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PC Games (Games) Upgrades Entertainment Games

UbiSoft Blocks Virtual Drives With Raven Shield Patch 152

Thanks to EvilAvatar for their story discussing UbiSoft's new patch for PC stealth action title Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield, which "checks PCs for ANY clone or virtual drive programs and then fails to launch the game if such devices or programs are found." The article explains: "What this has, in turn, done is disabled thousands of consumers who use programs like Daemon Tools, CloneCD or Alcohol 120% from playing their UbiSoft games even if they have their own physical CDs in an actual drive." The writer is furious, pointing out: "Irregardless of what the virtual drives or virtual clone programs on your system are for, you will not be able to play Raven Shield with patch 1.5 unless you remove them completely off your system", and wondering whether this action is allowed under the EULA for the product. There are also similar discussions on the official UbiSoft forums for the game, though many sympathize with UbiSoft's anti-piracy efforts "telling you that in order to use the product you have to keep the CD in."
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UbiSoft Blocks Virtual Drives With Raven Shield Patch

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  • Re:Not a problem (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @09:53PM (#7686058) Homepage Journal
    afaik they're only been checking the name of the virtual device, not actually checking if the programs are installed and refusing to run if they are.

  • by complete loony ( 663508 ) <{Jeremy.Lakeman} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @09:59PM (#7686091)
    How long until the developers of these programs change the application signature that Raven Shield looks for?

    Or some other 3rd party discovers a way to hide them?

    This patch will only be a short term problem, as other virtual drive programs are written or the existing one's modified to avoid the issue.

  • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @10:22PM (#7686235) Homepage
    Keeping a CD around is a real pain. They get lost, they get scratched, they require storage in a binder, and as games copy themselves to the HDD now anyway, they are totally unnecessary. I can store maybe 40 retail games on a HDD, and can play any of them at any moment. Feel like a round of Worms? Boot. Feel like a game of Empires? Start it up. It's that kind of instant gratification you get with consoles, and it should be even faster on a computer. But it isn't. Despite checking my valid registration code on their server when connecting, they still require a crack to run without flipping through 40 pages of CD's looking for that safedisk. U.N.N.E.C.E.S.S.A.R.Y. Don't make your paying clients lives a pain, just to protect against a group of people who aren't going to pay anyway.

    My impulse game of choice is Typing of the Dead. Why? It copied itself to the hard drive nicely, and has played solidly every since. Except for the fiasco of pressing F4 to quit, it has performed admirably... like something I own, not something I'm borrowing for money.

    Come up with a better copy protection scheme, or come up with a better customer.

  • by strangel ( 110237 ) <strangelNO@SPAMantitime.net> on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @10:56PM (#7686442) Homepage
    I know I'm being redundant, but the more voices crying out in horror, the better right?
    Here's my situation, just as an example. I only have 1 optical drive. I don't want to keep my 1 drive filled 24/7 just because I want the game to actually RUN when I start it up. But if I take it out of the drive and put it back in all the time, it's GOING to get scratched up, and you can't make a backup of it. If you crack some games, they won't run online, even with a valid CD key. So, I make an image of the CDs that I use alot.
    Ubi, this is a bad idea, because it angers your REAL customers. Virtual drives have uses other than piracy and the convenience factor I mentioned above, and the people who buy the games are the same people who would have a real use for virtual drives.
    What also should be obvious is the futility of blocking the software - there will be a way around it soon enough. There always is, for better or for worse.
  • by Thing 1 ( 178996 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @01:18AM (#7687271) Journal
    Once the goods have been delivered, forget about the medium already!

    Exactly. And it's not really stopping piracy, either, because pirates who download ISOs and "play" them through DAEMON Tools also have CD burners, which they can in about 1 minute produce a CD which will allow them to still play the game with this patch.

    I don't have any Ubi games myself, so I'm not sure how valid this suggestion is, but here's a potential workaround for those people who absolutely have to pirate:

    1. Download VMware with serial from Kazaa/BitTorrent/etc.
    2. Make ISO using Nero/Undisker/etc (also obtainable through the above).
    3. Connect the virtual CD-ROM to the ISO . As far as the Guest OS is concerned, it's a real, physical CD-ROM, and you don't even have to run DAEMON Tools on the Host OS.
    4. Profit!!!

    I just don't see why companies will produce such crap. I don't even care about this game, and in less than 10 seconds I've got two workarounds (assuming, that is, that the game functions correctly while running in a VM; and even if it doesn't, the pirates can still burn CDs from the downloaded ISOs).

    I buy all my games, and I loved that I figured out how to use DAEMON Tools to run Starcraft without putting the CD in the drive. Making your users hate you is taking a page out of the playbook of the RIAA/MPAA.

