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Valve Takes the Offensive on Warez Users? 1127

Posted by Zonk
from the burn-warez-monkeys-burn dept.
Drull writes "It's claimed by a poster on filefront.com that Valve might have released a "Warez" version of Half-Life 2 to monitor and ban those who attempt to use it. This is the news from some guy with a filefront account, so take it with a grain of salt.
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Valve Takes the Offensive on Warez Users?

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  • Take a lesson (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Shihar (153932) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @11:49AM (#10854268)
    The RIAA and MPAA should take a lesson. Valve has done a pretty incredible thing. They have done a solid job and snuffing out pirating while managing to avoid pissing off their consumer base. They have offered a product that is not crippled and have managed to protect it without resorting to using the government in the form of the judicial system to act as their personal thugs. This is the way companies should protect their IP, not by using the government as their own private band of thugs.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Torgo's Pizza (547926) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @11:55AM (#10854364) Homepage Journal
    What alternate reality do you live in? I've seen more complaints about Steam and Valve in the past week than ever before. Valve has pissed off plenty of people lately.

    Hey, I too hate the RIAA and the MPAA for their jack-booted techniques, but I wouldn't exactly point to Valve as the gold standard.
  • by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @11:56AM (#10854377) Homepage
    while managing to avoid pissing off their consumer base.
    Really? I bought HL2 (and HL1, and the expansions, and ...) and I'm pretty pissed off by Steam.

    It took two hours to get HL2 actually up and ready to play on tuesday, even though the installer actually put the bits onto the disk from the CD in under 15 minutes. And now, to actually play the game, in single player mode, it still takes several minutes from the time I click on the icon to start the game before I can even choose to load a saved game -- this time is spent starting Steam, then verifying that my copy is legit.

    And then, even when I'm not playing, Steam pops up and sends messages to my screen. So far, they've been related to HL2 and Steam, but how long will it be before Valve is advertising their new game? Or somebody else's new game, available through Steam? Or how about some new energy drink to drink while playing their game?

    Don't pretend that everybody likes Steam. It seems clever enough, but really what it is is an advertising, piracy prevention and sales portal. And if you want HL2, to actually *buy* HL2 rather than pirate it, it's forced on you.

  • by WaldoJMU (2651) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @11:58AM (#10854407) Homepage
    IF Valve is, indeed, running such an experiment, it's pretty unlikely that Gabe Newell (or anyone at Valve) would immediately fess up to it to some unknown joker on the Internet - WHILE they're trying to catch people.

    However, this is a pretty neat idea - since Valve knows that people are going to pirate the game, the proactive step of CONTROLLING the version that gets pirated by modding it so that they can track it anthen releasing it BEFORE anyone else can do the same pretty much ensures that they'll get the personal info (name, credit card #, address, etc.) of lots of pirates, and then they can choose what to do with that info.

    The first option that comes to mind is emotionally satisfying to but a horrible business plan - they COULD use that personal info to PERMANENTLY BAN that person from using Steam/HL2, ever. Although that might make Gabe & crew feel good for a few minutes... they just potentially lost ($50 x #_of_pirates).

    The second option, which is BOTH emotionally satisfying AND a good business plan, BUT is ALSO only quasi-moral and barely legal, is to use that personal info to contact the pirates directly and extort^H^H^H^H^H^H encourage them to buy a legal copy immediately, otherwise Valve will turn their info over to the authorities for prosecution. This not only "sticks it to the pirates" but also generates additional revenue (($50 x #_of_pirates) - ($50 x #_of_stupid_pirates)). Heck, if they went the extortion^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H encouragement route, why not "encourage" them to buy the $90 package instead? :)

    The third, and most likely option, would be to turn all of that personal info over to the authorities and make a huge example out of all of them, thus instilling the Fear of Valve into all pirates everywhere, which would hopefully reduce the number of pirates and create a Utopian society for all.

    All that said, though, I doubt there's any truth to the story, since, again, it kind of defeats the purpose of having a sting-operation if you TELL EVERYONE you're running a sting! :)
  • by jessecurry (820286) <jesse@jessecurry.net> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @12:02PM (#10854467) Homepage Journal
    there's nothing illegal about banning users from your private system for what ever reason that you choose as long as you stop billing them. Also, it is probably written into the TOS that the users of this software must not modify it.
  • by Quarters (18322) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @12:13PM (#10854608)
    "Monitoring warezed HL2 files on torrent networks" is not the same thing as "Valve populated torrent networks with warezed HL2 files."
  • by TellarHK (159748) <[moc.liamtoh] [ta] [khrallet]> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @12:17PM (#10854676) Homepage Journal
    And let's not forget, if you install a pirated version of the software, the EULA has no binding on the developer. You violated it from moment one, you could be considered to have no rights whatsoever and may only have recourse if the software causes problems in a fashion that's criminally damaging. Like, say, deleting any file with a .doc or .exe extension on your machine. (And .c for the linux-only nazis that'll show up.)

    If you pirate it, Valve pretty much has the greenlight to fuck you in any way they want within the bounds of their own software and services.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2004 @12:22PM (#10854736)
    The RIAA and MPAA should take a lesson.

    Actually, Valve are the ones taking a lesson from the RIAA and MPAA. [overpeer.com]

    They have done a solid job and snuffing out pirating

    Not that solid. The real HL2 was warezed and cracked on November 16.

    while managing to avoid pissing off their consumer base.

    You can't be talking about Steam, can you?

    This is the way companies should protect their IP, not by using the government as their own private band of thugs.

    I agree. But I see no evidence that Valve have accomplished anything extraordinary as far as combatting piracy goes. In fact, this sort of terroristic rumormongering probably indicates the opposite, assuming its ultimate source is Valve.
  • by TellarHK (159748) <[moc.liamtoh] [ta] [khrallet]> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @12:23PM (#10854758) Homepage Journal
    There's no real point to cracking it if you have a legal version. You'd risk running some hacker's code on your machine just to save -maybe- 10 or 15 seconds when you loaded up a game? That's foolish. So far most crack authors have been very good about being minimalist and unintrusive, but someday, with some crack, they're going to fuck you.

    And when it happens, what then? You'll have less than zero recourse. "Yes, I want to sue this guy because the illegal program he wrote to crack the protection on this software nuked my email."

