to play CS without hassle, would you have written this article?

I would still have written it but it would have been based on the economis benefits of Steam for both publishers and gamers as well as some side effects/benefits that Steam would bring to the gaming community.

However, Valve has made some critical mistakes in its execution of Steam and they need to be addressed in an arena of serious debate and not in a mud slinging after-school virtual daycare that is most gamer forums.

And I say this: how much of your frustration is down to network congestion?

If the game won't play becuase the network is down something is wrong with the DRM policy which is the whole basis for the article!

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]

Uh. (2.50 / 2) (#32)
by spaceGhost on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 01:54:11 PM EST

"If the game won't play becuase the network is down something is wrong with the DRM policy which is the whole basis for the article!"

I can't believe that you take this stance. If you cannot authenticate with a server (for the online game counterstrike) how is that DRM related? The game *requires it* and always has done!

How is it different from WON, the previous system?

[ Parent ]
ursäkta mig? (5.00 / 1) (#42)
by alexei on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:28:12 PM EST

Have you made your own offline server before?
I've played offline without being authorized through WON.net before and used 3rd party bots to hone my aim, never having a problem. But now you cannot, which is completely silly and unnecessary.

[ Parent ]
Define DRM? (5.00 / 2) (#48)
by pla on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:54:47 PM EST

I can't believe that you take this stance. If you cannot authenticate with a server (for the online game counterstrike) how is that DRM related? The game *requires it* and always has done!

How does that seem DRM related? What, do you mean other than the fact that, lacking Steam (the DRM in this case), he could actually, y'know, play the game he bought?

I don't know if you mean to troll with this stance, and since you have responded to a few people, I have to presume not. But do you understand what "DRM" means in this context? It means you pay real currency for something that might never work again if the company folds. It means your product might work some days and not at all on others (sucks if the former always occur on workdays, and the latter on weekends, but, just part of protecting their rights, eh?). It means that the creators of the game could arbitrarily decide that their new upgrade rocks the world, so no one can play the old version anymore, but everyone needs to go buy the newest version because they don't want to just give away such a substantial improvement.


In TV-analogy-terms, it means you watch something on Pay-Per-View, with the curious requirement that you need to buy a new cable-box for each individual movie you want to watch that way, and the cable company has no obligation to keep showing that movie.


You have the right idea in that DRM in this context does not mean the same thing it does in, say, TCPA/Palladium. The fact that it exists purely in software makes it no less offensive, however - Merely easier for us to eventually crack (a task both difficult even for pure software DRM, illegal in the US, and that we shouldn't need n the first place to play something we outright bought).


[ Parent ]
WON is a subset of Steam's capabilities (5.00 / 1) (#71)
by ftobin on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:49:07 AM EST

How is it different from WON, the previous system?

WON is incomparable to Steam. WON merely does license authentication for Internet-wide (not LAN!) play; this is a fractional subset of Steam's control. Steam has much more potential. Steam is DRM, capable of disabling your software, and degrading functionality.



[ Parent ]
You're ignoring his key point (4.10 / 10) (#18)
by cestmoi on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:33:13 AM EST

You don't get a choice on whether you update or not.

Like bots? Too bad - somebody other than you took them out and you can't have them anymore.

Like the feel of an earlier game? Tough, you gotta update.

Like some feature that's been disabled? Tough, you gotta update.

Prefer an older user interface? Tough, you gotta update.

And what do you do if the update doesn't work on your combination of hardware or it works but not very well? You have zip recourse. I can't believe that sounds like a good deal to you unless you happen to own Valve.

[ Parent ]

Somebody took away your bots? (2.30 / 10) (#26)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 11:34:36 AM EST

Then write your own damn game. The creator gets to control their creation. That's the way it's supposed to work.


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Yeah (5.00 / 3) (#44)
by alexei on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:30:00 PM EST

The designers of the game aren't catering to our wants and desires (as well as profit) when they release a game, they do it so they can get a chubby.

[ Parent ]
Partly... (3.00 / 2) (#46)
by dawtrina on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:47:00 PM EST

The creator gets to control their creation up until the point at which they release it to the public.

After that, they are free to control their next hopefully improved version up until the point at which they release it to the public.

Once the product is available to the public it becomes a set thing. Stephen King published 'The Stand' and he also published the unexpurgated director's cut version with 50% more waffle. Both are absolutely his creation but I can choose which to read.

[ Parent ]

Really. You can choose which version to read? (1.00 / 1) (#106)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:06:45 PM EST

Good luck finding a copy of the version he decided to pull off the shelves.

Charlie Chaplain repeatedly editted and re-released his own films. Which versions are authentic? Which versions will you watch? Doesn't matter - since you can only find the ones he chose to leave in distribution.


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Easy Enough (4.00 / 1) (#121)
by dawtrina on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:39:37 AM EST

It's easy enough to find the original 'The Stand'.

Sure, the original isn't on bookshop shelves, but then neither are 90% of the books published more than about five years ago. However, because it was a massive bestseller, you won't have much trouble finding it. I certainly see the original for sale second hand a couple of times a week. I also see it regularly in libraries.

In England, check out second hand book shops, market stalls, car boot sales, charity shops, libraries, mail order catalogues...

In the States, check out used bookstores, libraries, thrift stores, mail order catalogues...

It's also easily available through many online stores such as ABE Books.

Now you have a point when it comes to Charlie Chaplin, but that's old stuff. This article dealt with recent products that, in current non-Valve examples the user already has on CD or as a download.

[ Parent ]

No it's not (none / 0) (#57)
by cpt kangarooski on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:15:45 AM EST

Creators are supposed to be able to release their creation. What happens to it then is out of their hands. Works can then be resold, copied, modified, etc. to varying degrees, at varying points in time. Regardless of whether the creator likes it or not.

Creators have never had total control over their works forever, and should not be permitted to now. Copyrights are a quid pro quo, and this sort of creator isn't ponying up his damn quo. I say screw him.

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]

Said the luser who's never created a damn thing (none / 0) (#107)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:09:26 PM EST

in their life.

You really think Ridley Scott doesn't have a say in what edit of Blade Runner you can buy?


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
So... (5.00 / 1) (#115)
by Neolith on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:24:05 PM EST

If you paid for and own Blade Runner 1.0 (release version), you think Mr. Scott should be able to enter your home and either disable that copy or replace it with version 2.0 (director's cut)?

[ Parent ]
Not at all. (none / 0) (#138)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:37:25 PM EST

But you don't have a right to get upset that your VHS tape doesn't play in a DVD player, either.


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Or (none / 0) (#139)
by Easyas123 on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:41:28 PM EST

Re-edit the movie the way you see fit and release it for veiwing.

***********************
As the wise men fortold.
[ Parent ]

This appears to be a non sequitur (none / 0) (#156)
by Neolith on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:44:09 PM EST

Valve is not only offering an upgrade, they are also shutting off the old versions as well, by eliminating WON.  I'm not really worried, because they will either get the problems ironed out early on, or they will be screwed.  Half-life has been such a continuing cash cow for them, it blows my mind that they feel they need even MORE control over their software.  

But hey, Gabe Newell is an ex-microsoft guy.

[ Parent ]

Almost (4.00 / 1) (#124)
by cpt kangarooski on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 07:57:24 AM EST

It would have been more accurate to write "Said the luser who was a self-supporting artist and who is shortly to become (knock on wood) a copyright lawyer."

Given my background as an artist, and as a member of the public that's keenly interested in art, the step to formally studying copyright law was not surprising. And I think copyrights are a great idea. However, the implementation we have now is insane, and the justifications people have put forth have been nonsensical.

I don't see how it promotes any social good to allow artists control over the disposition of their works once they've been published and released. It might very well serve some private good of the artist, but the best copyright laws are those that don't care about artists for their own sake. Artists -- and I am one, though no longer supporting myself through art -- are only useful for copyright purposes as a means for getting more art, and there's always a question as to whether it's worth it to try to get more art.

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]

But what about critics' rights? (none / 0) (#143)
by Gallowglass on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 04:13:20 PM EST

Sure the creator has control over his product and can make it whatever way he wants. If he chooses to drop a large, steaming pile of fecal matter on the table rather than a gleaming, polished, piece of impeccable craft, that is indeed his right. And who shall say him nay?

However, You, sir, are saying that the author hs no right to criticize! May I ask, why not? Doesn't he have the right, like a theater critic, or book reviewer to state his opinion, to discover glitches, to advise us of what he considers potential flaws?

I find this attitude puzzling. The creator of a product can ignore this form of feedback if he wishes. (Although, when I studied Business Administration at college, this was considered rather counter-productive, i.e. It's bone-headed to ignore your customers concerns.)

But this common atitude that being critical of a commercial product is somehow immoral or cowardly . . . well, it just flabbergasts me.

[ Parent ]

And Microsoft... (2.66 / 3) (#49)
by pla on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:05:28 PM EST

Dave Johnston, designer of dust, dust2, and cbble has stated that this will not be the case when things get straightened out.

...And Microsoft has kept telling us that "This version of Windows won't crash, once things get straightened out", for every new product release for the past 20 years.


You're blabbling off the spam that the forum monkeys have been ranting about without actually applying any thought to it.

"Blabbling off the spam forum"? I can't quite parse that, but does it resemble "That was on CSN" or "Gabe Newell replied to an email which has been posted [here] rubbishing the whole idea" in terms of meaningless unsubstantiated claims?

You trust the PR of people with something to gain by getting people to buy-in to this crap. You don't suppose that *GASP!* they might lie to get our money, do you?

Look at the history of tech companies meeting their promises for improvement past the initial release, and tell me you feel comfortable taking them at their word that the consumers won't get screwed in the end.

Because I sure don't, and will not buy HL2, no matter how much I want it, until they fix most of the problems addressed in the main article. And judging from the poll attached to this article, a few companies had better heed that threat, because a LOT of others feel the same way I and all those "Open Source Monkeys" do.


[ Parent ]
DRM? (1.64 / 14) (#17)
by debacle on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:19:44 AM EST

Is that like the PLFJ?

Honestly I don't care in the least bit, especially as this isn't even a rant but more of an angry whine. The last sentence makes me want to vote it down and ride it like a plummeting mass of death.

People's Liberation Front of Judea, by the way.

It tastes sweet.

woohoo!! (none / 0) (#58)
by vyruss on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:20:25 AM EST

more Monty Python in sigs everybody! :)

  • PRINT CHR$(147)

[ Parent ]
Counter-strike 1.5 is a piece of shit. (3.25 / 12) (#20)
by drdork on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:20:03 AM EST

I can still play 1.3 without steam, so steam can suck my balls and like it.

The moral? No one is holding a gun to your head(Unless you're already in game ;). If you don't like steam, you don't have to run it.

Valve will be turning off WON servers (3.00 / 1) (#67)
by ftobin on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:32:11 AM EST

You (we) will have to run Steam to play Half-Life 1. I've read in various places that Valve will be turning off their WON servers, so multiplayer play will not be possible without Steam.

[ Parent ]
1.6 is worse but... (4.00 / 2) (#74)
by Weedhopper on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:27:03 AM EST

Valve will be turning off the WON servers that validate your ID when you log into any given HL derived mod game server so you will no longer be able to play 1.3 OR 1.5. Your choice will be 1.6 or private LANs. Thats it.

[ Parent ]
The real question (4.16 / 6) (#21)
by karb on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:25:17 AM EST

A true online retail version does not need to be priced to pay for packaging, shipping, or (possibly) even a distributor.

So, would all this be worth it if it meant you could get half life 2 for $20 instead of $50?
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?

No (4.00 / 1) (#117)
by Bjorniac on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:45:12 PM EST

because what they propose is that you would get HL2 for $20 for two months only. I intend to be playing the game well after 5 months in, so my $50 will be a better investment. What's worrying is that I might not be able to play online if I just buy the game for $50, or that all mods that Valve support would require Steam to be downloaded etc, killing the free mod community that made HL great in the first place.
Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
[ Parent ]
DivX (4.55 / 18) (#27)
by Skywise on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 12:03:07 PM EST

Not the video compression software, but the original DivX players had similar fears.

