From Dust PC port requires online at start-up

Ubisoft has been hit with criticism for its PC port of From Dust, ranging from bugs and lack of graphical optimization options to an online check at start-up, despite previous assurances that it would only require a one-time activation.

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From Dust was a bona fide hit on Xbox Live Arcade, making it Ubisoft's fastest-selling XBLA game, but some decided to wait out the PC version. After all, mouse controls could only benefit the God game, so clearly some patience would yield you the superior version, right?

Unfortunately, this version is leaving much to be desired, and frustrating PC fans with a combination of DRM and limitations to the graphical options.

Rock Paper Shotgun reports that it started off with confusion over the online requirement, after the game was promised not to include Ubisoft's controversial "always-on" DRM. An Ubisoft representative stated it only requires a "one-time" online activation, as per the company's policy change from January. After that, users should be able to play offline, but players found they couldn't launch the game offline at all.

Ubisoft has since posted an update to its forums, saying:

'From Dust' requires an internet connection when you start the game. Make sure you are connected to the internet when you attempt to start the game. After you have signed in and the game is running, you no longer need the internet connection for that session (emphasis ours) and can disconnect and play offline you so wish.

It appears Ubisoft has back-pedaled on its DRM policy, and From Dust will require an internet connection at every start-up.

But the complaints don't stop once the game is up and running. Some users have reported bugs, like the menu screen not loading. Then, the game is capped at 30 FPS, without anti-aliasing, and users are unable to run it at the highest resolutions in a window. Steam has reportedly granted some refunds, but Ubisoft is now suggesting contacting their support center directly if you want your money back.

Ubisoft has been getting quite a bit of heat for its DRM structure lately. Driver: San Fransisco will require an online check at start-up, and the company recently promised that Trackmania 2 will only require a one-time registration. Of course, that's the same promise given about From Dust, so you never know.

Shacknews has contacted Ubisoft, and will update as more information becomes available.

Editor-In-Chief

From The Chatty

  • reply
    August 18, 2011 5:00 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, From Dust PC port requires online at start-up.

    Ubisoft has been hit with criticism for its PC port of From Dust, ranging from bugs and lack of graphical optimization options to an online check at start-up, despite previous assurances that it would only require a one-time activation.

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      August 18, 2011 5:06 PM

      What, you thought Ubisoft was just going to let the game get published with no DRM? Back on July 28th: http://www.shacknews.com/article/69474/from-dust-pc-doesnt-use-always-online-drm

      "From Dust will not require a permanent online connection to play in single-player mode," Ubisoft confirmed to VG247. It'll still use Ubi's own proprietary DRM, but presumably in the more lenient form it rolled out earlier this year. This requires players to be online when launching the game, to authenticate with Ubisoft's servers, but won't pause or kick you back to a checkpoint should happen to go offline.

      I interpreted "Online when launching the game" to mean that the game executable must be able to connect to Ubisoft's UPlay servers on first startup, or else it will forbid play. Apparently, others interpeted that as "one-time activation", which it was not.

      As for the PC version being a terrible port of the 360 version, that WAS a surprised. Locked at 30 FPS, barren selection of resolutions, no anti-aliasing, bad mousecode... reminiscent of a number of other bad PC ports. And I'm guessing that Ubisoft didn't allow press access to the PC version prior to its release date (not that many gaming press were seeking anything but the XBLA / PSN versions).

      • reply
        August 18, 2011 5:33 PM

        Ubisoft explicitly stated that it would require an internet connection upon installation only, not upon every launch of the game.

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          August 18, 2011 6:10 PM

          Read closely: "will not require a permanent online connection to play in single-player mode." That could logically be either "one-time activation" or "authentication required on game start".

          This is a question that gaming journalists need to ask specifically: "Does your game's DRM require persistent connection all the time, authentication on startup, or one-time activation?" With Ubisoft's brutal PC DRM policy, I'm always assuming they're going "persistent connection DRM", unless they back off to "must authenticate on game startup". I'd doubt that they'd go with "one-time activation", because UPlay is their "online gaming platform" (much like EA's Origin, or Blizzard's Battle.Net).

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      August 18, 2011 5:19 PM

      This makes me sad, cause I wanted to get it, now I have to skip it on the PC. Now I'm really worried Boobisoft will DRM Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes all to hell :(.

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      August 18, 2011 5:23 PM

      I really wanted to buy this. The demo on 360 was somewhat fun and it seemed like it could really shine on a PC. Too bad.

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        August 18, 2011 5:32 PM

        There were podcasters saying, "Wait for the PC version; the controls are going to be so much better!". As I recall, Jeff Cannata from Weekend Confirmed and Jeff Gerstmann and Brad Shoemaker from Giant Bomb said things to this effect. Those who weren't turned off from the DRM are going to get a nasty surprise if they pre-purchased on Steam.

