The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom (do not create new DRM threads below)

Dr Zaius

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DRM is an issue that tends to come up again and again in the Distant Guns section. This thread will be stickied at the top of the forum, not to promote discussion on DRM, but to provide gamers a place to talk freely about the issue while also helping to ensure that discussions on this one topic don't dominate the forum or ruin other discussions. From now on please use this thread for all DRM-related discussions for Distant Guns and other games from SES.

  • The topic of DRM (digital rights management) is considered a legitimate topic of discussion on this board, but from now on please keep all DRM discussions here and don't start new threads on the same subject. Any new DRM threads that are created may be merged into this one at the discretion of the volunteer moderators.
  • The subject of DRM has a history of getting heated on this forum (a big understatement). Lot's of antagonistic comments have been made in the past by a whole range of people and this thread is now rarely policed by moderators, so be warned that discussions here still tend to get heated.
  • Please don't complain to mods or staff that you were trolled by some poster or that a developer made a harsh comment to you in here. DRM is a touchy issue for both gamers and developers, so be advised things do tend to get heated in here and moderators will rarely intervene. Again, if you don't wish to participate in a discussion that may get messy, then I strongly suggest you avoid this thread entirely.
*NOTE: This thread contains many earlier DRM discussions that have been merged into a single thread. As a result some portions of this thread are more than a bit chaotic and difficult to follow.
 

NormKoger

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The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

Hello guys,

I figured it was about time to start making appearances here, so...

A lot of folks seem to wonder why we decided to focus on the Russo-Japanese War for our first title. It's a fair question. The conflict isn't all that well known in our part of the world. Clearly, it doesn't have the market tested sales potential of World War II, the American Civil War, Napoleonics, or even World War I. I've received a few fairly nasty emails from folks who are actually angry that we are wasting our development time on the RJW when we could be doing something _fun_. What in the world were Norm and Jim thinking?

Well, you see, I have a serious fascination with the Russo-Japanese War.

Jim likes a good, obscure conflict as well as most gamers. He's familiar enough with military history that he finds it interesting to examine something that he hasn't been steeped in since childhood. Most of us who think of ourselves wargamers eventually reach that point. We don't start that way. I, myself, once considered anything before about 1941 to be painfully tedious. Then sometime in the mid 1970's I ran across SPI's magazine games. It took a few years, but I eventually came to realize that some very cool history happened before Adolf and uncle Joe started their little altercation. I was primed and ready.

In 1974, quite by accident, I ended up with a copy of Denis and Peggy Warner's "The Tide at Sunrise." Without anything more interesting on the "unread stack", and without a great deal of enthusiasm, I began to read. Much to my surprise, I found myself immersed in a story of heroes and villains, giants and petty fools, rising and setting suns, emperors and the children of gods.

If you haven't read a good history of the Russo-Japanese War, there just isn't any way to understand how fantastic the thing was.

For the Russians, it was a campaign at the end of the Earth. In 1904, it took three weeks to travel by train from Moscow to the nearest area of the war zone. Three weeks. At the end of the rails were Port Arthur, Vladivostok, and the even more remote outpost of Nikolayevsk. It is amazing that the Russians managed to base a formidable fleet and army there in time of peace, much less fight a war. The men who ran Russia's most remote outposts could all have been created by storytellers. Some were hateful and worse than useless, others noble and competent. All of them were interesting.

And the Japanese? Over the space of half a century, they had by sheer will pulled themselves from feudal barbarism - completely impotent in the face of even the smallest of Western powers - to become the strongest nation on their side of the planet. Boys born into a world of swords and spears were sent abroad, returning home to become fiercely competent leaders of a modern army and navy created from scratch over the course of a single lifetime. A people who firmly believed their emperor to be descended from a god prepared to seize their rightful place among nations. As with the Russians, the ranks of the Japanese army and navy were filled with fascinating characters.

The land campaign was massive, bloody, and punctuated by sharp battles. 400,000 troops were sent into action at Mukden. The issue was most directly decided on land. But the heart of the war was the naval campaign. Unlike the Russians, the Japanese had no rail line running from Tokyo to the theater of battle. Every soldier, blanket, and bullet had to be moved by sea. The Russians knew this, thus their fleet at Port Arthur and Vladivostok. While they honestly expected a decisive triumph over Japan's new navy, they also knew such a victory was not necessary. All they had to do was disrupt the Japanese shipping lifeline, and the weight of Russian arms would inevitably carry the day. The Japanese were also aware of this fact. On the eve of war, the Japanese admiral told his assembled staff that they had to prepare to "win one hundred victories in one hundred battles."* Togo knew that he had to perform perfectly to prevent Russian victory.

Knowing that the main threat was the Port Arthur force, the bulk of the Japanese navy set up a blockade of that base. This left only enough available naval forces to engage in a cat and mouse game against the Russian Vladivostok squadron. Again and again, the cruisers based at Vladivostok sortied against the Japanese supply lifeline as the main fleet occupied the Togo's attentions, knowing that they were no match for the strength the Japanese could spare to throw at them. If just for the actions of the Vladivostok squadron, the war would be memorable. But the story that elevates this conflict from "interesting" to "epic" is the voyage of the Second Pacific Squadron.

