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Author Topic: Starforce wants YOU to pirate games!  (Read 3879 times)
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Destructor
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« on: March 12, 2006, 05:35:04 AM »

(that is, if you don't use their protection for protecting their games)

I stumbled upon this little link via somewhere else, about the recently released Galactic Civilizations II:

http://forums.galciv2.com/index.aspx?forumid=161&aid=106741&c=1

Quote
For example, we were quite disturbed to discover that the company that makes Starforce provided a working URL to a list of pirated GalCiv II torrents. I'm not sure whether what they did was illegal or not, but it's troubling nevertheless and was totally unnecessary.

Click the link inside the quote for a very sick post from a Starforce developer.

That's...just fucked up.
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2006, 06:09:53 AM »

We could argue the merits of their copy protection software all day (no problems here) but between the silly bring your PC to Russia and break it contest, the threats of lawsuits and now this I think we can clearly state this is a company run by complete assholes.
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2006, 06:17:43 AM »

I never really had a problem w/Starforce before.  But after these antics I will not buy another game that uses their "protection".
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2006, 07:23:44 AM »

This has gone beyond Fuck Starforce.  

I propose a new era of hate:

LYNCH STARFORCE
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2006, 10:22:04 AM »

The amusing thing about the "sick post" is that they brag about how many people are downloading GalCiv2, the insinuation being that Starforce games don't have that problem...

...but if one were to know the address of one of these BitTorrent sites, and if one were to check the number of GalCiv2 downloads, one would find that the 15000 or so downloads that were registered (evenly split between the first release and the patched release) is hypothetically pretty comparable to the number of downloads of several Starforce protected games.

It is entirely possible that Starforce delayed the publication of a crack by a matter of days or weeks...but it didn't dissuade the distribution of images on P2P much...do any major SF-protected games remain uncracked?
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2006, 10:33:13 AM »

It does kind of make you want to buy GC2 though doesnt it?  Beside the obvious reasons I mean.
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2006, 01:06:30 PM »

Quote from: "Shkspr"
It is entirely possible that Starforce delayed the publication of a crack by a matter of days or weeks...but it didn't dissuade the distribution of images on P2P much...do any major SF-protected games remain uncracked?

Nope. /. did a post on this (which is why the original link is having issues now), and one of the posters within gave links on pirate sites for King Kong, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, etc, all of which contain Starforce.

At best, it'll protect the game for a day or three. Yes, it protects them longer (and better?) than other protection methods (which usually are cracked in an hour or so), but there is no PC title out there that's protected with Starforce that isn't available without it.

And yes, I suddenly want to purchase this game simply to show that I support no protection whatsoever on my purchased games. I'm tired of pirates having an easier time playing games (without CDs in the drives), and I'm tired of pirates being able to play games without issue that just might fuck up my PC (Starforce).

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I always check to see if Starforce is on a game (or demo) before buying it. If it does, no purchase. I have broken my rule only once (Space Rangers 2), and even that I cracked to play without the blasted drivers being installed. I wanted to support the developer of that game, and I didn't know about that protection too much until then.

But never again.
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2006, 01:23:31 PM »

I haven't purchased a game with Starforce on it in the past year. I hate the company and I hate the protection. It's like a virus.

I was going to buy the new Prince of Persia game, but then I saw it has Starforce (all UbiSoft games do) so I passed. Heroes of Might and Magic 5 will have Starforce on it (another Ubi game), but I will refuse to buy it even though I want it pretty bad.

Heck, if Oblivion had it I woudn't buy it either for the PC.....I'd get it for the Xbox 360. smile
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2006, 05:15:07 PM »

I was going to buy Space Rangers 2 until I learned it had Starforce.  Now I won't.  If the US release takes off the Starforce support, I'll buy it.  Otherwise, I'll just never buy the game.

I refuse to support a company like these guys.
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2006, 08:49:43 PM »

You do realize that with the combination of the no-CD followed by the Starfarce removal tool leaves you with a Space Rangers 2 that works just fine, right? smile
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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2006, 09:27:05 PM »

Quote from: "whiteboyskim"
You do realize that with the combination of the no-CD followed by the Starfarce removal tool leaves you with a Space Rangers 2 that works just fine, right? smile


The point is that they are sending a message by not purchasing anything with Starforce on it.  They don't want to support the publisher, and through them, Starforce.  Perhaps the publishers will realize they are losing sales as a result of using it.   At the moment they feel the hate and headaches are worth it and they believe it cuts down on piracy.  Maybe it won't be enough to make a difference, but when you look at the official forums for games that use it they sure make a lot of noise.

