The EULA of freedom



  • We've all seen EULAs longer than novellas, containing mysterious and hard to interpret terms. Even the so-called free software licenses are ridiculously long and definitely non-trivial. A couple years ago I was quite pleasantly surprised by this one. I think it really takes the cake in terms of "freeness".



  • License agreements are legal documents which are (mostly) written in formal legal writing, the equivilent of source code for lawyers and the like. Their goal is to define agreements in a legal sense, not a user friendly readable sense.
    If they would be written in normal english (or other language) they would probably be full of holes from a legal point of view.

    A basic understanding of legal writing is pretty much essential if you want to function in a modern society. At least that is my opinion, i'm sure there are plenty of people that go by without knowing their rights by law or contract. It is also typically those people who will complain in disbelief when they find out they signed or agreed to something they did not want to agree to.

    Also you are mistaken to assume that no text means it is more free or something. There is a reason you need a specific license for free software, the default is to restrict, not to give away.



  • Wait, is that a user-editable textbox?



  • @stratos said:

    License agreements are legal documents which are (mostly) written in formal legal writing, the equivilent of source code for lawyers and the like. Their goal is to define agreements in a legal sense, not a user friendly readable sense.
    If they would be written in normal english (or other language) they would probably be full of holes from a legal point of view.

    I find it ridiculous that we, as a society, cannot function without the legalese. Obviously I do read important agreements, but no one really cares about license agreements in software intended for personal use. It is different in the business world, but it's not like one those lengthy agreements have ever prevented someone from disassembling or pirating their copy of the latest fps.



  • @stratos said:

    A basic understanding of legal writing is pretty much essential if you want to function in a modern society. At least that is my opinion, i'm sure there are plenty of people that go by without knowing their rights by law or contract. It is also typically those people who will complain in disbelief when they find out they signed or agreed to something they did not want to agree to.
    In the UK, legalese that is not plainly understandable has always been invalid. More recently, those 'click to confirm you accept our terms and conditions' check-boxes have been ruled invalid as well by the OFT. It's actually a very interesting ruling:
    "In practice consumers often do not read, and rarely understand fully, any but the shortest and simplest contracts. It might be better if they tried to do so, but that does not justify requiring them to say they have done so whether they have or not," said the OFT guidance. "The purpose of declarations of this kind is clearly to bind consumers to wording regardless of whether they have any real awareness of it. Such statements are thus open to the same objections as provisions binding consumers to terms they have not seen at all."
    In principle, I think I agree. Basically, it's saying that if you sell something, the standard conditions of sale should be standard. Sure, have some detailed T&Cs, so if someone wants to check the exact way you do a common thing - handle returns, for example - they can. If you want to do something unusual, though, it's not enough to bury it in ten pages of legalese - you have to make it clear and obvious, in a short plain sentence, with a link elsewhere for more details.



  • 99% of the time, the EULA is presented in a small area, with a scrollbar.  Even the "click here to see terms..." hyperlink usually opens a small window with the resize ability disabled.  I have a largeish monitor on my desk which is quite good for reading documents online and if I want to read something, I don't put it in a small window.

    Since they have actively taken steps to prevent me from reading the terms, I happily click the box knowing that they can't make anything stick in court.  Contracts where one party prevents the other party from reading the contract inevitably result in the contract being treated as invalid.

    Phone contracts, credit card contracts and insurance contracts usually leave you with a small booklet with small printing to take home with you.  You can pick up the book at any time and read it to check the terms you agreed to.  You can give it to your lawyer to read it for you, if you like.  Software EULAs don't let you do this so they are usually worth less than the paper they are not printed on.



  • Re: size locked popups

    You should get a browser that allows you to bypass such restrictions. That way, the requests are simply ignored and you can use the new window like a normal browser window.



  • @henke37 said:

    You should get a browser that allows you to bypass such restrictions. That way, the requests are simply ignored and you can use the new window like a normal browser window.
    Please advise me which browser to use to resize this EULA:
    .net 4.0 EULA window
    Note that this isn't the smallest EULA window from Microsoft - the PowerPoint Viewer's one is roughly half of this size.



