Elemental: No Copy Protection, Activation, LAN and more

Published on Sunday, August 15, 2010 By Brad Wardell In Elemental Dev Journals

There’s been a lot of discussion on these kinds of topics on recent games and I thought I’d give you our perspective on it.

No Copy Protection

Elemental, out of the box, like all of Stardock’s other games, has no copy protection whatsoever.  However, you obviously need Internet access to get updates.  But then, why should this be necessary?

Because Elemental, unlike our previous games, has really been designed to be a game that people can play for decades, this is something that has concerned us. Because we want to encourage people to have the latest version but at the same time, we are aware that some people are worried that 10 years from now, they won’t be able to get the “better” version.

So here is what we’re going to start doing on our developed titles: We’re going to start making archival DVD versions of the game that can be sent to customers.  We already do this with Object Desktop (our most popular non-game product).  This archival version would have no copy protection whatsoever. It would just be a DVD you can put into your machine.

So starting in October, what we will do is make archival DVD editions of our games starting with Galactic Civilizations II: Ultimate Edition and Elemental.  Roughly every year or so, if there have been updates, we’ll create a new archival version of the game that people can have sent to them (it’ll just be a DVD).

LAN Games

There’s been a lot of questions of how someone would play Elemental on their LAN with their friends.  Here’s my suggested way to do it with minimum hassle.

#1 You’ll need to install Impulse on the machines that will be playing the game. But that’s all. Just install and go to step 2.

#2 Go to http://anywhere.impulsedriven.com which is the web interface to Impulse. From here, you would download the web package of Elemental. As long as Impulse is installed on the machine, you can install the game.

#3 When you install, type in your serial #. If it’s on a LAN, just use your single DVD key, Impulse::Reactor’s GOO uses smart activation (i.e. it doesn’t have a “activation limit” type system) so you can just install it on the various machines on your LAN.

#4 When your friends come over to play, they will need, once in the game, to logon with their own accounts (so they or someone will have to provide them with a serial # to attach to their account but they can use it at your LAN in game).  This is because on day 0, the data from the game is handled by our servers (this way, when we update the game data for balancing players don’t have to update their game which would be a real hassle for LAN players).  Eventually we plan to release custom servers so that players can make their own stuff but we won’t have that ready at release.