I can't even begin to cover that story here. Perhaps in a future post. Hopefully, a few bare facts will give some hint of the magnificent effort of the Russian Baltic fleet's voyage. The route covered 18000 miles, down the Atlantic coast of Africa and across the Indian Ocean. There were no friendly bases to assist on the way. At the end of the trip, 8 months after leaving home waters, the entire force was destroyed in a single battle. Odysseus and his boys sailed across one side of a small, sheltered sea. A few thousand years later, we still read their story in school. Homer's talents were wasted on them. Imagine what he could have done with the story of the Russian Second Pacific Squadron: morning prayers on the decks of the ships, monkeys stealing icons and jumping overboard, an executive officer who knows of the Admiral's habit of throwing binoculars overboard when angry, and arranges to have an entire case of binoculars brought aboard the flagship before its departure...

Much is made of the claim that this was the first "modern" war. There were trenches and machine guns, battleships, torpedoes, and submarines. That is all very interesting, but it is not the reason I find the period so compelling. The thing that really draws me to the RJW is that fact that it is the last war that seems fit to be described by a poet.

Why to Russo-Japanese War? Because the opportunity existed, and I just couldn't pass it up.

*"One hundred victories in one hundred battles..." Interestingly enough, this was more than a mission statement. It was also a reference to the failure of diplomacy. Sun Tsu: "To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill."
 

Leftie

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

Fascinating stuff!! I look forward to the release of your game.


Ben
 

Neutrino 123

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

Hello, I've recently been reading several books about the Russo-Japanese War, so I'm very glad that this topic was chosen for the first game. My schedule is set up to download it within 8 hours maximum of the release...:)

Will this be the 'official' forum for Distant Guns?
 

Rhetor

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

I consider the Russo - Japanese war to be a good choice for a first test of the engine. I will certainly do my best to sink the Japanese fleet in "Distant Guns".

I do hope, however, that in few years time I will be able take command of von Hipper's battle cruisers and beat the hell out of the Royal Navy... or the Russian Baltic fleet :-D (yes, there were fierce battles on the Baltic in 1914 - 1917, which are even less known in the West than the Russo - Japanese war... I believe the only event known to the Western people is the fateful sinking of the cruiser "Magdeburg")
 

liuzg150181

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

Wow,Norm Koger coming to post here~~~:surprise:
Thx for the intro Norm,i would say that it seems you have convinced a handful of the charm of that era,of course i am now awaiting the remake of the other masterpiece of yours-TOAW:CoW Matrix Edition~~~:devious:
 

Sol Invictus

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

Great to see you here Norm. I must admit that I was one of those people that had some doubts as to the subject of your new game. I still have my doubts, but that stems from the fact that I am really not into naval conflict. If this game covered the land campaign, than I would be an automatic buyer. I may still buy Distant Guns, but it will be very iffy. I look forward to seeing what land conflicts you guys decide to cover in the future. I recently aquired a copy of Age of Rifle and have been playing that over the last month. Still a great game after all of these years. Heres hoping that you get around to covering the Russo-Japanese, Austro-Prussian, Franco-Prussian, or some similar conflict in a more dedicated and thorough manner than these conflicts were covered in AOR.
 

Wodin

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

Norm,

We can all relate to an obsession over one particular conflict. Mine being WW1.

IF I had the talent I would set out to make a WW1 game and damn what others think.

You make the era sound very interesting ideed "I found myself immersed in a story of heroes and villains, giants and petty fools, rising and setting suns, emperors and the children of gods" and " the men who ran Russia's most remote outposts could all have been created by storytellers. Some were hateful and worse than useless, others noble and competent. All of them were interesting".

There is something about the game that has sparked an interest. Im going to see how people review it and then make a decision.

However you can be sure I will be buying one or more of your future games.

Its good to see a great talent back in action. PC wargaming is far better for it.
 

Lempereur1

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

Fellow Gamers:

We have no current plans to make this an offical forum, per say, but rather a starting point to build on. Norm and I will be happy to stop by any forums hosted on almost any site, provided that it is all achieved with happy gaming as the outcome.

If you would like us to stop by at a forum near you, please email us at info@stormeaglestudios.com

We encourage fan sites. We feel that these are essential to the long term health of any game series. We have a fan site package available for download on our website if anyone would like to partake. We will also add your site to our list of fan sites as well.

If you would like to download them, please go to out press kit office at stormeaglestudios.com.
 

nemo

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

Most interesting post, gives a lot of background to the upcoming game. Thanks for sharing.

Marc
 

Sgt_Rock

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

Norm, really enjoyed your TAOW game.

While I am not a RTS guy for the most part your new game really looks great.

Any ship game needs some decent graphics and yours looks really good.

