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bogusheadbox
03-17-2006, 02:47 AM
2 page spread review of starforce in PC Gamer. Pretty spot on in my opinion.

Bascially it says that Starforce SHOULD advise what their programme does instead of being hidden in the mass of words in the EULA.

Starforce should also be removed when you uninstall the game.

But on the other hand it says,

Starforce is no way malicious as all the horrid claims make it out to be.

Funny how no one has claimed the Prize Starforce have offered to anyone who can prove that their programme has caused a hardware problem.

So is it only those who run emulator programmes and pirators that are the "voice" or the anti starforce crowd?

OR

Is this artcle incorrect ?

PlaneEater
03-17-2006, 03:45 AM
There was an even larger feature on it in the most recent CGW that didn't pull as many punches.

Essentially called it out and showed everyone that the emperor may have clothes, but also ate babies. Some of the quotes they included from StarForce PR people are absolutely hilarious--unless you've dealt with the PR people at spyware / malware companies like 180 Solutions / Zango and CoolWebSearch, and instantly recognize the same tune.

MrMojok
03-17-2006, 09:14 AM
I have never experienced the device failures that some people claim to have experienced with it. What it does do on my PC, with SHIII is interesting though. When I put the disc in, or start the program the other way, the splash screen comes up and:

10% of the time, the splash screen stays up for a very brief time, game then runs as normal

70% of the time, the splash screen stays up for 3-7 minutes, then the game runs as normal

20% of the time, the splash screen stays up forever requiring reboot. I once left it up while I went to work, to see if it would sort it out by itself. Splash screen still there when I came home eleven hours later.

Interesting.

Chuck_Older
03-17-2006, 09:37 AM
The only trouble I could see with SF is if it interprrets legit software (which it maybe can, maybe it can't) as piracy tools

I use SF, I have SHIII, GTR and GTL, all of which use SF

I use no music 'ripping' software, I don't copy DVDs or CDs (although I have the hardware to do it), and I have not had one teensy trouble with SF.

It annoys me that SF is hard to remove...but to me, SF is a reaction to the rampant piracy that exists. If everyone had bought their software legally...then SF wouldn't exist. The "It doesn't hurt anyone to make copies and hand them out to friends" crowd has ruined it for the rest of us

csThor
03-17-2006, 09:43 AM
Chuck - I don't have SF problems, either, but the only one installing drivers on my system is I and not some overzealous copy protection device. I regard this as a serious problem of system security and would be very disappointed if Oleg's future work would be mutilated by this bag of horse droppings.

There are other, better ways of making piracy hard(er). Even though I didn't like it for XP I think a forced registration and activation of the software Online would be a better way than installing a copy protection software which installs itself into your system like cancer does with your cells.

Tully__
03-17-2006, 10:09 AM
So far, none of the games in this series use starforce. Discussions of starforce are going to be watched very closely as they don't have a good history on other forums. Anything that is not constructive and totally devoid of personal insult will be instantly deleted.

Let's also leave off slating either Ubi for their choice of copy protection or Starforce for the way they operate. For good or for bad Ubi have chosen starforce for many of their games, these are Ubi's boards and we're here under Ubi's rules. If you have a problem with a starforce protected game, take it to the board of the game that uses it. Before posting, read any stickies, the games where starforce problems have been reported mostly have stickies dealing with the issue.

Dean3238
03-17-2006, 10:24 AM
Ignorance Alert...

What on earth _is_ Starforce?

csThor
03-17-2006, 10:46 AM
Tully - Ubisoft is the entity that wants to sell its products here. If the potential customers are put off by using a certain CRP Software with a notoriously bad reputation then it should concern Ubisoft. After all they want us to spend our hard earned money on their products so I think we do have a certain right to show our uneasiness about the potential use of SF.

As long as Ubisoft is not making a single statement if SF will be used or not you're going to find more threads than this.

JG52Uther
03-17-2006, 10:52 AM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif The DVD is released at the end of the month so someone must know if its there or not.

Luftkillier
03-17-2006, 10:59 AM
I don't buy any product with Starforce, regardless of my love for it. Starforce=no $$$$$ from me.

crazyivan1970
03-17-2006, 11:08 AM
Guys, just go here and voice your opinion, that`s all:

http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/23110283/m/6841040424


Tully is right, there is no reason to slam companies for their choices. It`s their business, poll is the best solution to get the statistics from the customers base. Numbers will speak for themselves.

Brain32
03-17-2006, 11:16 AM
Chuck - I don't have SF problems, either, but the only one installing drivers on my system is I and not some overzealous copy protection device.
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif

vocatx
03-17-2006, 11:23 AM
I've been keeping an eye on these Starforce threads, and I have a question or two if someone can answer that has ACTUAL experience with Starforce.