DivX players had mandatory phone line connections to hook you up to their servers. You oculd "purchase" DivX discs for about $5 and this entitled you to 48 hours of viewing.  This meant that as soon as you put the disc into the player, you could watch it as much as you wanted in the next 48 hours after which the disc would then become unplayable.  But you could turn on another 48 hours by spending another $5.  (Purchased through the DivX player) Or, you could permanently "unlock" the movie by paying $20.

This was marketed as a wonderful thing for consumers because people could now have large DVD collections for a mere fraction of the cost!

Right.  And a few unfortunate souls actually bought into that claim.

More to the point there were ominous licensing issues.  DivX held ultimate playback control.  Say for instance that Disney's movie "Dumbo" was determined to be racially insensitive (ala "Song of the South")  Disney would have had the right to shut off all the offensive DivX Dumbo discs and only allow "accepted and cleaned up" DivX Dumbo discs (if they even went that far).  This would also imply the George Lucas could have shut off old versions of Star Wars.  Of course, everything you played was being tracked by the DivX services.

DivX never took off and the company folded telling users that the servers would remain active for another 2 years... at which point, ALL DivX discs would become unplayable.

I'm not against creators protecting their works... But this is nuts.  With this kind of thinking, all books would have been printed on disappearing ink.  Or in the future they'll wipe your memory after watching a movie (you remembered it for 48 hours, that's fair value for your coin!)

Remember, this is the same industry that wanted all VCR's banned because it would lead to the destruction of the movie business.  (VHS tape sales accounted for a good portion of studio revenues in the early 90's... now DVD sales SURPASS revenues of movie theaters which are now almost nothing more than a way of "advertising" the DVD)  This is also the same industry that successfully destroyed the Digital Audio Tape player (they sued the heck out of it and scared the companies into only releasing professional versions for the professioal market) This is the same industry that is the reason you can't just drag and drop MP3 files YOU made from CDs YOU purchased onto the MP3 player YOU purchased because you can't be trusted.

But they were more than willing to ram DivX (not the compression) down our throats... and if we had let them...

A lesson you could only learn.. in the Twilight Zone.

excellent idea! (3.40 / 5) (#28)
by nusuth on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 12:26:22 PM EST

Or in the future they'll wipe your memory after watching a movie (you remembered it for 48 hours, that's fair value for your coin!)

Pity, the technology isn't there yet. It would have been an excellent option for Matrix:Revolutions or Starwars 3. We can pay more to keep the memory of the movie if it doesn't suck, right?

[ Parent ]

-1 Nobody can create information. (1.26 / 15) (#37)
by Fen on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 03:41:41 PM EST

Information exists outside of time.  Idiot.
--Self.
[ Parent ]
good gosh its the flat earth league! (3.00 / 1) (#129)
by phred on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:43:40 AM EST

then why don't you grab from thin air the greatest piece of intellectual work of all time and retire richer than Bill Gates?

[ Parent ]
Divx (5.00 / 1) (#152)
by phriedom on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 03:32:32 PM EST

I still have my Divx player. It plays DVDs just fine. My point is that you are not telling the entire story. Nobody was forcing anything down your throats. Nobody is taking away your rights. You also got the prices wrong. The initial purchase was $4.25 and included one 48 hour viewing period starting from whenever you hit play, additional viewings were $3, and an upgrade to unlimited play was $12. So when my neighbor gave me a disc he had already watched, the $3 I paid to watch it was cheaper than a rental. The initial purchase plus the upgrade was just a tad more than buying a DVD outright, so it allowed a try-before-you-buy. Divx gave people another option, and it coexisted peacefully with DVD. It is true that Divx discs are now junk, but you ignored the fact that those supposedly evil bastards gave a refund to anyone who had purchased an unlimited play. So the only losers were people who paid $4.25 for a disc and never got around to watching the included 48hour viewing period in the 2 years when given warning.

From the beginning, Divx was crafted to replace rentals, not "ownership." If you knew you loved the movie and would want to watch it more than a couple times, you should buy the DVD. But the fact is that MOST people that buy a DVD do not watch it more than 3 times, so Divx is a cheaper route for them.

What I used Divx for was for movies I knew I would watch sometime once, like a rental. In that way they were disposable and convenient. I could go to the store once and buy 10 discs and then watch them whenever I wanted to. There is nothing I hate more than going to the rental place and getting a 5 day rental and never finding the time to watch it. I'm sure many or most people don't have this problem, but I do, and Divx eliminated it. Divx also eliminated late charges. It was a tradeoff: they offered me something I wanted in exchange for a phoneline to my player and an account secured with a credit card. It really isn't any less private than using the rental store or buying a pay-per-view, and nobody says those are evil. I don't understand why people single this out as an invasion of privacy, but those same people use credit cards and let the credit card company see everything.

Now the one charge I cannot defend against is the possibility that a movie studio could "deactivate" some particular movie you had upgraded to unlimited play, while presumabely giving you a refund. You're right. I can imagine a studio doing this just before they release some Special Edition $30 DVD. I have no idea what the contracts were between the Divx people and the Studios, but I have to think that Divx probably would have fought that kind of action to avoid pissing off their customers. We will never know.

But when Divx was alive, DVDs were cheaper. Warner Bros. was committed to DVD and wanted to kill Divx, so they released as much as possible on DVD and at cheap prices. I bought The Matrix for $13 (+ free shipping) when it first came out on DVD. Now new release DVDs are routinely over $20.

So I'm withholding judgement on Steam until I see how HL2 really works with it. If it really is like Divx, and gives you a new choice while preserving the "old" choice, then I'm fine with it. I'll be reading the terms and conditions Valve gives us before I buy anything.

In closing, let me say that I think between good authorization and bad is fuzzy and that it is arbitrary to say that the way Quake does authorization is fine, but the way Valve does it is evil.


I don't ask for much, I just want a lot of it.
[ Parent ]
Ermmm (3.13 / 15) (#29)
by Grape Smuggler on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 12:46:56 PM EST

But what happens when the network itself becomes overloaded or worse, goes down?

I dunno...maybe spend time with your family or go outside?

By reading this message you've unwittingly exposed yourself to my powerful, moth-like pheremones.

Outside? (4.33 / 6) (#33)
by Bill Melater on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 02:49:40 PM EST

Is that the big room with the blue ceiling?

[ Parent ]
Lol, and this is new? (3.75 / 8) (#30)
by Kasreyn on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 12:54:02 PM EST

The second major evil is version control. Steam pushes new versions whether you want them or not. Sure, you can decline to update, but you won't be playing anytime soon. While this may look good on the surface solving incompatibility between revisions, the reality is much harsher.

I've been bitching about Blizzard doing this on Battle.net for at least 5 years now. This is not a new idea, though I agree that it's a truly braindead one. If you want to make sure players only play with other players using the same version, simply have a version check edit out all games searched for which have the wrong version number of the game creator. To this day I still will not play D2 Realms, because there's no way of knowing when a rules change will get stuffed down my throat.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
The difference is (4.33 / 6) (#35)
by damiam on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 03:22:42 PM EST

You can still play single player and network games without updating to the latest patch, you just can't use battle.net. Also, Blizzard patches tend not to introduce major gameplay changes (for the *craft games anyway, never played D2).

With Steam, you have no choice whether to update, and major changes can be pushed on you without your consent.

[ Parent ]

In D2, they definitely do (3.00 / 2) (#39)
by Kasreyn on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:17:45 PM EST

D2 1.09 only bears a vague resemblance to D2 1.00. *craft also has changed a great deal, and currently is a bit unbalanced, with Zerg weakened by the most recent patch.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
altering the balance of power is a gameplay change (none / 0) (#153)
by ethereal on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 03:43:55 PM EST

Blizzard sees unbalanced sides in StarCraft as a bug, and acts to fix it, often just introducing other balance issues. I'm not saying they shouldn't address egregious problems (i.e. one race isn't playable at all), but they have done a lot of tweaking, which seems to indicate they don't play-test some of their balancing acts very carefully.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

I understand (4.50 / 2) (#78)
by Talez on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 03:58:12 AM EST

But Blizzard's pushing for a consistent revision for a closed environment is nothing like Valve's "update or you don't play at all" strategy.

I can still play offline or over a LAN using Diablo 1.01 if I really feel like it but I can't play over a LAN or by myself using the version of CS I had on my hard drive till they forced 1.6 Final onto me.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]

Offline (2.00 / 2) (#95)
by Dest on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:17:34 PM EST

Again, this feature is being released over Steam in 2 weeks. During this time 1.5 still works offline.

----
Dest

"Bah. You have no taste, you won't be getting better than tofurkey bukkake." -- Ni
[ Parent ]
bah (3.00 / 7) (#34)
by VoxLobster on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 03:21:31 PM EST

it will be cracked.  there's a fatal flaw in all DRM schemes.  They have to run on a computer somewhere, which means they exist in memory somehwere, and can be dumped, examined and cracked.  Steam will be no exception.

VoxLobster
I was raised by a cup of coffee! -- Homsar

Solution to this: (3.00 / 3) (#40)
by tkatchev on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:26:01 PM EST

Make DRM helpful, not oppressive.

It's called "capitalism", I'm afraid.


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

exactly (3.00 / 3) (#47)
by VoxLobster on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:54:13 PM EST

but why would a corportation make something helpful?

VoxLobster
I was raised by a cup of coffee! -- Homsar
[ Parent ]

Why make something helpful (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by pin0cchio on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:08:09 AM EST

Business Plan of an Ethical Corporation

  1. Make something helpful
  2. Gain goodwill
  3. Gain repeat business
  4. Shareholders reap PROFIT!

lj65
[ Parent ]
What (none / 0) (#73)
by mideast on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:15:27 AM EST

No "???"?

Join the Revolutionary Communist Party and help us CREATE PUBLIC OPINION and SEIZE POWER!
[ Parent ]
That goes (1.00 / 1) (#90)
by Happy Monkey on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:45:29 AM EST

in a thought bubble over the heads of the MBAs looking at the plan, wondering where "Cheat customers" went.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
How exactly do you propose to do that? [nt] (none / 0) (#52)
by pde on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:09:50 PM EST


Visit Computerbank, a GNU/Linux based charity
[ Parent ]
So Valve will change it... (5.00 / 1) (#65)
by bsimon on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:09:14 AM EST

When Steam is cracked (which is inevitable, as you said), Valve will modify it so the cracks don't work. Then it'll be cracked again, they'll modify again, and so on.

Valve are already used to dealing with this problem, because cheats have been cracking Half-Life for years. Every new release is modified to defeat the cheats. But the slow release cycle makes it hard for Valve to keep up. In theory, Steam will be quicker.

Compare it to systems like FastTrack (Kazaa) and PunkBuster. They manage to keep ahead of the hackers/crackers - widespread cracks don't work for very long.

If cracking these kind of networks was so easy, someone would have hijacked FastTrack by cracking it, sending their own automatic update to all the users, and effectively stealing the network from Kazaa. This hasn't happened.

you have read my sig
[ Parent ]

Technology good. Law bad. (2.00 / 4) (#36)
by Fen on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 03:33:30 PM EST

How much of this is technology versus law?  If you break the encryption, are they just gonna sick the damn lawyers at you?  They can use all the technology they want, which any geeks like.  But just using lawyers via the DMCA or something is unfair.
--Self.
It's ALL law (none / 0) (#41)
by Skywise on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:44:54 PM EST

We wouldn't be having this discussion if technology couldn't do it.

Idiot.

[ Parent ]

Copyright should be abolished. (2.00 / 7) (#43)
by Fen on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:28:44 PM EST

Sure you could still try to lock down content with technology, but that's usually crackable.  And the whole idiocy about owning information would stop.
--Self.
nonsense (3.33 / 3) (#55)
by Work on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:36:38 PM EST

copyright is a good thing when its not being obsessed over in the wrong ways. if all you did in your life was make music, software etc, your only tangible protection to continuing income is copyright.

The problem is to go after the *real* pirates - the one's who steal and sell and make cold hard cash off it. Which is exactly what copyright was invented to go after. The question currently is there deprivation of money if no money is exchanged? With file sharing, this doesn't exactly happen. But if I make 10,000 pirate copies of a CD and sell them on the street, it does.

