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Default Alpha Protocol - DRM Details, Previews

May 3rd, 2010, 16:37
VoodooExtreme has more details on the Uniloc DRM system for Alpha Protocol, posting a FAQ that Sega provided them. The key points are initial, once-only, online activation, a system to revoke activations (for re-installs and the like) and the promise the DRM will be patched out down the track:
The system chosen for Alpha Protocol is Uniloc: SoftAnchor. The system will allow the user to activate Alpha Protocol online immediately out of the box and once activated the user never needs to worry about activating again. The activation can be used on a limited amount of PCs, and can be deactivated through our online servers allowing the user full control over their license – should they need to re-install, swap machines or suffer a catastrophic hardware failure on their normal PC.
In the future, SEGA will be releasing an unprotected patch of the game to alleviate any fears of not being able to play the game when the Uniloc servers won’t be around anymore.
We also do not use Steamworks – the Steam released version will use Uniloc DRM.
Head over for the full FAQ (thanks, Omega).
There are also a handful of new previews from the weekend. First, 1Up has a nice article that tries three different character types and looks at the results. Some minor spoilers:
Several times, the developers at Obsidian have pointed out that you can play through their upcoming, spy action-RPG Alpha Protocol as one of the three "big Bs" of modern espionage fiction: Bourne, Bond, or Bauer. To that end, I actually play through the opening act of a recent preview build with three different versions (in terms of character class and attitude) of main character Michael Thorton. While I won't go as far as to say it feels like three different games, I'll admit that there are some pretty cool tweaks and twists depending on your general attitude and play-style.

From what I can tell (I've only played up until the end of Operation Desert Spear, meaning the tutorial and four missions within Saudi Arabia), the story begins with a terrorist organization called Al-Samad firing stolen missiles at a civilian airliner; Desert Spear is Mike's operation to track down Sheikh Ali Shaheed (Al-Samad's chief financier). The different attitudes (suave, aggressive, and professional) you adopt during dialogue affect things such as your relationship to other characters (and what bonuses they give you when you start a mission under their supervision); for now, I'm focusing on Mike's boss (Yancy Westbridge), the first contact/romance option (Mina Tsang), and rival agent Sean Darcy. Other factors that change depending on your style during Desert Spear include what happens while pursuing an arms dealer named Nasri (his own fate, and a sequence involving his guards, have different consequences), and what happens when you finally meet Shaheed himself.
A standard preview from Fragland (thanks, Blue's):
Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to discover more, but what we got to see was already a pleasant surprise. Especially the conversation system and the possible consequences of your actions are a nice touch and result in a large replayability. We did spot some downpoints in the version we got to play but then we were told that this version was already two months old and when we got to see a slightly newer (but still unfinished) version we already saw a huge improvement.
…and a preview from PC Only.nl. You can check out a Babelfish translation here, for English readers.
More information.
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May 3rd, 2010, 16:37
Of the DRM choices they had this seems like the least evil. If there is no CD check then a one time activation that can be deactivated and transferred is pertty much ok with me. I will use game fixes to remove CD checks without second thought just out of convenience and with this it doesnt sound like that will be needed thankfully. At least it is not like Ubisoft or the Windows Live crud that is becoming fashionable.

Regarding the game, I'm starting to actually warm up to it and will probably buy it now from everything I'm reading about it.
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May 3rd, 2010, 17:19
Lets talk about this DRM

Its the same DRM that Bioshock and Spore had. Yet it was considered shocking to that extent that Spore was actually boycotted by lot of people back then.

Than Ubisoft launches even worse DRM , and now this old DRM is considered quite good and un-intrusive.
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May 3rd, 2010, 17:51
Bioshock and Spore used SecuROM, not Uniloc.
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May 3rd, 2010, 18:23
Aehm.. it's not the DRM used by Spore. Not by any stretch. And that's coming from someone who would have very much preferred the dreaded 'DVD check'.
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May 3rd, 2010, 18:28
Couldn't they just leak copies themselves with viruses in them like in the good old days?…
(hey at least that way you get punished for getting an illegal copy and not for buying the bloody thing!)

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May 3rd, 2010, 18:56
Originally Posted by DPB View Post
Bioshock and Spore used SecuROM, not Uniloc.
Toe-May-Toe Toe-Ma-Toe

What i am saying is that they use the old politic trick.

When politician makes some scandal , they quickly launch even bigger scandal to put people off.

I am not saying its what happened here.

But if the things continue to develop this way , next year we might consider Ubi soft DRM as a good thing '_'
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May 3rd, 2010, 21:36
Originally Posted by Twotricks View Post
Lets talk about this DRM
Let's talk about it being patched out one day.

