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WhiteKnight77
06-16-2005, 05:32 PM
There is a new breed of copyright protection scheme that is being used nowadays, most notably, by UbiSoft. I had been able to play all my games with no problems for a while, then I installed SHIII. SHIII comes with this new copyright protection software. This new software is called StarForce. It actually installs drivers onto your PC, without you knowing if you haven't heard about it before. Now, at least in the USA it is against the law for a program to install something without informing the end user. Such actions are used with spyware and trojans.

For a while, everything was fine. The game ran great even without patching. Over time, things have deteriorated on my PC. Games would crash unexpectedly, my PC would completely lock up or would restart by itself with a keypress. I had been getting really frustrated. Today, while at the SHIII forums at Ubi, I decided to read a thread about getting and keeping StarForce out of games. Right now, there are 2 Ubi games I know of that use it, SHIII and SC:CT. I decided uninstall SHII and to remove (you need to use a StarForce Driver removal too, they do not uninstall themselves when a game protected by them is uninstalled) the StarForce drivers after I kept crashing not even 5 minutes into FS2004 earlier today. After uninstalling it, I haven't had a problem so far, but will test with a longer flight.

As it stands, I asked for SC:CT for a birthday gift. I am seriously considering to return it and see about a different game instead of it. After looking around at other forums with people complaining about StarForce, I feel it is a big enough problem to say right now, that if any other UbiSoft game uses said protection, I will not be buying it and advocating that the games are not purchased by any of my friends.

The ball is in your court Ubi. Don't use something that can potentially hurt sales worse than bad gameplay. I am already leary about GR3, if it has it, I woult be buying it, no matter what the gameplay is like.

davidz021
06-16-2005, 08:30 PM
Originally posted by WhiteKnight77:
The ball is in your court Ubi. Don't use something that can potentially hurt sales worse than bad gameplay. I am already leary about GR3, if it has it, I woult be buying it, no matter what the gameplay is like.

While ,on one side, i agree against game companies being too paranoid with crackers/pirates and including hidden and invasive software in their games, the other part of me also sympathize with them because i can understand how they would feel if, after spending thousands on their hard-work, only to see a couple of punks cracking the game and spreading it through the Internet through torrents and P2P programs. I guess my feeling is: Why should the majority of gamers, who legally purchase and follow the Terms of Service, have to suffer for the actions of a few handful of pirates?

Take Half-Life 2, for example. It was an amazing single player experience, but i did feel VALVe went a bit overboard with their anti-piracy measures. In fact, i still remembered that the registering, validating of my CD-key, and the unlocking of my installed game files actually toke ALOT longer than even the installing of the 5 discs.

A game company can only do so much to prevent pirates, and remember, no matter how strong a game's defenses are, there will always be a pirate that can penetrate its defenses. If you fortify a game too much, it will just lead to a very frustrating experience for the MAJORITY of players that don't crack games.

Alex_HS
06-17-2005, 02:54 AM
They should make it like vbs1 i guess, with a usb key and password, this starforce sounds nasty, they should develop a system that makes the game require a usb key to unlock or read the files.
I dont want some spyware **** on my system..

WhiteKnight77
06-17-2005, 09:07 AM
I have no problems with publishers and devs protecting their product. What I do mind is not being able to use it properly. People have had to do reformats to get rid of problems seemingly caused by Starforce. It installs the drivers to your C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers folder. Why does it need to be installed into your OS like that? People having problems with ODDs with Starforce installed have reported not having problems with the drives after reformatting.

If they want to use strong protection, it needs to be uninstalled when you uninstall the game not left behind. It should not install anything into a Windows system folder. StarForce reportedley also negates Windows security features.

All I know is I do not want to see it used on any more Ubi games until it can be used without usurping fair use laws or getting so ingrained into the OS that it fubars something.

Cobblers
06-17-2005, 01:02 PM
I didn't know about this WK but I'm with you on this one. Keep us posted eh?!

babydave
06-17-2005, 01:09 PM
these sorts of anti piracy measures are a waste of time, ok use cd keys as this stops copies being duplicated, but at the end of the day no game is safe and once 1 person cracks his copy and puts it in a torrent, thats it, flood gates are opened.

why not put the effort into effective anti cheat software?

WhiteKnight77
06-17-2005, 01:30 PM
So far, StarForce can't be cracked. An early version was apparently, but later versions haven't been. StarForce does more than just install drivers on your PC. It actually encrypts all the files somehow and then decrypts them during play. It is really tough to beat.

DayGlow
06-17-2005, 02:22 PM
Originally posted by WhiteKnight77:
So far, StarForce can't be cracked. An early version was apparently, but later versions haven't been. StarForce does more than just install drivers on your PC. It actually encrypts all the files somehow and then decrypts them during play. It is really tough to beat.

and thus 10 to 1 Ubi will keep using Starforce.

So far I've got GTR, SC-CT, and LOMAC 1.1 on my system that use SF and I've had zero problems.

So far all the hystaria out about SF is on par with what Safedisc was when people started using that and some CD-RWs wouldn't read disks.