1) I do not copy CDs or DVDs for pirating purposes, however, I do burn them from time to time for back-ups, and recently burned a CD with all the patches for a community member who could not download them. Will Starforce keep me from using my DVD drive for these purposes?

2) If my system is damaged by Starforce or any software containing it, are there remedies set up for compensation? IE, will it be possible to make them pay for damage done to my system?

3) Is there any way to remove Starforce from a system, but keep the desired program (such as SH III, or BoB if it contains SF) on the hard drive and continue to use it?

4) Once SF is removed, if you have lost the ability to use the DVD/CD drive, will it be restored?

I really want to support Oleg and co. and plan on buying the add-ons and BoB when it comes out, but I spent a lot of money on my system and installed a very nice DVD/CD RW combo. I DO NOT want to lose any system capabilities because of some hidden software included in something I buy. I know piracy and theft are big problems, and I don't blame anyone for trying to protect themselves from it, but I don't want to damage a system I built for the express purpose of running FB/PF because of something like this.

I would appreciate answers only from people who are informed and have actual experience with Starforce, please.

Temporal_Mass
03-17-2006, 11:55 AM
I've been keeping an eye on these Starforce threads, and I have a question or two if someone can answer that has ACTUAL experience with Starforce.

Try this website: http://www.glop.org
and the forum therin. Now you will find some chest thumping zelots there. However there is A LOT of good information along the lines of the questions you asked.

Tully__
03-17-2006, 04:58 PM
Originally posted by vocatx:
I've been keeping an eye on these Starforce threads, and I have a question or two if someone can answer that has ACTUAL experience with Starforce.

1) I do not copy CDs or DVDs for pirating purposes, however, I do burn them from time to time for back-ups, and recently burned a CD with all the patches for a community member who could not download them. Will Starforce keep me from using my DVD drive for these purposes?

2) If my system is damaged by Starforce or any software containing it, are there remedies set up for compensation? IE, will it be possible to make them pay for damage done to my system?

3) Is there any way to remove Starforce from a system, but keep the desired program (such as SH III, or BoB if it contains SF) on the hard drive and continue to use it?

4) Once SF is removed, if you have lost the ability to use the DVD/CD drive, will it be restored?

I really want to support Oleg and co. and plan on buying the add-ons and BoB when it comes out, but I spent a lot of money on my system and installed a very nice DVD/CD RW combo. I DO NOT want to lose any system capabilities because of some hidden software included in something I buy. I know piracy and theft are big problems, and I don't blame anyone for trying to protect themselves from it, but I don't want to damage a system I built for the express purpose of running FB/PF because of something like this.

I would appreciate answers only from people who are informed and have actual experience with Starforce, please.

vocatx, answers to most of your questions can be found in: http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/561108232/m/2871061083

Nevertheless:

1. No

2. Starforce is a Russian company. They have a standing offer (for $10,000 IIRC) to anyone who can prove that starforce has damaged their system. Catch is you have to travel at your own cost to them and duplicate the problem for their techs (and by duplicate they mean provide a working system at your own cost and demonstrate how it is damaged by installing starforce) before they'll pay.

3. Yes you can remove it, starforce provide a tool you can download. No you can't continue using the software it came with after you remove it. If you could it wouldn't be effective copy protection.

4. Restoring lost function or lost performance my require a Windows wipe and re-install.



As you all can see, the topic has been thoroughly discussed in other game forums. Ubi have gathered a huge amount of information on this already relating to different hardware and software configs and which ones may or may not be affected. As a huge database is already gathered they are not willing to tolerate discussion of the topic purely for blowing off steam on the topic. As I mentioned above, constructive discussion is fine but when people start spouting without being consructive it will be locked or deleted.

Chuck_Older
03-18-2006, 07:00 AM
Originally posted by csThor:
Chuck - I don't have SF problems, either, but the only one installing drivers on my system is I and not some overzealous copy protection device. I regard this as a serious problem of system security and would be very disappointed if Oleg's future work would be mutilated by this bag of horse droppings.

There are other, better ways of making piracy hard(er). Even though I didn't like it for XP I think a forced registration and activation of the software Online would be a better way than installing a copy protection software which installs itself into your system like cancer does with your cells.

Well, look at it this way:

I chose to install SF. I knew about it when I installed SFIII. I'm not exactly a detective http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif I read a lot about people having problems with SF. It's very interesting to me to read the results:

Apparently, software and OS issues aren't really the concern- hardware damage is.

But despite that, how many posts here and elsewhere do you read that say "SF screwed up my OS!" and "my programs are screwed up because of SF!"

