Elemental: No Copy Protection, Activation, LAN and more

By on August 15, 2010 2:31:13 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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There’s been a lot of discussion on these kinds of topics on recent games and I thought I’d give you our perspective on it.

No Copy Protection

Elemental, out of the box, like all of Stardock’s other games, has no copy protection whatsoever.  However, you obviously need Internet access to get updates.  But then, why should this be necessary?

Because Elemental, unlike our previous games, has really been designed to be a game that people can play for decades, this is something that has concerned us. Because we want to encourage people to have the latest version but at the same time, we are aware that some people are worried that 10 years from now, they won’t be able to get the “better” version.

So here is what we’re going to start doing on our developed titles: We’re going to start making archival DVD versions of the game that can be sent to customers.  We already do this with Object Desktop (our most popular non-game product).  This archival version would have no copy protection whatsoever. It would just be a DVD you can put into your machine.

So starting in October, what we will do is make archival DVD editions of our games starting with Galactic Civilizations II: Ultimate Edition and Elemental.  Roughly every year or so, if there have been updates, we’ll create a new archival version of the game that people can have sent to them (it’ll just be a DVD).

LAN Games

There’s been a lot of questions of how someone would play Elemental on their LAN with their friends.  Here’s my suggested way to do it with minimum hassle.

#1 You’ll need to install Impulse on the machines that will be playing the game. But that’s all. Just install and go to step 2.

#2 Go to http://anywhere.impulsedriven.com which is the web interface to Impulse. From here, you would download the web package of Elemental. As long as Impulse is installed on the machine, you can install the game.

#3 When you install, type in your serial #. If it’s on a LAN, just use your single DVD key, Impulse::Reactor’s GOO uses smart activation (i.e. it doesn’t have a “activation limit” type system) so you can just install it on the various machines on your LAN.

#4 When your friends come over to play, they will need, once in the game, to logon with their own accounts (so they or someone will have to provide them with a serial # to attach to their account but they can use it at your LAN in game).  This is because on day 0, the data from the game is handled by our servers (this way, when we update the game data for balancing players don’t have to update their game which would be a real hassle for LAN players).  Eventually we plan to release custom servers so that players can make their own stuff but we won’t have that ready at release.

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August 15, 2010 2:47:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Stardock's stance on copy protection has played a huge role in my decision to buy the games -- so much so that the only new (as in not used) games I've bought in the past three years or so have been Stardock games.  Maybe it's just me, but I'm more than willing to support a company that actually trusts me and lets me use the software I paid for rather than needing to jump through hoops or dig through mountains of paper to find a key every time I get a new computer.  I'd rather not have to overcome obstacles to use a program I own, and if all I can do is support companies that take that stance to encourage the practice, that's what I'll do. 

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August 15, 2010 2:48:57 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Archival DVDs? Really, Frogboy? Is there reeeaaally that much demand for patches on DVDs?

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August 15, 2010 2:52:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thank you for even considering LAN users, in this day and age where everything is increasingly going internet only for multiplayer.  Looking forward to some long nights with some friends!

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August 15, 2010 2:54:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

#3 When you install, type in your serial #. If it’s on a LAN, just use your single DVD key, Impulse::Reactor’s GOO uses smart activation (i.e. it doesn’t have a “activation limit” type system) so you can just install it on the various machines on your LAN.

 

that means with 1 key alot of ppl can play in lan ?

 

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August 15, 2010 2:56:38 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Polynomial,
Archival DVDs? Really, Frogboy? Is there reeeaaally that much demand for patches on DVDs?

I think this is awesome, and yes there is. I want to be able to have access to the game, as Stardock intended it to be played, long after Stardock is gone (if that happens of course, it might not).

Great new, and thank you.

 

Edit: I forgot to ask though, this is going to be a physical DVD then? So when you say send you mean via mail, not via account?

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August 15, 2010 3:00:19 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Nesrie,

Quoting Polynomial, reply 2Archival DVDs? Really, Frogboy? Is there reeeaaally that much demand for patches on DVDs?