WhiteKnight77
06-17-2005, 03:20 PM
LOMac uses something other than StarForce I think. I know it runs without any problems.

I also know that SC:CT has StarForce and I am seriously considering returning it for something else.

DayGlow
06-17-2005, 04:46 PM
No, the 1.1 addon uses SF. It's a keyed download version of SF. It generates a key based on your system and when you change things, you have to reactive.

SC runs great for me, as does GTR, oh yeah, TOCA2 as well. All SF games.

Won't say there aren't problems as there is with any CP program. There is always going to be nashing of teeth, as there is with Safedisc and all the install problems with it as well.

I wish there was no CP, but I understand where the gaming companies are coming from. I also understand where you are coming from. I say let the consumer decide. If enough people don't buy because of the CP, so be it. At the same time I won't change my purchasing pratice because of other people's issues.

davidz021
06-17-2005, 06:02 PM
Originally posted by DayGlow:
SC runs great for me, as does GTR, oh yeah, TOCA2 as well. All SF games.


Hmmm, probably just an evil thought, but possibly STARFORCE has features intended to "punish" the user if it detects, or thinks it detects, the user is trying to crack the protection?

That makes alot of sense to me, and would explain why the hidden drivers are installed in the OS's root and why some people experience system stability issues while other users are just fine.

I think it's a very likely feature to be added into the next wave of copyright protection schemes, as WK puts it, if it isn't already being used in current programs.

DayGlow
06-17-2005, 06:06 PM
my understanding is that it's a driver level CP so that every file can be encrypted and the driver is needed to decrypt the files. By moving the CP from the .exe to a driver normal cracks won't work anymore because you can't 'crack' the .exe and remove the CP.

So far the only way I've seen people get around SF is to mount images of the cds and shut down the IDE drivers, etc and use special cracking programs. Way too much work for the average gamer. Much easier to switch CDs IMHO.

I don't think SF is using anything sneaky. It's just normal stupid driver conflict stuff. I know I had problems awhile back because a driver I downloaded for my Epson printer didn't play well with something else on my PC and crashed very thing. Different printer driver and the problems went away. Stupid, but normal for the PC world.

WhiteKnight77
06-17-2005, 10:42 PM
That still doesn't address problems that develop after doing a Windows Update. Since Windows doesn't see it there, it can't update the SF drivers.

Some people don't even know it is there and as I said earlier, I can't create a legal backup copy of it becuase it disables everything, ClonedCD, Nero or Alcohol120. Yes, they can be used by pirates, but what about those of us who buy our games. As said before, we get the shaft. There has to be a different way to protect games without being invasive as SF.

Rogue Agent
06-17-2005, 10:53 PM
It seems to me that copy protection schemes hurt the legit users way more than the people who try to pirate the game. I once had to buy a new CD-rom because of this.

WhiteKnight77
06-19-2005, 02:49 PM
Oh, LoMac uses SafeDisk or at least my version does. Install the CD and browse to the CD. You will see SECDRV. As you can see from the What is secdrv.sys? Is secdrv.sys spyware or a virus? (http://www.neuber.com/taskmanager/process/secdrv.sys.html) page, it is part of Macrovisions SafeDisk copyright protection scheme. That is another driver I did not know about.

DayGlow
06-19-2005, 03:18 PM
Yup, Lock On original release used Safedisk, the 1.02 patch removed the cd check. The Flaming Cliff 1.1 addon uses SF, either on the CD you can buy from Natural Point, or as part of a download version that has an activation scheme.

WhiteKnight77
07-08-2005, 10:57 AM
I had Chaos Theory returned for the Starforce drivers. I got Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 instead.

Prozac360
07-08-2005, 01:09 PM
That is a very enjoyable game IMO one of the best for that type ( reminds me of sim city with a theme park! )

I will pay attention to these EULA agreements more and more from now on after buying HL2 and was thinking of selling it to a friend... I realised that you must pay valve or vinvindi? 5$ to transfer the game to another steam account....

F that i will never buy another game from valve and vivindi? again

WhiteKnight77
07-08-2005, 01:12 PM
I lost track of time playing it and almost missed dinner. I built one coaster that hit 5gs. People love it.

SC_JONi
07-08-2005, 01:37 PM
Unreal Tournament devs have been clever, in all the past UT versions there has always been copy protection but it has been removed in the first patch. It's really good thing to do so it prevent's professional pirate cd factories not copying the original CD but also it doesn't affect on the end user after the patch. Games should be playable without searching the cd, and until that happens I'll use cracks and keep my cd's in good condition.

WhiteKnight77
07-08-2005, 02:26 PM
Here is another way, a CD-key with USB ****le authentication. No ****le, no install or play. No need for any other drivers or "software" to be installed that messes up anyone systems.

Prozac360
07-08-2005, 05:12 PM
how much do you think they made off of RCT3

seems every one who plays it enjoys making coasters and riding them

Wonder if ubi has picked up on what makes it fun... is you get to customize your track... but that stays true to every game... the more customizable options or character / weapons or what have you makes games more enjoyable.

you get that since of look what i created.

NFS UG was a very good example

I dont know to many FPS that have done it thoe.