Actually this is a good move. In my opinion, far too few publishers behave THAT consumer-friendly !

And at least it's then official ! No need to worry that No-CD hacks might contain Trojans instead !

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May 4th, 2010, 00:38
Originally Posted by Twotricks View Post
Toe-May-Toe Toe-Ma-Toe
There are significant differences from the get go. Revocable activations which neither Spore nor Bioshock started with (and more of them relative to Spore), and which things like hardware failure will not break. Plus a commitment to remove the DRM and a history suggesting it is likely they will, which neither Spore nor Bioshock had.

Also there's no question that you will not have to activate if you don't want to- given the staggered release dates it'll likely be cracked before it even hits the US.

Sure the whole thing is rather feeble, a waste of money on Sega's part and only inconveniences the buyer, but since it's largely avoidable if desired and has no chance of actually controlling access to my games I see no real reason to care except in a "rolleyes oh those crazy publishers and their wacky anti-piracy schemes, when will they learn?" way.
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May 4th, 2010, 14:54
Originally Posted by Twotricks View Post
Toe-May-Toe Toe-Ma-Toe
What does this mean ? I couldn't find any reasonable translation of it.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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May 4th, 2010, 16:43
It's the American pronunciation juxtaposed with the British pronunciation of tomato.
The saying means "we say this in different ways, but it means the same thing."
So in this case, Twotricks is saying Uniloc and SecuROM are the same thing, just under different names.

This DRM seems sensible enough, I can live with it. Certainly much better than other, more draconian schemes publishers have done, and the promise of patching it out down the line is encouraging.
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May 4th, 2010, 19:23
"You say to-may-toe, and I say to-mah-toe/Let's call the whole thing off." It's an old song and maybe where the expression got started or popularized.
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May 4th, 2010, 23:21
If I remember correctly, Spore you could only install like 3 times ever, that's it. (Think they loosened it a bit after the huge backlash)
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May 5th, 2010, 10:18
Ah, thanks, didn't know that. Learned something anew.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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May 5th, 2010, 10:23
Why don't they do like this… if you don't have internet and want to play the game, there'll be a CD check, if you activate it online you'll not get a CD check.

Easy and painless for everyone, and no pirate could use excuses like they have to hack the game because they don't have internet?
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May 5th, 2010, 10:27
Interesting idea. I guess they just thought too binary.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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May 5th, 2010, 11:13
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Why don't they do like this… if you don't have internet and want to play the game, there'll be a CD check, if you activate it online you'll not get a CD check.

Easy and painless for everyone, and no pirate could use excuses like they have to hack the game because they don't have internet?
I believe that EA adopted that model with Battlefield, though I could be wrong.
Let's hope it becomes widespread, it's certainly one of the most sensible around.
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May 5th, 2010, 11:14
My issue has always been the need to have an internet connection to play/activate a game. If I buy a game, it should contain everything I need to play - and as has been pointed out many times, there may be quite valid reasons why one does not have access to an internet connection. A have no problems with a DVD check - when I'm playing a game, I'm not using it for anything esle ;-) I also don't think a promise of some future patching out of DRM is that great - what happens if they go belly up? Have they bound themselves contractually to do this anyway? I'm not sure a press release is legally binding. Sadly the more we as consumers snap up every bone they toss us, the worse it will
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May 5th, 2010, 11:35
Originally Posted by booboo View Post
Have they bound themselves contractually to do this anyway? I'm not sure a press release is legally binding. Sadly the more we as consumers snap up every bone they toss us, the worse it will
In the UK that's binding as it counts as part of the product's advertising. If the product ends up not being as advertised then we get a full refund (from the retailer we bought it from).
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May 5th, 2010, 14:12
I think the promise to patch it off is insulting. Patches are used to remove problems that compromise the quality of the game. Promising a patch before the game is even out is like advertising the fact that the game will be released with serious problems that will reduce the buyers enjoyment. As I see it this will only offer more ammunition to the pirates who will claim that they are offering the problem-free version… and the funny thing is they will be right too.

Does anyone actually know for a fact how much all these DRMs achieve what they are made to achieve - ie. reduce piracy and not annoy the legal users?
I don't know but it seems to me that companies should simply stop all that nonsense.

I'd think that the best way to convince me to get a legal copy instead of a pirated one would be to make it easier and simpler to get and more appealing, but they are doing exactly the opposite… beats me how this is supposed to work.

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Last edited by holeraw; May 5th, 2010 at 15:35.
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