April 08, 2013

Spore

Is Spore any good?

I've been playing endless games of MoM, and Spider Solitaire, and it's beginning to wear. I tried some other games, and they just didn't feel like anything I'd want to do. The Heroes of Might and Magic games all seemed like things I'd want to play, but they crashed. And that's not acceptable.

I have odd tastes in games and this post is not a request for suggestions. (Suggestions for games are at least as useless as suggestions for anime series "you might want to consider".) In terms of the kind of things I do enjoy, Spore sounds like it would fit. But some of the reader comments at Newegg indicate that the game has unreasonable DRM. Is there a reason why I'd end up hating Spore on that kind of level?

Anyone here ever play it? What exactly is the deal with its DRM?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Gaming at 05:50 PM | Comments (18) | Add Comment
Post contains 150 words, total size 1 kb.

1 At the time of release, Spore used some pretty nasty DRM.  SecuROM, IIRC.  It basically boiled down to a rootkit, albeit not the most horridly destructive one ever.  It also had an obnoxious install limit, such that if you tried to install the game more than a certain amount of times, you'd have to fight with their customer service to get the count rolled back ( note, significant changes in hardware counted as a "new install" ).  I am pretty sure this has been cut back heavily since then, though.  The Steam version almost certainly has no DRM beyond Steam itself.

As for the game itself, my only recommendation is "grab the Galactic Adventures pack" if at all possible.  My wife found the space stage somewhat unfinished prior to that.

Posted by: metaphysician at April 08, 2013 06:40 PM (3GCAl)

2

Probably the version that Newegg is selling still has that awful DRM.

I've never done any Steam games before, but I know Pixy plays them and the Steam system isn't horrible. Maybe it's time for me to bite the bullet on that.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 08, 2013 06:44 PM (+rSRq)

3 I have not played Spore - DRM issue was enough for me to pass, too many good games to play these days anyway.

Steam is a godsend for me, honestly. With weird hours, I can't always head down to the game store, but I can always press "download this" and have it just work. I won't say that it's never given me any trouble at all, but on a whole I'd have to say it's made my life better. Even those games which aren't available through it directly, are generally available directly from their manufacturers because of the competition.

That said, the last few months it's been mostly Mabinogi...

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at April 08, 2013 08:01 PM (pWQz4)

4 Steam itself is fine, but some games on Steam include additional DRM, and that's not always so good.  It doesn't list any additional DRM for Spore, though, so it's probably okay.
Spore is...  Well, it's fun, but the promised depth just isn't there.  The Galactic Adventures expansion helps (indeed, should be considered essential), but even with that it's kind of shallow.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at April 08, 2013 08:01 PM (PiXy!)

5

I am going to disagree with the majority because I throughly despise Steam, and dislike Firaxis for releasing XCOM: Enemy Unknown or XSEED for releasing the Ys games for the PC on Steam.  I do not being forced to run a client when I am running a game, or being forced to update before playing.  And I do not want to have to log in everytime I am playing a game on Steam.

Steam is better than other DRM but that is like getting bubonic plague is better than getting Lassa fever.  Both still suck.

Posted by: cxt217 at April 08, 2013 08:31 PM (aDysA)

6 If I install Steam, is it possible to uninstall it cleanly should I decide I don't like it?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 08, 2013 09:42 PM (+rSRq)

7 I think so.  Steam seems to be fairly clean of cruft these days.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at April 08, 2013 09:54 PM (PiXy!)