Prozac360
07-08-2005, 05:17 PM
What do you think if GR3 brought back armpatches like rogue spear and raven shield had.

i always liked it untill i seen some gay pron on a guy.

apollo104
07-08-2005, 11:56 PM
It seems to me that copy protection schemes hurt the legit users way more than the people who try to pirate the game. I once had to buy a new CD-rom because of this.

You are a tool. You are legally allowed to download the game once you have purchased the licence to use that software. Don't reward companies who do this.


Here is another way, a CD-key with USB ****le authentication. No ****le, no install or play. No need for any other drivers or "software" to be installed that messes up anyone systems.

Personally I would *LOVE* to see a company try to pull this stunt in the retail market for video games. Most companies rely on the fact that the majority of users dont know about copy protection, and blame the computer when things go awry. But with ****les, people will have a new target, a new enemy. And a part of me hopes that someone tries this.

Some companies use ****les to protect 500-800 USD software. I can understand that. ****les cost money. At even a few bucks, they will cripple the moneymaking capability of a new game, unless the price is bumped 5 bux. But I'll tell you, when people go to Wal-Mart, and the only $55.00 game on the shelf is GR3, few will buy it. Fewer will like it.

To conclude, ****les are clumsy, delicate, frustrating, further erode our user rights, and just flat out suck. I would think that those who hate Starforce would hate ****les even more.

spm1138
07-09-2005, 04:12 AM
****les do cost money.

What about a Steam-like system?

I find Steam to be the least irritating copy-protection scheme I have yet used.

If GR3 comes with spyware I won't be installing it. It's that simple.

WhiteKnight77
07-09-2005, 07:51 AM
I wouldn't call Starforce slyware, but I don't think it is good for a PC. Sure, there is a hint of copyright protection on the box, but they don't say what (if you buy a US version that is, my SHIII European version didn't say a thing on the box and you can only find a hint of it in the manual or the EULA on installation) even during installation to my recollection. I want to know what I install on my PC, if you can't tell me, then don't include it. Find a different way.

BSR_Dude
07-09-2005, 11:39 AM
There have been huge complaints about Starforce when Flaming Cliffs (the addon for Lock On) was released. I have SHIII and Flaming Cliffs both on my rig, w/Starforce installed. No major issues at all. SF installs drivers, just like a vid or sound card does. While the honest people who buy the game are punished by these copyright protection schemes, the thievery has to stop somewhere. So far (and I've looked) there are no cracks that work for Starforce. This is good news as the software developers are getting all the money they should. Maybe this will mean that PC games will be profitable again and there won't be another game canceled like GR2/PC was.

I don't like this stuff on my rig either, but for those of you that use IE are far more at risk for hackage than those that use SF.

serbkillovic
07-09-2005, 03:57 PM
to the guys above.
you do realize that ****le protection schemes have been cracked many a times.

WhiteKnight77
07-09-2005, 05:20 PM
Starforce isn't a normal CD protection scheme that is on the disk. Starforce involves encrypting all the files on the disk from what I read. Without the proper key on the disk, the files will not be read and the ones on the HD will not be accessible during gameplay. That is why there are no cracks for SF. Breaking the encryption on all those files would be rather hard. The drivers are needed to help with the decryption and each disk has a different key.

BSR_Dude
07-09-2005, 06:41 PM
Serb, it hasn't been broken yet. There used to be a workaround but not any more. So far SF isn't cracked.

apollo104
07-10-2005, 05:53 AM
BSR_Dude, serbkillovic was referring to ****les, (USB keys that must be plugged in to play) not Starforce (Starfarce, sh*tforce, starf*ck).

And serb was right, ****les are quite easily emulated.

DayGlow
07-10-2005, 05:26 PM
Originally posted by spm1138:
****les do cost money.

What about a Steam-like system?

I find Steam to be the least irritating copy-protection scheme I have yet used.

If GR3 comes with spyware I won't be installing it. It's that simple.

uhg, that would be worse than Starforce http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif

Could you imagine having to have a different utility running in the taskbar for every game you have from different companies?

apollo104
07-10-2005, 10:52 PM
every company feels they need their own utility to launch their games because they have a need to project their ghastly and ugliest organs into our lives. That's means they're F*CKING WITH US!!!!!

spm1138
07-11-2005, 12:12 PM
Originally posted by DayGlow:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by spm1138:
****les do cost money.

What about a Steam-like system?

I find Steam to be the least irritating copy-protection scheme I have yet used.

If GR3 comes with spyware I won't be installing it. It's that simple.

uhg, that would be worse than Starforce http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif

Could you imagine having to have a different utility running in the taskbar for every game you have from different companies? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well they don't have to run at startup.

apollo104
07-11-2005, 03:24 PM
Have you ever USED Steam? It takes FOREVER to start up.

yttocs1966
07-12-2005, 09:55 AM
[

Some people don't even know it is there and as I said earlier, I can't create a legal backup copy of it becuase it disables everything, ClonedCD, Nero or Alcohol120. Yes, they can be used by pirates, but what about those of us who buy our games................................. i wouldnt mind that if they let you return a damaged disk(s) and sent you a new set since they wont let you copy. without paying for it!

apollo104
07-12-2005, 12:18 PM
When you buy your game, you are buying 2 things. The CD that the data is stored on, and the licence to use that data under their terms. (Legally, the CD and the data are SEPARATE.)

