Is there any kind of DRM in the game?

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Is there any kind of DRM in the game?

Postby LoveOldGames » Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:01 am

Hello.

On steam this game is on sale for 2.50 USD but I´d rather get it directly from this site if it´s a DRM free version since I dislike any DRMs worse than serial keys.

I have to say that it is a bit annoying for me when you get no information at all about this subject on a game´s page. I think all games should make available this kind of information, and not force me to google/create a forum account to ask this.

Thanks.
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Re: Is there any kind of DRM in the game?

Postby tom » Thu Dec 23, 2010 11:16 am

The non-Steam version of the game available from D2D and the Clones Store does require a key to be entered when you start the game for the first time. I am sorry if it takes 10 seconds of your time to enter a key to play a game that took us years to build.
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Re: Is there any kind of DRM in the game?

Postby Simon » Thu Dec 23, 2010 11:18 am

Doesn't answer the question. :]

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Re: Is there any kind of DRM in the game?

Postby rt » Thu Dec 23, 2010 11:58 am

LoveOldGames wrote:I have to say that it is a bit annoying for me when you get no information at all about this subject on a game´s page. I think all games should make available this kind of information, and not force me to google/create a forum account to ask this.


Unless you see a "DRM Free" tagline on any games info/buy page then i think it's safe to assume that the game has some kind of DRM, it's fairly common. In the case of Clones (non-Steam version) we require that a short key be entered the first time you run the game to unlock it. It's a "one time" event and you must be online to have the key verified.

I haven't had any DRM related issues with any of the games i bought using my Steam account. I've played some of the games offline as well and there was no problem. At first i was hesitant of Steam because i didn't understand it, but now that i've tried it i find it to be a very useful way to keep my games up to date, find out about new games, and keep in contact with fellow gamers. Perhaps you should give Steam a chance, at least to learn more about it.
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Re: Is there any kind of DRM in the game?

Postby LoveOldGames » Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:56 pm

tom wrote:... I am sorry if it takes 10 seconds of your time to enter a key to play a game that took us years to build.


Don´t really know why you answered that way since I said any DRM worse than a serial key, which means I´m fine with serial keys, and it´s not about the time it takes to activate it´s about the intrusion (when there´s stuff like SecuROM being installed). I don´t even consider keys DRM exactly. When I talk about DRM I think more of third party software being forcefully installed during the game installation.
[/quote]

rt wrote:
Unless you see a "DRM Free" tagline on any games info/buy page then i think it's safe to assume that the game has some kind of DRM, it's fairly common. In the case of Clones (non-Steam version) we require that a short key be entered the first time you run the game to unlock it. It's a "one time" event and you must be online to have the key verified.


Hey man, thanks for answering my question. I do understand that when there´s no "DRM-free" tagline it´s supposed to have some kind of DRM, but I think that whatever DRM it contains it should be mentioned. I don´t mean that you should put it right together with the price tag, it´s ok if it´s buried on a link (not concealed though), but I believe it should always be available , and with details also (for example if it´s SecuROM, then it should tell what version of SecuROM it contains, or if you have a limited number of activations, then it should tell you how many exactly).

I didn´t mean to be offensive with my comment, please don´t take it that way. It was more like a general criticism towards this attitude from the sites selling the games. It´s like they´re concealing information so as to not diminish the chances of you buying the game, which I think is not fair. Again, I don´t mean that you have to put this information side by side with the "promo price", as it would not be ideal for site, a "click this link to obtain detailed information about the DRM in this software" in small letters would be enough.

rt wrote:
I haven't had any DRM related issues with any of the games i bought using my Steam account. I've played some of the games offline as well and there was no problem. At first i was hesitant of Steam because i didn't understand it, but now that i've tried it i find it to be a very useful way to keep my games up to date, find out about new games, and keep in contact with fellow gamers. Perhaps you should give Steam a chance, at least to learn more about it.


Yeah, I have to admit that I´m a bit ignorant about Steam´s current policies. I bought a few games on the sales to experiment the plataform. When I think of Steam the first thing that occurs me is "be online 300% of the time you want to play a game", which basically means I can´t at all play the games on a notebook in some place with no internet available. Since you mentioned that you can play them offline, then perhaps I was wrong about my assumptions.