Then we hear the damning evidence: SF can damage optical drives...but wait a minute...what about all this "my software got scrwed up " stuff? So basically an hysteria concerning software issues was developed around SF, when that wasn't even the trouble- enough people said "it must be SF" so it became a fact that SF messed with software

I don't recall anyone prior to this news of hardware damage saying that SF damaged their drives

I personally think that SF is a rotten idea- it doesn't do what it's supposed to do, like you mention, the best way possible. It's a dumb approach.

I also read a lot of this "boycott Starforce" stuff...I consider you one of the most intelligent people here, thor. Tell me what you think of this parallel:

In the US, there has been in the past ideas like "vote with your wallet" about certain things, like gasoline prices. It's not a new idea, it's been around for ever

With gas prices, there was a bright idea that we should boycott say, Texaco gas stations, and that would send a message to the Oil companies, who are registering record revenues even during this (artificial, just like 1973 in my opinion) gas shortage.

It didn't work. Voting with your wallet...well that works when your dollar directly effects something. In the case of oil products, it's moot because the market is self-mandating- they predict future gains and losses, and adjust the prices in advance, and the folks making that decision are appointed by the Oil companies! Sweet deal if you ask me

With software, you're not voting with your wallet if you boycott products with Starforce. Why? Because this group in the sim community is a teensy tiny wee small niche market that won't show up on the sales radar. A different approach needs to be taken. All low sales of a sim with SF on it will do is show software developers that the sim market is dead. And that doesn't mean :go out and buy sims with SF on it, by the way

Somehow, the software developers must be shown that SF is not wanted by customers, without showing the developers that their products are unwanted.

If nobody buys future Maddox Games products because of SF, do you think UbiSoft will consider it's because of SF, or will they assume it's because nobody wants their sims? I think Ubi will assume that Maddox Games doesn't make a profitable product. We are in a vicious circle here

WWSensei
03-18-2006, 07:22 AM
My issues with SF have not been of the disabling burning or physically damaging. I have purchased 3 titles that utilized SF protection. In each case, the SF software ITSELF errored out while checking the CD. After many, many exchanges with their tech support, multiple patches from them etc the issue could not be resolved. When they did provide me with a removal tool it also crashed when running and that did leave my OS drivers in such a state that XP could no longer recognize my DVD or CDROM. I had to reinstall drivers from XP to fix that. No physical damage, just OS level.

SF did provide me with the manual steps for cleaning up the mess their removal tool left behind.

So, for me, SF protected games simply won't run on my system. Therefore there is no point in my purchasing said games. I don't like paying an average of $50 for a fancy coaster. I have no objection to software protection, just their choice of technology is obviosuly not compatible with my system. If BoB has SF I won't buy it because it simply won't run (I can't run Lock On with Flaming Cliffs due tot he same problems, or SHIII or Area 51).

Now, having read some of their PR comments (ie "only people having trouble are hackers and thieves") and seeing a "contest challenge" that has so many caveats and conditions as to be pretty much impossible to reach and using that as "proof" and their final latest activity of publishing links to pirated copies of software who refuse to buy their services I am making a consumer decision not to support them or companies who use their services.

I think it's fair to communicate to Ubi that use of this software has prevented me from making at least 3 purchases of Ubi titles in the past 3 months and will result in my avoiding the purchase of Ubi produced software utilizing this protection scheme.

In the end, Ubi will make a business decision and decide if the loss in revenue of legitimate customers outweighs the loss from piracy. That's how it works.


If nobody buys future Maddox Games products because of SF, do you think UbiSoft will consider it's because of SF, or will they assume it's because nobody wants their sims? I think Ubi will assume that Maddox Games doesn't make a profitable product. We are in a vicious circle here

That assumes Ubi is the only available game software publisher. Another smart publisher would recognize the value of the product and may decide to take over the distribution. Remember, Ubi needs the talent of developers to have a product to publish and market....if more game developers walk away from them because their choice of "protection" they lose moeny as well. Eventually, they could have nothing left to "protect". It may be a vicious circle, but it's a circle that can turn both ways.

slipBall
03-18-2006, 07:38 AM
I think it's fair to communicate to Ubi that use of this software has prevented me from making at least 3 purchases of Ubi titles in the past 3 months and will result in my avoiding the purchase of Ubi produced software utilizing this protection scheme.

In the end, Ubi will make a business decision and decide if the loss in revenue of legitimate customers outweighs the loss from piracy. That's how it works.



They have lost sales to me also. Starforce has a very ugly reputation, and I will not take the chance of being another victim

Chuck_Older
03-18-2006, 07:39 AM
That is true, sensei, that is a potential scenario. I don't know how that works, I assume that Maddox Games works under contract to 1C, and 1C in return works in conjunction with Ubi under contract.

JG52Uther
03-18-2006, 08:09 AM
Well Chuck i think the poll running on the starforce issue is the best way foeward for now.I really want to buy BoB,but I dont want to buy it with starforce.