That means once you have a licence it's perfectly legal to download that game. (If your CD breaks, ECT.) They CANNOT block your right to copy it in the EULA. But since the DATA is theirs, they can engineer it however they want.

Now this *COULD* be illegal in two ways.

Antitrust: The corporations that make these anti-piracy programs could be trying to give certain brands of CD/DVD drives and advantage over their competitors.

Blockage of legal rights: You have the right to make a backup. They are stopping it.

HOWEVER YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS: Those people up on the hill making laws DO NOT WORK FOR YOU. They work for those that paid for their campaigns. Therefore it is in their best interest to make laws that benefit their shareholders. (If you think that a politician is not simple stock, you are delusioned. Look at **** Cheney.)

The DMCA for example. Gross violation of our rights. Passed.

We only have one power to use against these powers before our very hardware has malware in it: Our wallets. WE CANNOT reward the companies that do this. For all of you that bought Chaos Theory, you already failed. Go away, or return it. If GR3 has Starforce on it, I will not buy it because I wouldn't be able to play it anyway since I have this 'pirating software' on my computer.

UBI management is probably having 0rgasms knowing that Chaos Theory isn't cracked. Congratulations, you succeeded in two things.

1.) Blocking our rights once and for all.
2.) Proving your French. (Not good in US markets)

Now I'm talking to GRIN on this one. *BEG* UBI not to put Starforce in. Threaten them. Tell them you'll release an inferior product if they do. Handcuff yourself to the Gold Master copy. BUT DO NOT LET THEM RUIN YOUR HARD WORK WITH CORRUPT IDEALS AND GREED.

Now I'm talking to those on the forum. Pleazse, all of you, try to tell UBI to do the right thing. They can still redeem themselves and prove that they know whats good for themselves, and their customers.

BTW, Starforce is a Russian company because they would be arrested in the US.

WhiteKnight77
07-12-2005, 01:11 PM
Ubi has even gone as far as to trump fair use laws by using this and changing their EULA to show that we can't even create a back-up copy.


3- Use of the Multimedia Product

The User is authorised to use the Multimedia Product in accordance with the instructions provided in the manual or on the packaging of the Multimedia Product.
The Licence is granted solely for private use.

It is not permitted:
- To make copies of the Multimedia Product,
- To operate the Multimedia Product commercially,
- To use it contrary to morality or the laws in force,
- To modify the Multimedia Product or create any derived work,
- To transmit the Multimedia Product via a telephone network or any other electronic means, except during multi-player games on authorised networks,
- To create or distribute unauthorised levels and/or scenarios,
- To decompile, reverse engineer or disassemble the Multimedia Product.

I have no problems with Ubi protecting their products, but to try and usurp fair use laws both in Europe and the US is an abomination. Starforce encrypts not just the executable, but all the files which makes it harder to crack. No problem, just make it so it doesn't create problems with hardware or run afoul of laws.

If you notice, Ubi seems to not want games to be modded either. Will Ubi replaced damaged disks for free or require people to buy replacement disks or go to the store and rebuy the game? If they require people to pay for something a second time, they are mistaken. People will stop buying their games altogether.

cobaka
07-12-2005, 01:39 PM
They charged something like a $10 fee to replace your GR CD.

WhiteKnight77
07-12-2005, 02:02 PM
Let me rephrase that. Will Ubi expect someone to return to the store to rebuy the game now that they do not allow us to make up a backup copy? RSE/Ubi have had a replacemnt disk program in place previously and charged a small fee, but now with SF, will things change drastically?

cobaka
07-12-2005, 02:07 PM
I wouldn't be at all surprised. That makes me wonder if they would use a low quality disk to increase the odds that you would need to buy a new one.

apollo104
07-12-2005, 03:45 PM
It's called greed. And one way or another they will PAY for it. First RSE got sodomized, now GRIN is laid out on the table. I wonder if they knew what they were in for when they were contracted.

AlphaDelta219
07-12-2005, 04:32 PM
MY computer started havng problems after installing Lomac(in that time area). I just realized this. If this really does crash your computer and lock it up it is responsible for me losing 2 years worth of pictures and a **** load of other stuff I couldn't recover.

WhiteKnight77
07-12-2005, 04:58 PM
Was it the original LoMac or the latest, Flaming Cliffs?

AlphaDelta219
07-14-2005, 04:29 PM
original

BSR_Dude
07-14-2005, 05:20 PM
The original Lock On had Safedisk protection for the CD. It installed no drivers or anything else on your computer.

I doubt that it was the cause of your crash.

DayGlow
07-15-2005, 11:26 AM
hey Rugg, you should see Bard in his fanboi stance on AF. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

I find it humorous that he supports everything in AF that he knocked in LOMAC. ie patch sold as addon/new product, long bug thread on the frugal forum, obvious bugs in the comercial package, etc.

I think AF is a great release, just that he's now talking out the other side of his mouth. Very humorous.