Have a nice day, and again, thanks for answering my question.
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Re: Is there any kind of DRM in the game?

Postby joetainment » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:23 am

"The non-Steam version of the game available from D2D and the Clones Store does require a key to be entered when you start the game for the first time. I am sorry if it takes 10 seconds of your time to enter a key to play a game that took us years to build."

The above statement shows a high level of ignorance about the issues of DRM in general. It is a major concern to many consumers, and our concerns are valid and deserve to be respected.

Ultimately, if you choose to use some form of DRM, that is your choice, but I will always vote with my wallet, and if the game contains DRM, then I simply will not be a customer.

To clarify, DRM is anything which would prevent someone from installing on a machine without "getting permission". ("getting permission" == rights management).

Thus, a serial number is ok, if I am given such a number, and if I do not have to be online to enter it. If I have to be online, then it is forcing me to ask permission. This is insulting to me for a wide variety of reasons, not the least of which is the intrusion to my privacy.

Thus, DRM free means: Can I install and play this game on a computer that won't ever be connected to the internet (or firewalled off) without asking permission to do so, and with confidence that the game doesn't install some kind of additional malware that is not a valid technical requirement for playing the game.

I would love to purchase your game. If you can provide a fully DRM free copy of the game I will buy it right away.

I have purchased a huge number of games from independent developers, but I only buy DRM free games. Here are some examples of games I currently own, all of which are fully DRM free:

World of Goo
Crayon Physics Deluxe
Braid
Lugaru
Gish
Aquaria
Penumbra
Machinarium
...
... and many more ... note that I had purchased most of the games in the "humble indie packs" at full price before buying those packs as well. I've also purchased tons of other DRM free games, mostly from: gog.com

In any case, I would encourage you to note that all of the games above were successful without the need for DRM, and that many customers consider this an important factor in our decision to buy.

Also, DRM only hurts paying customers. It does not work to stop pirates. A quick google search will show that even extremely advanced DRM systems, such as Ubisoft titles, get hacked quickly. It's the paying customers that DRM hurts. If I wanted to play a pirated version of your game, I'm pretty sure I already could. However, I don't want that. I want to buy a real copy.

Please consider offering a fully DRM free version of your game. If such a version is available at a reasonable price I would buy it. (Even double what you currently charge would be fine.)

Thank you for your time.


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Re: Is there any kind of DRM in the game?

Postby tom » Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:32 pm

joetainment wrote:"The non-Steam version of the game available from D2D and the Clones Store does require a key to be entered when you start the game for the first time. I am sorry if it takes 10 seconds of your time to enter a key to play a game that took us years to build."

The above statement shows a high level of ignorance about the issues of DRM in general. It is a major concern to many consumers, and our concerns are valid and deserve to be respected.


I regret making that shallow remark, and I am sorry. When it came time in the development process to decide if we should use a DRM, and if so what kind; I can reassure you that a lot of thought was put into this,and it wasn't easy. I will explain, in detail, the type of DRM that is used in the non-Steam build, and the rationale behind it, and hopefully it will clear up this issue.

First of all, I want to say that not all DRM's are equal: there are different types of DRM, different implementations, different levels of restrictions, and different opinions on what is acceptable DRM. So please approach this with an open mind as I explain the DRM as implemented in Clones, and why it was done that way.

Clones uses a short nine alpha numeric key you need to enter when you play the game for the first time on any machine. You *do not* have to be on the internet to activate the game, so essentially it acts like a simple serial number. We really wanted to make it convenient and easy to enter the key, so that is why it is only 9 digits long (unlike other software with really long keys). If you are connected to the internet, then Clones will also check that it is a valid key from our database, and ensure that it wasn't used too many times. This online validation is required to enable the online services provided by ClonesGame.com. The current activation limit is configured high enough, that you can install Clones on all computers that you may own. I'm not going to say what the activation limit is, but let's just say it "very liberal" and I would be very suspicious if anyone has that many computers that they own.

