Why must SecuROM be such a pain in the ass?

So I got my girlfriend Grand Theft Auto IV for Christmas (well… among other things), and we finally got around to installing it last night.

What a pain in the behind! It wouldn’t activate online, so we had to go online (spare me… I realize how redundant that sounds), and use their CD key challenge and response system.

Fine, that’s not too bad, I’ve seen worse.

It then asked me to install “Social Club”. Definitely a raised eyebrow from me there, but the gf dutifully presses “yes” and “I agree”. We decide to spare the extra time and skip the Social Club registration.

The game takes forever and a day to install (but that’s to be expected… 15 GB and all…)

It was around this point I realized that SecuROM had made its way onto her computer. Cold feet, I hadn’t had much experience with it, but I had heard enough stories about SecuROM going wrong on legit customers to be wary.

The installation’s finished, we double click the icon…

“Disk not in drive”.


We replace the install disk with the play disk.

“Wrong disk in drive, please insert the original Grand Theft Auto IV disk into Drive D:”

Now would be a good time to mention that my gf has two CD/DVD ROM drives on her computer. SecuROM doesn’t like that, because it means the customer in question has the capability to be a pirate.

Worst case of “guilty until proven innocent”, hm?

Girlfriend’s swearing intensifies.

We swap CDs around willy-nilly until it starts working, for some reason. I still don’t know why.

Social Club opens and asks for us to log in. We skip this screen (after all, we didn’t register, right?), and press “PLAY”.

No dice, the game needs to update. Fair enough, we download the patch, install, and try again.

No dice, apparently, we need Games for Windows installed to play. Girl friend begins to whine because she wants to play. We are an hour into installation.

Games for Windows is installed, we don’t know what it does.

No dice, the game wants us to register for social club.

We click the link, expecting us to hand over credit card information, when the game decides to work. I can (sort of) understand when games REFUSE to work because of some security concern, but when there’s a security issue, and the game DOES work? Very shoddy coding.

Alright, so the game works…

Turns out the graphics card is much too slow. Girlfriend has a laugh over how laggy the controls for driving the cars.

We exit and uninstall the game. Girlfriend becomes frustrated and plays Scribblenauts (another xmas present - no headaches there!) instead.

I uninstall the game, hatred seething from my very pores. Thankfully, the game uninstalls without issue.

SecuROM remains. On googling, I find out that SecuROM has a removal tool. I download it, and run it, and restart.

I find now that my second dvd-drive no longer opens. After all, I need the install disk back, so I can burn this motherfucker into a piece of molten plastic.

Google-fu comes to my rescue, and I end up having to run SecuBeGone and CCCleaner to restore functionality to my downed drive.

I don’t know how any normal person could have dealt with this. I only knew what to do because I knew what to google, and what was happenning (since I was reading up on SecuROM while the game took a day and a half to install).

SecuROM, fuck you… in the urethra. Your worthless code deserves to be decompiled in front of your eyes into zeros. Many many zeroes. Your “social club” program is a useless ad-delivery system that pretends to be like Steam. Your insistence on having to register online for a single player game makes me sick. Fuck you.

Say, who wants GTA IV for the PC?

Mm, missed the edit window.

I also wanted to add that this officially makes pirated games much safer, quicker, and easier to install compared to SecuROM-protected games.

What a wonderful endorsement for the pirate software industry.

Things are changing. Slowly but surely, and for the better. A game with the required jumps and hoops of GTA IV just would not fly now.

Games like Dragon Age and Sins of a Solar Empire have only a disc check for the retail version, or no protection at all.

There is a huge switch that began taking place a few years ago in PC gaming and that is digital distribution. Soon it will be the best and most viable platform for getting your games. Forget retail. They can’t compete with the prices and offers. PC gaming will mean you have either Steam or Impulse or both and you’ll probably hit a few of the other digital distributors like Good Old Games, Gamer’s Gate and Direct 2 Drive.

Games like Grandtheft auto IV and Spore will be seen as failed experiments into the platform, and won’t be copied. As usual, it’s the PC that’s treading over new ground. Eventually the consoles will follow suit.

Well, I’m glad I skipped on GTA 4 during the steam sale 2 days ago for $7.50. It was tempting to get at that price, but I’ve heard nothing but bad about what they did to it, so I decided to pass.

