Half-Life 2: Cryptic

  By Shamus   May 13, 2006   18 comments

I just got a “new” video card, and I thought I’d check out the Half-Life 2 HDR demo. I couldn’t see it in action before, since my old GeForce 5200 couldn’t make with the fancy pixels. So, with grim determination I began installing HL2, which means installing Steam. I had totally forgotten about this part of the installation process:

Oh yeah. Thank goodness Valve encrypted my software. Otherwise I might, you know, use it. I have a fancy new system, and it still sat there for fifteen minutes chewing on data so that I could run my own software. I’m still amazed at the audacity of these punks to LOCK a game from the ostensible owner.

ME: I’d like to run my game now.

VALVE: Oh but it’s locked.

ME: Why?

VALVE: Don’t be stupid. If it wasn’t locked you would be able to run it.

ME: Yeah, that’s the point.

VAVLE: Yes, well, if YOU can run it, then ANYONE can run it. Maybe even your pirate friends, who run those warez sites?

ME: I never… what? Look, how am I supposed to play my game?

VALVE: Just ask. Just sign on to Steam, and let us know you’d like to play.

ME: …

VALVE: It’s quite fast and painless.

ME: That’s not the point.

VALVE: Only takes a second!

ME: Look, do I own this software or not?

VALVE: If you owned the software, would you be locked out of it?

ME: Er. No?

VALVE: There you go. Enjoy the game. But not too much. And only when we say you can. And only by yourself.


1818 comments. (18 is the only non-zero number that equals twice the sum of its decimal digits.)


  1. Eric says:

    I do think valve should have thought of a better way to protect the game from being pirated, but at the same time pc gamers brought this upon themselves. With the constant ripping of games and other software, the companies(and thus the employees)aren’t making any money for their hard work. I’ve been to LAN’s before, and any game you didn’t have that everyone else was playing they would burn a copy and give it to me. This is the reason why pc gaming is going down. All those punk kids who are thinking “hey I’m just sticking it to the man, because the man’s got me down!” are just ruining the entire pc gaming industry by doing this. A lot of pc companies are starting to go to consoles because you can’t rip the games(without installing a chip into your console, which nobody bothers doing cause its not worth the time or effort). I’ll admit there are some games i would probably pirate on console, but then I just say”to hell with it, I’ll just rent it.” If the pc cxompanies could figure out a way to make pc games available to rent they probably wouldn’t have a problem, but since I know very little about that it just dosen’t seem feesible. yours in fellowship, Sir Eric De Taylor of windsor

  2. HC says:

    I have no idea about the relative scales involved, but I’d be surprised if moving to consoles really deterred much piracy – all you need is one ripper, the internet, and for the final user to have access to a dvd burner. Not much protection.

    For my money, the way out of this isn’t through improved encryption (though Starforce tries) but rather through ongoing service. Take Stardock, the people who make Galciv. Zero copy protection, but a continuing flood of new bugfixes, tweaks and expansions. All free for download – if you can prove you bought it, which they make quite simple.

  3. Dan says:

    I have a friend who doesn’t pay for one damn piece of software he owns. He steals music, movies, games, the whole lot. I always tell him about a new album for example thats coming out and he says I’ll burn it for you. I then proceed to tell him that i don’t mind buying it because i want all the nice stuff that comes with it such as the book art, cd art and if i’m lucky a bonus DVD. He then says that he can get me all those things and just print them out. That isn’t the point I point out to him. He just laughs and calls me a fag. Thieves just never get it. And because of such we all have to suffer.
    It sucks i know but what are you gonna do.

  4. Dan says:

    Buying the product is my way of saying thanks for making somthing i want to play/listen to.
    Steam is their way of saying your not welcome.

  5. Shamus says:

    Saying “pc gamers brought this on themselves” doesn’t really work for me. If Wal-Mart gave everyone a body cavity search when they left the store, you can bet I wouldn’t sit still for it just because shoplifters are ripping them off. I didn’t bring anything on myself. I gave them sixty bucks.

    But even that analogy doesn’t really work. Once Wal-Mart does the search and lets you leave the store, the transaction is over. This is just not the case with Steam. Ten years from now I’ll re-install the game on my new computer, and it will STILL refuse to run unless steam is still around and I can connect to it.

    I think HC is on the money. The guys at Stardock are doing things right.

    The other thing is that maybe there IS not solution for piracy, just like there is no way to totally prevent shoplifting. It’s a fact of life. Raise prices to compensate if you need to, but otherwise do not treat customers like criminals, butcause decent people (like me) wouldn’t stand for it.

    • Vikeyev says:

      Old I know but Valve removed that bastard ass thing because it was annoying people.

      Ten years from now I’ll re-install the game on my new computer, and it will STILL refuse to run unless steam is still around and I can connect to it

      Actually Valve has pointed out (ages ago but still) and tested that if in the unlikely event they go south, they will remove the authentication so we can play our games. Good to know I will still be able to play my 160 steam games.

  6. . says:

    I don’t see that schemes like Steam really deter piracy. I’m sure there are cracks for Half Life 2 that allow you to play the game without dealing with Steam. While you can say that the more complex the process is, the less likely an average user is likely to pirate, the fact of the matter is that no matter how complicated the process is, for the end user it’s going to end up being “Double click on crack.exe and point it at your Half-Life 2 directory.”

    At this point I have all of my CDs currently residing on my hard drive, but I remember it was a serious hassle back in the day when I had music CDs competing for space Data CDs. “Do I want to listen to music, or do I want to play a game?” It’s also more than a bit irritating if you’re say, a college student with different computers at home and at school. So you installed a game on one computer, then want to install it on your computer at school? Sure, you remembered your CD, but did you remember to bring the box/manual (for the Serial Number)? I remember going a whole semester being unable to play Warcraft 3 The Frozen Throne because of that.