The reason why we need a DRM for Clones is to control mass piracy, but more importantly it is to ensure that the online services provided by ClonesGame.com are not abused, which is the reason for online validation of the key. So what kind of online services are we talking about? We have per level leaderboards, singleplayer rankings, multiplayer server listings and connections establishment and relaying, multiplayer leaderboards, avatar publishing, custom level publishing, and automatic updates. Now imagine if we released a completely DRM free version of the game, it would become easier to pirate, and then our servers would be providing online services to people who didn't buy the game. It costs money to upgrade servers, purchase more bandwidth, and perform maintanence. We can't afford, as an indie developers to let the pirates abuse our online services, and degrade the experience of our paying customers.

joetainment wrote:Thus, a serial number is ok, if I am given such a number, and if I do not have to be online to enter it. If I have to be online, then it is forcing me to ask permission. This is insulting to me for a wide variety of reasons, not the least of which is the intrusion to my privacy.

Thus, DRM free means: Can I install and play this game on a computer that won't ever be connected to the internet (or firewalled off) without asking permission to do so, and with confidence that the game doesn't install some kind of additional malware that is not a valid technical requirement for playing the game.


According to your definition, it seems, Clones is DRM free because you do not have to be online to enter the key and play the game. We specifically implemented it this way because we didn't want the DRM to be too aggressive and only work for people who have an internet connection. However, the moment you want to use the online services of ClonesGame.com, it will validate the key online (transparently) when it detects an working internet connection. This is done so that the online services are not abused by pirates.

joetainment wrote:I have purchased a huge number of games from independent developers, but I only buy DRM free games. Here are some examples of games I currently own, all of which are fully DRM free:

<snip>

In any case, I would encourage you to note that all of the games above were successful without the need for DRM, and that many customers consider this an important factor in our decision to buy.


All those DRM free games that you listed are singleplayer only and do not have online mutiplayer or any online services that integrate with the game itself. So, it is unfair to compare those games to Clones, as the effects of piracy are not the same.

joetainment wrote:Also, DRM only hurts paying customers. It does not work to stop pirates. A quick google search will show that even extremely advanced DRM systems, such as Ubisoft titles, get hacked quickly. It's the paying customers that DRM hurts. If I wanted to play a pirated version of your game, I'm pretty sure I already could. However, I don't want that. I want to buy a real copy.

Can you provide a specific example how the DRM in Clones hurts paying customers? We made the process as painless and liberal as possible, taking into account as many cases as possible. I think paying customers are benefited by the DRM because it ensures better online services. Fortunately for us, because Clones takes advantage of many of the online services provided by the server, any pirated version of Clones will not function fully, no matter how elaborate the hack.

I anticipate that the explanation and justification provided is sufficient and clear and if there is anything that requires further clarification, I will be happy to follow up. I will update the main page to include a section describing the DRM in Clones so as to inform the people who are concerned about this issue.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
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Re: Is there any kind of DRM in the game?

Postby Ogtacular » Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:04 am

Not to insinuate myself into a touchy subject....BUT... :)

I understand the anger directed at some of the more intrusive forms of DRM, such as Ubisoft's most recent scheme on the PC. In particular, I object to any single-player game experience requiring a constant internet connection to play. I have a laptop as my gaming machine, and often play games when and where I might not be able to connect.

But I also understand the frustration of developers when a large number of people have stolen their products. I don't pretend to know WHAT the piracy rates are, but we all know its a significant number. I absolutely do NOT begrudge a developer protecting their profits...this is how they're making a living.

But in the case of indie developers, the above is a pointless argument. I have never run across any sort of DRM in all the 30-some indie titles I own on PC that is even REMOTELY onerous. Most of them are DRM-free, even. And in the case of Clones, I feel that Tomkorp has done just about as much as they can to be more than fair to the end user. The game has a representative demo, it is available on MULTIPLE portals like D2D and Steam, and it comes with a level editor as well as a wealth of levels and multiplayer functionality. This will set you back all of 10 bones, US.

I think anyone who is bothered by the more draconian DRM is better served writing letters to Ubisoft, Activision, EA, and other large developers. They are the ones responsible for using the lion's share of intrusive schemes like TAGES, SecuROM, and so on. Some of the better indie studios are on the other hand just about the most gamer-friendly people in the business. In all of my dealings with indies like Arcen, Wolfire, and Tomkorp, I've gotten prompt, helpful responses. I've also ended up typically with much more feature-rich games than many big-budget titles for a ridiculously cheap price.