Chuck_Older
03-18-2006, 08:16 AM
I don't. I think a poll about it is useless except to give people with SF misgivings a place to vent

mortoma
03-18-2006, 02:55 PM
The easy answer for any such concerns is to have multiple hard drives ( I personally have eight hard drives sitting around ) and just clone a copy of your Windows install over to an extra one before installing a game with Starforce on it. Use this drive on and off for time to experiment, to see if any difficulties crop up. If they do, then avoid SF from then on and go back to your original HD Windows install, then simply reformat the experiemental drive. If SF doesn't cause problems, well then.....................

Luftkillier
03-18-2006, 04:34 PM
This is one of the most useful polls ever on this board. I think Oleg wants to know if he is being forced to commit economic suicide by some nameless company forcing SF on his product. The current poll says 70% of IL2 lovers would not buy future products with SF on it. Pretty significant IMHO.

JG52Uther
03-18-2006, 04:54 PM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif I think they are interested,or the poll would not have been around long

carguy_
03-18-2006, 05:57 PM
Correct.Ubi aint no stichin bums.If they don`t like what they see it`s bye bye.Just look what they did to PL http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/shady.gif

On the SF however I think it`s been quite succesful.Everything I read so far makes it the most effective anti piracy tool ever.Not that it hasn`t been cracked but makes it damn hard to run a pirated game.

There are too many nincumpoops to even hear about the unfulence and overal work features of SF.Ppl bought and will buy games.

The only thing we can do is set them ignorant nincumpoops on panic so they don`t touch anything with SF with it. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/halo.gif


To be true IMO the poll is kinda fake.About 50% of those saying no buy will buy if BoB turns out to be what we dream of.Hardly anyone will just throw the 9/10 reviews out of his memory.I myself will try to find a way to support 1C without making my PC going mad and will no doubt lose some sleep over it.If however there will be no way to play BoB without suffering SF influence then right no buy for me.

willyvic
03-19-2006, 08:14 PM
Originally posted by carguy_:

...To be true IMO the poll is kinda fake.About 50% of those saying no buy will buy if BoB turns out to be what we dream of...
...If however there will be no way to play BoB without suffering SF influence then right no buy for me.

All righty then. What 50% side should we put you on? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

zoinks_
03-19-2006, 08:29 PM
one thing i noticed playing sh3: sometimes the cd would id right away and sometimes i'd sit there asking http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/354.gif

anyone else notice similar? same new plextor reads everything else very easily.

carguy_
03-20-2006, 12:34 AM
Originally posted by willyvic:
All righty then. What 50% side should we put you on? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif


Never bought CFS2/3,BoB2,LOMAC FC,Strike Fighters,Half Life2,Brothers IA,Medieval:total war ,TRD2 and so on and so on.I`m sure I can resist anything.

Pentallion
03-20-2006, 08:37 AM
Originally posted by crazyivan1970:
Guys, just go here and voice your opinion, that`s all:

http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/23110283/m/6841040424


Tully is right, there is no reason to slam companies for their choices. It`s their business, poll is the best solution to get the statistics from the customers base. Numbers will speak for themselves.

Show me a single post prior to yours where anyone "slammed" Starforce. They didn't. All they were doing was stating what problems they'd had or not had. Or stating that they'd never buy a product with Starforce on it.

Those are both valid things to discuss if Ubi is thinking of using Starforce on future Maddox games.

Pentallion
03-20-2006, 08:47 AM
Originally posted by vocatx:
I've been keeping an eye on these Starforce threads, and I have a question or two if someone can answer that has ACTUAL experience with Starforce.

1) I do not copy CDs or DVDs for pirating purposes, however, I do burn them from time to time for back-ups, and recently burned a CD with all the patches for a community member who could not download them. Will Starforce keep me from using my DVD drive for these purposes?

2) If my system is damaged by Starforce or any software containing it, are there remedies set up for compensation? IE, will it be possible to make them pay for damage done to my system?

3) Is there any way to remove Starforce from a system, but keep the desired program (such as SH III, or BoB if it contains SF) on the hard drive and continue to use it?

4) Once SF is removed, if you have lost the ability to use the DVD/CD drive, will it be restored?

I really want to support Oleg and co. and plan on buying the add-ons and BoB when it comes out, but I spent a lot of money on my system and installed a very nice DVD/CD RW combo. I DO NOT want to lose any system capabilities because of some hidden software included in something I buy. I know piracy and theft are big problems, and I don't blame anyone for trying to protect themselves from it, but I don't want to damage a system I built for the express purpose of running FB/PF because of something like this.