  • @ender said:

    @henke37 said:
    You should get a browser that allows you to bypass such restrictions. That way, the requests are simply ignored and you can use the new window like a normal browser window.
    Please advise me which browser to use to resize this EULA:
    .net 4.0 EULA window
    Note that this isn't the smallest EULA window from Microsoft - the PowerPoint Viewer's one is roughly half of this size.

    But you can print them!



  • @stratos said:

    but no one [b]really[/b] cares about license
    agreements in software intended for personal use.

    I understand you did't invoke me. But you can't get away that easily!

    I care deeply about license agreements in software intended for personal use.

    Specifically, any personal-use software I come across that goes to efforts to ensure I can't read the license ('click here to say you've read this document over here that our logs clearly show you have never looked at', for example), I make sure I read the license, so I know all of the things that I can legally do with their software that they would prefer I not do. Unfortunately, default copyright permissions make this less fun than it might otherwise be.

    (Yes, that's right: Who the Fuck is symied by simple copyright laws, especially those of other countries.)



  • @Who_the_Fuck said:

    @stratos said:
    but no one really cares about license
    agreements in software intended for personal use.

    I understand you did't invoke me. But you can't get away that easily!

    I care deeply about license agreements in software intended for personal use.

    Specifically, any personal-use software I come across that goes to efforts to ensure I can't read the license ('click here to say you've read this document over here that our logs clearly show you have never looked at', for example), I make sure I read the license, so I know all of the things that I can legally do with their software that they would prefer I not do. Unfortunately, default copyright permissions make this less fun than it might otherwise be.

    (Yes, that's right: Who the Fuck is symied by simple copyright laws, especially those of other countries.)

    You showed them so many time,s didn't you? Right in their faces!

    Where I live, Eulas can't be enforced, much by the same reasons that dave probably dave already stated. Recently Microsoft sued a company that used a single non-volume license to install Windows in a few hundred machines. The lawsuit would gor for a few dozen million dollars. The plaintiff lost.



  • @Who_the_Fuck said:

    @stratos said:
    but no one really cares about license
    agreements in software intended for personal use.

    I understand you did't invoke me. But you can't get away that easily!

    I care deeply about license agreements in software intended for personal use.

    Specifically, any personal-use software I come across that goes to efforts to ensure I can't read the license ('click here to say you've read this document over here that our logs clearly show you have never looked at', for example), I make sure I read the license, so I know all of the things that I can legally do with their software that they would prefer I not do. Unfortunately, default copyright permissions make this less fun than it might otherwise be.

    (Yes, that's right: Who the Fuck is symied by simple copyright laws, especially those of other countries.)

     

    Learn 2 quote. I didn't say that.



  • No, the Best ever was:

     

    Text of Software License

    This is where the bloodthirsty licensing agreement is supposed to go, explaining that Interactive Easyflow is a copyrighted package licensed for use by a single person, and sternly warning you not to pirate copies of it and explaining, in detail, the gory consequences if you do. We know that you are an honest person, and are not going to go around pirating copies of Interactive Easyflow; this is just as well with us since we worked hard to perfect it and selling copies of it is our only method of making anything out of all the hard work. If, on the other hand, you are one of those few people who do go around pirating copies of software you probably aren't going to pay much attention to a license agreement, bloodthirsty or not. Just keep your doors locked and look out for the HavenTree attack shark.

    Text of disclaimer

    We don't claim Interactive EasyFlow is good for anything -- if you think it is, great, but it's up to you to decide. If Interactive EasyFlow doesn't work: tough. If you lose a million because Interactive EasyFlow messes up, it's you that's out the million, not us. If you don't like this disclaimer: tough. We reserve the right to do the absolute minimum provided by law, up to and including nothing. This is basically the same disclaimer that comes with all software packages, but ours is in plain English and theirs is in legalese. We didn't really want to include any disclaimer at all, but our lawyers insisted. We tried to ignore them but they threatened us with the attack shark at which point we relented.

     



  • @ender said:

    .net 4.0 EULA window

    I like these colors. Tell me, how do you deal with all the brain-dead apps that use DefaultForeground on hard-coded white and/or hard-coded black with DefaultBackground?