Sorry about the dissertation, but I'm just a little bothered by what appears to be a misdirection of anger on the part of gamers out there. In my experience, indie developers are the best friends us PC gamers have.
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Re: Is there any kind of DRM in the game?

Postby Simon » Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:22 am

Since there is a cracked v1.24 on the net, it seems pointless to either DRM or serial-number the singleplayer any more (IMO useless to begin with, but whatev). An idea is to revise this, and then advertize it as having DRM-free singleplayer and p2p multiplayer. DRM-free is a great marketing buzzphrase, nearly all the big online sellers use it for any game that complies.

It will then only need DRMmed validation for game relaying via their central server and obtaining updates -- both things that will vanish anyway when their server goes offline.

I absolutely do NOT begrudge a developer protecting their profits...this is how they're making a living.

It doesn't protect, it hurts them. Any DRM for non-service content (service is updates and game relaying) hurts the sales. Such static content can and will be cracked given enough spread of the game. As a result, the pirated version offers the same static content, but DRM-free. It has become better than the original product.

The number of pirates finally paying for the service-based content is likely smaller than the number of people who would buy the main product DRM-free, but not DRMmed. This applies to both large and small developers. I also do not want the Clones devs to take a fee for playing multiplayer, since even despite it is the proper business model, people don't want regular payments for games like this.

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Re: Is there any kind of DRM in the game?

Postby Ogtacular » Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:03 pm

Simon:

I've heard this argument before. It's possible it might be accurate, but no one has any good statistics out there on piracy, for obvious reasons. Keep in mind that the internet is FULL of a vocal minority in many cases. I remember the righteous fury surrounding the DRM Bethesda Softworks used in Oblivion. And to be fair, it was somewhat justified...it used (I think) SecuROM which was sapping something like 10-20% of CPU runtime in some cases. And yet it was a runaway hit for them, selling millions of copies.

The truth of the matter is that there are many things that can contribute to the success and failure of a title. And DRM schemes CAN hurt sales. They also WILL prevent some piracy. Casual pirates are less likely to hassle with warez sites, torrenting NO-cd patches and cracks, and so on. There is probably a significant percentage of possible casual pirates that are entirely UNAWARE of the existence of the warez communities.

Also, I have yet to hear an explanation as to how inputing a serial number ONCE for online verification ONCE is in any way an inconvenience for a legitimate purchaser. The title is available only (or maybe just mostly) online. You buy it, download it, and key in the number. To be honest, the only possible consideration I can see is if someone wants to run the game on multiple machines. And the only ways I can think of to allow this are to either not have any DRM (allowing casual piracy balanced against maybe increased sales) or to have a more intrusive online check to ensure that only one "instance" is running at a time.

I preface my final comment by saying I do not wish to start a fight. But your previous comment sounds like its coming from someone with an unrealistic sense of entitlement. Videogamers (and PC gamers in particular) seem to forget how good they have things, in general. People complain about the cost of games incessantly, and yet the costs (based on my 30 years or so of gaming in the USA) haven't changed much on big-name titles. Worst case scenario is that some of the bigger titles have been launching at $60.00. That's a $10 increase over 30-some years? Compare that to movie ticket prices. Also, many of these are easily available online for ridiculous cut rates either shortly after launch or during events like Steam Christmas sales. Gamers also like to complain about "short" games. This is a valid complaint compared with maybe the early 2000's, but generally modern games are much larger and feature-rich than early games. Theys are also often easily modded on PC, sometimes shipping with construction kits like the BethSoft RPGS and Unreal games. And I don't think anyone who is being honest with themselves can claim that games haven't matured dramatically in the last few decades.

You're free to complain about anything you wish, and to vote with your dollars (or euros, or whatever). But I think it would be more constructive to complain about more "important" issues affecting gaming like actually intrusive DRMs, launch-day downloadable content unlocks, the pawn-shop mentality of the GameStop business model, and the sweatshop conditions of many large development houses. Hell, complain about the current state of videogaming journalism for that matter.
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