    I hate software licensing as much as anyone on /., but when a company like Valve goes out of their way to offer something in exchange for the authentication hassle - they deserve a fair shake.
  • by EvilJohn (17821) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @12:32PM (#10854878) Homepage
    Steam is NOT NEW. Steam has been around for over two years. These problems have been around for quite awhile. Steam becomes unuseable anytime they release a CounterStrike update. I don't know how they thought they were going to handle a full release of HalfLife2.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by White-out_On_Screen (766364) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @12:56PM (#10855188)
    It's modded funny because it's funny in the same way that the guy on the corner saying that the government is controlling his mind with a satellite is funny. I went through 2 retail copies that didn't work, then bought through Steam. Took hours to download, decrypt, and get vaguely playable, and I'm going to have to bang on it when I get home tonight to iron out bugs. The game phones home to make sure I'm legal, it demands I be on-line and run Steam to play. I'm a legal user. I jumped through hoops to get this game. And I'm being treated like some JeffK wannabe passing out copies in a shady newsgroup. After HL1, I loved Valve. They took care of their community, supported mods, and only asked for a CD Key. I'm playing HL2 despite Valve. They made a great game, but they're acting like the paranoid shits in the game industry they fought against years ago with their community-building and implicit trust in the users. It's sad, really. Microsoft roots showing, you think?
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fireduck (197000) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @01:00PM (#10855228)
    And in a month, none of those people who complained will care one bit.

    Honestly, the brouhaha over Steam and validation on day 1 is ridiculous. Yes, if you bought the game on Tuesday you likely had problems for a few hours trying to validate. Yeah, that's a pisser. However, once you did get it validated you were able to play without any sort of online interaction (unless you were playing online, of course).

    These same server problems affect every MMORPG on day 1. They affect every popular game that has online content (e.g., every Blizzard game). Its the nature of the beast. Sure, its a bitch, but a half day of inconvenience for 5 years of gameplay is something most people will overlook. Anyone who was faintly familiar with how HL2 validation was going to be done, especially the geeks at slashdot, should have known that day 1 was going to be validation hell. I knew it, and I'm waiting a few extra days before I buy the game, simply because I don't want that hassle.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2004 @01:06PM (#10855316)
    The only people who have problems with steam are people with crummy net connections and people who try to use it when traffic is very high

    Not me. I have a problem with Steam because I don't think its raison d'etre (centralized online authentication) is novel - at all - and the remainder doesn't add value beyond current authentication systems as far as I'm concerned. (Perhaps to Valve it does, but to me it doesn't.)

    If the future of game distribution and MP gaming is Steam or Steamlike I'll be very sad - not because Steam itself is terrible, but because to me its success can be seen as a big worrying step towards Our DRM Future. You can play offline after one authentication now... you have a time-unlimited license now... but you're building up a framework where that won't necessarily be taken for granted once built.

    I won't suggest Boycotting Steam, it would be futile... gamers have demonstrated time and time again that they are willing to put up with any amount of annoyance or frustration so long as the game works and is good.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TellarHK (159748) <[moc.liamtoh] [ta] [khrallet]> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @01:18PM (#10855492) Homepage Journal
    How did your 2 retail copies "not work"? Were they just suffering the Steam overload problem that was affecting -everyone- or were they actually defective media? You can't fault Valve if it's the media, and if it's the Steam activation why on Earth would you return it and try another copy? Sounds like you bit your own ass with that one.

    The game doesn't demand you be on-line after activation. It does require Steam, but Steam is a PART of Half-Life 2. It's the foundation the game is built upon. That's almost like bitching about having to install libraries on a Linux machine, pointless. And what bugs have you run into? There're damn few bugs for a game with Microsoft developer heritage. ;)
  • by shaitand (626655) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @01:19PM (#10855499) Journal
    If the TOS isn't printed on the OUTSIDE of the box then that is shakey and not truely proven ground AFAIK.

    Although not illegal, they could have civil suits on their hands if they ban accounts on the first which are paid through the 30th and do for illegit reasons.
  • by Phisbut (761268) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @01:24PM (#10855580)
    There's no spyware involved here. When you launch the game, you expect it to go online and connect to a server. It's only through this connection that the (in)validation is made.

    The software doesn't look for anything else on the computer, it doesn't monitor anything, etc. All it does is call home, which is perfectly legal for a game where you knew right from the start that you would need it to call home to activate.

  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pluvius (734915) <pluvius3&gmail,com> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @01:37PM (#10855774) Journal
    These same server problems affect every MMORPG on day 1. They affect every popular game that has online content (e.g., every Blizzard game).

    The difference, of course, being that in those cases you only have to validate games that are online.

    I'm waiting a few extra days before I buy the game, simply because I don't want that hassle.

    And you don't think that this is an unnecessary hassle? Why should you have to wait a few days (or any amount of time at all excluding the few minutes of installation) to play a $50 game offline?

    Rob
  • by Coltman (623132) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @01:40PM (#10855822)
    Isn't that kinda like sayin that if I stole your watch (Not that piracy is property theft), you get the right to ransack my house looking for the watch. And somehow that ties to an agreement between you and someone else on how to use said watch.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HFXPro (581079) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @01:44PM (#10855862)
    The only people who have problems with steam are people with crummy net connections and people who try to use it when traffic is very high.

    I love comments like the parents. This reminds me why I stopped playing CS and DOD online. Some people cannot get good connections even when living in major cities. Also, when you buy the game you should be able to play it as soon as you install it. The whole activation method is useless, and is one reason I'm not buying HL2 right now (and I own a copy of Every Valve game except for Condition Zero) and HL2. As long as people with your sentiment are around though, I can see things will only get worse. The whole selfish, "I got mine. Anyone who doesn't is a dumbass" attitude just reminds me of why PC gaming has gone downhill
  • by flonker (526111) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @02:01PM (#10856135)
    I can't recall any EULAs that have a binding on the developer anyway. They all seem to say that the developer has no responsibilities whatsoever, and the right to do anything they want.
  • by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @02:04PM (#10856173) Homepage
    Can't you just shut off steam when you are not running HL2? I can't believe it has to be active in the system tray even when you are not playing the game...
    Probably. But why should I have to turn off spyware? I should remove it! In fact, it shouldn't be installed in the first place, unless I wanted it there!

    Having programs that work only when the spyware that came with them is running is nothing new. But this is the first time that I actually *paid* for the program (at the store, no less) and it still required that spyware be installed and active for the program to run.

  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shepd (155729) <slashdot,org&gmail,com> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @02:07PM (#10856202) Homepage Journal
    The only people who have problems with steam are people with crummy net connections and people who try to use it when traffic is very high. If you use steam on a day that isn't close to a big release day, and your bandwith isn't poop it works just fine.

    Awesome. So, your "offline" experience should now be goverened by your online experience, according to you.

    So what's next, you think that linux should load slower if you have a slow 'net connection, or windows should crash more if you have cheap internet?

    Please, what you're saying is that only people "elite" enough in society to be lucky enough to have a top-grade internet connection deserve to enjoy things like this game.

    Get real.
  • by healy (234314) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @02:09PM (#10856225) Homepage

    Probably. But why should I have to turn off spyware? I should remove it! In fact, it shouldn't be installed in the first place, unless I wanted it there!