I would appreciate answers only from people who are informed and have actual experience with Starforce, please.
Vocatx, sorry to tell you that Tully is wrong. I DO have hands on experience with Starforce, unfortunately, and the answers to your questions are:

1: YES! It will disable Nero software. No ifs, ands or buts. Removing Starforce reinables Nero software.

2: Not unless you're willing to spend the money to challenge them in court. The EULA isn't worth the cyberspace it's written on and if someone had the money, they could challenge it in court. Also, there's the fact that the "warning" on the box only says the copy protection might "conflict" with certain hardware. Since "conflict" means something different on computers than what Starforce actually does you can argue the warning is misleading.

4: Other than the secret method I've mentioned, if you remove SF from your computer and you play the game again, SF will be reinstalled. In short, you can't play games that come with SF and not install SF...unless you know the right person.

bigchump
03-20-2006, 10:22 AM
Originally posted by mortoma:
The easy answer for any such concerns is to have multiple hard drives ( I personally have eight hard drives sitting around ) and just clone a copy of your Windows install over to an extra one before installing a game with Starforce on it. Use this drive on and off for time to experiment, to see if any difficulties crop up. If they do, then avoid SF from then on and go back to your original HD Windows install, then simply reformat the experiemental drive. If SF doesn't cause problems, well then.....................

Security features on the current beta of "Longhorn" (the next Windows ver.) will prevent this from working. A "clean" install of Windows and all your S/W & H/W drivers on a new drive (with the old one(s) removed) will still be OK.

Removal of Starforce can still leave nasty little thingys like this on your machine:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v248/bigchump/starprot.jpg

LEBillfish
03-20-2006, 11:08 AM
Originally posted by bogusheadbox:
Funny how no one has claimed the Prize Starforce have offered to anyone who can prove that their programme has caused a hardware problem.

So is it only those who run emulator programmes and pirators that are the "voice" or the anti starforce crowd?

OR

Is this artcle incorrect ?


OR

the average person with the problem has not the skills/knowledge to "prove" as in show the link between the problems and starforce, and those that do either don't want to waste their time OR don't want to aid Starforce in determining how their software can be detected and its activities.

However, it's only due to the problems that people are upset....Many programs many very mainstream and respected still take info from your PC and send it elsewhere....How do you like them apples?

NonWonderDog
03-20-2006, 11:51 AM
In order to collect on the offer, you have to fly to Moscow on your own dime, provide a clean test system with no installed software (on your own dime), and conclusively prove that Starforce causes immediate physical damage to the system.

It's impossible, basically... and it would cost more to prove than the reward is worth.

This stunt alone is enough to warrant a boycott of Starforce, in my mind.

Chuck_Older
03-20-2006, 01:01 PM
Originally posted by Pentallion:
Vocatx, sorry to tell you that Tully is wrong. I DO have hands on experience with Starforce, unfortunately, and the answers to your questions are:

1: YES! It will disable Nero software. No ifs, ands or buts. Removing Starforce reinables Nero software.

I bought a new DVD-R drive about 8 weeks ago. The software bundle that comes with it installed some Nero software...which I can absolutely use, I used it to watch a DVD last night. I have SF installed. I need to burn a DVD to get some car photos off my PC and free up some space. If I can, I'll try it using Nero to do that tonight and report on the experiment

Tully__
03-20-2006, 01:08 PM
Nero works with Starforce (play and burn) on my system no problems.

Edit: Pentallion is right for some hardware. Perhaps my first answer would have read better if I'd been clearer on that, but nero works fine on my burner.

Chuck_Older
03-21-2006, 08:18 AM
I can back up what Tully just said...on my system, I can use Nero and Starforce...there is no problem whatsoever, I burned my DVD last night

I think this is yet another example of "It works/doesn't work on my own PC, or I see/don't see something on my PC, so what I say goes for everyone" type of mentality that we see all the time here- Tully's PC, my PC- no problem using Nero, and we use SF. Somebody else has trouble with Nero, and they have SF....but my system and Tully's system ISN'T that other person's system. All I can say is that I know what's on my PC, and I know what works

Nero works with SF on my PC, period. That's MY PC. Is it because of the software I do (and don't) have installed on my PC, or because I got a 'special' copy of SF? I doubt it. Everyone's system is different...if you see problems with Nero, and you suspect it's from SF...maybe looking at your system as a WHOLE might be in order? What else is running, etc? Are you 100% SURE that you aren't giving SF a reason to interfere? 99.9999% is not good enough here...are you 100% sure? If you are 100% sure...then is it possible SF isn't your particular problem in this case??

raisen
03-21-2006, 10:12 AM
Quote from Tully_ >>for some hardware<< as I'm aware.

One of my machines does write cd's/DVD's post SF install, although no longer ISO's (a bit of a showstopper for me as I'm a Unix/Linux admin), whilst another will no longer write anything under windows.