If you get rid of copyright, you'd better get rid of the concept of 'money' because there won't be anyone around to produce intellectual works - they'll all have manufacturing jobs in order to buy food, pay rent etc.

[ Parent ]

I don't get it. (none / 0) (#142)
by Easyas123 on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 03:07:00 PM EST

Perhaps there is something that I am not getting, but I don't think that selling something you have stolen is the issue. The issue is that whatever is being pirated or "shared" is not being sold. Which is the intent, and perhaps the need of the people producing the product. The people that make games/music/whatever don't do so for fun. They invested lots of time and energy into producing the product, (throw in there the required others as well, and in order to pay bills etc., they need the product to make money. Pirating and sharing defeat this purpose.

the deal is pretty simple. if you like the product, buy it. if you do not, then don't. if you like the general idea of the product but not in this specific format, then make one of your own. That way you can do what you want with it. Sell it or oprn source it, its your decision to make.

***********************
As the wise men fortold.
[ Parent ]

DRM and copyright are essentially different topics (2.00 / 1) (#83)
by ftobin on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:18:22 AM EST

If copyright disappeared tomorrow, you'd still be locked in DRM. DRM is a gazillion times more evil than copyright. DRM is the technical police state enforcing control of information, independent of whether or not it is morally 'right'. Copyright is the law enforcing control of information, and as such, subject to debate and change. DRM can have 'perfect' enforcement. Normals laws allow for a lot gray area and less than perfect enforcement.

[ Parent ]
No, DRM would wither away. (none / 0) (#141)
by Fen on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 02:38:07 PM EST

Without the ability to sue those who break your code, DRM would be weakened.  And since people would be free to put any content in a non-DRM system, people wouldn't even care to try to crack the DRM.
--Self.
[ Parent ]
New technology in teething troubles shocker! (3.20 / 5) (#45)
by codemonkey_uk on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:43:20 PM EST

Come on now. What did you expect? There are very good reasons why any of these technologies exist. And there if no point in you railing against the horrors of copyright enforcement - if it wasn't for capitalism you simply wouldn't have these games to play.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
Pay to Beta, Capitalism at its Finest (3.00 / 1) (#56)
by Chiron on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:40:07 PM EST

So we, the game consumers, should pay them, the game designers, for the privilege of testing their software?  We should also subsidize their marketing tie-ins with ATI, and also bear the initial setup costs for a company-controlled lock-in?  We should pay $50 for a product that will, if Sierra goes bankrupt or gets distracted, become mostly nonfunctional unless someone violates the DMCA?

Evidently, some people's idea of capitalism involves buying everyone else's snake oil.

[ Parent ]

DMCA exception (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by pin0cchio on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:01:15 AM EST

We should pay $50 for a product that will, if Sierra goes bankrupt or gets distracted, become mostly nonfunctional unless someone violates the DMCA?

The Library of Congress has approved a DMCA exception relating to malfunctioning DRM systems.


lj65
[ Parent ]
But... (none / 0) (#128)
by Ken Arromdee on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:38:07 AM EST

The DMCA exemptions only allow you to circumvent. They don't allow you to traffic in circumvention tools. So each person who wants to violate the DRM has to reverse-engineer it on his own.

(If you think this makes no sense, you're right, of course, but that's how the law works.)

[ Parent ]

No one is forcing you (1.00 / 1) (#84)
by codemonkey_uk on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:31:41 AM EST

You could always wait until the technology is stable. No one is forcing you to buy their product or subscribe to their services. But obviously the product / service is good enough, or exciting enough to sell in an arguably unfinished state. That's how capitalism works. You like, you buy. You don't like, you don't buy. You made your choice, and it didn't work out. Now suck it up.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
In this case... (3.00 / 1) (#89)
by Kal on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:06:37 AM EST

In this case they're forcing this service on people that bought thier software years ago.

[ Parent ]
Explain. nt (none / 0) (#96)
by codemonkey_uk on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:23:29 PM EST


---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
Ok. (none / 0) (#98)
by Kal on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:30:50 PM EST

I bought half-life back in 1998 and I still play Counter-Strike (a half-life mod) regularly. If I want to upgrade CS to 1.6, in order to play on servers that upgade to 1.6, I have to use Steam. If I want to continue play version 1.5 I will still have to use Steam as they've said they're going to be shutting down the current authentication servers.

[ Parent ]
Listen to yourself (5.00 / 1) (#99)
by codemonkey_uk on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:43:54 PM EST

My emphisis:
I bought half-life back in 1998 and I still play Counter-Strike (a half-life mod) regularly. If I want to upgrade CS to 1.6, in order to play on servers that upgade to 1.6, I have to use Steam. If I want to continue play version 1.5 I will still have to use Steam as they've said they're going to be shutting down the current authentication servers.
As for the shutting down of existing servers, I take it you pay a subscription, and that you will no longer pay if you do not upgrade. All sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

You didn't expect them to provide a free service forever did you? Computers, bandwidth and people all cost money you know.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

Hmm (5.00 / 1) (#118)
by Kal on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:10:51 PM EST

I wrote a fairly in depth reply but I've no idea where it got too.

Bascially, there is currently no subscription to Valve for anything. They run no servers, merely providing a means of authentication. If they want people upgrading to 1.6 to have to use Steam, great. No big deal. However, they're forcing everyone, regardless of version, to use this new software which is breaking the game for a large number of people. As for them providing a free service, yes I do expect them to as that is they way the game was sold to me five years ago. If they want to shut down their authentication service then they should do so but then ignore clients that don't authenticate correctly. Same way other online games do when they're no longer supported.

[ Parent ]
considering the fact (4.50 / 2) (#50)
by auraslip on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:30:31 PM EST

that everything that made half-life so great was it's openness(counter-strike, and all the other mods).
It would seem valve is biting it self really hard by being a controlling little bitch.
Without the full support of the online community valve is nothing.

the worst part is, is that steam works and that the original HL doesnt. five years and numerous updates later it still crashes consitantly. This leads me to believe it was valves plan to force everyone to steam while it was free....
___-___

boohoo (1.20 / 25) (#51)
by tofubar on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:33:25 PM EST

hafdjklaelifjdsfklsflmaej fiaklf drm blahblahalbhalaf hahadfjsjafehgfjdliejgfkdf fjwhat the fuck no one cares the end

I believe the appropriate comment is (3.50 / 4) (#53)
by Will Sargent on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:32:49 PM EST

And this was first applied to id software...

"[Valve] owes you nothing, you pathetic whining leaches."

You have the option not to buy the software.  You can complain about the software they are selling.  Valve has the complete right to ignore you.
----
I'm pickle. I'm stealing your pregnant.

Is this relevant? (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by Chiron on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:36:31 PM EST

So, what you are saying, is that we have the right to do what we are doing, when we warn other potential customers about Valve, Steam, Sierra about a lock-in campaign that Messrs. Gates and Ballmer would be proud of, and they have the right to do what they are doing..

What is the relevance of this comment?

[ Parent ]

Sigh (none / 0) (#69)
by Will Sargent on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:41:00 AM EST

You're right.  It's not relevant.  Forget I said anything.  Go back to your complaining, and I'm wish you the best of luck in warning customers off Steam and Half Life 2.

s/leaches/leeches/
----
I'm pickle. I'm stealing your pregnant.
[ Parent ]

But when it goes beyond games (none / 0) (#62)
by pin0cchio on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:05:07 AM EST

Sure, I have the option not to buy a game. Boycotting Sierra may work, this time, because there exist alternatives such as Doom III whose DRM has fewer false negatives. But if DRM is successful, other application publishers will adopt it, and there won't exist any alternatives within the realm of the proprietary software that runs one's job.

If I am going to buy a PC and make use of it, I do not have the option not to buy an operating system. If Microsoft goes ahead with Palladium, gets it entrenched, and then introduces an even more restrictive successor that will not allow the workstation editions of the operating system to run unsigned binaries, the PC will in essence turn into an unmodifiable Xbox console.

No, *BSD and Linux are not viable replacements yet. PC novices have no logo to look for on the outside of the box of a piece of PCI, AGP, or USB hardware sold at Best Buy to make sure that the product is compatible with free operating systems. The Mac platform is not an alternative either because Apple does not cater to the "cheap eMash*t" $500 price range commonly found in poorer homes and public schools, which means fewer games.


lj65
[ Parent ]
FUD FUD FUD. (5.00 / 2) (#66)
by Work on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:17:26 AM EST

First off, windows already has the option to not run unsigned binaries and drivers. Note that: option. This option isn't going to go away.

For many systems, such features make good sense. A signing system allows for such nice peace of mind things like security standards and compatability guarantees by giving some authority to certain vendors who take the trouble to follow standards rigorously. Much like how structural engineers are licensed by the state. I wouldn't want to drive 100,000 cars over a bridge everyday designed by some unlicensed yokel, and I wouldn't trust the software on an important system to one either.

For the average PC user there are two really annoying things about their computer. One is if it crashes - almost always caused by poorly written software, particularly drivers. And the other is things like adware, spamware and so on. If their systems are setup to question the execution of unsigned software (or in a corporate setting, disabled entirely), these problems largely disappear. It's no panacea, of course, but it does work well to have a structured policy.

Face it. The average user doesn't give two shits whether software is 'open' or 'closed'. They want it to work.

For those who worry about such things, please, by all means keep typing commands into your 30 year old shells.

[ Parent ]

Apps, not drivers (none / 0) (#177)
by pin0cchio on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 01:40:15 PM EST

windows already has the option to not run unsigned binaries and drivers. Note that: option. This option isn't going to go away.

But if the option is turned on by default, hidden in some obscure part of the Registry, and not exposed in a GUI (thus requiring the use of Regedit in order to change it), it might as well have gone away in the eyes of users other than power users.

One is if it crashes - almost always caused by poorly written software, particularly drivers.

Drivers and application programs are different. I understand strongly recommending WHQL signatures on drivers that access bare hardware; drivers cause almost all hard crashes, and drivers usually come bundled with hardware, which costs money to make. Thus, there is money changing hands, with which the hardware maker can recoup the cost of getting a driver signed. On the other hand, hobbyist authors of application programs (that don't run in kernel space or even with administrative privileges) often publish their programs without requiring any monetary consideration.

And the other is things like adware, spamware and so on.

So you want to eliminate Opera just because it's ad-supported? Or do you want to eliminate only the types of "spyware" that Ad-aware detects?

If their systems are setup to question the execution of unsigned software (or in a corporate setting, disabled entirely), these problems largely disappear.

I understand corporate IT departments' reasons for signing approved programs restricting employees from installing unapproved programs behind IT's back. But if the owner of a machine (such as a head of household or an IT department) can't approve a program, such as if future workstation versions of the Windows operating system default to not running applications that lack a cryptographic signature from Microsoft, where does that leave hobbyist authors of application programs who want to publish their works?


lj65
[ Parent ]
Not buying not an option for Half-Life 1 customers (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by ftobin on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:41:45 AM EST

You have the option not to buy the software. You can complain about the software they are selling. Valve has the complete right to ignore you.

Half-Life 1 has been out for years, and continues to be massively popular. I purchased a license years ago. Recently Valve announced that they will be making Steam mandatory for Half-Life 1 multiplayer play. This violates a level of trust licensees have placed in Valve not to become BOFHs.



[ Parent ]
And this is different from WonID how? (3.00 / 2) (#72)
by Will Sargent on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:51:49 AM EST

Your authentication system is being changed.  Big deal.  

If Valve says that they're taking features out of Half Life 1 multiplayer that used to be there, then you can complain.  So have they done that?
----
I'm pickle. I'm stealing your pregnant.
[ Parent ]

Quoth the story... (5.00 / 1) (#82)
by Handyman on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 05:35:07 AM EST

The latest release version has stripped bots. While I was quite happy with the quality of the bots in previous beta versions, the powers that be obviously thought that they weren't good enough and stripped them out completely.