Question: what naval period will you model next? We have seen Age of Sail I and II. What about the Ironclad era? Its never been done on computer before and Talonsoft had an ad out for it before they dropped the title. Its one of my all-time favorite periods, Ironclads by Yacquinto being one of my favorite boardgames.

Good luck with your game! Its always good to see good folks like you out there putting new stuff together.
 

Lohengrin

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

Great choice for your naval sim, Norm! The RJW set the table for the naval engagements of WWI and is a natural starting place for 20th century naval conflict. As your narrative above suggests, the RJW has a lot of color and background, not least of which is the magnificent sight of coal smoke-belching battleships engaged in fleet action.

Can't wait for "Distant Guns". :love:
 

chetnikk

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

The buzz on this title is that it will be chained to a server somewhere, and the user will have to activate to play. And re-activate via telephone when changing machines or hardware. And be in-activated at the point the designer goes out of business.

That's a huge "no sale" in my book. I don't do Steam, activation, Starforce, or any other paranoid copy-protection scheme.

John R.
 

timetraveller

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

chetnikk said:
The buzz on this title is that it will be chained to a server somewhere, and the user will have to activate to play. And re-activate via telephone when changing machines or hardware. And be in-activated at the point the designer goes out of business.

That's a huge "no sale" in my book. I don't do Steam, activation, Starforce, or any other paranoid copy-protection scheme.

John R.
Where have you seen this buzz? It's news to me. Got a link?

timetraveller
 

Reckall

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

timetraveller said:
Where have you seen this buzz? It's news to me. Got a link?
A lot of discussion took place/is taking place on the comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical newsgroup. This is an excerpt: http://tinyurl.com/dtgy4

You will find more by doing a search using Google Groups. The copy-protection issue has been debated a lot.
 

timetraveller

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

Reckall said:
A lot of discussion took place/is taking place on the comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical newsgroup. This is an excerpt: http://tinyurl.com/dtgy4

You will find more by doing a search using Google Groups. The copy-protection issue has been debated a lot.
Thanks Reckall. Interesting read. Yes, I am aware of most of the various copy protection schemes. I just don't visit USENET that often. Starforce I'll probably live with. Online verification each time I play the game I probably won't.

hehe When the revolution comes, there ain't gonna be any Internet connection.

-timetraveller
 

chetnikk

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

timetraveller said:
Where have you seen this buzz? It's news to me. Got a link?

timetraveller
From the Storm Eagle home page:

"Server based software allows sales, support, and intellectual property protection options previously unavailable."

(http://www.stormeaglestudios.com/public/home.html)

Sounds like activation to me. Or something a lot worse - like Steam. But I eagerly await the developers rushing to tell us the rumor is untrue.

Think they will?

John R.
 

NormKoger

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

Sgt_Rock said:
Norm, really enjoyed your TAOW game.
Question: what naval period will you model next? What about the Ironclad era?

Good luck with your game! Its always good to see good folks like you out there putting new stuff together.
Thanks.

We plan to bounce around a bit. The details are still up in the air. Jim and I have discussed the ironclad era. It might be fun, but I need to do a bit more research to make sure there is enough there to make for an interesting game.

Speaking of "modeling" and "putting new stuff together", I like to surround myself with visual encouragement when I'm working on a game. Every now and then, when I begin to feel like banging my head against the monitor, I shift over to the side of my desk to work with a bit of plastic, brass, and resin for a while. A couple of years ago, I finished up a 1/700 collection of the Russian Vladivostok Independent Cruiser Squadron. It sits on the shelf behind my desk. You can take a peek here: www.stormeaglestudios.com/pr_images/Norm/Vladsquad2.jpg
 

NormKoger

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

Hello guys,

Registering the game requires a one-time connection to the internet. Since we plan to sell over the internet, there has to be some kind of internet authorization scheme. We don't see any way around that. After that, if you don't mind passing up on automatic updates you never need an internet connection again.

Speculation that the game will become unusable if we ever go out of business is incorrect. The game includes a utility that allows you to move it from one computer to another with _no_ on-line interaction. The current implementation does require that both machines have some form of removable media (floppy, cdrw, whatever), but we may at some point set it up so that even that is not required as long as the two machines can "talk" to each other in some way.

In fact, you could register the game on a third party computer then move it to yours via the utility. Everything would work just fine on your stealth machine, we would have no record of it, and our guys in the black helicopter would never be able to find you.

By the way, I once pretty skeptical about Steam too. But I eventually broke down to play Half Life 2. Turns out I never had any problem with it, and I came to appreciate the way it worked every time I did not have to find some stupid key disk to launch the game. These days I very much prefer copy protection that involves some form of registration over anything that involves key disks.
 

chetnikk

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RE: The Distant Guns DRM thread of doom

What's to stop me from using the CD from the initial activation to activate a dozen machines? If you're describing the situation accurately, how does this bother a pirate? And if it doesn't bother a pirate, why inflict it on your customers?

John R.
 
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