  • @bannedfromcoding said:

    I like these colors. Tell me, how do you deal with all the brain-dead apps that use DefaultForeground on hard-coded white and/or hard-coded black with DefaultBackground?

     

    In my experience it's web apps that do that the most (although the other way around; they specify black text with default background) and to the best of my knowledge Firefox still doesn't let you override the system colors for color of textbox/text (which is ridiculous, because clearly web pages are something that you don't want to intermingle your theme with, since no other part of the webpage will use your custom style.

    With Gnome at least you can wrap a program launcher with a script that sets the theme to default for programs that don't play nice.  A notable one was OpenOffice the last time I checked (spreadsheet has black cell text and borders but happily uses my dark grey background).



  • @ender said:

    Please advise me which browser to use to resize this EULA:

    Whichever browser the EULA opens up in after you Save it.



  • @TheCPUWizard said:

    No, the Best ever was:
     

    +1 funny



  • [quote user="Renan "C#" Sousa"]Where I live, Eulas can't be enforced, much by the same reasons that dave probably dave already stated. Recently Microsoft sued a company that used a single non-volume license to install Windows in a few hundred machines. The lawsuit would gor for a few dozen million dollars. The plaintiff lost.[/quote]

    I knew there were benefits to living in a Third World country!



  • @dhromed said:

    @TheCPUWizard said:

    No, the Best ever was:
     

    +1 funny

    Funny, but I wonder how enforceable it is.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Funny, but I wonder how enforceable it is.

     

    I would say that depends on the relative sizes and/or skill of the involved armies.



  • @bannedfromcoding said:

    I like these colors. Tell me, how do you deal with all the brain-dead apps that use DefaultForeground on hard-coded white and/or hard-coded black with DefaultBackground?
    I tend to move to applications that don't have these problems, though admittedly, there aren't that many nowadays.@Markp said:
    In my experience it's web apps that do that the most (although the other way around; they specify black text with default background)
    Yup, this is by far the biggest problem - they usually specify black or some dark grey text for forms and completely ignore the background. Luckily, since I use Opera, it's a matter of 2 clicks to force my custom CSS on the webpage, which makes such text readable.@Markp said:
    and to the best of my knowledge Firefox still doesn't let you override the system colors for color of textbox/text (which is ridiculous, because clearly web pages are something that you don't want to intermingle your theme with, since no other part of the webpage will use your custom style.
    Doesn't Firefox support applying a custom CSS file to the page?



  • Yup, this is by far the biggest problem - they usually specify black or some dark grey text for forms and completely ignore the background.
    This is what some web pages do, but some people (including me) suggest that you set either both colors or no colors (preferably the latter, in my opinion). But if you need some parts with colors (such as some tables and so on), you can create a table and then set both foreground and background in the table, and you can have multiple colors there if you need it. You also shouldn't set fonts in HTML pages (other than selecting between proportional/monospace/headings), unless you need a lot of fonts for printing (and even then, you might want to reconsider).

    What is dumb about CSS is that you can't switch to system colors to do something like ".rev { color: default-background-color; background-color: default-foreground-color; }"
    @ender said:
    Doesn't Firefox support applying a custom CSS file to the page?
    Even if it doesn't, there is probably some sort of add-on to make it to do that.



  • @TheCPUWizard said:

    No, the Best ever was:
    It's not as clever, but what about the WTFPL?



  • [quote user="Renan "C#" Sousa"]Where I live, Eulas can't be enforced, much by the same reasons that dave probably dave already stated. Recently Microsoft sued a company that used a single non-volume license to install Windows in a few hundred machines. The lawsuit would gor for a few dozen million dollars. The plaintiff lost.[/quote]That's not quite what I was talking about. The point was more about how you communicate contract terms than what is specifically unfair. Where I come from, it's considered perfectly reasonable for MS to sell a copy of Windows that is only permitted to be installed on one PC as long as they say so clearly. It's the difference between saying 'YOU ARE ONLY BUYING THE RIGHT TO USE THIS SOFTWARE ON ONE PC' and 'Whereinas the aforementioned software ("The Software") shall be licensed per-utilisation in the manner hitherto defined etc etc.'