I think this is awesome, and yes there is. I want to be able to have access to the game, as Stardock intended it to be played, long after Stardock is gone (if that happens of course, it might not).

Great new, and thank you.

No, there is no demand for patches on DVDs. Its for the few crazy types of people who have issues with the new crazy digital download era. Stardock is not going anywhere. Their primary business model is not even in video games.

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August 15, 2010 3:00:55 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Polynomial,



Quoting Nesrie,
reply 5

Quoting Polynomial, reply 2Archival DVDs? Really, Frogboy? Is there reeeaaally that much demand for patches on DVDs?

I think this is awesome, and yes there is. I want to be able to have access to the game, as Stardock intended it to be played, long after Stardock is gone (if that happens of course, it might not).

Great new, and thank you.


No, there is no demand for patches on DVDs. Its for the few crazy types of people who have issues with the new crazy digital download era. Stardock is not going anywhere. Their primary business model is not even in video games.

You asked a question; I answered. They wouldn't be doing this if there was no demand. You can take that info anyway you want to.

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August 15, 2010 3:05:36 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Every so often there are posts on the forums from some guy who takes issue with digitally downloading patches. There is no demand for this worthy of a commercial investment. Its an option Stardock can quote to these people. Its about keeping options open.

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August 15, 2010 3:10:00 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Polynomial,
Every so often there are posts on the forums from some guy who takes issue with digitally downloading patches. There is no demand for this worthy of a commercial investment. Its an option Stardock can quote to these people. Its about keeping options open.

You know, I knew you weren't really asking a question. It was one of those rhetorical bs lines that you like to spit out all over the place. But hey, I don't want to be mean or anything . You don't know shit about what people are asking for compared to what Brad knows by the way. They offer this service because they OBVIOUSLY believe some of their customers want it, which is demand. That you don't like it, so what. If you don't care go find something to care about.

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August 15, 2010 3:14:44 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Nesrie,

Quoting Polynomial, reply 8Every so often there are posts on the forums from some guy who takes issue with digitally downloading patches. There is no demand for this worthy of a commercial investment. Its an option Stardock can quote to these people. Its about keeping options open.

You know, I knew you weren't really asking a question. It was one of those rhetorical bs lines that you like to spit out all over the place. But hey, I don't want to be mean or anything . You don't know shit about what people are asking for compared to what Brad knows by the way. They offer this service because they OBVIOUSLY believe some of their customers want it, which is demand. That you don't like it, so what. If you don't care go find something to care about.

I was asking a question. But not towards you. I'm sorry, I should have stated earlier on that I am always wrong and you are always right.

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August 15, 2010 3:32:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Polynomial,
Archival DVDs? Really, Frogboy? Is there reeeaaally that much demand for patches on DVDs?

like it was said..who cares its just more options.all they are doing is covering all the basics.nothing wrong with that.its like people who still like outlook or pop email..sure its the old way of doing things but thats there right.not sure why you felt it was something to criticize but theres always at least one in every post i suppose...

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August 15, 2010 3:36:04 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting blix2006,

Quoting Polynomial, reply 2Archival DVDs? Really, Frogboy? Is there reeeaaally that much demand for patches on DVDs?
like it was said..who cares its just more options.not sure why you felt it was something to criticize but theres only at least one in every post i suppose...

I'm not trying to troll! I was asking Frogboy because this seems so archaic coming from a company all about digital distribution.

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August 15, 2010 3:42:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Like freykin, thank you for considering LAN players...

I will buy the game, and what I read in the opening post makes me think I take the right decision. Thank you Stardock. 

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August 15, 2010 3:45:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Pantasd,

#3 When you install, type in your serial #. If it’s on a LAN, just use your single DVD key, Impulse::Reactor’s GOO uses smart activation (i.e. it doesn’t have a “activation limit” type system) so you can just install it on the various machines on your LAN.
 

that means with 1 key alot of ppl can play in lan ?