On my notebook, since starforce was installed unannounced by a demo, I have been unable to copy some CD's ot my Tungsten E palm pilot. If I attempt to do so, Windows blue screens with a stop code that indicates a driver error.

Since the machine that cannot write ISO's is now my full time Linux box, and no hardware damage is done, it isn't the problem it could be. But it's bad enough.

Three different hardware platforms, three different results. SF seem aware that there are problems with some hardware, but there is no HCL (hardware compatibility list). If the results are not predictable then it's bad.

The software is bad, the attitude of the vendors is offensive - I've been on the receiving end my self, and had my ethical and professional integrity questioned by these jokers.

No way no how will I ever entertain such software again.

Raisen

bigchump
03-21-2006, 11:48 AM
@raisen:

Windows is as much to blame as Starforce for this stuff.

Open device manager on your affected (infected?) machine and check your IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers.

If your primary/secondary IDE channels are stuck in PIO mode, try changing back to DMA and reboot.

Hope this helps!
bigchump

raisen
03-21-2006, 12:22 PM
@BigChump... Yeah, thanks for the advice. I earn my living with this kit so I was aware, but thanks anyways.

More to the point, I needed a dedicated Unix box, as the slowest of the bunch, but by no means slow, the affected PC woke up one day to find penguins rather Windows running the show....

It's not that it's insoluble or any one of the problems individually, but I'm not prepared to tolerate SF in any form, on any PC that belongs to me personally.

Thanks chap.

Raisen

raisen
03-22-2006, 08:23 AM
Briefly here's the position - Notebook crashes (blue screen followed by reboot) when trying to use RealPlayer to copy music to my Tungsten E. System log shows an error with an "unknown driver".

Attempts to perform the same operation by copying the tracks directly to a memory card fail with the same error.

SF had been installed with a demo on the notebook. Yesterdays news gives me a clue. Search for SF remnants.... They are in the device manager and active. Remove them using SF automated removal program, then reboot.

After reboot, I can move music onto my PDA, either directly or to the card reader slot.

Replace SF..... Problem returns, Remove it..... Problem disappears again.

Much of this debate has been fuelled by an apparently dodgy article at futuremark, unfortunately this seems to bear the content of that article out. SF appears to be a virtual device driver behaving badly, and on that basis I personally will never purchase a product with StarForce again.

I look after many friends PC's, as a result of my time administering Windows and Linux - I'll be recommending they think long and hard before they buy such software too.

Raisen

AKA_TAGERT
03-22-2006, 09:08 AM
Originally posted by bogusheadbox:
Funny how no one has claimed the Prize Starforce have offered to anyone who can prove that their programme has caused a hardware problem.
bingo!


Originally posted by bogusheadbox:
So is it only those who run emulator programmes and pirators that are the "voice" or the anti starforce crowd?
IMHO yes

AKA_TAGERT
03-22-2006, 09:08 AM
Originally posted by Chuck_Older:
I don't. I think a poll about it is useless except to give people with SF misgivings a place to vent bingo!

raisen
03-22-2006, 10:30 AM
>>Funny how no one has claimed the Prize Starforce have offered to anyone who can prove that their programme has caused a hardware problem.<<

Check the terms. You'd end up owing money on that deal unless you actually lived next door to their office.

>>Originally posted by bogusheadbox:
So is it only those who run emulator programmes and pirators that are the "voice" or the anti starforce crowd? <<

The only emulator I've ever run is the one that allows me to test and debug Palm Pilot programs. There is a debugger installed on my own notebook as part of Visual Studio. Neither get run when I fire up games. In the case I describe in a thread above, nothing else was apparently running when the transfers were made. The SF software has problems. Remove it problem goes away, put it back, back it comes.

AKA_Tagert - with respect, as Tully_ pointed out there does indeed appear to be an awareness at SF that some hardware configs (not merely software) cause problems. The vendors PR people, of whom I have personal experience get off on name calling/attempting to discredit anybody that questions their product, and stifle debate.


In any event, pretty much all of the titles packaged with SF end up cracked eventually. In their own words SF delays that moment. In the meantime however, everybody that buys legit ends up either mildly inconvenienced, or has big chunks of functionality removed.

I say nothing about those folks that make a concious choice and are clued up. Is it ethical to include this in a demo though, and then users find it doing its handiwork unannounced ? More to the point, how about the case above - a third party program being disabled and causing reboots with an attempt to obfuscate which driver is causing the problem?

You can't honestly be positively supporting this copy protection ? There will be alternatives that don't amputate my ability to burn Linux or Microsoft ISO's, or attempt to govern my use of the music player on my PDA, but protect content equally as well.

Supporting its use is craziness.

Raisen

NonWonderDog
03-22-2006, 10:35 AM
Yep, check the terms.