    Having programs that work only when the spyware that came with them is running is nothing new. But this is the first time that I actually *paid* for the program (at the store, no less) and it still required that spyware be installed and active for the program to run.


    Did you read the EULA? I suspect (but don't know since I don't own the game) that's part of the EULA. If you don't want it, then don't play the game. I'm not going to argue about it being spyware or not, that's pointless. It's valves game, you chose to purchase it & agree to their terms. Deal with it, shut it off when not playing or Delete the game if you feel so strongly about this so called spyware.
  • by xplenumx (703804) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @02:21PM (#10856369)
    Clue me in - When Microsoft used a similar form of copy protection for Windows XP, Slashdot couldn't have disagreed more. Yet when Valve takes a similar approach, they're applauded.

    At least Microsoft provided the option of activating the product over the phone.

  • I would laugh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dougnaka (631080) * on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:06PM (#10856990) Homepage Journal
    If *any* copyright holder connected to a .torrent of something they claim violated their copyright. It would be *very* easy for a lawyer to demonstrate that once they started giving you a copy of the file they were also giving you permission to use it, and therefore not only did they lose their legal case, but you got a free, legal, copy.

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:07PM (#10857004)
    > Valve is the first company to really do something like this and they did it with one of the most anticipated releases in the world.

    Because if it weren't the most anticipated release of 2002, 2003, and 2004 combined, none of us would put up with this bullshit to play a single-player game offline, and sales would be zero.

  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DigitalRaptor (815681) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:16PM (#10857127) Homepage
    And on the same note, why should Valve go through 5 years of cost and trouble to design the best game ever made (my own opinion after playing it) only to have it widely stolen and pirated?

    I'd much rather have Valve protect their creation via technology than in the courts.

    Compare Valve's approach to that of the RIAA / MPAA. I'll take Valve's any day of the week.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:17PM (#10857132) Homepage Journal
    On some machines quite capable of running HL2, the steam part takes an extra four minutes or so, simply because Steam sucks and/or the servers are overloaded. Why should consumers have to wait for steam to play a game they paid for? We're being treated like criminals - nice reward for giving Valve and Vivendi our money, eh?
  • by Vellmont (569020) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:19PM (#10857164)
    It's the difference between an operating system and a game. Few people rely heavily upon the ability to play a game (and if you do, you've got more problems than just game activation). Inability to re-install an OS on the other hand can be a major problem. If you're stuck somwhere without a phone or 'net access and you need to install XP, you're up shit crick.

    Both Microsoft and Valve can decide when to stop authorizing their software (and likely will at some point). Of course the consequences of no longer being able to install an OS are a LOT bigger than not being able to play a 10 year old game. You also have to admit that Microsoft has a much spottier reputation with taking unfair advantage of their monopoly power. Valve doesn't have that reputation, so people are more willing to trust them.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ADRA (37398) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:22PM (#10857198)
    We'll let the market decide what's acceptible and what isn't. That said, educate everyone you know about the lorals of fair use, lock-ins, and copyrights. The more they know, the more likely they'll side with you when developers start making single player games with pay-per-second billing!
  • Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:22PM (#10857202) Journal
    This is the news from some guy with a filefront account, so take it with a grain of salt.

    If you don't trust the source, why did you post the story?? Trying to pull a "Dan Rather" here?
  • by Qzukk (229616) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:23PM (#10857212) Journal
    Valve doesn't ransack anyone, they just disable your account.

    Pretend that my watch had a remote control that let me turn it off. If you stole my watch, using the remote control to turn off my watch would be well within my rights. Thats all Valve is doing, making the time and effort you went to to warez their game meaningless.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:23PM (#10857218)
    Who is this Slashdot guy you're talking about? He sounds like a real flip-flopper.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aonifer (64619) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:27PM (#10857255)
    Buying over steam had many advantages

    I wonder how long it would have taken me to download over Steam on my 26k dialup.

    If you want to play hl2 online in two years all you need to do is double click the game. You deleted the game ? NO PROBLEM. Steam downloads it for you. You are not up to date ? NO PROBLEM. steam updates you. You don't have the map / mod / whatever ? NO PROBLEM.

    Oops! Valve went out of business and now the validation servers are gone. BIG PROBLEM! Now the only way to play even single player is to download an illegal crack.
  • by Matt Perry (793115) <perry.matt54@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:30PM (#10857302)
    Clue me in - When Microsoft used a similar form of copy protection for Windows XP, Slashdot couldn't have disagreed more. Yet when Valve takes a similar approach, they're applauded.
    Ok, here's a huge clue for you. This isn't some kind of borg collective. Slashdot doesn't agree or disagree because it doesn't form opinions. However, the half million people on slashdot do. There are a lot of people opposed to Steam just as there are a lot of people who have no problem with it. The poster you replied to doesn't speak for all of Slashdot. He's just expressing his opinion. Feel free to form your own without waiting to see which way the Slashdot wind is blowing today.
  • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:32PM (#10857319) Homepage
    A fourth, and more satisfying alternative, is to simply start a rumour that the cracks for HL2 have actually been placed there by you, and that they contain back-doors which will do nasty things to your computer, make the ice cream in your freezer go bad and even have sex with your grandmother.

    Telling everybody that there is a sting operation is the best thing you can do, short of actually running a sting, if your goal is just to scare people away from using the cracks and get them to be good little boys and girls who will continue to connect to Steam every time they play.

    Why try to catch people who break your rules if it's easier to convince them not to?
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SilentChris (452960) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:32PM (#10857324) Homepage
    "And you don't think that this is an unnecessary hassle? Why should you have to wait a few days (or any amount of time at all excluding the few minutes of installation) to play a $50 game offline?"

    Then DON'T BUY THE FUCKING GAME. Why do people complain about stuff they know they're going to hate, then hand the makers $50 anyhow?
  • by TedTschopp (244839) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:35PM (#10857353) Homepage
    No, you are being treated like a customer. I have an anual pass to Disnyland. Strange thing, every time I want to go into the part they check my pass and look and log me into their database.

    Those bastards, who do they think I am, a criminal?

    Ted Tschopp
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:37PM (#10857379) Journal
    If you're stuck somwhere without a phone or 'net access and you need to install XP, you're up shit crick.

    Nope, because MS has a grace period. You don't need to have a mobile phone or something nearby right at that time. And you have to be a pretty poor isolated fella if you can't contact the outer world for over a week / month or whatever it is.

