Monday, February 06, 2006

A few months ago I mentioned that Guild Wars is polite, and as a result, I play a lot more. I still play Guild Wars occasionally. It's so easy to start up, and I don't have to go find the CD.

The two games I've gotten since then are The Movies and Black and White 2 (both from Lionhead Studios). Both of them have long startup sequences. They show me splash screens and advertisements (for Intel and ATI) every time. Then only after the splash screens are shown does the game start loading. At the very least the game should load while the splash screens are up! In addition, the CD has to be in the drive for the game to start. That means it's a major pain to go back and forth between the games.

I find that I'm playing the polite game more than the impolite games. If I'm in the mood to play a game but I have to go find the CD, I'm less likely to play that game. And every time I have to sit there looking at the Lionhead Studios logo, I'm reminded of the company that makes me sit there instead of taking me straight to the game.

Another impolite practice used by many game companies is to use nasty copy protection techniques. I don't get games from the file sharing networks, but it makes me unhappy that pirates are getting a better game experience than I am! (Copy protection gives people more incentive to get a pirate copy instead of buying the game.) What I find totally weird is that StarForce copy protection is even used for game demos. What's the point of making a free demo uncopyable?? StarForce remains on my system even though I've uninstalled the King Kong demo. That's awful. I'm not going to buy any of those games now.

You can find instructions for removing StarForce on this StarForce Boycott site.

Make your software polite, and I'll use it more. Make your software rude, and I'll avoid it.

Update: [2006-03-12] After removing the StarForce drivers, I discovered that my CD-ROM drive was in "PIO" mode instead of "DMA" mode like it should be. This is a symptom of StarForce having been on my system. I uninstalled the IDE drivers in Windows XP and rebooted, and it reinstalled them in DMA mode. PIO mode on some newer drives causes damage over time; I don't know if my drive has suffered any damage.

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1 comment:

Rick C wrote at February 08, 2006 8:02 AM

I'm curious--do you send email to the game publishers? The "open" beta of Heroes of Might and Magic 5 (which wasn't open--you had to join FilePlanet at a cost of $17 or so to download) used StarForce. I signed up for Ubi's forums and left them a message saying that this was pretty offensive.