10
Condor
13d

Last rant was about games and graphics cards (admittedly not received too well), time for a rant about game development houses.. especially you EA.

So yesterday a friend of mine showed me in one of our Telegram chats that he'd modified some cheats in an old FPS game by editing these scripts (not Lua for some reason) that the game used as a.. configuration language I guess? He called the result a tank cemetery 🙃

Honestly the game looked a lot like Medal of Honor to stoned me at the time, so I figured, well why not fire up that old nx7010 I had laying around for so long, get a new Debian installation on that and rip the Medal of Honor: Allied Assault war chest that I still had, and play it on one of my more modern laptops? Those CD's are now very old anyway, maybe time to archive those before they rot away.

So I installed Debian on it again, looked up how to rip CD's from the command line, and it seemed that dd could do it - just give /dev/cdrom as the input file, and wherever you want to store your copy as the output file. Brilliant! Except.. uh, yeah. It wasn't that easy. So after checking the CD and finding that it was still pristine, and seeing another CD in that war chest fail just the same, I tried burning and then ripping a copy of Debian onto another CD.. checksummed them and yes, it ripped just fine, bit for bit equal. So what the fuck EA, why is your game such a special snowflake that it's apparently too difficult to even spin up the drive to be copied?

So I looked around on plebbit and found this: https://reddit.com/r/DataHoarder/... - the top comment of that post shattered all my hopes for this disc to be possible to rip. Turns out that DRM schemes intentionally screw up the protocols that make up a functioning disc, and detecting those fuck-ups is part of the actual DRM.

"I also remember some forms of DRM will even include disc mastering errors/physical corruption on the actual disc and use those as a sort of fingerprint for the DRM. The copied ISO has to include them at the exact same place in the ISO as on the IRL disc and the ISO emulator has to emulate the disc drive read errors they cause."

So yeah. Never mind that I already own this goddamn game, and that it's allowed by law to make one copy for personal use, AND that intentionally breaking something is very shady indeed.. apparently I don't really own this game after all. So I went onto the almighty search engines, and instantly found a copy of this game for download. You know EA.. I wanted to play nice. You didn't let me. Still wondering why people do piracy now? Might take your top suits that suggested these fucked up DRM schemes another decade to figure out maybe.. even given the obvious now.

But hey I wouldn't even care that much if the medium these games are stored on wouldn't be so volatile (remember these discs are now close to 20 years old, and data rot sets in after 30 years or so). You company decided to publish these on CD. We've had cartridges in many forms before, those are pretty much indestructible and inherently near impossible to duplicate. And why would you want to? But CD is what you chose because you company were too cheap to go to China, get someone to make some plastic molds and put your board and a memory chip in that. Oh and don't even get me started on the working conditions for game devs.. EA and co, aren't you ashamed of yourselves? No wonder that people hate game development houses so much.

Yay, almost finished downloading that copy of Medal of Honor! Whatever you say EA.. I've done everything I could to do it legally. You are the ones who fucked it up.

Comments
  • 5
    @Jilano Do the EA money joke thing. You know the one.
  • 3
    Friends don't let friends do EA.
  • 3
    @rutee07 "EA money joke thing"

    (I recently heard a great play on words with their old "It's in the game" thing, but I can't, for the life of me, remember it...)

    Edit: @OP I don't think GOG have any EA games for logical reasons, but it's a great store to avoid anything with DRMs
  • 1
    @Jilano GOG is awesome, absolutely love that site! I got my copy of Hyperdimension Neptunia from there too, other than only the Steam version being able to play on Linux (so I had to install Windows for that unfortunately), no fuss at all. They do amazing work with the titles they publish :D
  • 1
    @Condor Agreed! Went that way too for the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077! Their new GOG Galaxy is also great if you have many games across all those shitty launchers.
  • 5
    That kind of copy protection was already in use decades ago with intentionally damaged floppy disks.

    20 years ago, they fucked up audio CDs with invalid formats so that (most) CD players could read it, but not CD drives. Oh and CD players in cars were actually drives and couldn't play that shit either. Then they wondered why people stopped putting up with that and just torrented that shit.
  • 1
    Another thing I hate is games that add MORE DRM than Steam provides. I avoid those as well.
  • 3
    @Demolishun To be fair steam DRM is quite useless, at most it stops some noobs from sharing it. However almost all DRM are usually cracked very quickly, so that doesn't really matter..

    The bigger issue is that DRM is making things worse for everyone and sometimes more so for the legit buyers. With steam DRM at least you know it won't be a big deal, so that can be okay, but with some Denuvo3000superDRM crapfest? You can already expect performance to be shit because half of your CPU cycles will be spent on DRM shit and if you're unlucky it's some singeplayer-online-only bullshit that won't run anymore after a few years because server's are taken down. *pointing the finger to EA*
  • 2
    @saucyatom That is what I was saying. I buy my games on steam because it is an acceptable form of DRM for me. But when a game on steam says additional DRM/credentials/etc I do a hard pass. Don't want that shit.
  • 2
    @Demolishun I was just adding to that, not trying to argue or make a counterpoint. We're in the same page here.
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