If you want to collect on their offer, you have to fly to Moscow on your own dime, provide a test system with no installed software that is under complete warranty, and prove conclusively to the Starforce marketing guys (without using third-party software) that their copy protection causes immediate physical damage to the drive that is reproducable in any and every computer without Starforce.

Submissions were due before January 31 this year. The offered prize was $1,000 (NOT the advertised $10,000) plus travel and hotel expenses.

How can ANYONE support a company that pulls a stunt like this? Does dishonesty mean nothing?

I'm not making this up:

The terms of the contest

1. StarForce offers you to participate in contest among users of StarForce protected applications in accordance with these terms (hereinafter €" Terms).

2. At your own expense you arrive to StarForce headquarter which is placed in Russia, Moscow, Altufievskoe shosse, 5/2. Please arrange your visit with us beforehand and during working hours 10 AM to 6PM Monday through Friday Moscow time.

3. Using your PC (the subject PC€s hardware must be under warranty terms) or any StarForce office PC you demonstrate that:
- All the drives in the system are properly functioning prior to the installation of a StarForce protected product of your choice. A legal version of operational system must be installed and there must be no other third company products installed. StarForce experts have full access to the subject PC for verification of installed software.
- After the installation and start-up of StarForce protected product (the product itself must not be hazardous for optical drives) the CD or DVD drive in the subject PC is not reading CD/DVD discs or the drive is not writing CD/DVD discs.
- After this demonstration the subject Drive must be removed from the subject PC and installed into any other computer that has no StarForce protected products or drivers installed, that has a legal version of operational system and has no third company products installed. StarForce experts have full access to the subject PC for verification of installed software.

Should the subject Drive fail to read or write CD/DVD discs in the second PC, you will be acknowledged the Winner.

4. If you are acknowledged as the Winner StarForce shall compensate your travel expenses (air fare round trip to Moscow economy class, pay your two days lodging (three star hotel of your choice) in Moscow and pay 1000 USD as prize.
Your full name will be mentioned on www.star-force.com (http://www.star-force.com) as the Winner of the Contest.

5. If you fail to reproduce the mentioned above terms, you will be acknowledged the loser and StarForce will mention your full name on www.star-force.com (http://www.star-force.com) in the list of Losers of the Contest and any expenses shall not be compensated.

6. All disputes arising in connection of this contest will be resolved in accordance with legislation of EU.

7. Sending of application for participation in the contest confirms that you agree with these Terms.

StarForce Inc

LEXX_Luthor
03-22-2006, 12:52 PM
Good Question! Why StarForce in free demos?

Wild.Bill.Kelso
03-22-2006, 01:35 PM
Originally posted by AKA_TAGERT:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Chuck_Older:
I don't. I think a poll about it is useless except to give people with SF misgivings a place to vent bingo! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Tally Ho!

Agreed. A poll that says 'Will you buy a game or not, that has Starforce is going to get mostly the people who have had problems to respond. A better poll would be to ask If you have Starforce, do you/did you have problems? Yes or No. But still, if you had problems with it you would probably respond. If not, you might not even look at the thread.

LEXX_Luthor
03-22-2006, 01:53 PM
Kelso::
A poll that says 'Will you buy a game or not, that has Starforce is going to get mostly the people who have had problems to respond.
False assumption.

Many people who never had StarForce problems or even StarForce games are paying great attention to what is going on here.

Its like the false assumption that a Poll asking "would you live under Nazis or Commies" will get mostly people who had "problems" living under those conditions. Its great the more people pay attention to what is going on, like its great the more people learn what it was like for others who were victims of Nazis and Commies.

LEXX_Luthor
03-22-2006, 02:02 PM
Now, back to The Question.

Why a secret install of StarForce in free demos? Anybody?

reisen52
03-22-2006, 02:02 PM
http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3148942

Have You Been Starforced?
What is it? More importantly, how do I get rid of it?
by Scott Sharkey, 03/21/2006

90 of 92 users recommend this story.
"I'm going to put some software on your PC to keep you from stealing my stuff. It's perfectly safe, other than opening up a possible trojan gateway and slowing down your CD/DVD burner, or maybe rebooting your computer if you're doing anything I think is suspicious. No, no, I insist. There. All done. What, you don't like it? That sounds like something a pirate would say."
If it seems like I'm setting myself up for a serious face-punching there, please try to keep one thing in mind -- I was being far more polite about it than Starforce and the publishers incorporating it have been; I actually told you what I was doing.