8 The Steam client itself doesn't pull any DRM tricks, so a correct uninstall (there are registry entries to clean up) should leave no tracks.  Some titles you can download/install through Steam do, however, install rootkits like SecuROM.   (Apparently not Spore, but caveat emptor)

Posted by: Douglas Oosting at April 08, 2013 09:58 PM (vtGjZ)

9  Ugh, I bought Spore off Steam a while ago, only for Steam to suddenly drop it and all records of my purchase after Will Wright demanded they remove his entire portfolio so he could make everything exclusive to Origin, EA's competing digital content service. I also found out the hard way that installing Origin on a system that already has Steam installed will make it try to uninstall Steam, and failing that, try to brick your hard drive. I had to start from a fresh square one install, install Origin, and THEN install Steam to make them play nice together, and Origin still complains endlessly about Steam whenever it detects its presence. And after all that, I find that if I want Spore from Steam, I have to pay for it again because Valve doesn't have the records of the first time I paid twenty bucks for it. So far, it hasn't been worth it.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian at April 09, 2013 12:01 AM (4njWT)

10 Being fair, that's not a problem with Steam, so much as a problem with EA trying to wage war on Steam.

Posted by: metaphysician at April 09, 2013 06:20 AM (3GCAl)

11

OK, I guess it's no-go.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 09, 2013 06:47 AM (+rSRq)

12 Steam is the absolute shiz-nit of game store clients. I've never seen it do something rude and when you close it, it closes, and same for an uninstall. Steam is loved by gamers (and game developers) because the company making it treats gamers nicely and also makes some of the best PC games around. 

As for Spore, it's biggest problem is that it is boring.  I'd make a suggestion...

Posted by: ForgottenBoy at April 09, 2013 11:21 AM (/BNuT)

13

 Steam is loved by gamers (and game developers) because the company making it treats gamers nicely and also makes some of the best PC games around.

Publishers may love releasing games on Steam (And not even all of them.), but most game developers are unhappy with Steam because of Valve's pricing of games, especially for discounts and sales, are very crappy from the developer's standpoint.  Valve does not care because they get their cut and it cost them very little - the developers are the ones who get the shaft.

This is the big reason why Valve has been making a major pitch for the indie developers to release games on Steam - with the developer-hostile pricing policy and the availability of other avenues for digital releases, there is little incentive to release on Steam unless you are one of the big boys.

Posted by: cxt217 at April 09, 2013 12:12 PM (aDysA)

14 Eh, it only "screws" the developers if their game doesn't actually gain a sales increase.  Which, seeing as Steam sales correlate strongly with large increases in sales, and there is no per-unit cost worth mentioning?  The only losses are in people who'd otherwise pay full price who buy it cheap, and there's no evidence that is a significant quantity versus the impulse buyers.

As for "the big boys," that's a weird inversion of reality, seeing as its the "big boy" EA who is doing its best to try and get away from Steam ( and failing because their own digital storefront sucks ).

Posted by: metaphysician at April 09, 2013 06:37 PM (3GCAl)

15

 As for "the big boys," that's a weird inversion of reality, seeing as its the "big boy" EA who is doing its best to try and get away from Steam ( and failing because their own digital storefront sucks ).

EA might have tried to be independent but other companies like 2K and Bethesda certainly are using Steam as de facto DRM (Which I am constantly reminded of when I start-up XCOM.), even for the physical copies of the titles.  Otherwise there would be no need for me to download the entire game install for XCOM after I had installed from the DVD, or to log in everytime I want to play a single-player game.  And I should not be forced to sit through patch updates if I want to play a game I own.

Eh, it only "screws" the developers if their game doesn't actually gain a sales increase. Which, seeing as Steam sales correlate strongly with large increases in sales, and there is no per-unit cost worth mentioning?

The explanation that was given to me was that the steep discounts Steam had on their sales, combined with Valve's cut of each sale, often reduced the marginal revenue for developers to absurdly low levels (IIRC, I seen as low as 10% quoted.), regardless of whether the developer wanted such steep discounts, and even for recently released games.  It does not bother Steam since it increases their revenues and they get a cut of each sale regardless of how steep the discount.  For indie developers, it is a major issue.  Not every game is going to be as popular as Recettear.

I also do not like the idea of running ANY client in order to play a game that I bought, no matter how clean it is.  I should not have to log in simply to play a game I have on my computer.  Forcing me to run Steam even for a physical copy of a game I bought makes me feel like I am renting game that I paid full price for.  At least when I play Shira Oka, I feel like I really own the game I bought.

