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LabShark
11-29-05, 05:16 PM
Well - I have read a bazillion opinions on the supposed pratfalls of installing a game that uses Star Force. I haven't really thought much about it as the 2 games I have recently installed that apparently utilize Satr Force have not caused any issue as it relates to Star Force. TrackMania Sunrise and TOCA RD 2 both use it I believe.

I am hesitating a bit before installing King Kong - although Star Force has already been installed by the aforementioned games.

Although a pain in the butt - is Star Force over-hyped in a negative sense. Don't get me wrong - I hate stuff that installs behind my back - but is it really a death knell for a computer?

Ninjaman09
11-29-05, 08:55 PM
No it isn't and yes it's overhyped. As far as I know the newer versions are much more transparent. I think the problem most people have with it is more ideological than technical.

LabShark
11-29-05, 09:51 PM
Cool 'nuff.

Thanks!

jAkUp
11-29-05, 10:00 PM
Yea the newer versions are fine. THe older versions had some issues with X64... but its good now :D I don't have any problems with it, and if it reduces piracy, I'm for it.

Subtestube
11-29-05, 11:11 PM
Myself, and others who are against it, don't like it because it runs at ring 0. Software should not run as a driver - it's just not cool. The only things interacting with hardware should be actual hardware drivers. Nevertheless, I have Starforce installed because I refuse to give up the glory of Trackmania Sunrise, and it's never caused any issues [that I'm aware of] for me.

agentkay
11-30-05, 03:41 AM
It can make (major) issues when you want to make a DPM with Alcohol 120% and have active Starforce drivers. I always recommend to use the Starforce removal tool before burning a CD/DVD.

http://www.onlinesecurity-on.com/protect.phtml?c=55

Pafet
11-30-05, 05:46 AM
I don't like that Trackmania Sunrise protection. It sometimes take a lot of time to "aprove" my CD and the whole system halts until it does.

LabShark
11-30-05, 02:41 PM
I sure have read alot of hubub about SF.

I guess I fall into the same general category as SubTestTube as it relates to TM Sunrise.

(xmasgrin)

Gaco
11-30-05, 02:47 PM
Software should not run as a driver - it's just not cool.

Compelling argument there.. You have me convinced (xmastong)

Subtestube
12-01-05, 04:12 AM
Hey man, unsubstantiated statements about what's cool form the foundations of modern culture... if it's good enough for the masses, it's good enough for me ;)

A disclaimer on what follows: I DO NOT understand the intricacies of how Starforce works. If someone wants to dispute my 'facts', I welcome them to - I'm not an expert, and most of my knowledge about Starforce is second hand.

(Returning you to your scheduled programming) But seriously - it can cause all sorts of issues with compatibility, and the way hardware manufacturers expect their hardware to be dealt with. From what I gather, a number of people (although not a very large number) can't even run Starforce protected games, because it clashes with their Optical drive. My understanding is that the most significant problem with it working under WinXP 64 was because it expected a different low level subsystem than what was actually there. That's a problem - the whole point of the device driver model (and much of modern API design for that matter) is to conceal hardware and potential specificities from the software designers, and thus prevent the possibility of the software failing unexpectedly. Software running as a driver defies this principle explicitly, and is a large potential security hole (because it has the highest level of access to the Kernel it can possibly be granted).

At the very least, it shouldn't be installed without having some kind of noticeable consent window popping up - I've never liked software being installed without my knowledge, and though I would usually make an exception for copy protection stuff, this is some pretty intrustive stuff. Once again, I should stress - I've actually had no problems with it, and my enjoyment of TM:S outweighs my objections.

msxyz
12-01-05, 05:20 AM
Starforces messes up with my DVD-RAM : I can still use it as a DVD burner but I'm not able anymore to use it in the "RAM" mode because Starforce itself displaces some of the low lever drivers needed.

How funny is that the only people not suffering these problems are those who download pirated software (and pirates are able to circumvent the Starforce protection easily).

Starforce does not prevent piracy more than any other less intrusive system yet it cause more troubles to the people who don't pirate software and usually pay for it. That's enough for me to stay clear of any software using this copy protection scheme.

ST:DS9
12-01-05, 11:21 AM
Starforces messes up with my DVD-RAM : I can still use it as a DVD burner but I'm not able anymore to use it in the "RAM" mode because Starforce itself displaces some of the low lever drivers needed.