It's time to just come clean here. Starforce, the anti-piracy software which comes packed with a growing list of games, is malware. It installs itself without asking for permission or providing explicit notification, and it's a ***** to get rid of. A story in the April CGW finally confirmed that yeah, it slows down burn speeds and opens security holes. If that wasn't enough, this morning users on Futuremark's forums reportedly discovered a new system used by Starforce that forces a system reboot when "suspicious" activity is detected. This accusation is not based on Futuremark's research and hasn't yet been corroborated, but if true it would be just one more item on a laundry list of offenses. While many of the problems it can cause with a PC are still unconfirmed rumors, enough of them have been tested and confirmed for Starforce to easily land somewhere just below the plague on the "bad stuff you don't want" list.

Russian developer StarForce Technologies still declares that these reports are "pure fiction" and are "probably initiated by frustrated pirates," offering as proof the fact that nobody took the time and expense to fly to Moscow to argue with them about it last year. In the CGW article Starforce PR director Dennis Zhidkov even went on to declare that "The issue on StarForce is obviously sponsored by our competitors or organized crime groups that run CD/DVD piracy [operations]."

For those of us getting mysterious blue screens and messed up DVD-RW drives, however, the question at this point isn't "does Starforce screw up your computer" or "how much screwing up is it doing?" or even "am I really a mobster pirate and just forgot?" but "how the hell do I get rid of the damn thing?" Well, there's a handy-dandy guide to detecting the software on the aptly named Boycott Starforce site, as well as a guide for removing it. There's even a big, scary list of games incorporating it, in case you wanted to avoid getting scumware on your computer in the first place while simultaneously sending a message to publishers who really should know better by now. And by that I mean Ubisoft. I like you, Ubi, I really do, but this is like suddenly, unexpectedly getting the holy screaming **** slapped out of me by a favorite uncle. My little heart is so crushed.

Somebody hold me.

Zeke

LEXX_Luthor
03-22-2006, 02:31 PM
Thanks raisin. There's alot of "ifs" in that article especially about this "Futuremark" stuff, but I think the Sony copy protection disaster brought some public attention to this subject, and Sony was supposed to be a trusted friendly corporation. I focus one thing -- reports of StarForce slowing down or at times even stopping StarForce games from loading.

Put it like this - as far as I have seen, Oleg is not a Fan of StarForce. None of the developers of other games I play are fans of StarForce, and that will soon include game publisher StarDock (GalCiv2) who were battered by emails from StarForce demanding that StarDock use StarForce. Fascinating stuff.

bigchump
03-22-2006, 03:03 PM
Originally posted by LEXX_Luthor:
Now, back to The Question.

Why a secret install of StarForce in free demos? Anybody?

It's there to throw hackers a curveball, to get them working on something that probably won't resemble the final product.

Paranoid people could make the argument that Starforce drivers are being installed on as many computers as possible by including them on demos, for whatever reason...

I would encourage everyone to become informed about the potential risks before buying anything that has Starforce on it.

raisen
03-22-2006, 03:29 PM
>>It's there to throw hackers a curveball, to get them working on something that probably won't resemble the final product.<<

Trouble with any such technology as SF, is that whilst the specifics will change, the methodology used to break it will not. It will certainly be starting point for those looking to break the protection. It certainly would not be in the interests of the publisher of the demo to prevent the duplication and sharing of the demo - it is after all an advertisement for the finished product.

I don't want to appear paranoid, but depending on how SF was sold to the usual suspects, there may well be no better explanation for the inclusion of SF in demo's than simply to get it onto user PC's as quickly as possible.

More likely, from a pure economic point of view, surely money is changing hands each time a demo is produced with SF as part of the distribution, they're not a charity after all.


Either explanation is unsavoury.

Raisen

eskimo-again
03-22-2006, 03:56 PM
the industry is getting carried away with protection measures. i will not play any games that use star force.

copy protecting a cd/dvd and requiring its presence to play is as outdated as its use as a distribution method.

give me steam any day over restrictive annoying cd/dvd changing for every game.

i guess that means no BOB for me but so be it.

bigchump
03-22-2006, 04:56 PM
Originally posted by eskimo-again:
i guess that means no BOB for me but so be it.

Hold your horses (or huskies), Eskimo!
AFAIK no decision has been made about BOB.

Oleg has a very loyal customer base, and Oleg has been very loyal to his customers in return.

I'm sure Oleg has seen the Starforce poll (flawed as it may be) and is aware that more than a few of his customers have reservations about Starforce.

My two-dollar bet is that we will never see anything like Starforce on any of his products. Any takers?

raisen
03-22-2006, 05:14 PM
2 dollars ? hehehe
There's confidence. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Raisen

Tully__
03-23-2006, 02:13 PM
Originally posted by LEXX_Luthor:
Now, back to The Question.

Why a secret install of StarForce in free demos? Anybody?
The publisher uses a standard install package for all releases that includes starforce and it didn't occur to them to take it out for the free demos most likely. The alternative would be to have two installer packages in use which is added cost and testing time.