AlphaDelta219
07-16-2005, 04:57 PM
Originally posted by BSR_Dude:
The original Lock On had Safedisk protection for the CD. It installed no drivers or anything else on your computer.

I doubt that it was the cause of your crash.

back to finding what was then....

baff6
07-20-2005, 10:27 AM
i always crack my games as early as possible

WhiteKnight77
07-20-2005, 12:56 PM
While Safedisk can be cracked, Starforce protected games can't. Read the posts thouroghly.

baff6
07-20-2005, 09:28 PM
For starforce you should use a mini image.
No biggie.

WhiteKnight77
07-20-2005, 11:23 PM
Originally posted by baff6:
For starforce you should use a mini image.
No biggie.
Do you have any idea what Starforce does, it actually disables drives and software that could be used for copying, plus all the files are encrypted. Study up on things you don't know about. Starforce hasn't been cracked and will not ever be from the looks of things.

BSR_Dude
07-21-2005, 01:25 AM
He's talking about an older version of Starforce. The new version can't be "mini-disc'ed". Besides, you have to run another program to disable all of your disc drives. Sounds like too much hassle to me. I'll just pay for my game instead........................................

baff6
07-21-2005, 05:16 AM
what Ruggy says, although this probably isn't the forum to discuss it. Starforce 1 2 and 3 have been cracked. Sooner or later they all are.

I use it for DVD's. I have only 1 dvd player, fitting one to every machine on my lan is an additional expense I am, happy to work around.

WhiteKnight77
07-21-2005, 09:03 AM
StarForce Professional 3.0 is the first system that offers a multi-level and fully-functional protection, which encrypts not only the executable files, but also non-executable files included in the application.

CD/DVD-ROM Protection (http://www.star-force.com/protection.phtml?c=72)



Strong anti-emulation technologies
to prohibit launching the licensed product
from a CD-R copy or a disc image

StarForce Professional (http://www.star-force.com/solutions/papers/StarForce_Professional_wp.pdf)

Starforce one may have been cracked, but 3 hasn't. If so, then everyone over in the SHIII forums along with myself would be happy. SimHQ has multiple threads abut the effects of SF. SF just ins't an encrpyted .exe, but all the files. I haven't ventured into the Chaos Theory forums to see if there were complaints about SF there, I retuned it for something else. I can't SHIII.

apollo104
07-21-2005, 03:45 PM
There isnt much talk about SF in the SC:CT forums as they hired professional career nazis to police it. They are ****** hardcore.

And Rugg, when you say that "I'll just pay for my game instead..." One can tell you would just pay for it anyway. But why would you pay for a game that curbs your user rights like that? Why reward them. SC:CT has not been cracked. I would go buy it, but it has Starforce. So you are wrong.

"Sounds like too much hassle to me. I'll just pay for my game instead..."

You should NOT by buying it *because* of the Starforce.

(cough* ************ starfarce sickforce)

<span class="ev_code_RED">Don't circumvent the language filter, or you'll be booted.</span>

WhiteKnight77
07-21-2005, 03:51 PM
Talk of SF has slowed down in the main SHIII forums, but you should have heard it earlier. There is even a dedicated thread just for SF that was over 18 pages last I looked in the SHIII Community Help forum.

TSraku
07-21-2005, 04:05 PM
I bought SHIII and just got SC:CT in addition because of delivery probs, I installed both and I was never informed about the protection and/or the including software in the EULA... Starting the game, the copy protection checks data first and then unlocks the game. But I didnt recognize any probs, Alc120% is running beside, everything works fine. So far I can live with SF.

News about Windows Longhorn are much more frightening tbh...

baff6
07-21-2005, 06:25 PM
Originally posted by WhiteKnight77:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">StarForce Professional 3.0 is the first system that offers a multi-level and fully-functional protection, which encrypts not only the executable files, but also non-executable files included in the application.

CD/DVD-ROM Protection (http://www.star-force.com/protection.phtml?c=72)



Strong anti-emulation technologies
to prohibit launching the licensed product
from a CD-R copy or a disc image

StarForce Professional (http://www.star-force.com/solutions/papers/StarForce_Professional_wp.pdf)

Starforce one may have been cracked, but 3 hasn't. If so, then everyone over in the SHIII forums along with myself would be happy. SimHQ has multiple threads abut the effects of SF. SF just ins't an encrpyted .exe, but all the files. I haven't ventured into the Chaos Theory forums to see if there were complaints about SF there, I retuned it for something else. I can't SHIII. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

starforce 1 2 and 3 have been cracked.

Deny it some more if you like.

WhiteKnight77
07-21-2005, 06:52 PM
Show me a cracked version of SHIII past v1.0. Show Ubi that it really doesn't work. It was posted elsewhere that even if all the files were to be decrypted, the download would be larger than the orginal install. Show Ubi and me that SF3 has been negated with any game they have published from SHIII to Chaos Theory and possibly BIA.

weeman111111
07-25-2005, 06:07 PM
Originally posted by davidz021:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by DayGlow:
SC runs great for me, as does GTR, oh yeah, TOCA2 as well. All SF games.