 

I think it means that the host of the LAN party can install Elemental on the coms to be used for the LAN party beforehand (saving on waiting time during the actual thing) and the people who come over will just need to log on to their Impulse Accounts on the computers with Elemental pre-installed to play.

*edit*

So you'll still need as many Elemental games bought as the number of players/accounts.

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August 15, 2010 3:52:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Frogboy and company,

Thank you for taking this position:   you put your customers first.   With Stardock I don't have to worry about some virus like copy protection scheme taking over my computer.  This why I plan on buying Stardock games in preference to anyone else's.   Of course the high quality of the games doesn't hurt either.

Xaltotun

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August 15, 2010 3:55:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

Eventually we plan to release custom servers so that players can make their own stuff but we won’t have that ready at release.

 

Is this an "a few months" eventually or a "6 months or more" eventually? Dedicated servers seem like something you'd want to be able to call it a finished game.

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August 15, 2010 4:01:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Dont think this will stop piracy much even pirates get the updates. How? No one knows its for them to know and for us to find out >.< and i might pre-order the game from Amazon its cheaper coz no shipping bills

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August 15, 2010 4:01:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nevermind...

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August 15, 2010 4:06:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GGLucas,

quoting post
Eventually we plan to release custom servers so that players can make their own stuff but we won’t have that ready at release.


 

Is this an "a few months" eventually or a "6 months or more" eventually? Dedicated servers seem like something you'd want to be able to call it a finished game.

We have dedicated servers already.  We are talking about letting end users set up their own custom modded servers.

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August 15, 2010 4:29:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The archival dvd is great news.  I think at least one poster above missed the point, though.  I don't want the archival dvd for updates, I want at least one (including the LAST one), so I can be sure of being able to play as long as I have compatible hardware, even 15 or 20 years from now, even when I set up a new machine, even if Stardock ahs folded and Impluse isn't accessible.

I'm still playing MOM after all these years.  Not having ANY copy protection is not least of its many good points.

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August 15, 2010 4:31:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So let me get this straight...Since I have bought the CE edition of Elemental, you are going to let me put it onto another machine, then my wife could play the same version in multiplayer on our LAN?  And all she would need is an account??  Is that correct??  If so wow...simply wow.  I mean my wife's computer is actually mine too, since its what I had til I upgraded, but it seems that most other companies would be making me buy another copy, since copies seem to only be attached 1 computer anymore.

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August 15, 2010 4:36:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So  LAN games will need an internet connection?  I certainly hope that's not true... because then the game has to rely on the InternetServiceProvider of the gamer(s) and the servers at Stardock.  

Hopefully Elemental will be as LAN friendly as Heroes_3, Civilization_4(&Civ_5), AgeofWonders:ShadowMagic, Dominions_3, etc., etc., .  Please don't chain the LAN gamers to the internet.

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August 15, 2010 4:40:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting jmccrea,
So let me get this straight...Since I have bought the CE edition of Elemental, you are going to let me put it onto another machine, then my wife could play the same version in multiplayer on our LAN?  And all she would need is an account??  Is that correct??  If so wow...simply wow.  I mean my wife's computer is actually mine too, since its what I had til I upgraded, but it seems that most other companies would be making me buy another copy, since copies seem to only be attached 1 computer anymore.

Almost. You would have to have a second serial # when you logon.  The game's not attached to any particular computer but any player still has to have an account with a serial # attached to the person.

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August 15, 2010 4:44:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So if I buy the 32 bit (retail) version on opening day, then does that mean the 64 bit will come in the mail later or Impluse only?

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August 15, 2010 4:50:03 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

You need to purchase the game once per player. It's in your EULA. Does no one even read those? -.- 

It just doesn't have any copy-protection so you "could" just give it to your friends to play Single Player, and - I believe - once custom servers go up then you wouldn't need to have one copy per player, though, again, violation of EULA. 

You could probably also hack around the hosting the data externally...

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