Oh boy, here we go again. When will game publishers finally realize that copy protection is a waste of money. It doesn't prevent games from being cracked and distributed worldwide to those who don't want to pay for them, but it does annoy the hell out of paying customers, such as myself. If a game publisher persists in using particularly lousy protection, I tend to do one of two things: avoid buying their games in the future, or download a version without copy protection for free from just about anywhere.
STALKER: Clear Sky uses the Tages copy protection software. This is my first run-in with this particular piece of crap, but it will be the last. Since installing S:CS, my system has been sluggish, and I am no longer able to burn discs reliably. Remind you of anything? Well, it sounds a lot like that other piece of dreck, Starforce. What a nightmare that was. Anyway, the Tages driver loads at startup and never unloads as far as I can tell. No doubt uninstalling the game wouldn't remove it either. Well, one way or another, that driver will be gone before the day is out.
Meanwhile, I shot off an email to Tages ([email protected]):
Subject: Problems with Tages Hello. I just installed STALKER Clear Sky and although the game itself seems to work acceptably, my computer has since been rather sluggish. Also, I am no longer able to burn discs at all. Please provide a procedure by which I can remove Tages from my system. Regards, Jeff
And another to the extremely lame support feedback system for S:CS at http://cs.stalker-game.com/en/?page=support:
Hello. I just installed STALKER Clear Sky and although the game itself seems to work acceptably, my computer has since been rather sluggish. Also, I am no longer able to burn discs at all. Please provide a procedure by which I can remove Tages from my system or provide information as to how I can return the game for a full refund. Regards, Jeff
I have absolutely no expectation that anything useful will come from these, but I want to have as much fun at these idiots' expense as possible. I want them to see how much time and money they will continue to waste on support (among other things) as long as they keep using copy protection.
I'll update this post as things progress (or not). Stay tuned.
UPDATE (2009Mar30): Heard back from Tages support:
Hello, For sure you are mixing us with some other CP. There is no way we can forbid you to burn or slow down your PC: our drivers are not in use except when a software you run yourself ask for it. You will find at the following address our installer/uninstaller: http://www.tagesprotection.com/main.htm?page=5.5.htm It will be useless to fix your problem, but at least you will see that we are in nothing of it Kind regards, The Tages Technical Team
I fired back this reply (this is kinda fun, actually):
Thanks for the response. I have a lot of trouble believing what you say: if your software is so innocuous, why is it in the form of a driver instead of a simple EXE or DLL file? Why is that driver installed without the user's permission? Why does the driver have an intentionally obscure filename and no internal identification? And why is it necessary for that driver to be running all the time, even when it's not "needed"? Any driver that is always running is going to affect my system's performance. I will uninstall S:CS, and I have no doubt that your CP driver will not uninstall with it - another extremely annoying characteristic of the worst kinds of copy protection. Then I will run your uninstaller, which will probably still leave parts of your software installed. I will then manually find and eliminate all traces of your software. If that solves my system problems, you can be sure that I will never again purchase any game protected by Tages, and I will recommend very strongly to everyone I know to do the same. J