--
Never be afraid to be the first one on the dance floor.
[ Parent ]
For a free, beta service (none / 0) (#108)
by Will Sargent on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:33:16 PM EST

Which is like complaining that someone shut down Napster and stopped all your free music.
----
I'm pickle. I'm stealing your pregnant.
[ Parent ]
Yeah, except he already paid for it. (5.00 / 1) (#123)
by Gully Foyle on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 07:11:21 AM EST


If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

missing the point entirely (5.00 / 1) (#101)
by nyet on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:55:54 PM EST

If valve would like to keep its market share it would do well to PAY ATTENTION. HL went from several HUNDRED THOUSAND users to less than 100, overnight. This stuff will go the way of the codewheel/dongle copy protection mechanisms - you should feel free to ignore the bleatings of 100k gamers, but Valve does so at its own risk.

[ Parent ]
So don't buy it. (3.58 / 12) (#60)
by Work on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:58:58 AM EST

You have a choice. As a company, if their product causes unhappiness among the general consumers who purchase the product, then they will demand their money back, their friends will not purchase and they will go out of business.

If, however, thousands decide to purchase it and are happy with it, then so be it. And if thousands buy it and are happy with it - then likely the system works good enough for most.

Of course good enough for most isn't good enough for the vocal and increasingly annoying sky-is-falling crowd who want everything handed to them on a silver platter. Or burned CD.

Pardon me while I yawn. Go outside and play a game that will tax your physique instead of causing you to ramble aimlessly.

are you joking??? (none / 0) (#131)
by pheta on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 12:20:11 PM EST

Pardon me while I yawn. Go outside and play a game that will tax your physique instead of causing you to ramble aimlessly.

You have to be joking, have you SEEN the in game movies?? (heh)

[ Parent ]

Troll Is Too Subtle For K5 (5.00 / 2) (#140)
by FantocheDoSock on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:53:43 PM EST

Your sublimely subtle troll is too gentle for K5's "nu" readership, obviously. Let me explain.

You make the case that, because consumers are offered the choice of buying or not buying Valve products, any discussion of the features of one of them is completely moot, boring, annoying and should not even take place. This is a good start, because you're attacking the author of the article personally, rather than attacking his points, and also because it adds nothing to the pool of knowledge on the subject, so does not advance the discussion at all. That's all textbook classic trolling, and well done. That personal crack about excercise, aimed at the K5 readership in general is a nice touch - it annoys people for no reason. Classic locker-room-jock stuff.

Where you make your mistake is in assuming the K5 readership will see the hypocrisy so cleverly lurking behind your implied free-market/K5 comparison. Like the free market that will ultimately decide if Steam is worth the hassles, K5 has a voting queue that determines whether stories get seen or not. As individual consumers have the power to buy or not buy any particular product, K5 readers have the power to read or not read any particular article. But this is too subtle for the average K5 reader, and they won't see that you're simultaneously promoting and railing against the free-market principles that will determine Steam's fate, and which landed this article on the front page. Brilliant, yet tragically, unappriciated for what it is.

Maybe next time you could do something a little more classic, like imply that everyone on K5 is a virgin, or maybe call Rusty a faggot or something.

Or maybe your time would be better spent - you know - getting some excercise.



[ Parent ]
reply (3.00 / 2) (#144)
by Work on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 04:17:24 PM EST

You make the case that, because consumers are offered the choice of buying or not buying Valve products, any discussion of the features of one of them is completely moot, boring, annoying and should not even take place.

No. I make the case that one sky-is-falling DRM obsessed individual is bitching about a GAME of all things and what a silly waste of breath that is. Others already pointed out the technical inaccuracies of his article.

This is a good start, because you're attacking the author of the article personally, rather than attacking his points, and also because it adds nothing to the pool of knowledge on the subject, so does not advance the discussion at all.

So? The problem with the article is in fact with the author. Its somewhat an opinion piece.

That personal crack about excercise, aimed at the K5 readership in general is a nice touch - it annoys people for no reason. Classic locker-room-jock stuff.

I wasn't aware a passing sign of support for moderate exercise (as opposed to a game which requires you to sit on your ass and twitch the wrist) is 'classic locker-room jock stuff'. Perhaps you could use some.

Where you make your mistake is in assuming the K5 readership will see the hypocrisy so cleverly lurking behind your implied free-market/K5 comparison. Like the free market that will ultimately decide if Steam is worth the hassles, K5 has a voting queue that determines whether stories get seen or not. As individual consumers have the power to buy or not buy any particular product, K5 readers have the power to read or not read any particular article. But this is too subtle for the average K5 reader, and they won't see that you're simultaneously promoting and railing against the free-market principles that will determine Steam's fate, and which landed this article on the front page. Brilliant, yet tragically, unappriciated for what it is.

MEOW MEOW MEOW

Or maybe your time would be better spent - you know - getting some excercise.

This much is certain.

[ Parent ]

Simple Economics (4.33 / 6) (#63)
by Imperfect on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:05:46 AM EST

It's a hell of a lot cheaper to underestimate the need and ramp up a service than it it to over-estimate a need and have to try to "ramp down" the service. The people that sell bandwidth and servers aren't usually too open to discussions of "we don't really need that bandwidth, you can have it back."

Quite simply, whether the community bitches or not, Valve will do what is cheapest for them, and the service they provide will even out over time. This has happened to pretty much every major MMOG. It's a growing pain that ANY major online service goes through in this day and age. Deal. Be patient. Grasshopper.

Not perfect, not quite.
I know what you're saying (4.66 / 3) (#76)
by Talez on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 03:36:55 AM EST

And while you have a valid point, it's doesn't really address the point I was actually trying to make in the article.

My beef isn't with the lack of bandwidth Valve provides, my beef is that the lock on whatever game you play won't release because Steam can't contact the network to obtain authotization. I don't care if it takes me 6 hours to download something, however, if I can't play it because the network is busy (even though I have all the content required), I do believe something is wrong with the DRM policy.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]

Steam required for single player. (5.00 / 3) (#85)
by KingGing on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 07:06:30 AM EST

From what i've heard Half Life 2 won't require Steam for single player *straight away*. Apparently you can play HL2 fine without beign connected to Steam *until* the first time you attempt to play online. From then on you need Steam running and connected to even play the single player game. What with being on ADSL I should be OK with that here, but I remember when I was on 56K and, being in the UK, having to pay by the minute for my dialup between 8am and 6pm. There's no way i'd pay per minute to play single player Half Life. And what happens when the Steam servers go down? I'd think 'fine, i'll play single player for a bit until they come back up...' except I can't even play single player cos the servers are down... Bad move Valve... This does, however, mean that people without a net connection or with a very slow net connection who are therefore *unlikely* to want to play HL2 online will still be able to play the single player.

Dan
We are Pentium of Borg, you will be Approximated
[ Parent ]
I have no argument for that. (3.00 / 1) (#91)
by Imperfect on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:09:19 AM EST

Hence, the lack of comment on it. I'm actually right with you on it. But the lack of stability I had an issue with, so I redressed it.

Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
This story reminds me (4.44 / 9) (#75)
by Torka on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:46:17 AM EST

Why I hate Half-Life's WON authentication system as opposed to Quake 3's authentication system, even though they serve an identical purpose.

The difference being that Quake 3 was deliberately designed so that if the authentication servers are down (I believe this is checked via whether the SERVER can contact the auth servers, so that individual users can't circumvent it by simply firewalling themselves off from the auth servers), authentication is essentially "turned off" and everyone can play. This is how it should be. In HL however, when the WON servers are down, noone can play.

This is incredibly aggravating and the opposite of how things should be done - when you introduce a copyright protection scheme like that you need to do your damndest to make sure it doesn't fuck with paying users. And if you can't guarantee that your servers will ALWAYS be up (and of course they can't guarantee that) you need to make allowances for when they're down that don't simply mean noone who paid for your product can play the game.

An unfortunate downside of the benevolent Q3 auth system is that you occasionally get losers trying to perform a DoS on the auth servers in an attempt to let everyone play multiplayer Q3 with their illegitimate CD keys. But this is a fair tradeoff, in my opinion.

Botched systems like this are the main reason I'm a bit iffy about where Valve are going to take us with Steam.

WON servers (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by Handyman on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 05:32:32 AM EST

Half-Life supports a LAN mode where the game server does not authenticate to the master servers. The local game server is of course not added to the master browse list, but it functions otherwise identically (and doesn't check CD keys). I agree that Steam bites though.

--
Never be afraid to be the first one on the dance floor.
[ Parent ]
Worst (4.50 / 8) (#79)
by jeti on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 04:54:48 AM EST

When Valve goes belly up all your purchased games will become nothing but vapor.

A leased game, how perfect (4.66 / 9) (#80)
by job on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 05:07:54 AM EST

What would open source advocates have to do with this? It is a proprietary product and does not need to interoperate with free software, so there isn't any problem here.

If you buy such a thing as the Steam thing described here, please bear in mind that you DO NOT own the product you've purchased. As soon as the company producing it goes out of business (new lousy management or too much DRM or whatvever) your shiny game becomes a brick that you can use for nothing more than a doorstop.

Forget showing your future children the game. Chances are zero you can play it by then. Is that a product you want to buy?

you can make screenshots :) (4.33 / 3) (#109)
by ritz on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:17:32 PM EST

> Forget showing your future children the game.
> Chances are zero you can play it by then. Is
> that a product you want to buy?

you make screenshots.

just like your grandpa shows you pictures:
"look this is grandpa playing soccer."

in a couple of decades you will be showing
.jpg's and say:
"look this is grandpa playing halflife."

:)))))

bye,

- ritz


[ Parent ]
Copy protection (2.00 / 2) (#86)
by rf0 on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:47:58 AM EST

Now I understand that producers want to protect their software but couldn't they do some sort of funky protection on the CD where is tries to read a certain bit which wouldn't normally be copied by a CD-R? Of course no protection is full proof but what about if I want to play on my laptop whilst on a train? Surely there is some half way house Rus

--
a2b2.com - Stable, Friendly Decent Hosting

CD? (4.00 / 1) (#92)
by B'Trey on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:22:26 AM EST

I believe the whole point of Steam is that there IS no CD. Steam is a system for electronic distribution of games. Download the game, purchase a license and play. Steam validates your license before the game will run.

[ Parent ]
Write your own game (1.00 / 1) (#87)
by Alan Crowe on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:48:16 AM EST

It is easy to write a smiple game and great fun too( err, writing it is great fun, playing it sucks).

Not to mention (3.00 / 1) (#88)
by Craevenwulfe on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:00:08 AM EST

The fact you have to download Steam from commercial download sites, ie i have to give them all my information. I'm just hacked off that the counter-strike page doesn't mention ANY of the necessity to download steam from their initial comment of "Ooops, steam is broken" about 8 months ago.

Steam (none / 1) (#93)
by Dest on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:55:37 AM EST

Odd, I downloaded Steam from a friend of mine (and was playing in a matter of hours). Didn't have to tell him, or any corporation anything. Weird how that works..

----
Dest

"Bah. You have no taste, you won't be getting better than tofurkey bukkake." -- Ni
[ Parent ]
So set me up a server then. n/t (none / 0) (#104)
by Craevenwulfe on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 03:49:58 PM EST

n/t

[ Parent ]
I'll do you one better (none / 1) (#105)
by Dest on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 03:55:31 PM EST

irc.gamesnet.net #CBLA

I'll DCC it to you. It's only 500kb.

----
Dest

"Bah. You have no taste, you won't be getting better than tofurkey bukkake." -- Ni
[ Parent ]

Playing offline (3.16 / 6) (#94)
by Dest on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:05:51 PM EST

If you'd taken the time to research your article a bit more instead of spouting something that looks like a half-assed troll, you'd know that the ability to play Steam enabled games offline is scheduled for 2 weeks time. They're in a rather rough transitional period in perparation for the Half-Life 2 released on the 30th. This from Gabe Newell himself.

As far as nothing being able to play a game you paid for -- Half-Life still works. As does Counter-Strike 1.5. I'll also point out that most people (inlcuding myself) didn't pay for Counter-Strike, because it was, and continues to be, a free mod to anyone who bought Half-Life. Fruthermore, even after VALVe bought the rights to Counter-Strike and started paying developers money to work on it IT REMAINED FREE.