        Lo-Ping is running a story saying that Steam is allegedly refunding purchases for those who open a new ticket (but with no concrete proof): http://lo-ping.org/2011/08/18/steam-offering-refund-for-ever-sold-copy-of-from-dust/

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      August 18, 2011 5:30 PM

      Wise words of warning to everyone: Stay the fuck away from this game like the plague. Not only have Ubisoft lied about the DRM, it's also a fucking disgusting and shoddy port.

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        August 18, 2011 5:33 PM

        Did you buy it? How bad is the port? Is it like Gearbox Halo PC bad?

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          August 18, 2011 5:45 PM

          Besides what was mentioned in the article, there's not much to add other than the fact that the camera controls are horrid. The screen moves whenever the mouse is off-center, like someone just straight mapped the analog stick to a mouse.

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            August 18, 2011 6:19 PM

            I found using WSADS plus Q and E to rotate worked better, I haven't tried to turn off the mouse entirely yet, but I turned the DPI right down and it's made things a lot better.

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            August 18, 2011 6:35 PM

            You know you can turn that off, right? Check box in the control settings

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          August 18, 2011 5:55 PM

          You're bringing up some bad, repressed memories here. :(

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          August 18, 2011 6:52 PM

          The game itself isn't bad, but the controls are at the very least weird, and there are hardly any graphics options. It doesn't look terrible or anything, but it doesn't exploit modern PC hardware.

          The game does have terrible unskippable cutscenes though, which is the only thing that really bothered me. People that produce games with unskippable cutscenes should be flayed. Maybe only a little. Just enough so they stop doing that forever.

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      August 18, 2011 6:14 PM

      Man, is it me or is it just not worth buying many games recently because everyone treats their customers like shit?

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        August 18, 2011 7:04 PM

        No it's just Ubisoft, and maybe EA now (again, after they were cool for a while after sucking for years).

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      August 18, 2011 7:34 PM

      ubisoft has not received one dime from me and likely never will. I consider them a console-only company and their PC ports are a slap to the face. I wish I could just ignore their shenanigans.

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        August 18, 2011 7:40 PM

        The Assassin's Creed ports have been pretty much flawless, and don't recall any issues with most of the Splinter Cell games either

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          August 18, 2011 8:02 PM

          Eh, the AC ports had issues with wireless 360 pads where some of the button assignments would be off and not easily correctible, and AC1's interface just didn't work well on the PC.

          I love that series, but I'll continue to buy it on the console until they get rid of this DRM stuff. I'm not buying their PC ports while it's still around.

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            August 18, 2011 8:12 PM

            I thought wireless 360 pads had issues in general?

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              August 18, 2011 9:14 PM

              Work great everywhere else I've tried. Played through Batman with one, no issues.

        • reply
          August 18, 2011 8:14 PM

          obligatory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwOvuY0UbFM

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            August 18, 2011 8:31 PM

            Most of that shit was present in the console version as well though. The profile thing is a bit silly, but the rest was dumb when it was released on console.

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          August 18, 2011 8:32 PM

          wtf are you smoking? dont you remember mouse acceleration being hard coded in AC2?? i spent many hours attempting to fix this, to include registry tweaks. all because it was a straight analog stick to mouse port. it wasnt even playable, check the youtube videos showing the mouse movement in realtime

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            August 18, 2011 8:46 PM

            I guess I only ever played it with the 360 controller, so I didn't know that was a problem.

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      August 18, 2011 7:42 PM

      Its friggin hilarious about the whole internet connection just at the start of the game ......

      So i can start the game and i need a connection but once the game is running i dont need a connection ???

      So i start the game then yank the plug on my cable modem to feel better that its not requiring a connection any longer ???.

      It might as well be a persistent online connection frankly because after you close the game and restart you will need a connection again ..

      This is just SO stupid to comprehend how a start up check is really any different then all the time.

      Sure if your internet craps out while your playing you can keep playing but i just dont see how that even matters because if you lose connection to the web you have bigger problems then worrying about playing a game at that point..


      I could see if we all used our cell phones to connect to the internet and we have sometimes spotty connections but this is just not the case so the whole thing is just plain dumb.

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        August 18, 2011 8:38 PM

        Laptop, one time activation at home... play at (insert location here).

        Unfortunately this won't work with this DRM.

        It doesn't matter much if it is your home pc I agree... but no offline mode means you can not have it on a laptop (without a crack anyways. . .)

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      August 19, 2011 3:45 AM

      Fuck them, I was going to buy this, but no more.

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      August 19, 2011 10:15 AM

      I bought and I like it but obviously im the only one not giving a shit about any form of DRM

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      August 19, 2011 10:20 AM

      I bought it anyway. I'm going to play it for an hour and report back to ya'lls.

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        August 19, 2011 11:43 AM

        Ran into a menu bug, but restarted and played a while - I like it. It's unique. We'll see how long it stays interesting, though. They keep adding new elements each level in story mode, so it's still pretty cool.