  • by Daniel Wood ( 531906 ) * on Thursday December 11, 2003 @02:15AM (#7687528) Homepage Journal
    As an owner of a modified Xbox, I cringe whenever I play games off the disc. Playing of the hard drive is a much more pleasant experience. The loading times are reduced DRAMATICALLY, scene changes are almost instantaneous, no studdering at all. So in the end, the Xbox users who willingly violate the EULA get the better gaming experience. Whether or not they actually paid for the game(I have a gamefly subscription so I don't have to buy games anymore, I just rent and usually stick with a game while cycling the other disc I have.)
  • by moncyb ( 456490 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @03:38AM (#7687800) Journal

    IANAL, but I don't think a "no backup" clause is enforceable, at least in the US. If you look in Title 17, Chapter 1, Sec. 117 [cornell.edu] ("Limitations on exclusive rights: Computer Programs"), it says making an archival copy (I assume this must mean backup) is not a violation of copyrights.

    Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that computer program provided:


    (2) that such new copy or adaptation is for archival purposes only and that all archival copies are destroyed in the event that continued possession of the computer program should cease to be rightful.

    In fact, paragraph 1 seems to say the programs UbiSoft is blocking may be allowed.

    (1) that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine and that it is used in no other manner...

    It depends upon how the courts will interpet the word "essential." Reading the posts, there seems to be plenty of people on Slashdot who think using a hard drive copy is essential so their CD won't get scratched up. I don't know, maybe I'm stretching a bit.

  • Re:so use a crack (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mystran ( 545374 ) <mystran@gmail.com> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:33AM (#7688148) Homepage
    You just need a crack that in addition to going around the virtual drive checking routine, replaces the routine which replies to servers query of the checksum, either returning the correct (original) checksum it it's static, or using the unmodified binary to calculate the checksum.

    While this is a bit harder to do than just jmp:ing over the checking routine, there's no fundamental reasons why you would have to return the real checksum of the binary. It's just more work for the cracker.

    Actually, even adding something like PunkBuster there to do the checksumming doesn't help. There's no reasons why ANYTHING on your computer could be trusted by the server. It's just a matter of adding yet more things that must be cracked before the game works.

    That said, this whole thing is ridiculous. What's the point of playing games on PC if you have to search for the stupid CD. Game makers that try to force one to do this are just trying to kill the PC gaming. Those people that can't use virtual drives have most likely already gone to consoles.

  • legitimate uses. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by solidox ( 650158 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @08:25AM (#7688678) Homepage
    cd emulation programs have very good, legitimate uses. for example, i have quite a lot of sample cds (for music production), to swap them in and out every time i wanna grab 1 sample off them would be a real pain in the arse, so i just have them all bin/cued on my hdd and use them through daemon or alcy. for this game to refuse to run on machines with these programs installed is absurd. if you have a lot of games (legit or otherwise) then swapping cds in and out all the time is gunna be a pain, also cds get damaged easily. i'd rather iso all the cds and keep the physical copies in a safe place so they don't get arsed.
  • by @madeus ( 24818 ) <slashdot_24818@mac.com> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @08:38AM (#7688717)
    It's been used in the United States for nearly 80 years. It's been in use a lot longer than most words we use every day. It's also present in many American dictionaries. American English, International English and British English are not the same language any more than Scots is the same as English.

    Further more, language evolves; some people are simply too short sighted to comprehend that the purpose of language is to allow communication. The use of 'irregardless' vrs. 'regardless' does not impede that purpose. You'd have to be particularly dull-witted not be able to infer the meaning even if you had never heard the former before.

    This evolution in the language has some about because it's intuitive and logical for many users (given the use of irrespective and regardless) and that's exactly how the English language (the International, British and American variants) has evolved into what it is today. We have gained many words in precisely this manner.

    There are many other words in the English language which also use redundant prefixes, even simple words such as 'unravel'. One would assume from the beatings of people like yourself that it should not be considered a word and that we should exclusively only use the original 'ravel' instead; the 'un-' prefix being mysteriously so objectionable to linguistic conservatives like yourself, no matter how much more intuitive it seems.
  • by thing12 ( 45050 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:51AM (#7689563) Homepage

    Game companies treat everyone that buys their games like thieves, but the real thieves just crack it, never patch the game and then laugh loudly at the poor bastards that had to spend extra money on a product to subsidise the thieves.

    They treat everyone like thieves to protect against casual copiers. If it were trivially easy to copy games then everyone would do it. Instead just the warez kiddies do. Adults have money to buy games, so they're not the ones targetted by this. And I'd say many (not all) 12 year old kids out there don't know how or where to find cracks for games. If they all did, then you'd have one legit copy per school or neighborhood.. instead, because it's not trivially easy to do it, most kids get their parents to buy legit copies for them.

    But, as everyone else has been saying, selling the box gets you profit, online play - unless it's fee based - is a drain off the bottom line. So it only makes sense to limit online play to those who have actually purchased the game. I've played through lots of games on single player only to buy the game afterwards because I wanted to play online. All that really needs to be done is to make it difficult to get updates, additional levels, etc without a valid serial number... or just require product activation. Anything other than having to have an original disk. What happens when manufacturers decide to go to electronic distribution? It's so much cheaper, probably would save $5 per unit sold.

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