Hmmm, probably just an evil thought, but possibly STARFORCE has features intended to "punish" the user if it detects, or thinks it detects, the user is trying to crack the protection?

That makes alot of sense to me, and would explain why the hidden drivers are installed in the OS's root and why some people experience system stability issues while other users are just fine.

I think it's a very likely feature to be added into the next wave of copyright protection schemes, as WK puts it, if it isn't already being used in current programs. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I remember a well known tweaking program called tweak XP took this approach if someone messes with the program then the program would mess with the users OS according to a warning message during installation im not sure if it really did though or if it was just a scare tactic i never wanted to find out http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif but surely that has to be aginast some sort of law even if piracy is aswell.

BSR_RuGGBuTT
07-26-2005, 10:15 AM
A program that would "punish" the user would result in a huge lawsuit and punitive damages for the programmers. That would never happen in today's litigious society.

UX_TheUndead
08-30-2005, 11:12 AM
I have always bought my games, and I like not having to search for a stinkin cd to play my games, as long as this protection alows me to play with out the cd, I'm all for. I'm not entirely sure how this protection would work and still be playable with out the cd, but you guys are intelegent, I'm sure you could find a way.

DayGlow
08-30-2005, 03:32 PM
there is some flexibility with StarForce. When the new patch for Lock On is released it will require you to insert the disk only once a week.

Joram1970
08-30-2005, 09:13 PM
Originally posted by WhiteKnight77:
Do you have any idea what Starforce does, it actually disables drives and software that could be used for copying, plus all the files are encrypted. Study up on things you don't know about. Starforce hasn't been cracked and will not ever be from the looks of things.

Hello WK - here are some corrections to what you've just said.

-> SF doesn't disable drives or even copying software. (If it does, it is most probably a bug!) It does have a few tricks up its sleeves to prevent people from emulating an image but there are ways around it unfortunately.

-> It is wrong to say that "all the files are encrypted." Generally from what I've seen, it's very few or none. Recovering those protected files is trivial for an experienced cracker however.

The hard (and impressive) part of the protection what is done on the executable files. Something alot, something very little code is thus protected depending on who applied it. Re-constructing an executable (without SF) is quite time-consuming and challenging.

However, the process can be accelerated by using an unprotected demo executable, or a leaked unprotected executable and/or can be pierced faster if little is protected. That's why there are indeed SF3 titles that have been cracked rather rapidly and others not so rapidly or not at all.

***

That said, I don't think we should keep this thread alive because it detracts from the game itself and therefore I won't contribute to its bumping any further. Whatever Ubisoft decides in terms of CP, my only hope is that it will not affect us negatively.

Code wheels were sooo better in the pre-Internet era. Heck, I can still play those games today and don't have to fear any incompatibilities (except my computer being too fast of course). http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

WhiteKnight77
08-30-2005, 09:38 PM
The people at SF have already stated that Ubi encrypts the files. As stated on the SF website:


CD/DVD-ROM Protection
General Overview of Implementation:

Step 1: By using the StarForce Protection Wizard, the developer designates the portable executable files, .EXE or .DLL, as well as some non-executable files of the application for encryption and specifies the desired protection parameters. Then he or she chooses a graphical user interface for key entering, disc check, and error messages and enters the protection project information from his or her user account into the Protection Wizard.

Step 2: By using the StarForce Protection Wizard, the developer connects to a remote StarForce server, provides the designated executable files, and the server automatically encrypts the files and returns them to the developer. Then encryptions of non-executable data files along with the creation of containers to store them in are carried out.

Step 3: By using any popular CD burning software the developer burns a distributive onto a master-disc . This master-disc will be used to prepare a glass master, from which the CD-ROM discs are replicated.
Step 4: By using StarForce Protection Wizard and one of the discs of the test batch , the developer connects to a remote StarForce server again to extract the key. This 24-byte alpha-numeric key is valid only for this particular batch of discs.

Step 5: Using this key, the developer performs the final testing of the protected application produced on the discs of the test batch. After the tests are completed, the rest of the batch can be manufactured. This extracted key is used to launch the protected application and can be printed on the discs' packaging material, the discs themselves, or made available on a product website.

CD/DVD-ROM Protection (http://www.star-force.com/protection/protection.phtml?c=72&id=340)

With SF Professional 3.0 actually has the protection built into the disk too, even if you could make a copy, the lack of said protection in the disk will keep it from working. The CD/DVD keys are bound to each particular disk. Some are even bound to a particular PC, if you do not have the hardware when you originally installed the game, forget about playing it.

The use of SF is a very valid concern and after talking with an executive producer, I know a bit more of how bad it really is. Until Ubi wakes up and smells the coffee and changes protection schemes yet again, they need to keep hearing that SF is a bad idea and it's implentation can and will keep people from buying a game protected with it.

Joram1970
08-30-2005, 10:02 PM
Originally posted by WhiteKnight77:
The people at SF have already stated that Ubi encrypts the files. As stated on the SF website:

CD/DVD-ROM Protection
General Overview of Implementation:

Thanks for the course but I already knew all that. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif Plus, what I've wrote you above is probably closer to the truth than anything you can quote off.