As far as I can tell, the DRM aspect of Steam is virtually non-existant. If you'd care to point out something, I'd love to see what it is. The frequent updating did not come unwanted, but was DEMANDED by the gaming community sick of cheaters in online games. This is the next step in that war. You are still able to load custom skins and sounds in your games, you are still able to do virtually anything you could do in Counter-Strike 1.5. If you don't like the way VALVe changes Counter-Strike MetaMod supports loading your own mods to the game, and will continue to do so. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE VALVE'S CHANGES.

As far as the deactivation of the WON network in the coming weeks or months, I'm betting that it will only be a matter of weeks before someone cracks the authentication protocols to play Counter-Strike 1.5.

Please do more research in the future.

----
Dest

"Bah. You have no taste, you won't be getting better than tofurkey bukkake." -- Ni

Here we go... (3.20 / 5) (#110)
by Talez on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:52:44 PM EST

If you'd taken the time to research your article a bit more instead of spouting something that looks like a half-assed troll, you'd know that the ability to play Steam enabled games offline is scheduled for 2 weeks time.

If you had taken the time to read my article a bit more instead of flying off the handle you'd know that I made allowances. The point is, its not here and I can't play offline or at a LAN.

First of all, there is no allowance made for playing offline. If you don't have an internet connection then you can't play your game, even if it's a single player game that doesn't neccessarily need an internet connection. That is, until Valve decides to make a version of Steam that will work without a network connection.

As far as nothing being able to play a game you paid for -- Half-Life still works. As does Counter-Strike 1.5. I'll also point out that most people (inlcuding myself) didn't pay for Counter-Strike, because it was, and continues to be, a free mod to anyone who bought Half-Life. Fruthermore, even after VALVe bought the rights to Counter-Strike and started paying developers money to work on it IT REMAINED FREE.

I bought a boxed copy of CS. I currently can't play the latest version of it without Valve's consent. Don't you think something is a LITTLE bit wrong with that situation?

As far as I can tell, the DRM aspect of Steam is virtually non-existant. If you'd care to point out something, I'd love to see what it is. The frequent updating did not come unwanted, but was DEMANDED by the gaming community sick of cheaters in online games.

The frequent updating is FORCED whether you're playing online on a server or not. Is your current server still running 1.6 when Valve pushes out 1.7 to you? To quote Mr Burns: "TOO BAD! YOU ALREADY SIGNED THE DEAL!".

You are still able to load custom skins and sounds in your games, you are still able to do virtually anything you could do in Counter-Strike 1.5.

When did I say anything about custom skins, sounds and games. Never. Stop putting words into my article.

As far as the deactivation of the WON network in the coming weeks or months, I'm betting that it will only be a matter of weeks before someone cracks the authentication protocols to play Counter-Strike 1.5.

Which is illegal in the US under the DMCA. Are paying customers now expected to break the law to play a game how they want to play it?

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]

Urk (none / 1) (#145)
by Dest on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 05:26:56 PM EST

If you had taken the time to read my article a bit more instead of flying off the handle you'd know that I made allowances. The point is, its not here and I can't play offline or at a LAN.

You can play offline or on the LAN. Counter-Strike 1.5 has not been deactivated.

I bought a boxed copy of CS. I currently can't play the latest version of it without Valve's consent. Don't you think something is a LITTLE bit wrong with that situation?

To paraphrase: I want the latest version, but I don't want ALL of the latest version! You can't have your cake and eat it too. The product you paid for (Counter-Strike 1.1) still functions fine. If you want the latest version AND the ability to play offline, wait a couple weeks. It's coming.

The frequent updating is FORCED whether you're playing online on a server or not. Is your current server still running 1.6 when Valve pushes out 1.7 to you? To quote Mr Burns: "TOO BAD! YOU ALREADY SIGNED THE DEAL!".

The server will be updated too. That's the point. The world remains consistent (and in the process we get to squash bugs, and crack down on cheaters).

Which is illegal in the US under the DMCA. Are paying customers now expected to break the law to play a game how they want to play it?

Your country's law, your problem. Perfectly legal here.

----
Dest

"Bah. You have no taste, you won't be getting better than tofurkey bukkake." -- Ni
[ Parent ]

just a thought that came by... (2.75 / 4) (#97)
by pakje on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:38:28 PM EST

your last argument; that the creators can force you to stop playing a certain version of a game; or a game as a whole. It's like a food supplier, for example a bakery which makes a delicious special type of bread (or pie) which you really like. The baker can decide not to make it anymore. It's the same thing. But I figured out already that that is a bad thing too, and should be avoided if possible... In the bakery example; it should be the capitalist system, as long as enough people like it and buy it, more of them will be created. or you could persuade the baker by willing to pay a lot for it... I don't know why I post this, just increasing the amount of crap on the internet :P

Re: just a thought that came by... (5.00 / 1) (#100)
by sombrero on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:52:37 PM EST

[...] the creators can force you to stop playing a certain version of a game; or a game as a whole. It's like a food supplier, for example a bakery which makes a delicious special type of bread (or pie) which you really like. The baker can decide not to make it anymore. It's the same thing.

No, it's not. It's like the baker deciding not to make the bread anymore then breaking into your house stealing all you got left of it.



[ Parent ]
Flawed analogy? (4.00 / 5) (#102)
by interrobanger on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:57:17 PM EST

The thing is, you buy a game once.  Unlike baked goods a game is static; it isn't consumed and doesn't need to be replaced.  You expect to be able to play it as you see fit when you see fit.  Patching a non-multiplayer game should be purely voluntary.  

To make your analogy fit, consider this:

You go to the bakery and buy your favorite confection, whatever that happens to be.  It's absolutely perfect, just the way you like it.  You take it home and have a few bites, expecting to finish it off later.  But when you go back into the kitchen, mouth watering, the baker is in there waiting for you.  He let himself in (you should have read the back of the receipt, where he granted himself this right) and now he has taken the confection you previously purchased and replaced it with something else of his own choosing.  It may be something you loathe or it may be something even yummier than the first, but that isn't the point.  The point is you have no real say in the matter.

You now have two choices:  eat the replacement or do without.  It becomes clear that the initial layout of cash has bought you no control over what you allegedly "purchased."  

Imagine buying a car and having the dealer or manufacturer show up in the middle of the night to make changes to it at their whim ... but all for your own good, of course.  The insurance company shows up, decides anything over 35mph is just too unsafe, and puts a governor on the engine ... and the dealer decides that the color is ALL wrong ... so change that silly metallic black with custom chrome and racing stripes to a nice cheerful pastel green ... and that upholstery! ... leather is DEAD, don't ya know, so swap that out for some nice cow-friendly vinyl ... under pressure from the RIAA, the manufacturer decides the CD player is just begging for pirated discs, it certainly has to go -- replaced with a shiny new DRM-enabled model that will only play "good" CDs ...

When I pay for something I expect it to be mine.  I expect to be able to make the final decisions as to what will be done to it and how I will use it.  These companies should make it more clear up front that you aren't "buying" anything from them at all.
===============
God Hates Figs!
[ Parent ]

Incorrect analogy.. (none / 0) (#103)
by sudog on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 03:01:03 PM EST

..one is a consumable, and the other is not. A better analogy would be you buying a power drill, and then one day the manufacturer decides you're no longer allowed to use the power drill.

If you purchase a game, you buy the right to play and use that game however you wish in the privacy of your own home and your own computer.

I hope to god the DOOM3 engine ends up being able to compete, because this is just wrong--Just Plain Wrong.


[ Parent ]

Open Source Games in a Post-DRM World (5.00 / 4) (#111)
by QuantumG on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:54:09 PM EST

Your article really makes me wonder about what the world would really be like if "piracy" didn't exist. If the DRM people win and it becomes impossible to warez a game, will game sales go up? I'm thinking they will a little, there's that peer pressure issue that affects most teenage boys, but largely the people who refuse to buy games now will simply go without. Or will they? Perhaps a good dose of DRM is all that is needed to really kick off the Open Source gaming scene. Let's face it, the gamers of today are software developers. They make their own levels, skins, models, sounds, art, and even actual code: mods. The problem with any Open Source project is the critical mass needed to make it a success. With game manufacturers demanding fees that their players simply can't afford (in the case of 16 year old boys) or refuse to pay (in the case of grown men who can't justify it to their spouses) perhaps this will drive them into the arms of Open Source games, whether it be developing all that art, or writing actual core code.

Surely the game manufacturers know this and will leave the window open for players who havn't paid them a cent, but supply their comunity that revolves around their titles.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.

Personally, (3.00 / 3) (#112)
by Talez on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:58:17 PM EST

I think game sales will stay the same. Sure there will be people that will be forced to buy their games, but I also think a portion of the gaming population will stop buying commercial games purely out of disgust.

If permanent, unbreakable DRM were introducted tommorrow, I'd abandon it and go to an open source platform/game. Even if the quality was lower, it'd still be better than giving a pro-DRM publisher money. Especially when my consumer dollars are used at an exec sales pitch saying "DRM WORKS!".

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]

so what you're saying (4.50 / 2) (#114)
by QuantumG on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:02:15 PM EST

is that even though you know these companies claim to hold the opinion that there are only two types of players of their games out there: legitimate and criminal, you're not going to go looking for a more enlightened point of view until they demonstrate their true opinion: everyone is a criminal, and we have to stop them.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
Well (3.00 / 4) (#116)
by Talez on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:34:39 PM EST

If Valve didn't treat legimate customers like criminals by this pathetic effort to stop piracy of their games I wouldn't have to be mean and nasty like the criminal I obviously am.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]
My opinion... (3.75 / 4) (#148)
by the77x42 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 01:08:50 AM EST

... There's not a single game that I have played save Dungeon Siege or Freelancer or an EA Sports game that has warranted me paying ANY amount for it given the time I have played it.

Yes, I pirate most of my games, no I don't play them except when they are the above mentioned, and then I go and buy them.

Perhaps it's one of those crazy things where if you actually make a good product, the pirates will go out and buy it if they feel it's justified. Perhaps all the pirates bitch and complain about version x of a game and then when the problems are fixed they go out and buy version x+1.

The whole point is that 98% of all my games (and I have hundreds) are complete botched-together crapfests that I would not turn my head towards if someone was melting the CD. The remaining 2% are the ones I actually play and buy, but they only come around once every couple years.

The way I see it, the gaming industry is hit-and-miss, finding out what people (read: pirates) like and then hope that they can release one that's of high enough standards to buy.

Related points:

Anyone bought Enter the Matrix? I feel sorry for you.
Anyone pay to see Freddy vs. Jason? I feel sorry for you.
Anyone pay to go see Two Towers in theaters? EVERY SINGLE pirate I know.

There are some things worth buying, most games are not. DRM is going to hurt the industry more than it is going to save it. LESS people will buy games.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]

So (2.66 / 3) (#149)
by Easyas123 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:51:22 AM EST

Do you take the same attitude to say...cars, electronics, or anything else you cannot readily steal?

I didn't like the 03 Taurus, so I'm just going to stal it and see if the '04 model is better.
Let me see if I follow your logic: attempting to keep people from stealing games will backfire because people will not be able to steal them in order to try them out to see If they really want to buy them.
Now I will not say that I do not beleive you, but I dont see people who steal anyway going out to buy a game that they already have simply because it is good.

***********************
As the wise men fortold.
[ Parent ]

Copying v. Stealing (5.00 / 1) (#150)
by RadiantMatrix on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 11:43:04 AM EST

I'm not about to condone the illegal acts of copyright infringement. However, most of the "it's still theft" arguments miss one critical point. While you may be doing something illegal by copying a game, music track, or piece of software, you aren't stealing.

In order for me to steal something, I must be depriving someone of it. To use your car analogy, part of the deterrent for stealing a car is that the rightful owner no longer has a car. But, would you be so angry if I built my own car that was an exact replica of a Taurus? I haven't deprived anyone of anything.

This is the case with so-called "piracy" -- while it is illegal, and may be immoral, it certainly isn't theft.