    I can't see why people have so hard time accepting this. It's basically just a replacement for a CD key verified by a server. Just more flexible. Since it's an important piece of software.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by identity0 (77976) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:38PM (#10857389) Journal
    Well, maybe he didn't even know about Steam before his problems? See, when I buy a game or CD, I have an expectation that the thing will *work* without having to jump through online hoops to use it offline. I think most consumers think the same thing, too. Windows XP is the only other product I can think of off the top of my head that requires online validation for offline use.

    It does require Steam, but Steam is a PART of Half-Life 2. It's the foundation the game is built upon.

    That sounds like a bug, not a feature. You need 'permission' from a company server to use the game you already paid for? Why didn't they just call it 'DiVX 2' instead of 'Steam'?
  • by Dimensio (311070) <.moc.uolgi. .ta. .ratskrad.> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:39PM (#10857406)
    Yeah, and every time I watch a DVD movie, I have to confirm with the MPAA that I own the rights to view the movie... ...oh, wait, I don't. Your analogy falls apart there.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wheany (460585) <wheany+sd@iki.fi> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:39PM (#10857410) Homepage Journal
    They could release a patch or an installer that takes out the Stream activation in the future.

    If they don't, so what? You obviously know that there is a possibility that the game won't work in the future. If that is important to you, vote with your wallet. Don't buy the game.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:46PM (#10857514) Homepage Journal
    [The original product called] DivX was sunk because people didn't want the machine calling home when they wanted to watch something. How is this any different? Free hint: It isn't.
  • Is it just me...? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BarryNorton (778694) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:55PM (#10857632)
    Or, if you actually read the source on this, that poster was reading more into Valve's response than was said.

    They only said they're monitoring it and responding, not that they'd released it.

    It's easy to monitor who's sharing a file on BitTorrent without seeding a single bit, never mind being the original seeder...
  • by Secrity (742221) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:59PM (#10857694)
    The entire Half Life 2 release and drm fiasco (not to mention the reported technical problems) is going to hurt Valve and Sierra/Vivendi in the long run. The best outcome would be for Valve and Sierra to gets burned enough that Half Life 2 can be used as an example of how not to release a game.
  • by Simulant (528590) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:59PM (#10857695) Journal

    There's plenty a point to cracking. I hate CDs. I hate having to put them in the drive to play. I hate it when the game won't play even if it's in the drive. I hate having to carry them around with me when I travel. What if I scratch it? What if I lose it? What if it decays? What if my dog eats it? What if my child tosses it out the window? What if my cd rom drive breaks? What if I don't have a cd rom drive? What about when the next big thing comes along and we ALL don't have cd rom drives? Maybe I won't be playing the game then but maybe I will.

    Many of the above scenarios have occured already. More than once. Thank you thank you thank you gamecopyworld.com.

    I have no reason to distrust crackers. What reason do you have?

  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pikakilla (775788) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:59PM (#10857699)
    Who would really give a damn about halflife 2 in seventy years? Who of us will be ALIVE in seventy years? Besides, some people will probably find a way to get around the validation before you get tired of the single player.
  • Good. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by otis wildflower (4889) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:00PM (#10857725) Homepage
    Besides the fact that these warez could be virused, tweaked with cheats like autoaim or autododge, etc. I would hope that anyone playing a great Linux port (such as UT2004, thanks icculus!) is properly paid up.

    To be quite honest, I'm pretty pleased that Bungie/M$ has put their foot down on Halo2 hijinks, it's good that there's a level baseline (where slow stick 'mouselook' is compensated by some constant autoaim) and a fairly cheat-resistant environment.

    (Now if only H2 matchmaker had better gametype and map combos.. 8x8 on Zanzibar is a bit crowded.. UT2004 still 0wnz pure multiplayer...)
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:01PM (#10857731)
    Im not a 'pirate', i just dont support companies with shit policies.

    Then don't play the game.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Crazy Canuckster (825186) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:02PM (#10857744)
    "Im not a 'pirate', i just dont support companies with shit policies." Umm dood, I'm no lawyer but, if you download cracked software, install it and play it....suprise! You ARE a pirate. Just because you don't like their policies that doesn't make it legal to STEAL their software. Just because I don't like Bushes policies that doesn't mean I can go out and...wait a minute wrong thread...
  • by Citizen Gold (540740) * on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:09PM (#10857843) Homepage Journal
    So, when you download this cracked version are you going to go out and buy the game (that you returned) again? If so, I'd say fair enough. If not you add to the number of people that caused the activation process in the first place.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SlamMan (221834) <squigit@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:11PM (#10857860)
    Don't buy the game on the first day. Do you install patches the day they come out? Plenty of things have problems when they're first released.
  • by JWhitlock (201845) <John-Whitlock AT ieee DOT org> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:12PM (#10857881)
    There's no real point to cracking it if you have a legal version.

    I find the No-CD crack for most of my single-player games. I travel a lot, and I don't want to take the CDs with me on a trip, or have a spinning CD-ROM eating at my battery life.

    CDs also fill up a laptop case, and the only time I've lost a CD is when I accidentally left it in a hotel room, so I like to leave the CDs at home or the office. I used to take copies of the CD-ROMS, which were sometimes hard to make, but they were all repossesed by the cultural police at the Jeddah airport in Saudia Arabia. So now it's just No-CD cracks.

    With HL2, it's a moot point, since there is no way it will play on my laptop, and I have no desire to play it on an airplane. But still, I have no ethical problems with installing the No-CD crack for games I own, and I've yet to find one that did anything malicious to my laptop.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:16PM (#10857921)
    A HL2 torrent released so they can monitor and ban IPs that connect to it? I doubt it, as that's a legal minefield - you don't even need to be a lawyer to see how a smart pirate is going to make Valve look like fools in court by arguing that by connecting to the torrent and, by the nature of bittorrent, sending just one byte of the game down his pipe, they were displaying conscious intent to give him the whole game for free, thus whipping their case out from under them.
    You can get the IPs of seeds and peers on a torrent without "sending just one byte of the game down his pipe." Problem solved.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rpdillon (715137) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:17PM (#10857942) Homepage
    Indeed...Valve is not the gold standard.

    But the geek side of me has to acknowledge that the idea of downloading premium game content over the net versus having to walk/drive to the store is a great advance, and while it may havebeen inevitable, its good to see it actually working today (albeit with some growing pains in the first few hours/days/weeks).

    This is exaclty the business model I'd like to see pursued with software, music and movies. It puts the money into the hands of the developers, rather than the publishers, and has the potential to eventually lower prices, if competition is good.

    I'd like to see $40 premium games on release day, rather than the push for $55-$60 pricetags, along with knowing that even though I pay $15-$20 less, more money is actually going to the guys who wrote the software.

    That would be the The Right Thing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:18PM (#10857950)
    "you don't even need to be a lawyer to see how a smart pirate is going to make Valve look like fools in court..."