People are celebrating the fact Oblivion won't use Starforce.  There's even a "thank God" thread on the official Starforce forums!
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« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2006, 09:57:23 PM »

Quote from: "whiteboyskim"
You do realize that with the combination of the no-CD followed by the Starfarce removal tool leaves you with a Space Rangers 2 that works just fine, right? smile
Much better to pirate SR2 and then do the no-CD + SF removal.

The point is to actively deny money to publishers who stoop to using Starforce.
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« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2006, 11:02:16 PM »

Quote from: "stiffler"
People are celebrating the fact Oblivion won't use Starforce.  There's even a "thank God" thread on the official Starforce forums!


That actually makes me wonder what the official stance is from developers in the community and whether they think copy protection schemes, draconian or not, actually make a significant difference on whether their products are pirated or not. Tiny Ogre and Kathode, what are your thoughts on this?
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« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2006, 11:38:53 PM »

Quote from: "whiteboyskim"
You do realize that with the combination of the no-CD followed by the Starfarce removal tool leaves you with a Space Rangers 2 that works just fine, right? smile


Like Stiffler and LE said, it's the principle of the matter.  I refuse to buy any game, no matter what game it is, if it's published with Starforce.

However, we probably need to do more than just not buy the games, we should write to the developers/publishers of the games we would otherwise be buying and explain to them why we will not be purchasing their game(s).

I refuse to stoop to pirating the software to "get even" or anything like that, though. :roll: I've seen some comments to that effect in the thread on the GalCiv forums.
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« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2006, 11:56:10 PM »

While I agree that CP sucks, just not purchasing games that have SF (or ny protection) does not really send a message at all. It is not really a "missed sale" because the publishers have no way of knowing that you DIDN'T purchase something, nor why you didn't. The same way that there is no way of KNOWING exactly how much piracy affects sales either.

You would have to make sure that everyone not buying it for CP reasons, also sent letters/emails to the all the companies involved and why. But if the the title did well anyway, this probably wouldn't make much of a difference as to wether or not they put CP in later games or not.
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« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2006, 12:29:06 AM »

Quote from: "-Lord Ebonstone-"
Quote from: "whiteboyskim"
You do realize that with the combination of the no-CD followed by the Starfarce removal tool leaves you with a Space Rangers 2 that works just fine, right? smile
Much better to pirate SR2 and then do the no-CD + SF removal.

The point is to actively deny money to publishers who stoop to using Starforce.


While I agree that SF is pretty much the bane of the games industry, I can't have you encouraging active piracy as the solution.  Please refrain in the future.
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« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2006, 01:30:42 AM »

Quote from: "Farscry_Redux"
Quote from: "whiteboyskim"
You do realize that with the combination of the no-CD followed by the Starfarce removal tool leaves you with a Space Rangers 2 that works just fine, right? smile


Like Stiffler and LE said, it's the principle of the matter.  I refuse to buy any game, no matter what game it is, if it's published with Starforce.

However, we probably need to do more than just not buy the games, we should write to the developers/publishers of the games we would otherwise be buying and explain to them why we will not be purchasing their game(s).

I refuse to stoop to pirating the software to "get even" or anything like that, though. :roll: I've seen some comments to that effect in the thread on the GalCiv forums.


Alright then, does anyone have links to specific step-by-step examples of how Starfarce hosed their computers? I haven't done any research on this so I freely admit to being lazy. If we can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt with actual hard evidence that Starfarce is teh suxx0rz then hwy not put something together and make an official and professional looking petition to a publisher?
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« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2006, 03:16:55 AM »

Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
Quote from: "-Lord Ebonstone-"
Quote from: "whiteboyskim"
You do realize that with the combination of the no-CD followed by the Starfarce removal tool leaves you with a Space Rangers 2 that works just fine, right? smile
Much better to pirate SR2 and then do the no-CD + SF removal.

The point is to actively deny money to publishers who stoop to using Starforce.


While I agree that SF is pretty much the bane of the games industry, I can't have you encouraging active piracy as the solution.  Please refrain in the future.
FWIW, I had just said that to illustrate the point that it's ultimately about denying pubs money, and just 'removing Starforce and cracking the game' will do absolutely zero to stop Starforce from succeeding as a company.

Remember kids:  Pay to play!   biggrin

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« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2006, 03:54:15 AM »

I'd love to find a way to ruin Starforce as a company.  They've cost me about 8 hours of recovery the last time I used a Starforce-enabled game.
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« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2006, 04:06:13 AM »

Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
I'd love to find a way to ruin Starforce as a company.  They've cost me about 8 hours of recovery the last time I used a Starforce-enabled game.


