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39. Re: From Dust DRM Dust Up - Refunds Offered? [Updated] Aug 19, 2011, 12:56 Rockn-Roll
I really wasn't interested in Dust...mostly because it does look like a console game. But, I hope it's obvious that an internet connection has become a standard fixture. All new buildings...both home and business...are wired for electricity (110 or 220), phone (RJ11), and network (RJ45). In the vast majority of livable areas in the world an internet connection is available and affordable (though about 1/2 of those connections don't have high speed yet) and sometimes cheaper than a phone.

Software has to have some sort of DRM and currently the least problematic is to validate through the internet. And, the internet has a great feature of allowing the software to save game progress and achievements online...a win/win scenario. However, what I don't understand is why they don't simply use Steam which allows a completely offline mode...for some reason some game companies spend extra time to develop their own DRM scheme...most likely 100 hours. Which is really dumb because it only takes about 1 hour for a hacker to bypass it.

All a DRM needs to do is set limits on how the software is used...typically requiring that every computer running an instance of the software have a unique license.

However, in the case of ubisoft, it looks like UBI is dumping PC support, for example Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is not going to be ported to the PC at all and Ghost Recon Online will be 3rd person only.

Plus, I took a look at the ubisoft forum and it does look like Dust has been ported to the PC without any decent testing. One of the most telling and obvious indications of a bad port is crashing due to graphics problems at startup because the initial default graphics setting is to force full-screen using invalid uncommon full-screen settings for PC systems. Windowed is the most stable PC graphics setting and allows the most variety of settings while full-screen requires that the settings match the limited settings available for the user's hardware and software. It looks like Dust is crashing on startup for a lot of users and ubisoft is trying to claim that it's because their PC doesn't have good enough hardware.

Good PC ports will popup a small graphics settings application before launching the game which allows the user to specify what settings their system will work best. But, it doesn't even need that...all that a port needs to do is start the game windowed and the initial crashes would stop. That's been true for the last 5 years, but game companies have yet to catch on...indicating that they totally ignore PC support problems otherwise they would have listened to us and fixed that situation. There is nothing worse that a game that flat will not start at all.

I think one of the reasons game companies don't do something to fix PC support out of the box is that they convince users to update their drivers...when drivers are installed the graphics are set to a default configuration and then the game works OK. Ever since I started running a triple monitor setup I get a crash on startup from every game that was ported to the PC...when that happens I add "-windowed" to the command line options or find the configuration file and set the initial graphics to windowed then the game starts up OK.

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