    Valve hasn't actually taken anyone to court, though. So long as they just stick to banning people from Steam and not actually dragging them to court, I don't see any real legal complications here.
  • Consumer tolerance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by No Such Agency (136681) <abmackay@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:22PM (#10857989)
    Don't compare Steam to Kazaa, it doesn't spy on you. If you could pay for Kazaa, it probably wouldn't either.

    Presumably, people will not tolerate "content delivery" software that attacks competing software on their computer. Also, even a lot of clueless end users despise spyware. One would hope that major companies like Sony would not bite themselves in the ass PR-wise just to deliver a few banner ads to your desktop (considering how much profit would come from selling music etc. downloads).

    Of course, amazingly stupid things are done all the time by otherwise sensible companies. Which is why we have to make a big noise every time they try to screw us. Also, if running a bunch of different Steam-like apps at once hoses your computer so none of them work, it's similar to the "tragedy of the commons", in that no one company has intended to make your computer nonfunctional (why would they want to when you use it to buy media from them?) but all together they bugger it up.

    I don't mind the concept of Steam, but they really should have provided an alternative for users with NO internet connection (or a really slow one, like 33.6), as rare as they may be. It could be as simple as a phone call to tell them your CD key and get a code to punch in to activate. Those people wouldn't need multiplayer anyway, after all, so Steam wouldn't be needed for that.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pommiekiwifruit (570416) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:22PM (#10857995)

    The likelihood of Acclaim going out of business is what?

    The likelihood of Argonaut going out of business is what?

    The likelihood of Virgin/Vivendi/Fox being sold to another company is what?

  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skye16 (685048) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:23PM (#10858008)
    The problem is that 99.99% of the complaints are not in the form of constructive criticism. It's a barely cohesive mumbo jumbo with a lot of "ur" "2" "gay" "faget" and other bullshit. In the off chance the user has refrained from profanity AND put to use their 10th grade writing skills to use, they still manage to fail to offer any sort of constructive criticism. Constructive criticism requires two things; pointing out the flaws and offering possible solutions. Without the later, the entire concept of "constructive criticism" is moot (in this situation); it's not like Valve has a whole SLEW of better ideas just sitting there waiting for us to bitch enough before they implement them. Because that obviously makes sense. [/sarcasm]

    Yes, people don't like to have to validate their game. I'm sure there are some people out there who also don't want to have to install the game before playing it, either. And probably even a few who don't even want to have to be forced to play the game; it should just play itself!

    I realize those are unfair comparisons, but the bottom line is, Steam is the best thing Valve could have done, both for themselves, and, yes, the consumers. Now the patches are delivered right to my computer. I don't even have to bother looking for them. Could Valve have invested in a wee bit more bandwidth and a few more servers, at least for the launch and the Christmas season? Definitely! But it's not nearly as bad as everyone is making it out to be. People, seriously; get a goddam grip. I wasn't thrilled when I had to wait 12 hours for the last 18% of my preload to finish (on a connection that usually gets about 300k/s), but that doesn't mean that Steam, the validation system, or Valve are the anti-Christ. Relax a bit, have a cookie, and go for a walk while you wait.

    Besides, it's not as bad as waiting for a Gentoo installation to be finished.

    *still waiting for Gnome to finish emerging*
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:2, Insightful)

    by guinsu (198732) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:26PM (#10858040)
    And remember, Microsoft gives you 30 days to activate it. Plus you can call an 800 number if you don't have a net connection.

    I don't like activation but Microsoft got it right where Vavle got it all wrong.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:31PM (#10858086)
    Oh and by now it is you who ows me money since the cost of your "product" is far less then the expense of my time attempting to make it work. The going rate for my type of services is ~$150/hr and I spend in exceess of 10 hours allready on this crap troubleshooting it.

    That's a pretty stupid excuse for pirating their game now. They owe you nothing, you VOLUNTARILY bought their game you were not contracted to make it work on your machine. If you don't like Steam and are frustrated with trying to make the game work, get your money back and buy something else, but pirating their game is still not acceptable.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Other White Boy (626206) <theotherwhiteboy.gmail@com> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:39PM (#10858191)
    in 1995 people would have called you crazy if you said that Origin would not exist in 2000.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:40PM (#10858196) Journal
    Who would really give a damn about halflife 2 in seventy years?

    The same people who watch silent movies or listen to Handel or read Dickens or go to exhibitions of Vermeer. Personally, I own and play regularly video games that were made before I was born. Just because something's old doesn't mean its worthless.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:41PM (#10858220) Homepage Journal
    "And on the same note, why should Valve go through 5 years of cost and trouble to design the best game ever made (my own opinion after playing it) only to have it widely stolen and pirated?"

    A.) Because it won't "only" be stolen. They'll be successful regardless. The 'legitimate customer' market is actually very large.

    B.) Do you really think this won't be cracked, therefore completely thrwarting their 'protection'? Legit customers get bit, pirates don't care.

    C.) You don't see the similarity between this and what certain music companies did to protect their CDs, thus rendering them unplayable? That wasn't acceptable, either.

    "I'd much rather have Valve protect their creation via technology than in the courts."

    I'd much rather buy products that satisfy me instead of turning piracy into a more attractive alternative.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dossen (306388) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:50PM (#10858335) Homepage
    Here's something I've been thinking about:

    The purpose of copyright (US law anyway), is to encourage the publishing of materials, with the intent of creating a rich public domain, right?
    This is accomplished by giving a legal monopoly to the author/publisher for a "limited time".
    Once this limited time is up, the work enters the public domain.

    How should that system react to materials with DRM protection?
    These materials will forever remain under technical protection (assuming that no cracks are found). Why should they then recieve legal protection?
    Would it not be reasonable to require a little quid pro quo? Perhaps require unprotected (full quality, whatever this means) copies to be filed with libraries?
    That way you could get it in 70 years (if Mickey hasn't needed another extension). Maybe you should even be allowed access if you could document a fair use reason (or perhaps you could get a fresh copy when your cd/dvd/whatever is broken)?

  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tim C (15259) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:51PM (#10858344)
    I don't really see the wait as a big problem. Sure, I can imagine it's frustrating, but like you say, go do something else while you wait.

    The real problem is the lack of future proofing. I can slap in HL1 today, fire it up and be playing without any hassles. Same for Quake, and other games of that era.

    But what about HL2? Will I still be able to play that in 5 or 10 years time? Or will the authentication servers no longer be there?

    No, it won't stop me buying the game (pay-day is a week away yet), but it is a concern. Nothing lasts forever, but this potentially unecessarily shortens the life of something that could last a lot longer.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dysan2k (126022) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:57PM (#10858410) Homepage
    If you even considered paying for it in the first place, there's a darn fine chance you're not a pirate. If you did, then you're one of MANY folks who will support it (or bought an ATI XT card.)