 

 

Posted by: cxt217 at April 09, 2013 07:46 PM (aDysA)

16
The explanation that was given to me was that the steep discounts Steam had on their sales, combined with Valve's cut of each sale, often reduced the marginal revenue for developers to absurdly low levels (IIRC, I seen as low as 10% quoted.), regardless of whether the developer wanted such steep discounts, and even for recently released games.
The explanation given to you seems to have been wrong, then.  Steam don't force sales or specific discounts on developers; that's entirely voluntary.  But they have shown time and again that steep short-term discounts lead to a dramatic increase actual revenue:
"I remember there was a single hour of the sale where we sold more units than we usually sell in an entire day. As a result, the increase in volume vastly overshadowed the reduction in price, and the overall revenue increase was well worth it," Ambrogi said. "If we were given the chance to work with Steam again, or to participate in another promotion with them, we would be extremely unlikely to pass up the opportunity. They really know what they're doing."
P.S. Sorry Steven!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at April 10, 2013 12:07 AM (PiXy!)

17

"I also do not like the idea of running ANY client in order to play a game that I bought, no matter how clean it is. I should not have to log in simply to play a game I have on my computer. Forcing me to run Steam even for a physical copy of a game I bought makes me feel like I am renting game that I paid full price for. At least when I play Shira Oka, I feel like I really own the game I bought."

Having experienced one of the worse scenarios, where Steam apparently was legally forced by Will Wright to delete all records of its sales resulting in the game I paid for effectively not being mine any more unless I pay for it again, it's pretty much the same issues we have with banks. You give money to people whose behavior you can investigate but never truly predict, on the promise that they'll give it back when you need it, possibly with interest for being such a sport in trusting them with it and letting them use it to finance profitable factories or infrastructure improvements. The good news is that they know how to keep your money a lot safer than you possibly could, up to and including being able to repel minor armed attacks. The bad news is that there is always a chance they could tell you, "Sorry, we screwed up and trusted someone we shouldn't have, the bank is closing and there's no way to return a single penny of the money you gave us," or worse, "Sorry, sucker, it's MINE ALL MINE now! Nyahahahaha!"

Same with Steam and video games. If you lose your game CDs in a house fire, they're gone for good. But if you bought it through Steam, and they still remember that you paid (and are willing to honor that purchase), you can get all your games back as soon as you get a new computer with an internet connection. The down side is, with the ongoing war over who really has the right to intellectual and/or digital property, things like the Spore clusterfark are inevitable.


Posted by: Tatterdemalian at April 11, 2013 06:43 AM (4njWT)

18

Oh, and as for Spore as a game... it's REALLY fun. There's a reason I still seriously consider dropping another 20 bucks on it, even though its graphics are now hilariously outdated. It's like they took my five favorite game types, trimmed them down to the essentials, and added enough customization to keep things interesting, while also giving you the option to skip all the customization and download shared templates from online for anything I didn't really care about. And going through the Civilization stage on Hard mode was absurdly difficult... even though you can pause at will, getting your forces built in sufficient quantities and moved to where they need to be to repel attacks turned into a real test of strategic resource management that you never would have imagined possible given the simple mechanics involved. It's like chess with maybe three pieces but an even more infinite world of possibilities.


Posted by: Tatterdemalian at April 11, 2013 07:00 AM (4njWT)

Hide Comments | Add Comment

Enclose all spoilers in spoiler tags:
      [spoiler]your spoiler here[/spoiler]
Spoilers which are not properly tagged will be ruthlessly deleted on sight.
Also, I hate unsolicited suggestions and advice. (Even when you think you're being funny.)

At Chizumatic, we take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately.

How to put links in your comment

Comments are disabled. Post is locked.
20kb generated in CPU 0.01, elapsed 0.0232 seconds.
20 queries taking 0.0122 seconds, 35 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.