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I don't like spam - Parent ]

American heritage says: (none / 0) (#151)
by Easyas123 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 12:13:36 PM EST

1. steal ( P ) Pronunciation Key (stl)
v. stole, (stl) sto·len, (stln) steal·ing, steals v. tr.
To take (the property of another) without right or permission.
v. intr.
To commit theft.

By this light i view the process as when you download illegally you are stealing, the crime you are guilty of is theft.
I would not be upset at your car building, if you only used it for you. But when you build a bunch of them and say: " Hey everybody! Don't buy a Tarus, here is one for free that is in every way a duplicate of the original " , there is a problem.
Not only have you copied for distribution a licenced product, (we'll assume that Ford allows you to make personal copies of their cars), but you have now also cost Ford money.

***********************
As the wise men fortold.
[ Parent ]

not quite (none / 0) (#155)
by the77x42 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 08:38:22 PM EST

define what it means "to take":

"To get into one's possession by force, skill, or artifice..."

There's no "skill" or "artifice" when copying games. There is a skill involved in stealing cars.

The physical aspect of car theft leads to a decrease in the total amount of goods available. Copying software does not lead to any decrease, unless you talk about "potential income", and that doesn't refute my original argument as I "would not have bought the game anyway".


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]

So let me get this (none / 0) (#163)
by Easyas123 on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 11:18:07 AM EST

straight. It seems to me that the issue for you is one of solidity. If you take something that is solid away from someone and you now have it and they do not, that is wrong. but if you make a copy of that same something and now you both have it, that is not wrong.

So if you are not rally planning to buy something, it os ok to get it by other means Just as long as it does not result in a decrease of the original?

You really need to take this up with the treasury department. I'm sure they would be interested to hear how you plan on making exact copies of US currency. Or go on over to Barnes and Noble with a portable scanner and start copying some of the books they have for sale. Here's a thought! Could you do me a favor? I am a Chicago White Sox fan but I do not get their games where I live. Could you re-broadcast the games to me?
After all, its only copied radio waves.

If someone else makes something, and copyrights it, it is up to them if it is for commercial sale or not. If it is and you get a copy that was not paid for, it was stolen. If you did the stealing, you are a thief.

***********************
As the wise men fortold.
[ Parent ]

Theft v. Copyright Infringement - the difference (5.00 / 1) (#157)
by RadiantMatrix on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 11:07:29 PM EST

By this light i view the process as when you download illegally you are stealing, the crime you are guilty of is theft.
Firstly, the issue is "copying illegally", not "downloading illegally". One is a subset of the other.

Secondly, if copyright infringement were theft, we would not have or need an entire separate body of law to deal with it. The interesting point is, if I copy part of a (book, movie, song) it is legal, but copying the entire thing is illegal.

If we were dealing with theft, that would not be so. If I steal a part of your car -- like the tires or the stereo -- it's still illegal. Copying software and music is illegal, but it is not theft, at least not from a legal standpoint.

Using the dictionary definition you provided, note an important point - when you are copying software or music, you aren't "taking" anything: you're making a copy. No one would argue that you're stealing from the library if you copy a magazine article. However, you may be committing copyright infringement.

The distinction may seem pedantic, but it is important: very few people will say that laws forbidding theft are inherently flawed. However, there are many people who believe the so-called "intellectual property" laws are flawed. They are separate debates, and calling copyright infringement "theft" essentially removes that separation -- which is why copyright holders like terms like "theft" and "piracy". Those are things that few people will stand up for. However, if more people understood the difference, there might be a chance for good public debate on whether policy change in copyright law is merited.

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I don't like spam - Parent ]

it's not illegal (none / 0) (#158)
by QuantumG on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 12:08:27 AM EST

it's "unlawful", meaning that the copyright owner can sue you but they cant get the police to carry you off to jail. Of course, I'm excluding the crazy No Electronic Theft act in the USA which only applies to people actually trading in copyright material, as does our own (Australian) criminal copyright laws, which still actually only outlaw the sale of unauthorized copied works.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
Illegal and Unlawful (none / 0) (#159)
by RadiantMatrix on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 12:39:33 AM EST

Illegal means that something is against (il) the law (legal). Unlawful means something that is not (un) acceptable within the scope of the law (lawful).

They mean the same thing, in other words, minus some pedantry.

The difference you are trying to espouse is the difference between an illegal act and a crime. Copyright infringement is an illegal act, but not a crime. It becomes a crime when the infringement is committed for profit.

The government can imprison or fine you for a crime. However, for other illegal acts, they may only enjoin you or award a plaintiff damages against you.

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I don't like spam - Parent ]

That's the terms that the courts use mister (none / 0) (#160)
by QuantumG on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 12:50:02 AM EST

take it up with them. But to say something someone can sue you for is "illegal" is false. It is not "illegal" for me to slander you, but you can sue me if I do. It is not "illegal" for your landlord to refuse to fix your sink, but you can sue him if he does.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
Sigh... (none / 0) (#171)
by RadiantMatrix on Mon Sep 22, 2003 at 09:14:44 PM EST

But to say something someone can sue you for is "illegal" is false. It is not "illegal" for me to slander you, but you can sue me if I do. It is not "illegal" for your landlord to refuse to fix your sink, but you can sue him if he does.
It is illegal for you to slander me. It is illegal for a landlord to break his contract (lease) with you, or to be negligent in the care of his property.

That is why you can sue for such things. I do see your point: a tort is different than a crime as well. But copyright infringement is against the law.

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I don't like spam - Parent ]

it's not against criminal law (none / 0) (#172)
by QuantumG on Tue Sep 23, 2003 at 12:11:18 AM EST

that's what "illegal" means.. against criminal law. The fact that civil law exists is the reason why we have another word, "unlawful" to describe something that is against it. All I'm asking is that you stop using the word "illegal" to refer to things that are "unlawful" because although the words may mean the same thing to you they don't mean the same thing to the courts!

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
No, sorry. (none / 0) (#174)
by RadiantMatrix on Thu Sep 25, 2003 at 02:41:06 PM EST

Regardless of how certain judges have chosen to segregate the meanings, "unlawful" and "illegal" mean the same thing: a few judges don't change the meanings of the words.

The important distinction is that copyright infringement is not a crime, and proposals that seek to impose criminal punishments on copyright violators are preposterous. Additionally, claims that infringement is "piracy" or "theft" are baseless: those things are crimes, and while infringement is illegal (or unlawful) it isn't a crime.

We agree on the important bit, why mince words?

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I don't like spam - Parent ]

because others are ignorant (none / 0) (#176)
by QuantumG on Fri Sep 26, 2003 at 08:16:05 PM EST

Many people believe that copyright infringement is a crime, and your use of the word "illegal" just reinforces that. The word "unlawful" however, never, ever, means that the act it describes is a crime. Anyways.. whatever.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
Steam, HL2 and I (3.00 / 1) (#113)
by Simkin on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 09:21:57 PM EST

Do I like some of the ideas behind Steam?
Yes, sorta. Auto-patcher, game browser, purchase content online w/instant gratification - it ain't ALL bad. Parts of it sound fairly cool, even.


Do I like DRM in any form?
No, I don't. Especially not in my single player, off network games, with this particular implementation.

Will I still play HL2?
Damn straight I will. I could be required to give some plasma, and I'd still sign right up. It could require I become somebodies prison-bitch, and guess what? I'm STILL there. (Ok, so I'm a game addict.)

What can I do about it the fact I don't like it?
I could decide not to buy the game, put up a STEAMSUCKS.COM site, etc, etc. Those are lawful.
I could support the hacking community in some way, even if it's just leeching the final hacked product, and play anyway. Course, that's not legal. Further, it's not legal for some pretty damned good reasons, to boot.

Justified civil disobediance is a fairly rare thing. Rosa Parks was justified, as was most things in the history of the civil rights movement, for example.
I'm confused by folks that compare thier Right to play games (or other entertainment "stuff") with the right of men and women to have equal protection under the law and the most basic of human rights.
Anybody HONESTLY believe the right of the black man to vote (tiny example) is somehow analagous to play HL2 how you want, rather than how Valve/Steam wants?

All that said, I'd support the hackers, too. I'd be honest with myself that I'm doing something "wrong", though. Not wrong like murder, car theft, or what not, but wrong just the same. My justifications are my own, but it doesn't change the basic facts.

Also, get used to DRM systems. It's likely that MANY more software titles, not just games - but OS's, applications, the ROM which makes your toaster work - are heading in this direction, not away from it.

Withdrawal symptoms (2.12 / 8) (#119)
by rmn on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:11:49 PM EST

"there is no allowance made for playing offline. If you don't have an internet connection then you can't play your game, even if it's a single player game"

This is incorrect (and shows just how much research you made before writing this "article"). There will actually be a version of HL2 without any on-line components. This has been mentioned in numerous interviews with the developers / producers. The full version of HL2 (with on-line multiplayer support) can also be bought on CD.

Existing games (bought on CD) such as HL, OpFor, etc., can still be installed and played from the CD / hard disk.

"what happens when the network itself becomes overloaded or worse, goes down? This is exactly what happened the evening Steam was released."

If the network gets overloaded, then you may have to wait a bit for your daily fix of Counter-Strike, and possibly even spend a day without playing it, and get a life.

Anyway, the same thing happens when WON servers are down or when a new version is released, so Steam doesn't really change anything.

"For the past 18 hours the game has been unplayable"

Ahh... 18 hours without CS... the pain, the pain!

"despite the fact that every person on Steam has a legally licensed copy of Half-Life or Counterstrike which they paid good money for."

You can still play HL and you can still play CS (just start the game normally, instead of through Steam). And most people running Steam do not have "a legally licensed copy of Half-Life or Counter-Strike which they paid good money for". One of the main "selling points" of Steam is precisely the fact that you can play HL (and CS, and TFC, and OpFor, and a number of other games) without having to pay anything.

"The second major evil is version control. Steam pushes new versions whether you want them or not. Sure, you can decline to update, but you won't be playing anytime soon."

Nor will you be playing any mod if the server upgrades and you don't. Steam simply makes the updates automatic, it doesn't necessarily increase their frequency.

"During the CS 1.6 beta, Valve implemented bots, which are computer controlled players that could play Counter-Strike instead of a human."

Unfortunately, some humans did not take the hint, and keep playing it.

"The latest release version has stripped bots."

The latest release version is 1.5, and it doesn't have any built-in bots. Version 1.6 was a beta version, distributed for free, that didn't even require a valid HL CD key.

Besides, you can still run bots in CS; Valve have simply decided not to have them included in the default install.

"Normally, you just don't update and keep playing like you always did."

If the server updates and you don't, you can't play. Same as it ever was.

"Now, you don't have a choice. Your entire gameplay experience is in the hands of some programmer."

Oh, no! Call James Hound! What exactly is new about that? And if there's one developer in whose hands I'm happy to leave my gameplay experience, that's Valve. HL is the best software investment I've ever made.

"Whether you like an old feature or weapon is no longer your concern. Welcome to the DRM age."

That has nothing to do with DRM. I liked Natural Selection 1.x a lot more than I like 2.x. It doesn't have DRM, it doesn't run on Steam, it doesn't even have automatic updates. But all the servers where I can play have upgraded to 2.x. So how does the absence of DRM in NS help me...?

"As you can see, the DRM world isn't as rosy as the pro-DRM lobby make it out to be."

And who are the "pro-DRM lobby" and how exactly do they influence the biosphere...? Do you even understand what DRM is? Hint: it has nothing to do with automatic updates or with developers introducing changes in beta software.

It's amazing what 18 hours without a Counter-Strike fix will do to some addic^H^H^H gamers.

My God, don't you people ever read the comments? (2.33 / 3) (#120)
by Talez on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:38:09 AM EST

This is incorrect (and shows just how much research you made before writing this "article"). There will actually be a version of HL2 without any on-line components. This has been mentioned in numerous interviews with the developers / producers. The full version of HL2 (with on-line multiplayer support) can also be bought on CD.

Yes. You're smart person #4. Read my article again. Specifically the part that goes "That is, until Valve decides to make a version of Steam that will work without a network connection."

If the network gets overloaded, then you may have to wait a bit for your daily fix of Counter-Strike, and possibly even spend a day without playing it, and get a life.