    As for single player, of course it will be cracked. Probably already has been, and that's just common with software. I'm not terribly thrilled with having to validate online before playing, but you're gonna be downloading patches, mods, etc. to avoid the starting bugs anyhow, so what does one more wait get ya?

    I came to realize long ago that the best way to avoid mass pirating is to provide a reasonable cost. I think if a lot of these companies realized that 12-14 yr olds don't generally have $50-60 to blow, they'd sell a lot more games. $30 is very reasonable, especially in this economy, and they'd cut the pirating down to a very small percentage. More money up front means more pirating, and it's been that way for MANY years. Pirates will not pay, all others provide cash/credit.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tenareth (17013) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @04:57PM (#10858411) Homepage
    You sir are ignorant. Hey, I bought this car and even though it had a big sign that said "MANUAL SHIFT" I was pissed that it wasn't automatic, so I returned it and went out and stole an automatic car.

    You are the reason Valve needs to have copyright protection, you stand on your high ignorant horse and talk about "If I were in charge, everything would be perfect and everyone would buy my stuff and nobody would steal it"

    You are the scumbag, Valve is a company that has been supporting a no-money-making game for the past 5 years with CounterStrike. Forgot that you haven't had to pay one penny to play it for the past 5 years??? Maybe they fucking deserve a little compensation, ok nitwit?

  • Think about it a moment. The Internet, as it is designed, is specifically intended to allow the free flow of information to anyone who wants to post or send it. No one who produces IP, be it a software company, music or movie producer, or anyone else, can stop -anything- that can be made into data from being distributed in this manner. What they can do is make it more difficult to do so, while making it easy and convenient to use their software. People will pay for convenience, as has been demonstrated time and again, even if a cheaper or free option is available but more of a pain.

    So, the smart company doesn't say "Pirating is theft!" (Most don't see it as such and/or don't care.) Or say "Software piracy is hurting us, we won't be able to develop further games!" (Awwww, you only made $299 million instead of $300 million on it. Don't I wish I had your problem.) What they should say is "Cracked copies may be a pain and may not work. Our version will work straight out of the box." (Maybe even throw in something about how pirated copies may contain worms/Trojans. While that's not too often true, most people wouldn't know that.)

    So, what's the problem here? Valve's software WON'T work out of the box, and a cracked copy WILL! They have removed the last incentive there is to purchase a "real" copy for those with any type of computer know-how. Quite simply put, the major misunderstanding that most IP companies operate under is the assumption that computer technology and the Internet are simply going to go away, or will be put under their full and absolute control. The first is unrealistic and the second unthinkable.

    Just as they have had to adapt to VCR's, tape decks, CD burners, radio, and every other type of technology invented, they are going to have to figure out how to work WITH the net rather than against it. That may involve some sort of collective licensing scheme (the best solution, to my way of thinking.) It may be to stop licensing each individual copy and instead concentrate on providing value-added support for a fee, such as tech support and customization. It may be to offer copies in an easier and more convenient manner than scouring newsgroups and getting cracks to work. It may be offering webbased services available only to registered users. It may be some combination of all of the above. But one thing's for sure: The solution lies in changing their business model to adapt to technology, not in trying to change technology to adapt to their business model.

  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:4, Insightful)

    by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @05:04PM (#10858499)
    As soon as there is a cracked version that eliminates the need for a net connection i will be using it on my internet free gaming box, but Valve will not see a penny from me. Im not a 'pirate', i just dont support companies with shit policies.

    No. You're a 'pirate'.

    If you were serious about not supporting companies with shit policies, YOU WOULDN'T PLAY THE GAME AT ALL.

  • by necro2607 (771790) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @05:11PM (#10858582)
    Um, except that most of the time these cracks are written by members of huge piracy/cracking groups that have their huge reputation on the line and will only release the best product to maintain their reputation...

    They see releasing high quality cracks/warez as a matter of pride and wouldn't do something so "immoral" for any reason, unless the whole purpose of their group to begin with was to gain respect and popularity and then screw over everyone who trusts them.

    The only people who make those malicious cracks are small groups that are founded upon the members' harmful intent, or individuals with the same intent.

    Anyone who runs cracks made by these small groups/individuals obviously deserves whatever they get as a result of trusting unreputed and unknown obscure software crackers.

    So many times I've gone to crack a program for a friend or whatever, and they start whining about shit like "You're going to get a virus on my computer!" ... No, you dumbass. You'll get viruses/trojans on your computer when you search for "half life 2 crack" on fucking Kazaa and start downloading and running every result that comes up.

    These groups have a HUGE reputation on the line, they're not gunna fuck around with that. They receive hosting on servers with huge disk space and high bandwidth *as a favor* from users who support the groups. They don't want to piss off the users that support them.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigman2003 (671309) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @05:11PM (#10858583) Homepage
    Yes, and I'd rather not lock my doors at night.

    I'd rather be on the 'honor system' at the stores I go to.

    And It would be great if we didn't have to spend money on police, because I'm not a criminal.

    Too bad that there are always enough jackasses out there, that you can NEVER trust the public to do anything right, honest, or decent.
  • by hkmwbz (531650) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @05:21PM (#10858716) Journal
    Funny that. This impatient potential customer might actually turn into a pirate instead. Requiring online activation for single player is an insult to me as a cusomter, and it causes me problems. It seems that they are more concerned about pretending to do something about piracy, when, in fact, it only inconveniences their customers. Pirates will just use a cracked version, and it's rather tempting, I must say.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mortlath (780961) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @05:22PM (#10858722)
    There's a difference between locking your door, and subjecting all your guests to a strip-search.

    I think the previous posters has a point. There's difference between taking some precautions, and going overboard on dealing with piracy.

    -Morty

  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DigitalRaptor (815681) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @05:22PM (#10858724) Homepage
    The single player mode has already been cracked. Multiplayer hasn't and won't be, just like with the original Half Life.

    I'm with you, I use cracked versions of software for an extended demo all the time. If I like the program and find value in it, I buy it.

    I bought HL2 specifically to support Valve for making such a great game. HL was amazing, and HL2 is even more amazing.

    I can't fault Valve for protecting what is theirs, and doing so in a way that has minimal inconvenience to customers.

  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @05:44PM (#10859001) Homepage Journal
    "A) So as long as Ford sells enough cars to "be successful", they shouldn't make attempts to keep cars from being stolen off their lots or from their factories?"

    Uh huh. Because software copying is EXACTLY like removal of physical property. But as long as we're going down incongruous metaphor lane, let's make take this to an even stupider level: Would it be okay for you if Ford protected their cars by causing you to have to call them and seek permission to open the door? What good does that do if somebody can still force their way in?