  7. Eric says:

    Everyone who has played pc games has gotten a pirated copy at one time, and on more than one occasion. Blizzard was gonna only release Ghost to consoles but then dropped the project and are only doing WOWC. All I know is everyone who has ever gotten or given out pirated copies is responsible, whether or not they still do it today, they’ve done it.

  8. . says:

    “Blizzard was gonna only release Ghost to consoles but then dropped the project and are only doing WOWC.”

    I don’t see that this is related to piracy. Every indication I’ve seen is that [since Ghost’s development was being outsourced] Blizzard killed development because they didn’t want the quality of their games to slip. Even though they weren’t the primary developers Starcraft is their series and no matter how small their role they were putting their logo on the box. Blizzard getting behind a mediocre game would compromise their reputation. It holds true for every company but Blizzard is the only company I can think of with an unbroken string of top-notch games, so it’s even more true for them.

  9. Eric says:

    Blizzard is no longer blizzard. The company was bought out by some shitty corporation. They are not going to do another starcraft, at least they don’t have it on there project listings, just World of warcraft, and true just because they were going to release it to console doesent mean they were doing it because of piracy, but I imagine it had a little to do with the decision to only release it consoles, considering starcraft 64 sucked my %@&#*. All I’m saying is even if piracy is on a downtrend there was enough of it in the past to deter many new companies from doing pc projects. Gaming seems to be turning to consoles has the major source for gaming. There will allways be the big companies for pc’s, but the amount of games coming out for pc’s are starting to dwindle in comparison to consoles!

  10. Om Hinge says:

    Oh……. who made this pathetic steam ? … I paid a thousand bucks but aint got nothing yet. This bloody steam requires a internet connection always… huh!. PLEASE PLEASE give me a link where I could really get a fine crack

  11. CyberGorth says:

    Actually, Blizzard FINALLY got around to working on Starcraft 2 and now has a website up for it with some advance shots of the Protoss units. It looks good. Oh, and just for the record, I kinda suspect that Vivendi Universal are the bastards who cooked up Steam and forced it on Valve. I remember hearing rumors that HL2 was delayed due to some “disagrements” between the companies. Then the Steam announcement was made when everything was taken care of. I don’t mind Steam so much for games that I’ve just downloaded through it, but when you’ve actually got the fucking CDs and you STILL need Steam to use the files on them, then it’s just asinine.

  12. guy says:

    They’d been working on it for years, they just now told us.

  13. Primogenitor says:

    Of course, Steam really shines when you do have a good internet connection and a multi-threaded CPU (as many PCs are these days, at least the ones who are in Steams target audience anyway). I just moved half-way round the world for 6 months, left my desktop behind and bought a new laptop. I brought many of my games with me, all on Steam; Half-life, Sam & Max, Civ IV, etc and the older ones like Quake 1 & 2, X-Com, etc (some of which I might have pirated in my youth, *cough*, and now choose to pay for because they are damn good games and reasonably priced). No CD changing, no looking for patches, and if the internet connection is down theres the “work offline” option for Steam so they still work. This is the way things are going, like it or not, and Steam (and Half-life 2) was the first major player.

    By the way, you could probably do with a “report” button for these comments. Just saying, you know?

  14. Joshua says:

    ‘Report’ button idea seconded. I think a certain Anonymous commenter needs to be reported. I’m not going to point any fingers, though.

  15. […] They removed the need for a disk to be in the drive in order to play. They fixed (by removing) the lengthy and tedious “decryption” phase of installation that was part of their disk-based games. They got offline mode working reliably. They’ve […]

  16. Wow dude. I feel the EXACT same way. I finally bought counter strike: source after upgrading my video card from a 6600V++ to a 9800gt. I was happy to install CSS, and as an added bonus they shipped the game with DoD:S and HL2DM.

    I also had to deal with the bologna “decrypting” thing. If I didn’t want to use steam and play on a little over half the servers, I would indeed resort to pirating. Instead I feel like I wasted $20 on this crap steam throws at me between “updates” (oh, and also “updates” for programs that haven’t been updated in over 2 years) all the way to “Verifying game data…” which completely disables me to play DoD:S at all.

    Complete fail on Valve’s part. I probably won’t buy anything off steam ever because the EULA is total hogwash anyway.

  17. noahpocalypse says:

    It also kills gamers with older computers, or just weak ones, like Netbooks. My Netbook could easily run a lot of older games on it if I didn’t need to have Steam in the background. It REALLY bogs up this thing, since the processor is capped at 400 Mghz (I know, shameful- this is only a two or three year old computer, and it’s incredibly weak). I could grab some software to overclock, but I’m using Linux (No hardware for that without paying). Come to think of it, using WINE might be slower than native Windows 7. But considering that on the default 7 _STARTER EDITION_ (cheap moneymaking, that) everything takes at least twice as long to run, the tradeoff probably isn’t worth it. I would make Steam optional, so that it can connect to your games if you want. But it shouldn’t encrypt your own files which you already bought, and it definitely shouldn’t have to be running in the background.

One Trackback

  1. By Twenty Sided » Blog Archive » Steam Evolving on April 8, 2009 at 8:01 am

    […] They removed the need for a disk to be in the drive in order to play. They fixed (by removing) the lengthy and tedious “decryption” phase of installation that was part of their disk-based games. They got offline mode working reliably. They’ve […]

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!