I paid for the game. How would you like it if you ordered a steak and they gave you a salad because it's better for you.

Anyway, the same thing happens when WON servers are down or when a new version is released, so Steam doesn't really change anything.

If the WON servers go down I can still launch a LAN game or even play offline. Steam won't let me yet.

You can still play HL and you can still play CS (just start the game normally, instead of through Steam). And most people running Steam do not have "a legally licensed copy of Half-Life or Counter-Strike which they paid good money for". One of the main "selling points" of Steam is precisely the fact that you can play HL (and CS, and TFC, and OpFor, and a number of other games) without having to pay anything.

Errr. I think you read the sentence incorrectly. Again. Because me sentence went "For the past 18 hours the game has been unplayable despite the fact that every person on Steam has a legally licensed copy of Half-Life or Counterstrike which they paid good money for.". If you want to take that out of context you could say that I was implying that every person on steam has to have a copy of CS or HL but in this case you can plainly see that I mean every person trying to play CS on Steam has a licensed copy of CS or HL.

The latest release version is 1.5, and it doesn't have any built-in bots. Version 1.6 was a beta version, distributed for free, that didn't even require a valid HL CD key.

Again with the semantics. The argument was, and I'll state this slowly for you:

DEVELOPERS... CAN... REMOVE... FEATURES... AT... THEIR... WILL

If the server updates and you don't, you can't play. Same as it ever was.

Errr... If I have an installation of Beta 5 because I like that the best I can use that content to create a game server and then login to that server along with people who still want to play Beta 5. With Steam, you can't do that because Steam won't let you play online with anything less than the latest version.

Oh, no! Call James Hound! What exactly is new about that? And if there's one developer in whose hands I'm happy to leave my gameplay experience, that's Valve. HL is the best software investment I've ever made.

You may think that but what if someone doesn't. Well thats too bad for them because you now either update or you don't multiplay. Thanks for playing.

That has nothing to do with DRM. I liked Natural Selection 1.x a lot more than I like 2.x. It doesn't have DRM, it doesn't run on Steam, it doesn't even have automatic updates. But all the servers where I can play have upgraded to 2.x. So how does the absence of DRM in NS help me...?

You can still start a 1.0 server and off you go. If you try and connect to a 1.0 server with Steam it goes "hold on a sec, I'm updating you to 2.0 before you can play the game because you have to be on the most recent version because I said so!"

DRM is explicitly about giving control of applications back to copyright holders. It's stopping you from playing a game the way you want through software means. It's DRM.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]

Write less, read more (3.00 / 2) (#125)
by rmn on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 10:13:19 AM EST

"Read my article again. Specifically the part that goes "That is, until Valve decides to make a version of Steam that will work without a network connection.""

Steam is an on-line content delivery system (plus some other things). It will always require a network connection because that's what it's all about.

But Half-Life 2 (which is a game you have probably heard about between your CS marathons) does not require Steam. It can be bought on shops and played on non-netowrked computers just like the first HL.

This is mentioned in just about every single article about HL2 or Steam published in the past 4 months. Apparently you didn't read any of them.

"I think you read the sentence incorrectly."

Let me try to read it again: "every person on Steam has a legally licensed copy of Half-Life or Counterstrike which they paid good money for" [sic]. Nope, that's still not true, no matter how many times I read it. I think maybe you're the one thinking (or at least writing) incorrectly.

And that's not true because:

a) Steam (and all games running under Steam at this point) is free.

and

b) People can still play the commercial version of all those games without having to go through Steam.

"I paid for the game. How would you like it if you ordered a steak and they gave you a salad because it's better for you."

What a terribly bad simile. First, because you did not pay for CS 1.6 (and you are not required to update to version 1.6 to play; you can continue to play the official, non-beta version - lots of people do). Second, because a network delay is precisely that: a delay. It's like asking for a steak and the waiter telling you "the kitchen is rather busy right now; would you like a salad, or do you prefer to wait?".

"You can still start a 1.0 server and off you go. If you try and connect to a 1.0 server with Steam it goes "hold on a sec, I'm updating you to 2.0 before you can play the game because you have to be on the most recent version because I said so!"

You really don't have a clue what you're talking about, do you? I suggest you get a bit more informed (about what Steam is and is not and about what DRM is and is not) before posting nonsense. Hint: you can still play any version of any mod you want.

Oh, and try to spend one week without playing CS. Just as a test.


[ Parent ]

erm, good points... but (none / 0) (#130)
by pheta on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 12:08:12 PM EST

You have made some good points, but why keep bringing this up:

Oh, and try to spend one week without playing CS. Just as a test.

Is this going to suddenly fix all issues that everyone that this new DRM mechanism brings up? Not really... Nothing wrong with talking about it. It may not be a big deal to you if you sit down to play HL2 but cant because whatever system is down, but some people care.

Then again, the system being down is no different then the quake3 key server at ID being down... you cant play online.

[ Parent ]

Misinformation (none / 0) (#164)
by rmn on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 11:31:34 AM EST

My point is his article was prompted by an addiction ("I had to endure 18 hours without CS bla bla bla") and not an informed concern about DRM in general or Steam in particular.

Half of what he writes is true for virtually all current (on-line) games, and the other half is false (for Steam).

And it seems you have bought some of it: you can sit down and play HL2 any time you want (as long as you have bought the game CD, of course). HL2 does not require Steam.

You'll only need to connect to the Steam servers to authenticate (same as currently happens with the WON servers) and to download new games / mods. In other words, you'll probably need Steam for CS 2.0 and TF2 (and other Valve mods), but not for the single-player game (HL2).

[ Parent ]

Rip it apart if you want. (none / 0) (#132)
by IPFreely on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 12:36:23 PM EST

I think there's a bit of disconnect on the issue. There are two things in the article: The concern over restrictions (real or potential) placed by DRM technology, and an example of a current DRM implementation in the form of Steam/CS.

So far, you've poked all kinds of holes in the example, you've ridiculed him over his complaints of down-time ("Ahh... 18 hours without CS... the pain, the pain!"). But all that is is nitpicking.

Back to the primary issue. DRM has the potential to restrict users from doing things that they could previously do. True. This example was a game. There are already examples of financial applications and business applications with restrictive DRM. Intuit re-evaluated their DRM after too many compalints. Microsoft is headed full steam into the DRM world, and they have the potential to put a cramp into a lot more than just games. What if some day major applications on your PC refuse to work because your ISP has a problem, or the key server is overloaded?

Games have often been on the forefront of new technology, partially because it's a fast and flashy business with little risk of technical failures. If a game breaks, it doesn't cost anyone life or money. But that technology, once proven and matured, goes on to other areas.

Microsofts XP activation is a prime example of where this is going. If you change your hardware too much, you have to reactivate. You can't move your OS to a new machine at all. That is not quite as invasive as Steam, but it shows where things are going. you can't do things you used to be able to do, or you are required to jump through a lot of vendors hoops to do it.

Someone WILL put more invasive DRM on more important software. When they do, complaints like the ones above will certainly have much more merit. This is not a game to the vendors. It's a fight to the finish.

[ Parent ]

Automatic updates != DRM (1.00 / 1) (#162)
by rmn on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 11:08:53 AM EST

DRM has nothing to do with automatic updates. The #1 purpose of DRM is copy protection.  The only part of Steam that may be related to DRM is the authorisation checking, but this is equivalent to what currently happens with the WON authentication. In fact, you don't even need a valid key to play via Steam, so it makes even less sense to talk about DRM (for current games, anyway).

Lots of software has automatic update checking / installing (even the current, non-Steamed version of HL performs automatic updates, and has done so since VAC - the anti-cheat code - has been released).

This article is not about XP activation or about Media Player, or about anything else. It's about a guy who freaked out because he couldn't get his CS fix for 18 hours and decided to post a very badly informed whine on Kuro5hin.

Not only is his "article" totally unrelated to DRM, it's also full of misinformation. Something that the world in general, and the people using Steam in particular can live without.

There was no downtime of any paid service. Steam is free, CS 1.6 is free, and both are beta software which you are not required to install to play any commercial game. There are lots of people happily playing the commercial, non-beta versions of HL and CS (and TFC, DMC, HLDM, etc.) online.

[ Parent ]

geeks run amok: translation (none / 0) (#161)
by mveloso on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 02:51:57 AM EST

user 1: hey, when I use this STEAM thing I can't play my game due to its network dependency and lack of control!

user 2: duh - you can't play the game without STEAM unless you buy the STEAM-free version. And STEAM will do all that later.

user 1: but then what's the point of STEAM?

user 2: get a life and stop playing games

user 1: so much for this STEAM crap. I'll spend my $$ somewhere else

user 2: hey, why isn't anyone using STEAM?

[ Parent ]

Wow. (2.50 / 2) (#154)
by lumpenprole on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 04:53:43 PM EST

This is incorrect (and shows just how much research you made before writing this "article"). There will actually be a version of HL2 without any on-line components. This has been mentioned in numerous interviews with the developers / producers. The full version of HL2 (with on-line multiplayer support) can also be bought on CD.

Existing games (bought on CD) such as HL, OpFor, etc., can still be installed and played from the CD / hard disk.


Cannot be played...wait for it... WITH STEAM!. So, if you bought a license, it's apparently just fodder for you to go out and buy the cd as well to have something to do when their servers go down. Oh, and I like the use of the word 'article' in quotes, very trenchant.

Ahh... 18 hours without CS... the pain, the pain!

I see, you must be one of those people who enjoys throwing money away. If I'm paying for a service, I would actually like that service delivered to me. Jeez, you must work for Msoft in their pr department. "This isn't a bug, it's a lifestyle enhancing feature designed to get you away from your computer". Well, what if you're a borderline psychopath who was going to focus his widow-and-orphan-killing agression into some CS? Huh? What then, Mr. Smart guy?

Unfortunately, some humans did not take the hint, and keep playing it.

And I for one, welcome my new valve overlords! Look, the point is, what am I paying for? A game I like, or a game, that I might like, but might change at any minute depending on what the sales department, legal department, and development team had for lunch? I think, if I buy something, I should have the right to decide whether or not it gets changed. I'm odd like that.

Oh, no! Call James Hound! What exactly is new about that? And if there's one developer in whose hands I'm happy to leave my gameplay experience, that's Valve. HL is the best software investment I've ever made.

Well good for you. I'm sure the two of you will be very happy together. Unless he leaves. Then you're stuck with a system controlled by somebody you don't have pictures of on your trapper keeper.

That has nothing to do with DRM. I liked Natural Selection 1.x a lot more than I like 2.x. It doesn't have DRM, it doesn't run on Steam, it doesn't even have automatic updates. But all the servers where I can play have upgraded to 2.x. So how does the absence of DRM in NS help me...?

Um, because you can still find some like-minded people, and lan it up. Or make missions for yourself. Anybody who's been a software power user for more than a year or two has had the experience of saying: "You know, I think I'll skip that update until they get the bugs worked out." That's just good sense.

And who are the "pro-DRM lobby" and how exactly do they influence the biosphere...? Do you even understand what DRM is? Hint: it has nothing to do with automatic updates or with developers introducing changes in beta software.

Well a quick google brought this up:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/drm.aspx


Oh yeah, Microsoft and the whole Windows Media Player line has no interest in automatic compulsory updating. Of course, this has no relation to Valve, probably. Until of course they try to integrate the same service into Windows.

[ Parent ]
Before you hit the comment button... (4.00 / 6) (#122)
by Talez on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:54:14 AM EST

I wrote this article because I honestly believe there a pieces of policy that need to be changed for Steam to become a rousing success in the gaming marketplace. I don't want Steam to die a terrible, terrible death and I don't have a grudge against Valve.

I just want a fair go when I buy my games. I want to be able to do the same things with my game that I've always been able to do. It restricts my freedom and I don't like it, hence I wrote this article to show where my freedom is being challenged so that Valve can either ignore me or say "this guy may be onto something" or "we never thought of it that way before".

If you're here to complain, I'd like to run a few things by you.