    If you're shaking your head, fine, don't bother hitting reply on that. The metaphor was stupid to begin with. I never said it was okay for people to steal, nor was I rationalizing it. What I was saying was that it wasn't worth hurting the customer over.

    "B) Of course it will be cracked. Almost everything gets cracked. But for online gaming, what percentage of those playing the original Half-Life multiplayer were doing so on pirated software? 0%. Authentication works."

    Right. Ask Blizzard about BnetD and then tell me again how succesful authentication is. If Half-Life 2's authentication is bad enough (not saying it is, as I'm not afraid to admit I really have no idea.) they could get around the authentication problem by developing their own server for it. It's difficult, not all that practical, but not impossible. (There's a big question mark over my head as to whether anybody can host their own game or if it's STRICTLY being done by Valve. If you're getting the sense that I don't know much about this game, your intuition would be correct.) If you can host your own game, authentication seriously loses its effectiveness in the hands of pirates. If the servers are 100% Valve owned, then I'm willing to concede this point to practicality.

    C.) Nothing about this makes it unplayable.

    Yet. Most of us have a tale to tell about losing an important element of a game, like the ID#, and having to buy another copy to play it again. History's against you here.
  • Sometimes.... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Infinityis (807294) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @05:45PM (#10859024) Homepage
    Sometimes all this stuff makes me wonder if it's really worth it. People know that the game is good, but making it a hassle to play seems a bit like bad business. If someone really wants something, they'll find a way to get it. For a few people, this means hacking and cracking till the sun goes down. However, for the large majority of thrill-seekers out there, $40 is not a big deal...that's the equvalent of maybe 5 movie tickets nowdays. Is it worth alienating 50% of your customers to eliminate 5% to 10% of the freeloaders?

    It may be better to simply use religion as a model...if people like their religion and stuff like that, they give money to support it. The proliferation of all these different denominations speaks volumes that this business model must work. If people really like the games, they know that the games cannot be developed without money, so why not let the users support it. It might be worth mentioning that Linus and others developing Linux (a free product) aren't starving (that I know of), and if they were, I'm certain that they could rememdy that problem real quick with the user base they have... I think I read something like that for Wikipedia...they needed some money, simply asked their users, and voila, they got money.

    I dunno...maybe I'm just dreaming.
  • NOT the Borg? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2004 @05:54PM (#10859130)
    NOT a Borg collective? Oh cmon, are you new here?

    Face it - on nearly every discussion (save Politics and Religion), there is little to no "debate". There is only mild variations of a single opinion and maybe one or two dissenters and a handfull of contrarians/trolls.

    But I guess 99.9% doesn't really constitute a true collective, so I guess you are right.
  • by Net_fiend (811742) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @06:01PM (#10859199)
    Apparently you people don't know what your talking about in regards what has been going on with the Half-Life 2 release.

    I'm sure Valve was happy that there was not an illegal release of their game a few weeks or even a few days before the actual release date. (This is with exception to the beta leak, which was unfinished) It is my opinion that Valve has become stupified by other companies as well as greedy (although the greed may have stemmed from VU).

    Within hours of the HL2 unlocking there was a warez version available. This version was warez version was then "nuked" as it was found to not work. A fix was later posted that fixed the nuked version of the warez. There was also a way to circumvent the steam login, but Valve finally caught onto that one and now probably logs all people trying to do that. (if that is possible; if you don't know what I'm talking about use google)

    What bothers me the most about HL2 is the fact that you have to log into steam every single time you want to play a single player game. If I pay 50+ (US) I better be able to play it without having to do anything special other than putting a serial key in. So what if the game gets pirated. I haven't seen a game in recent years that hasn't been pirated, yet the more popular games still make millions and line the pockets of the game makers/publishers. I am not ncessarily promoting pirating games, but what I am saying is that a game maker shouldn't build their game completely around such protection. It ends up ruining the ease of use with the consumer. This also takes away the some of the ownership of the game. Also, what happens if the steam servers go down for some reason, be it maintaince or something else? Personally I don't like this system of having to logon to the internet for a single player game. As that is what Half-Life 2 is a single player game, yes it has multiplayer capabilities, but at the core it is a single player game. Those are just some of my views of the whole deal.

  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @06:10PM (#10859325) Homepage
    Perhaps you have heard of former head of Vivendi, Mr. Messier, you see most of Vivendi's money is in the water business, and he went on an acquition spree, but now he is gone, so they could easily get out of the games business. Also perhaps you have heard of Interplay or maybe read about Fallout 3 being sold to Bethesda? Thus this stuff does happen. Or Valve could decide that Half-life 2.5 is the new greatness and no one shall play Half-life 2 online multiplayer any more.
  • by Brakz0rz (773616) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @06:20PM (#10859448) Journal
    Steam finally authenticated my cd-key after four hours on release day and I was able to play. I was p.o'd but I was happy to get into the game.

    Today however... I started steam and it updated itself which was not surprising after the previous issues. I started the game and got the "preparing to play hl2" dialog then...

    "The game is currently unavailable.
    Please try again at another time"

    EXCUSE ME? I did not think I needed Valve'e permission to play a game I purchased. I then tried CS:S and got the init dialog then... nothing.

    Well I guess I'll check the Steampowered forums to see what's up. Oh but wait...

    "vBulletin Message
    The server is too busy at the moment. Please try again later."

    Valve has installed copy protection that is hurtful to the people who purchased this game. Here in Canada EB will not give me my money back, will Valve?

    The irony is that the methods that they are using make no difference at all in piracy prevention. Check suprnova and you will see the game is available.

    Finally, I don't see anywhere on the box that you have to agree to the steam eula in order to play HL2. Screw you valve, but only after you have obviously screwed me. I am not a criminal but Valve is certainly treating me like one.
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rhombic (140326) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @06:44PM (#10859682)
    What's wrong with this picture?

    Nothing at all. You were trying to install the software on a system that didn't meet the requirements printed on the outside of the box, and it didn't work. Big Surprise.

    Did you read the system requirements on the outside of the box before you purchased it? 'Cause on mine, it specifically says that an internet connection is required. You can argue that the connection requirement shouldn't be there, but you can't argue that their software didn't work as advertised. Not playing it on principle b/c it says it requires a connection and you don't have one makes about as much sense as not playing it on the principle b/c it requires a better graphics card than you've got.

  • by lsmeg (529105) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @06:59PM (#10859824)
    Bzzzzzt.

    Sorry. You're wrong.Steam takes seconds to start. In all the time I've been using Steam (in various beta versions for well over a year) Steam has *never* taken more than several seconds to start up and authenticate.