It is possible to tell at a glance the size of the containers and evaluate the worst case scenario of how much data is protected. (Re-read my previous message if in doubt, I didn't deny anything you just pasted)


With SF Professional 3.0 actually has the protection built into the disk too, even if you could make a copy, the lack of said protection in the disk will keep it from working. The CD/DVD keys are bound to each particular disk.

That's partially (but mostly) right - but for simplicity's sake, let me nod on this.


Some are even bound to a particular PC, if you do not have the hardware when you originally installed the game, forget about playing it.

Yes, this is what is commonly called an hardware-bound key. (The Starforce ProActive mechanism uses that) This is absolutely normal for this kind of protection and Starforce isn't the only one to use such a mechanism - I've seen this implemented in many protections and especially in non-games related.

However, with such system, there has to be means of obtaining new activation keys...


The use of SF is a very valid concern and after talking with an executive producer, I know a bit more of how bad it really is. Until Ubi wakes up and smells the coffee and changes protection schemes yet again, they need to keep hearing that SF is a bad idea and it's implentation can and will keep people from buying a game protected with it.

If you are serious about that, you need to elaborate a bit more. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

What did the executive producer said? What is bad exactly? (It'd be interesting to learn, from Ubisoft's POV, what is wrong exactly)

WhiteKnight77
08-31-2005, 11:27 AM
While I will not detail all of the information I have, just know I have it. When I was at Leipzig, I had access to producers and such besides the CEO of GRIN. I learned lots of things, off the record. I will not give up sources as I want them to remain viable to me and the community. I will not burn bridges in giving out information that they could have had me sign an NDA over. The integrity I have goes a long way to getting answers that I can use to broach things without giving anything away.

If and when I am told I can release such information, I will, but in the mean time, the use of SF needs to be revisited and Ubi may want to consider something else in it's stead.

BSR_RuGGBuTT
08-31-2005, 03:00 PM
If WK sez that UBI should reconsider, that's good enuf for me. Pay attention UBI.

Helidath
01-24-2006, 02:35 AM
Sooner or later this is going to blow up in ubi's face. Just like it did for sony, when they added thier verson of CD protection.....

Check it out:
http://www.usatoday.com/money/media/2005-12-29-sony-settlement_x.htm?csp=34

http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,123543,00.asp

baff6
01-27-2006, 02:48 PM
. It installs the drivers to your C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers folder. Why does it need to be installed into your OS like that?

Starforce reads the exact position of 6 pieces of data on your disc. It measures the angle between them. The results are compared to an encrypted key contained in the .exe file. Should your disc be from a different production batch or printed on a different burner, the angles will be wrong. It has to install a seperate driver because CD/DVD drives are not made with this function in mind.

All Starforce Versions have been cracked. Ironically Pirated versions of even the latest (Christmas release)Starforce games work perfectly.




The DMCA for example. Gross violation of our rights. Passed.

DCMA laws do not apply to Software. They apply to DVD movies only. Software is specifically mentioned as continuing to be exempt from these laws. You have the right to make a back up copy and this right has not been impinged in any way by DCMA regulation.

It is a common misconception to believe that software owners are not allowed to reverse engineer or remove copy protection or make back ups under copywright law. They are. (Can't speak for the U.S., although EU copywright laws are based on the U.S. ones).

Use of CP on software invalidates any copywright. Copywright law dictates that Software must be copyable as a prerequisite to copyright.


Ubi has even gone as far as to trump fair use laws by using this and changing their EULA to show that we can't even create a back-up copy.

A Eula agreement has no basis in law. Clicking "I agree" does not contractually bind you unless you do so before you pay for the goods, and even then it would only bind you to the retailer not the manufacturer. This is covered under the Unfair Contract Act. (Or Fair Use laws if you are a yank).

(As a point of comedy, Ubi doesn't own any copywright to it's copy protected games. It is not in a position to lisence anything. once you have bought it, or even obtained a pirate copy it is legally yours to do with as you please).


Will Ubi expect someone to return to the store to rebuy the game now that they do not allow us to make up a backup copy? You have no contract (or lisence agreement) with Ubi. If you bought the game from a store, the only contract you have is the contract of sale betwen yourself and that retailer. If the game is flawed or of unsatisafctory quality you are entitled to return it for a full refund any time within 6 years of purchase. no proof of purchase is necessary (although it is recommended).
In the EU, shopkeepers who refuse may be arrested on the spot as this is a criminal offense.

DayGlow
01-28-2006, 10:34 AM
Wrong.

Please tell me how you have determined that the SF driver takes over your optical drives functions? If it replaces my optical disk drivers (a basic part of windows) I would get an install warning from windows that it's drivers are being replaced, unless MS approves and certifies SF drivers as the new system drivers for the optical disks. Do you really think MS would do that? I'd love to see the proof of that.

The driver is part of it's decrytion program. It's what decrypts the game files so you can play. You're drives still need their own driver.

It seems a lot of people get their panties in a bunch because SF has a driver. Well half the software you use on your system has drivers and I've never once been warned that they are installing. My software firewall is driver based, same for my virus protection. A lot of the adware programs use drivers as well. Where's the uproar over this?