If you're here to complain that Valve has single player in the works, you're too late. People have mentioned this and I'll give you the same answer I gave them: I gave this concession in the article already. The fact that Valve has offline steam in the works doesn't help things now. When the offline version comes out this obviously won't be a concern of mine but for now it is.

If you're here to complain about version control and how "its a beta" so I "shouldn't whine" then you missed the point. If you really must attack my argument because you think I'm a whining twit, you need to explain why developers should be able to remove features at will and then force users to upgrade to the most recent standard if they want to multiplay.

If you're here to complain about how I don't know a thing about DRM and how Steam isn't DRM then please go get a clue. I explained (briefly) what DRM is and why Steam is DRM in the second paragraph of my article.

If you're here to put words into my mouth then please go away or write your own article addressing those issues.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est

Everybody settle Down! (3.00 / 1) (#126)
by Easyas123 on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:14:17 AM EST

Hey you guys on the right! No one should have the power to change how the game you went out and paid for is played without your permission. This includes content, style of play and modes oif connection. If you paid for (and enjoy playing), game a, with properties b, in mode c, no one should be able to change those to x,y,and z whenever they want to. You guys on the left, relax. Its a BETA VERSION!! this is what beta versions are for. Remember a great deal of what you are complaining about is free, and furthermore as a community, gamers already have much greater control over content than any other media. If you wake up one day and decide to make your own Star Trek episode or Matrix sequel, be assured that the owners of those properties will NOT support your efforts. Much less release it proudly to the world.

***********************
As the wise men fortold.

um dude... (4.00 / 2) (#133)
by phlyingpenguin on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:13:59 PM EST

Steam is released.

There is no signature
[ Parent ]
Speaking of the game. (none / 0) (#134)
by Easyas123 on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:20:12 PM EST


***********************
As the wise men fortold.
[ Parent ]

Whaa?? (none / 0) (#136)
by phlyingpenguin on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:25:47 PM EST

Locked up games are not in beta. Steam is not in beta. Maybe I missed something here...?

I'd agree that forced upgrades and such are very good for games like StarWars Galaxies, where the only point is to play online. But when you get into forced upgrades and games that depend on a server to run, it gets quite ichy. What if I want to play the new version at a lanparty that isn't connected? Stuff like that will get in these peoples way big time. I think I'll note further on that in a seperate comment though.

There is no signature
[ Parent ]

Honestly I would like the new Steam if it worked (3.50 / 2) (#135)
by glacier on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:25:31 PM EST

I have been a long time CS junkie and i really enjoyed playing 1.6 but since trying to install the non beta version of steam i have had nothing but trouble. Basically from what i gather from the error logs and the automated message that valve emailed me my CS cd key is no good and gets rejected despite the fact that it is a valid fscking key and works with 1.5 just fine. i have uninstalled steam, removed all the files, deleted teh registry settings that it makes but still it does the same damned thing. I am about down to completely removing my 1.5 install and installing everything from the ground up to see if the problem exists with some of the file that it pulls from the old cs/hl install Steam is a great idea for distributing CS and keeping it updated but it would be great if their DRM didnt break their product -=Glacier=- pwnz j00

Take a lesson from Tribes2 (4.50 / 4) (#137)
by phlyingpenguin on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:32:19 PM EST

Tribes 2 included an upgrade system that basically forced the client to check for updates from Sierra's official list of servers every time it started. This is not such a new concept. In the case of Tribes2 this really helped in the begining by keeping all clients up to date and giving the online gameplay more quality. In the end the upgrade system ended up having a lot of problems and when Dynamix and Sierra stopped caring about the game, updates became almost impossible to find or install. These updates however were still optional. It was possible to decline an upgrade and keep on playing with an old version. With or without overlords letting the game play.

A good example of where this idea can be used is in MMORPGS. StarWars Galaxies uses a manditory upgrade system which keeps it running smoothly. Since it's only form of gameplay is online, there is no big deal.

In the end the only time when Steam will really cause a problem like this is for lanparties that aren't even online. I'm sure the idea of warding off copyright infringers is wonderful to Valve, but there are many situations which it's just impossible. LanWar is one of the largest lanparties in the US, well attended by sponsors like Toms Hardware and AMD. This of course is a haven for CS junkies and the only parties that are connected to the net are the annual Millionman parties. Other than that Steam would force a potential 600 players off of their game all at once just because they're at a lanparty.

This is an adapt of die situation. Steam will likely not be as severe as they seem to be right now.

There is no signature

Well.... (5.00 / 2) (#165)
by Jaritsu on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 04:42:41 PM EST

Good point but both of those games are Multiplayer based, or only.

HL2 is not a multiplayer only game. I'm not even sure what, if any multiplayer will be available at release time. But Steam is still going to make you authenticate everytime you start the game up.

Thing is, Pirates will circumvent this, even tho I'm going to pay for this game I am going to look for ways around it. But the average joe player is stuck not playing anytime the authentication servers are down. Or having to get a new update whether he wants it or not.

If it aint broke, dont activate some lame DRM scheme.

"Jaritsu, have you stopped beating your wife yet?" - Kintanon
[ Parent ]

Oh yeah (2.66 / 3) (#147)
by Will Sargent on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:10:15 PM EST

A free beta of Steam he already paid for.  Must be a new meaning of "free" I don't understand.
----
I'm pickle. I'm stealing your pregnant.
Welcome to the DRM age? Please... (1.00 / 1) (#166)
by TrentC on Thu Sep 18, 2003 at 12:33:13 AM EST

The second major evil is version control. Steam pushes new versions whether you want them or not. Sure, you can decline to update, but you won't be playing anytime soon. While this may look good on the surface solving incompatibility between revisions, the reality is much harsher.

During the CS 1.6 beta, Valve implemented bots, which are computer controlled players that could play Counter-Strike instead of a human. This was one of the most attractive features of CS 1.6 and about the only reason I became a beta tester for Steam in the first place. The latest release version has stripped bots. While I was quite happy with the quality of the bots in previous beta versions, the powers that be obviously thought that they weren't good enough and stripped them out completely.

Normally, you just don't update and keep playing like you always did. Now, you don't have a choice. Your entire gameplay experience is in the hands of some programmer. Whether you thought their previous effort was better is irrelevant. Whether you like an old feature or weapon is no longer your concern. Welcome to the DRM age.

No, welcome to playing Everquest, or Dark Age of Camelot, or Anarchy Online, or Star Wars: Galaxies.

This has been done in every MMORPG for years. And people bitch about it, to no end, every time one of these games does a patch. Where do you think the term "to nerf" (to depower an item, spell or effect to where it is neary useless in its current context) came from?

Jay (=

Actually... (none / 0) (#169)
by Alhazred on Sat Sep 20, 2003 at 09:55:59 AM EST

As an old time gamer (from a day when that term had nothing to do with computers) I can officially tell you that the term 'nerf' existed even back then. It basically meant the same thing, the RPG game referee (DM or whathaveyou) decreed or somehow engineered the impotence of your character's +10 magic wallbanger (or whatever). Suddenly the 'wand of utter destruction' has only 10 charges.
That is not dead which may eternal lie And with strange aeons death itself may die.
[ Parent ]
Really, is it so BAD??!?! (none / 0) (#168)
by mcrbids on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 11:48:07 PM EST

My company is a vendor of a software service - www.charterworks.net.

Many of the ideas you talk about, such as encryption, automatic updates, and online requirements, are present in our flagship product, ReportWriter.

We provide software as a service, and the Internet back end was originally designed to keep track of who/what/when/where so that the service charges could be calculated.

However, we found very quickly that adding things, such as automatic software updates, data distribution, and information backups were very much wanted!

Now, we don't even distribute CDs anymore. Nobody wants them, though we still provide a CD installer link on our downloads page.

People download our software, then use their login/pw to "synch" their ReportWriter installation to our central servers. On an average system, it takes about 10 minutes via a DSL connection.

If their laptop crashes, gets hit by a virus, or is stolen, we have a backup of all their data. They just download and "synch" again, and they are back up and running.

So far, the feedback has been incredibly positive! People love being able to do a "synch" at home, then get to their work from the office...  

It's all about remembering the point - the customer - and so far, it seems we're getting an awful lot of things right.
I kept looking around for somebody to solve the problem. Then I realized... I am somebody! -Anonymouse

Well.... (none / 0) (#175)
by MKalus on Thu Sep 25, 2003 at 04:46:59 PM EST

... I guess it depends on what it is.

If I have an application that is supposed to work ONLY with an internet backend then all of this isn't too bad.

But what if I want to hook up with people at a LAN party, or let's say I take my notebook up north to the cottage where I want to write but don't have Internet and all of the sudden my bought software doesn't work anymore?

Or, let's say I don't want to pay my monthly subscription fee anymore, cancel and then realize that I can't do anything with the files I created because your applicatoin has encrypted them (for my own safety)?

These are the concerns *I* see with DRM and they are by far not complete yet, there is a lot more that can go wrong.

Where is the line? Where does the computer belong to me and where doesn't it?

I got away from Windows a couple of years ago, the only place I have to deal with it is here at work because it's the "standard" (I still have a knoppix CD here though).

Reality is that most of the time DRM only has disadvantes for me as the Customer, of course for companies it is great.
-- Michael
[ Parent ]

What's good (or bad) about it? (1.00 / 1) (#170)
by mineiro on Mon Sep 22, 2003 at 01:36:24 AM EST

I still can't understand the whole thing because I can't accept that games are important.

But there is one think that I have notice quite a long time ago: this is the type of move from the software industry that is capable of trampling our freedom as users.

I don't like to think that updates are automatic, I hate to think that I will ever use software that makes decisions for me, especially I will abhorre software that allows people elsewhere to take decisions for me.

I'm for the man who orders meat and wants meat even if it's unhealthy. Those who know what's best for us don't know what's good for me, but I understand that there are many lazy and dumb people who want to be unburdened from tasks like making choices and taking decisions.

-- BTW: It's time we <U>BOYCOTT</u> this type of policy by refusing to buy such things...
Man is the wolf of man -- Thomas Hobbes.

Is it really that bad? (none / 0) (#173)
by awyeah on Thu Sep 25, 2003 at 02:56:50 AM EST

I've got to say that I partially agree with you.  I agree that for most applications I don't like to be forced to update.  However, for multiplayer games such as CS, when a new version comes out, you are pretty much required to update within a few days or you won't be able to play it anyway, as servers don't generally allow older versions to connect.

But let's take another example where I completely agree with you.  Pretty much everything I do on my computer at this point somehow involves my internet connection.  When my connection is unavailable, I really don't have much to do on the computer.  So what do I do?  I load up a single-player game... sometimes I even resort to solitaire.

So I do agree that the whole issue of requiring a net connection is a bit rediculous, but I'm willing to live with that for a while, I'm sure they'll come up with a solution.

As for infringing on our rights/freedoms, I really disagree with you there.  Sure, I prefer to make the decisions about whether I'm going to update my copy of the software, but 99 times out of 100, I do update it.

The only thing I worry about is if the security of the - let's call it - forced update server is comprimised and a virus is distributed through it.

Overall though, I don't really find myself bothered too much by this whole issue, as long as they follow the usual privacy practices, such as disclosing to me exactly what is being done with my computer, not distributing/tracking personal info, etc.

[ Parent ]

subscription based service? (none / 0) (#178)
by jago25 on Wed Jan 14, 2004 at 06:32:40 AM EST

I wonder if this is a move to a subscription based service or similar?

Can you spell " (none / 0) (#179)
by kanujbhatnagar on Sat Apr 30, 2005 at 05:25:08 AM EST

A certain "friend" of mine managed to rip Steam completely off HL2 and managed to squeeze it into 3 CD's. The offline game works well, and he did not include CS into the package. The launcher.exe was "ripped" off as well, and apart from the original HL2 package, the launcher is pretty useless anyway.

RE (none / 0) (#180)
by lixiangcn on Tue Jun 07, 2005 at 09:42:41 AM EST

A free beta of Steam he already paid for. Must be a new meaning of "free" I don't understand. ---- I'm pickle. I'm stealing your pregnant.Flash geci mobile shouji info info caixin ling.

Valve, Steam and DRM | 180 comments (170 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
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