How funny is that the only people not suffering these problems are those who download pirated software (and pirates are able to circumvent the Starforce protection easily).

Starforce does not prevent piracy more than any other less intrusive system yet it cause more troubles to the people who don't pirate software and usually pay for it. That's enough for me to stay clear of any software using this copy protection scheme.

Easy? It took many months for there to be a working crack for Splinter Cell Chaos theory, and I think you have to disconnect the IDE cable from your optical drive to get it to work. There is a non-starforce version of X3 out there, that crashes on most people computers, plus they have all the problems of V1.0 since it is that version, which is absolutly horendous. V1.1 and V1.2 fixed many problems, but the non-starforce version cannot use those patches since Starforce is in the patches. So now people will have to wait for many months for thier to be a fix for v1.2, but then there would have to be another fix for each and every version after that, since it updates Starforce with a the newest version of Starforce. What worked before for a crack doesn't work again for the newest version.

Starforce is the hardest to crack, and when it does happen it takes many months, then there are many other inconviences to go along because of the crack.

OWA
12-01-05, 11:51 AM
I try to avoid starforce games mainly b/c it forces me to have to use the CD/DVD. I dislike that enough that I rarely play the games that make me get out the CD/DVD so why bother purchasing them. So, I usually just stick to the demos on those games.

Also, like someone else mentioned already, it takes forever for the CD checks. I've actually killed the process a few times thinking things were hung only to later discover it was the CD being validated. Instead of a quick and convenient gaming experience, things start to become a hassle. One of the main reasons I like gaming on a PC is the convenience of instant access to all my games. Take that away and the PC loses one of its big advantages over a console.

The other thing is that the copy protection can sometimes cause issues (I'm not addressing starforce directly but all the copy protections in general). I've had to update the firmware on my CD/DVD burners just to be able to install a game b/c of the copy protection on it and I've also had games crash because of it. FEAR, for example, was frequently locking up on me but it was all solved once a no-dvd patch was installed. I've had music CDs lock-up my computer, I guess trying to keep me from copying the contents to the hard drive. In that case, I had to connect an old CD burner that I've hung on to just for that reason. It seems to be oblivious to a lot of the protections. I also had to use that drive to install one of the problematic games. Although, in that case, a firmware update for my DVD burner, that was released later on, allowed me to go back to using the DVD burner in my system. Still, to me, it seems ridiculous to have to go through that sort of thing.

I understand the need for it but I think they need a better way. I'd actually prefer some sort of activation process over a CD check. While that can be a pain also, at least it's only a pain once in a while instead of every time you play the game.

ynnek
12-01-05, 01:33 PM
alot of activation solutions also require authentication over the net everytime you play... I rather have a to pop in a CD/DVD to play, rather than depend on contacting a service across the internet to authenticate myself to play.


I hate starforce.. I hate steam... but I've been using both with no problems so far.. yay and blah!

OWA
12-01-05, 01:41 PM
I was thinking more along the lines of WinXP's activation or Norton AV's. You activate it once after the install and you're done with it. You only have to do it again after reinstalling, etc. You're right, I wouldn't want it to be completely tied to the network since there are going to be times when it's down (and I should still be able to play whether I'm connected or not).

Riptide
12-01-05, 01:56 PM
Yea the newer versions are fine. THe older versions had some issues with X64... but its good now :D I don't have any problems with it, and if it reduces piracy, I'm for it.
So if I go to install Silent Service on my XP64 system it will just work now? Do I have to download and install a patch either for the game or StarForce?

agentkay
12-01-05, 03:34 PM
The strange thing is that SF claims to have working 64Bit drivers but they probably charge extra for them and donīt offer them for free for clients that already bought the 32Bit version for their games. Since copy protection is 95% of all cases a publisher issue and we know that publishers arenīt really into spending extra money, and they donīt care much since only small % of people use XP64.

AFAIK, the SF emulator SFcure is available both 32bit and 64bit and since it doesnīt depend on the actual drivers, the games (that use 32Bit SF drivers orginally) might work with the emulator installed. I donīt have proof for this, I never tried the emulator out but it might be possible and worth to check out forums that deal with issues like this, like cdfreaks and other forums.