It's quite simple. People don't like CP because in reality they are lazy and don't like taking 5 seconds to put a disk in their drive to play a game. Thus CP is evil and anything and everything will be blamed on the CP. Which really makes it difficult to help the people that have legit problems with the software because the background noise is so high.

I mean we have baff here claiming that SF over-writes your opitcal disk drivers then causing them perform outside of their limits and damaging them. Quite interesting because that's exactly what the SF contest is about. baff claims that SF destroys hardware. Why he hasn't collected the $5000 is beyond me. He knows how it works. He should be able to complete the requirements for contest no problem since his claim works on the hardware level.

I have found the majority of people that complain about SF are the ones that tried to use the cracks to get around it, disabled all their drives, etc and screwed up their system doing so. Now it's SF's fault it happened, even though if they took the 5 seconds to insert the original disk they would have zero problems in the first place.

I'm not denying that SF and CP in general has problems and some people have issues with it. For them I hope that they get help and in the past with SF I've seen them very active on the game forums that their program is used actively helping people with problems with their CP.

Oh yeah, good luck baff getting shop keepers arrested on the spot and all. I'd love to be there when you stand and say 'arrest that man, he won't let me return this game' http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

BSR_RuGGBuTT
01-28-2006, 01:41 PM
A similar discussion is going on over at SimHQ, and as usual there are fools that jump to conclusions but don't realize that they've contradicted themselves. I'll leave this person's name out, but to quote:

Here is what it did to me, I had Nero installed and was working fine. When I installed Silent Hunter 3, I notced the next day that my Nero would not burn ANYTHING anymore.

So, not being a complete idiot, I restored my system using my ghost image of my drive. Made sure Nero was working, then re-installed SH3, bingo, NERO stopped working. I did not install a thing between installing and verifying NERO and installing SH3. When I removed SH3, downloaded the driver remover for SF, voila, my NERO was working again.

So, did SF break Nero? Maybe, I had the same problem. I reinstalled Nero and it worked again. This is a software conflict, I've seen this with video drivers not allowing Disc 4 of FarCry to install. Some people don't understand the difference between a software conflict and a program disabling hardware/software. Another guy had a prob w/SF and XP Home. I had probs from day one w/Home, and that was way before SF was invented. I also had probs w/SP2 and XP Pro, my install was old. When I clean installed SP2 didn't have a software conflict.

So far, I've only seen what looks to be one legit complaint about SF causing issues w/optical drives. Other people are firware updating their drives w/different brands of firmware then blaming SF. All kinds of stupid stuff but rarely do I see someone present a cogent argument. There's just a bit too much hysteria being bandied about.

Trekari
01-31-2006, 05:17 PM
Wrong.

Please tell me how you have determined that the SF driver takes over your optical drives functions? If it replaces my optical disk drivers (a basic part of windows) I would get an install warning from windows that it's drivers are being replaced, unless MS approves and certifies SF drivers as the new system drivers for the optical disks. Do you really think MS would do that? I'd love to see the proof of that.

How many drivers have you seen that install with no warning whatsoever and give system level privledge to the code within those files?

Starforce is a rootkit for all legal purposes.

I've been boycotting Ubisoft games (and will continue to do so) since SHIII came out and I found out the long way that it had installed Starforce on my system. To this day it sits in the box unused.

When Ubisoft stops using rootkits that silently install on your system and have been DOCUMENTED to cause hardware damage (permanent damage) in some cases, I'll consider spending my money on their products.

Until then, my money will go elsewhere.

BSR_RuGGBuTT
01-31-2006, 05:24 PM
Originally posted by Trekari:
Until then, my money will go elsewhere.
And you're here on the UBI forums because..................?

DayGlow
01-31-2006, 05:36 PM
Originally posted by Trekari:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Wrong.

Please tell me how you have determined that the SF driver takes over your optical drives functions? If it replaces my optical disk drivers (a basic part of windows) I would get an install warning from windows that it's drivers are being replaced, unless MS approves and certifies SF drivers as the new system drivers for the optical disks. Do you really think MS would do that? I'd love to see the proof of that.

How many drivers have you seen that install with no warning whatsoever and give system level privledge to the code within those files?

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

None. If SF replaces the basic IDE drivers on my system then Windows will warn me that an uncertified driver is attempting to install on my system and ask if I wish to proceed.

Trekari
01-31-2006, 07:51 PM
1) Why am I on this forum was asked of me.

Answer: Where else would you expect someone to make their refusal to buy an Ubisoft product and why known other than Ubisoft's official forums? I have a right to be here, just like you do.

Dayglow: Go ahead and install a SF protected game then and give me a screenshot of exactly where it tells you that the drivers are being installed and whether that is ok with you or not.

SF installs itself without asking, as a system-level driver. I never said it replaced any IDE drivers. Windows doesn't warn you about SF drivers. You can try to claim it does, but every user here will disagree with you.

BSR_RuGGBuTT
01-31-2006, 07:55 PM
Only replacing Windows drivers can you gain system level privelige access. SF has changed anything in their drivers w/a newer version that closes that loophhole.