Yes, these anti-piracy measures are stupid and counterproductive. No major game has successfully delayed piracy by more than a few days even with these new invasive DRM schemes. Even now, if I wanted to play GTA4 I would pirate it rather than purchase it, because I know the pirates take out a lot of this garbage… I would actually get a better experience by pirating the game, which is a ridiculously stupid position to put your potential customers in. I have now probably skipped out on buying $200-300 worth of games due to my concern over their DRM, that I otherwise would’ve bought.

This came to a head with Spore last year when there was a massive backlash over the DRM - a campaign with thousands of people going to sites like amazon.com and review sites and downranking the game. After that, EA stopped (for the most part) putting this shit on their games, so it seems like the problem is improving.

I purchase almost all my games through steam, which has completely unobtrusive DRM. A few games, for some retarded reason, have third party DRM inaddition to steam DRM, and that has kept me from buying them. Why they want to try to do that I have no idea.

I threw out a game I liked to play a couple months ago. Why? The copy protection had me pissing with the game installation about 2 times the amount of game play I got in before having problems again and again. I also ended up having to reinstall the operating system a few times because of how screwed up my system got trying to make the game run. I broke the cd’s and threw it out before I messed everything up again. At least I got the pleasure of knowing the copy protection was the reason this game never became a big profit maker as it was complained about on every gamer board.

Steam games usually don’t have anything besides the regular Steam DRM.

That’s pretty much my attitude, except that I don’t pirate games ( but I can’t bring myself to care about people who do, at this point ). Both as a matter of principle and of practicality I simply refuse to buy a game with DRM. No matter how much I want to try the game.

Usually, but a few things do, much to my puzzlement. Recently I can think of the Chronicldes of Riddick game, and the DLC to Borderlands both having DLC. Which is especially strange in the latter case since Borderlands does not.

In my experience, Steam has been completely unobtrusive, so I’m all for it.

Despite worries that Steam has the actual game itself, and if Steam vanishes, so does the game, I’m okay with that… Steam’s been around long enough in my eyes.

I suspect valve would never let it just dissapear - they would release a patch that removed the requirement to log in and authenticate to running steam. Or hackers would. Either way, the risk of suddenly losing access to your library are miniscule IMO.

When StarForce 3.0 was released, it initially provided extremely strong protection - the StarForce 3.0-protected game Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory was uncracked for 422 days

I stand corrected and from a technical standpoint that’s actually fairly impressive. Of course the cost of doing it was that it was some nasty, scary stuff. Starforce was the first protection that ever stopped me from buying a game, because it could do actual physical damage to your hard drive and dvd drives. I will say that the vast majority of games are cracked within a few days.

I hated Steam in it’s early days, but the current incarnation seems to have it’s act together. Enough so that I passed on buying Empire: Total War at WalMart for $40 and downloaded it from Steam for $25.

One thing Steam does let you do now is to make a backup of the installed game. It splits the executables and data up into cd or dvd sized directories and builds an installer so you can store them locally. If your drive ever dies you can reinstall without having to redownload everything. And the games will be patched to whatever level they were when you made the backup.

I’m moving to a new machine in a few days – would this be the best way to transfer from one machine to the other?

Steam wasn’t perfect at first but it wasn’t really bad. It started over 5 years ago though and it’s been pretty much perfect for 3 or 4. It almost never occurs to me to try to get a game anywhere but steam, and I’ve got 50+ games from there now.

I probably wouldn’t have more than 5 games if it wasn’t for Steam. I’m a big fan.

Just log into your steam account using the new computer.

Steam doesn’t care, since you’re still logging into Steam from the same IP address. Your account only gets flagged (I assume…) if Steam detects game downloads going to multiple IP addresses in the same account.

Yes, this means every computer in your house can access the same game… but only one at a time.

I don’t think it flags it coming from multiple IPs either, like if you wanted to download games at work. The account can only be logged in from one location at a time, which prevents multiple people from (conveniently, at least) playing off one account.

I think you could probably do the “back up local media” thing to your hard drive and then use that to reinstall the game to the new steam, but I’ve never tried it. You may be even able to keep the file structure intact and just install steam on the new computer (same hard drive) and have it recognize what’s there.

But you’d still have to download the game if it’s not on the new computer. That’s what Rhythmdvl was asking: should he back up the games onto CDs/DVDs or just download them again from Steam?

The idea of backing up Steam games to CDs/DVD seems odd to me. The major appeal of Steam to me is that I can pretty much abandon physical media for storage. I remember having spindles and CD books and writing down CD keys and ugh, just double clicking on an icon and waiting a bit for it to download is much, much nicer.