Stardock vs. Starforce

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Jun 13, 2006

Filed under: Video Games 5 comments

Some background.

Starforce is a company of people (idiots) who design agressive copy protection software (malware) that is disliked (universally reviled) by gamers (people who pay for games).

Galactic Civilizations is a game produced by Stardock, and I’ve written about them before and their distaste for copy-protection.

In the StarFORCE user forums, someone pointed out the great sales Galactic Civilizations 2 is enjoying, and the fact that the game has no copy protection whatsoever. Then a moderator, in some clumsy attempt at a rebuttal, actually linked to a number of warez torrents for the game (places where you could get the game without paying for it) as a way to demonstrate that the game was being pirated.

This is a pretty crazy move for a supposedly anti-piracy company to link to actual pirate sites. As always, the guys at StarDOCK handled this with a certain degree of class, which I greatly admire.

Then the icing on the cake:

EBGames has released their top-selling PC games from last week. Galactic Civilizations II was number one. So if piracy is such a menace, it’s not apparently affecting us to the degree that some say it should.

This is a turn-based strategy game here, not Quake 4 we’re talking about. The conventional wisdom is that turn-based games are a niche product, and that if you don’t copy-protect your games the kids will rob you blind. This fact seems to shatter at least one of those theories.

I am happy.

The guys at Stardock are happy too.


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5 thoughts on “Stardock vs. Starforce

  1. Will says:

    I’m happy as well. I haven’t put nearly as much time into the game as I had planned when first buying it (I still haven’t managed to shake my Oblivion habit), but it’s nice to know that it’s there to play, even if I can’t find my CD after the recent move.

    I don’t think niche games are as likely to suffer overwhelming piracy precisely because they serve a small and devoted customer base. Turn-based games in particular draw a different, and dare I say, more responsible crowd that is willing to fork over real moneys to have their itch scratched. But that does remind me that I haven’t updated GalCiv2 in a while.

  2. Cineris says:

    I’m glad Stardock’s doing well with the game — I enjoyed GalCiv2 when I played it, and I’ve been meaning to get back to it as well, but allocating a good three or four hours to the game is unlikely and there are a lot of annoying things in the game — the crippled economy management, the jokey-bad writing, forced moral quandaries, oversimplified combat — I’m hoping someone can come up with a MoO2 mod.

  3. Nathan H. says:

    I actually liked the simplified combat, especially the three damage types and thus the design choice between specialization and jack-of-all-trades.

    But the simplistic economy is a little annoying, as is the moral choices. Supposedly there’s modders out there, I’ll bet a little research might show someone disabled the quandries. Hmmm… nah, no time now, I need to go to work soon.

    Years ago, there were a couple of times I had to tell my boss why I was late, and I didn’t think “I just needed one more turn!” was going to work…

  4. Cineris says:

    Ideally I’d want tactical combat and lots of asymmetric “devices” like cloaks or afterburners or point-to-point jump engines. Barring that, GalCiv2’s main problem is the “Attacker goes first rule” and, as a corollary, the “Combat experience raises ship Hitpoints.” The paper/rock/scissors combat never comes into play because the most effective strategy is to load up your ships with as many weapons as possible and kill the enemy with your first volley. I’ve had groups of ships that start off with about 8 HP go up to 100+ HP from experience for winning battles with this strategy. And by the time you’ve got that much HP you’re just unstoppable.

  5. Will says:

    Another rather troublesome glitch, is if you crank your luck stat way up, you’ll “discover” so many large, ancient, and above all expensive to maintain ships that you can swamp your economy if you don’t start scrapping them.

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