Pafet
12-01-05, 06:26 PM
Does all this means that in like 10 years from now, it might be impossible to play these games? For example, we will need a patch to play Trackmania on Windows 2010? (Or hopefully a windows emulator :D )

jAkUp
12-01-05, 06:32 PM
So if I go to install Silent Service on my XP64 system it will just work now? Do I have to download and install a patch either for the game or StarForce?

Well, since Starforce is integrated on the CD of the game, most of the older games still will not work with x64 (unless the game company released a fix). The newer Starforce enabled games are fine though.

Riptide
12-01-05, 06:40 PM
Ah bummer. I think I'll just sell my copy of Silent Service then. Always wanted to play it but I don't feel like rebuilding my OS and dual booting just to do it. Kinda lame.

ST:DS9
12-02-05, 10:19 AM
The strange thing is that SF claims to have working 64Bit drivers but they probably charge extra for them and donīt offer them for free for clients that already bought the 32Bit version for their games. Since copy protection is 95% of all cases a publisher issue and we know that publishers arenīt really into spending extra money, and they donīt care much since only small % of people use XP64.

AFAIK, the SF emulator SFcure is available both 32bit and 64bit and since it doesnīt depend on the actual drivers, the games (that use 32Bit SF drivers orginally) might work with the emulator installed. I donīt have proof for this, I never tried the emulator out but it might be possible and worth to check out forums that deal with issues like this, like cdfreaks and other forums.

Actually the newest SF drivers are XP64 compatible, which can be downloaded freely from the SF website.

The Emulator would work for the versions of SF that it was made for, but it will not work for the newest versions. Probably have to wait for a year or more to see that one happen for the newest version, but by then there will be another version of SF out that the newest emulator will not work with.

agentkay
12-02-05, 10:41 AM
Actually the newest SF drivers are XP64 compatible, which can be downloaded freely from the SF website.

The Emulator would work for the versions of SF that it was made for, but it will not work for the newest versions. Probably have to wait for a year or more to see that one happen for the newest version, but by then there will be another version of SF out that the newest emulator will not work with.


So you are saying you can play a game that uses an older version of SF (32bit only) and all you need to do is to download the XP64 compartible SF drivers off the SF site to be able to play the game on XP64? If this is really true, then its great news but unless you or someone else can actually confirm it, I donīt believe it mainly because when I had a newer version of SF on my computer and installed an older SF protected game (like GTR for instance), I had to reboot and install the older drivers because the game didnīt accept the new drivers. Pretty weird, right?

Riptide
12-02-05, 11:38 AM
I can't find where to download these drivers on their site.

*EDIT*

According to this it is still up to the publishers to release a patch for the games. And apparently it's very easy to do so. So there isn't much of an excuse for them dragging their asses on this.

http://www.star-force.com/protection.phtml?c=83&id=586

Kaguya
12-08-05, 10:53 AM
I have a couple problems with Starforce which is why I will try to avoid them as much as possible.

Firstly, my understanding is that Starforce was designed by hackers. The original group of programmers were illicit Russian hackers who are now peddling something that installs insidiously on my PC. That just doesn't sit right with me.

Seconlyd, I also had an actual problem with the software. My only experience with Starforce was with my original Trackmania game. Fantastic game - but unfortunately due to Starforce I didn't get to enjoy Trackmania: Sunrise as I refused to go through the trouble again. I have a Ximeta NetDisk (excellent device for backing things up and sharing files between PCs). However if I attempted to load my Ximeta drivers when the Starforce drivers were loaded, I got a blue screen. I had no access to my external hard drive anymore.

I ended up having to install Starforce, play Trackmania and then use the removal tool to uninstall Starforce to use my computer normally. Not something I enjoyed. So, byebye Starforce. I wish game companies would smarten up and just do things right.

Someone mentioned Windows Activiation... I actually just bought Heroes of the Pacific from their website (direct Download - no CD) and it activiated exactly like Windows. I appreciate that much more.

saturnotaku
12-08-05, 11:20 AM
According to this it is still up to the publishers to release a patch for the games. And apparently it's very easy to do so. So there isn't much of an excuse for them dragging their asses on this.

IMO, they're using it as a shield so they won't have to deal with consumers who would download it from them. This is a whole lot of scapegoating IMO, and I don't like it. I sold TM: Sunrise because of this garbage and I will no longer purchase any games that use this form of protection. For all the crap EA gets, God bless 'em for continuing to use Safedisc. It's good, solid protection that doesn't install any crap on your system, nor take forever for the game to check the disc (SecuROM).