    Why do people suddenly become so condescending when they jump on the internet? I see so many posts on so many topics where people bash others who are having problems. "It works for me, you must be doing something wrong/be an idiot/have a crappy PC/etc."

    Does it ever occur to you people that PCs vary greatly, and a normal, function PC might behave differently from a different, normal, functioning PC? And what exactly is an "incorrect configuration"? If every other game runs fine, but HL2 doesn't, is it the user's fault? Maybe, just maybe some of the blame lies on Valve for creating a system that's relatively frail?

  • by Mortlath (780961) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @07:52PM (#10860181)
    I'll assume when you say proven system(s), you mean "something that will prevent piracy"

    I don't know if there are any proven anti-piracy systems.

    Can you list any proven anti-burgler devices for homes?

    Any determined burgler can break into a house.
    Any determined cracker can crack a game's copy protection scheme.

    -Morty

  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Snaller (147050) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @08:38PM (#10860512) Journal
    And on the same note, why should Valve go through 5 years of cost and trouble to design the best game ever made (my own opinion after playing it) only to have it widely stolen and pirated?

    No - why does the honest customers have to go through all this hassel (and how stupid are valve) when the game WILL be pirated a few days after its out...
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ip_fired (730445) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @09:27PM (#10860822) Homepage
    No. I'd pretty much say it's very improbable. Maybe you could make your own authentication server, and fake that, but the HL and Source engines do hit calculations at the server level when you are playing multiplayer games (prevents some cheating on the client side).

    Of course, since the old source is probably still floating around out on the internet somewhere, perhaps someone could use that illegally stolen source code to create a server without the authentication.

    For those of you who don't know, anyone can host a game server. The multiplayer component of HL2 is Counterstrike:Source. Go and download the steam client, create a new user, and click on the "Play Games" button. You'll see at the bottom the option to download and install the dedicated server. This downloads the server and maps for online play. Fire this up, it contacts the steam authentication and listing servers, and you're all set to go. People start joining your server.

    You host the game. Not Valve. Valve just has a nice way of keeping everything legitimate and giving you the ability to find games. They also lock people out that have abused the system (by cheating), which is nice, since who wants to play a game with cheaters.

    As for your last comment: Yet. Most of us have a tale to tell about losing an important element of a game, like the ID#

    This is the best thing yet about Steam. There is nothing to lose. The key is electronic, I just type in my username and password, and it lets me play. I can lose all of the disks that came with the full version, and still go and download it again and type in my username and password and it'll let me play.

    Never will you lament the fact that you've lost your precious key, or the play CD necessary to get past the onerous CD protection got too scratched up to read.

    Although Steam has some warts, it is a "good thing".
  • Re:Take a lesson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @11:07PM (#10861447) Homepage Journal
    "For those of you who don't know, anyone can host a game server. The multiplayer component of HL2 is Counterstrike:Source. Go and download the steam client, create a new user, and click on the "Play Games" button. You'll see at the bottom the option to download and install the dedicated server. This downloads the server and maps for online play. Fire this up, it contacts the steam authentication and listing servers, and you're all set to go. People start joining your server."

    Unless the authentication server is also doing the hit detection, no, this is hardly uncrackable. Here are the basic steps:

    1.) Remove authentication challenge from client.
    2.) Remove authentication challenge from server.
    3.) Play game.

    "This is the best thing yet about Steam. There is nothing to lose. The key is electronic, I just type in my username and password, and it lets me play. I can lose all of the disks that came with the full version, and still go and download it again and type in my username and password and it'll let me play."

    That's great as long:

    a.) You remember your password.
    b.) Nobody else uses your password.
    c.) You aren't banned for life for something you didn't do.
    d.) Valve is in business.

    You cannot honestly tell me this is preferable to how it worked in the olden days.

    "Although Steam has some warts, it is a "good thing"."

    Not sold. The only fairly impressive detail you mentioned here was re-downloading the media. Question is: Is Valve providing this media, or are you saying from illegit sources? If it's the former, that is great news and make cause me to reconsider my position. If it's the latter, pfbpbpb, not an interesting benefit.

    Not trying to be hard nosed Anti-Valve zealot here, but I'm just not sold.

  • by Londovir (705740) on Friday November 19, 2004 @01:04AM (#10862016)

    Well, one thing I've noticed is that most people are not complaining that Valve have chosen to use the Steam system as a means of secure, digital distribution of their products. I believe that it's a fantastic way of selling products, and provided you have the internet pipe to handle that much data transfer, more power to you - saves a trip to the store. That's not what the complaining is about at all.

    What the complaining really is about is the way that the online validation is required for B&M purchases. (I don't know enough to know if there's truth to having to validate online every single time you want to play SP or not, seems many people say you don't have to, just the first time only.) If you go down to your local store and pay your money for the product, you should be able to play it without having to go online and [hopefully] get through to a server somewhere to prove you bought it.

    I applaud your desire to reward Valve by purchasing a copy even though you'd gotten a free copy via a videocard purchase. Of course, there's a good chance they got some money already from the videocard company in that deal (depends on the terms of the agreement; in this case, since it's obvious that HL2 was a compelling reason to buy the videocard, I'll bet the terms were in Valve's favor and not vice versa...) The only concern I have (especially after reading about the recent EA programmer's issues) is whether or not the money is truly going to benefit the programmers who tirelessly slaved away for the 5 years to make HL2.

    This whole issue with Steam reminds me too much of the DirecTV Tivo issues that are just as interesting. For those who don't know, DirecTV Tivo units require you to keep your units plugged into your phone lines in order for your service to continue without "issues". For example, if your unit doesn't make its daily calls, eventually your ability to order PPVs through the unit is disabled (though you still can order online/phone). So the bottom line there is, you paid for the unit, you pay your subscription bills every month on time, but you're still forced to make a daily phone call that has no literal bearing on how your service works on your TV. (Even tv guide data is pulled from the satellite dish, not the phone).

    This is the same exact issue. People paid for a product legitimately, but can't use it until their "phone" (ie, internet client) makes a "call" (ie, authentication) to a central server. Yes, it may be inconvenient and easy to do quickly, but the question is really, "Should it be done?"

    Those complaining about Steam aren't expecting special privileges without paying the dues necessary for getting them. (IE, wanting SD equivalent from HD providers without paying for HD.) People paid their money and expect to be able to use it without delay of any sort. It would be much like buying a new home (with an electronic keycode necessary to open the locks), paying in cash for it, and when you go to move in, you have to wait on the phone for an operator to be available to verify your paperwork and send you the keycodes to open the door. It's not unreasonable, if you think about it for a minute, to be upset that you've paid for something and still can't use it until you get someone to "believe you", which is basically what Valve/Steam is doing. You paid $50 for it, but until their computers "believe you" (authentication), you still can't use it.

    Londovir

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak

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