Do you have an extra rig that this can be tested on? That way the whole process of how Starfarce can obliterate a machine can be documented and posted on the interwebs for all of us to see. WHO'S WITH ME?!?!?! biggrin
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« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2006, 06:09:02 AM »

Technically you could go to Russia with that and earn $1000 from Starforce for 'proving it.'

Of course you'd end up in a shallow grave in the lower Urals but you know, whatever.
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« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2006, 06:19:54 AM »

Quote from: "-Lord Ebonstone-"
Technically you could go to Russia with that and earn $1000 from Starforce for 'proving it.'

Of course you'd end up in a shallow grave in the lower Urals but you know, whatever.


Yea, and you have to provide your own transportation too - bastards. :/
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« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2006, 08:13:57 AM »

Hey, if you pick up a wife while you are there, it could be worth the trip.
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« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2006, 12:33:18 AM »

Is there a way to tell if a game has Starforce from the box?

I did a little looking and found a few games installed on my PC also has Starforce.  Luckily nothing has gotten screwed up, but it still makes me feel wary (dirty?) and I don't want to support a company like that.
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« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2006, 02:50:57 AM »

Quote from: "Nth Power"
Is there a way to tell if a game has Starforce from the box?

I did a little looking and found a few games installed on my PC also has Starforce.  Luckily nothing has gotten screwed up, but it still makes me feel wary (dirty?) and I don't want to support a company like that.


No, which is one of the problems......

Also, I just realized something.....

CP is there to prevent casual copying, yet stores won't let you return opened software in case you copied it.... Besides the obvious fact that CP games are pirated anyway, it seems that the stores don't think that CP does any good as well. Companies would probably save more money, by not putting hardcore CP in, then by worrying about piracy.
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« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2006, 02:55:24 AM »

I think they are just worried about 'casual' piracy, which is when you get a game, then "lend" it to your neighbor.

But yes, it certainly seems like losing dollars by worrying about pennies.  I'm sure Starforce isnt cheap.
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« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2006, 05:45:56 PM »

Quote from: "Punisher"
Quote from: "Nth Power"
Is there a way to tell if a game has Starforce from the box?

I did a little looking and found a few games installed on my PC also has Starforce.  Luckily nothing has gotten screwed up, but it still makes me feel wary (dirty?) and I don't want to support a company like that.


No, which is one of the problems......

Some games are indeed market "Protected by Starforce" on the back of the box (or something like that.)
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« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2006, 02:08:32 PM »

Quote from: "Nth Power"
Is there a way to tell if a game has Starforce from the box?

I did a little looking and found a few games installed on my PC also has Starforce.  Luckily nothing has gotten screwed up, but it still makes me feel wary (dirty?) and I don't want to support a company like that.


I know Ubisoft, Digital Jesters, Enlight and Nival use them.  If the game is from a European developer, there is a good chance it has it.
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« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2006, 07:56:13 PM »

For what it's worth, Starforce apologized to them for their behavior.

http://forums.galciv2.com/index.aspx?ForumID=161&AID=107193

Quote
We received email from StarForce today apologizing for the incident. We appreciated them taking down the link.  It also gave us the opportunity to request the various meta-torrent sites to remove links to illegal torrents.

In every case, the torrent list site in question responded quickly to our request.  One might make the argument that a simple polite email to a meta-torrent search site is as effective as copy protection.

There is probably some irony that this whole thing occurred just before last week's EBGames.com top selling games list got posted on their site. They list Galactic Civilizations II as the top telling PC title and the #2 overall (all platforms).  And that was before this incident.


Cool stuff.  I love the second and third paragraphs.
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« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2006, 08:27:40 PM »

Quote from: "unbreakable"
Hey, if you pick up a wife while you are there, it could be worth the trip.


You might end up picking up other things too though... :: scratch ::

:: scratch ::

when will the burning end??!!

:: scratchscratchscratchscratchscratchscratchscratch ::
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« Reply #30 on: March 16, 2006, 02:04:58 AM »

Is it normal for it to burn when I pee?
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« Reply #31 on: March 18, 2006, 04:52:30 PM »

Speaking of burning, I have a question about SF that's really been bothering me.  I don't do any low-level driver programming, but I am familiar with how they work.  Every one of these anti-SF boards I see has someone talking about how SF PHYSICALLY broke their burner.  Is this even possible?  Or are these people just idiotic fear mongers?

I am aware that a badly written driver or program can seriously screw up an OS, possibly past the point of no return.  But literally breaking a drive?  That seems a bit far-fetched.
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« Reply #32 on: March 18, 2006, 07:58:38 PM »

Quote from: "Hapfloyde"
Speaking of burning, I have a question about SF that's really been bothering me.  I don't do any low-level driver programming, but I am familiar with how they work.  Every one of these anti-SF boards I see has someone talking about how SF PHYSICALLY broke their burner.  Is this even possible?  Or are these people just idiotic fear mongers?

I read somewhere that SF causes your CD drive to physically set itself slower and slower until it gets so slow that it simply causes the drive to go beserk. At that point, you have a dead drive.

I'll have to dig around and see if I can find it again.
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« Reply #33 on: March 19, 2006, 12:17:28 AM »

I've not heard of it physically hurting a drive.  What usually happens is that the drivers screw with the ability to do any proper burning, even with legitimate programs like Nero.  If you are lucky enough to be able to burn the burn speed is often gimped.  I've not had any problems personally, but I'd rather not waste time reinstalling my OS so I don't risk the StarForce plague.
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« Reply #34 on: March 19, 2006, 01:07:31 AM »

I'm not up on the tech of it but I understand it sends (or used to send) drives into something called PIO mode which makes them run/burn at very low speeds.
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« Reply #35 on: March 19, 2006, 01:55:39 AM »

Quote from: "warning"
I'm not up on the tech of it but I understand it sends (or used to send) drives into something called PIO mode which makes them run/burn at very low speeds.

That's what it was.

And current drives simply aren't meant to do that anymore. Thus, when the drives go into that mode, they're basically destroyed.
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« Reply #36 on: March 19, 2006, 06:45:47 AM »

Here is one explanation:

Quote
You do not have to have a game running in the Plextor drive for the drive to start having problems.  Just burning will cause the drive to go into a step down mode.  Starforce once installed is constantly checking your system and sending info to drives interferring with streams back and forth.

SF is so over zealous about its sector checking that if it loses these it will refuse to function. On top of this, XP reads this as a disk I/O error. Which in turn causes it to step down the IDE speed to compensate. Eventually it will step down to the older 16 bit mode which disables DMA access altogether. No DMA means.

1. No Digital access to play audio CDís
2. Unable to play DVD videos from DVD
3. Most current CD/DVD Games/Application will not run.
4. CD/DVD writing becomes almost impossible (Up to 2 hours for a full DVD on 16x DVD writer) and it will make many coasters even on burn proof drives.

The issues concerning DMA can be cured by uninstalling SF and then uninstalling the CD/DVD drivers as well as the Primary and Secondary IDE controllers. Forcing XP to reload those drivers.

Hardware failure:
A lot of new CD/DVD hardware is not PIO mode compatible. Thus any period of time being used in this old 16bit mode can be interpreted by some drives as attempts to Overburn/Read an excessively over burned disk. I.E in over burning you force the laser to go right to the edge of the disk. This results in the laser in many cases hitting the side casing of its guide and in turn stripping the threads off the worm gear. Basically it trashes the hardware.

Some drives also interpret the search for specific sectors indicated by SF as an over burn read/write command.

Security:
SF opens up Ring 0 (super user level) access to Ring 3 (User level applications).
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« Reply #37 on: March 19, 2006, 01:27:57 PM »

And from the latest Computer Gaming World magazine:

Quote
Cgw Magazines Hardware Expert Concludes: Starforce Damages Drives

"...we turned to CGW's own desktop administrator, Nick Kalister, for a full technical of what StarForce can (and can't) do to your PC. "Starforce doesn't diretly trash your drives or your IDE controller channels," he explains. "It can, however cause Windows to step down to programmed input/output [PIO] mode, which could possibly damage some optical drives if they are run in that mode for an extended period of time.

Sure enough, an extended test using a 4x Memorex DVD-RW drive and a retail copy of Ubisoft's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory proved it, as the drive's burn speed eventually dropped to a paltry 1x - only to return to its original speed once we removed the StarForce program.

StarForce Technologies, for its part, often takes extreme offense to negative comments... ...When questioned, Zhidkov [SF's PR manager] told us, "The issue on StarForce is obviously sponsored by our competitors or organized crime groups that run CD/DVD piracy [operations]. We are now in close coopreration with [US and Russian officials] investigating the matter and trying to find out who stands behind the boycott campaign."

(highlight mine)

Damn, does this 'company' have their heads up their asses. "Nope, nothing wrong with our 'software'. And we'll sue the ass off of anybody who tries to say otherwise."
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« Reply #38 on: March 19, 2006, 04:18:41 PM »

So it basicly forces drives to use a mode so old many arn't built to to handle it.  That makes sense.  Did these people even have any modern technology to test their software on?  That would be like writing a program today that requires 56K of XMS memory.
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« Reply #39 on: March 19, 2006, 04:40:52 PM »

Here's a couple of banners I found that take you to the Boycott Starforce site which has a lot of information including a list of games protected by Starforce.







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