  • @dhromed said:

    @TheCPUWizard said:

    No, the Best ever was:
     

    +1 funny

    The original version, for those interested.



  • Now if only someone had a (legal) version of the software. 20+ years later and there is still not another package on the market that could do some of the things EasyFlow did....



  • @AnonymousCoward said:

    We've all seen EULAs longer than novellas, containing mysterious and hard to interpret terms. Even the so-called free software licenses are ridiculously long and definitely non-trivial. A couple years ago I was quite pleasantly surprised by this one. I think it really takes the cake in terms of "freeness".

    Protip: plug the Dark Messiah product key directly into Steam, and let Steam download and install it for you. As an extra bonus: you'll still have it in your Steam library even if you lose the DVDs or product key later on.

    Then read my blog on why PC games suck, which was actually inspired by Dark Messiah's installer.



  • @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    [quote user="Renan "C#" Sousa"]Where I live, Eulas can't be enforced, much by the same reasons that dave probably dave already stated. Recently Microsoft sued a company that used a single non-volume license to install Windows in a few hundred machines. The lawsuit would gor for a few dozen million dollars. The plaintiff lost.
    That's not quite what I was talking about. The point was more about how you communicate contract terms than what is specifically unfair. Where I come from, it's considered perfectly reasonable for MS to sell a copy of Windows that is only permitted to be installed on one PC as long as they say so clearly. It's the difference between saying 'YOU ARE ONLY BUYING THE RIGHT TO USE THIS SOFTWARE ON ONE PC' and 'Whereinas the aforementioned software ("The Software") shall be licensed per-utilisation in the manner hitherto defined etc etc.'[/quote]

    What's interesting is that Office's EULA allows it to be installed on multiple computers, but most people aren't aware of that-- they just assumed it's licensed the same as Windows. (Another protip.)



  • @blakeyrat said:

    why PC games suck,
     

    While I agree with the "stick it in and play" sentiment that is sadly unpossible for PC games, your experience wirth Dark messiah is supremely atypical. I've never had to enter a serial key for a game, nor has one ever spent 30+ minutes to install.

    So, Dark Messiah sucks, rather than PC games.

     

    PS.
    Once Fallout3 and HL2 are installed, "stick it in and play" becomes just "play", so, take that for what it's worth, I suppose.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @AnonymousCoward said:

    We've all seen EULAs longer than novellas, containing mysterious and hard to interpret terms. Even the so-called free software licenses are ridiculously long and definitely non-trivial. A couple years ago I was quite pleasantly surprised by this one. I think it really takes the cake in terms of "freeness".

    Protip: plug the Dark Messiah product key directly into Steam, and let Steam download and install it for you. As an extra bonus: you'll still have it in your Steam library even if you lose the DVDs or product key later on.

    Then read my blog on why PC games suck, which was actually inspired by Dark Messiah's installer.

    As soon as I saw "Steam" I knew your blog post would be about everything going to shit, and I was right. How Valve can create such awesome games, but are unable to create a content distribution system that doesn't cough up its lungs when trying to update itself, is beyond me.

    Bonus story: my Steam install has been stuck at "Updating Steam platform" for over a week now. Sometimes the progress bar hangs at 0%, other times it immediately goes to 29% and hangs. That is assuming that I don't get "Could not connect to the Steam network", or cancel the update and restart it in the vain hope that it'll actually work this time. I tried downloading the standalone Steam installer and even that doesn't work. I guess Valve doesn't want me playing the games I paid them for.



  • Most of the "Steam problems" are actually caused by third-parties using it in the wrong way... same song as with Windows, actually. Most, except the CPU hog issue - that's caused by the paranoid encryption of executables with morbs' favourite SuperSlow Antibrute cipher, whichever it is this week.

    The "Moving" issue happened because you installed the game outside of the SteamApps directory, and probably on another partition (if on the same, it's actually stupid on Steam part to copy data anyway instead of using the rename call to just move the file between directories). Shouldn't the game installer be smarter and put the game in there immediately? Sure.

    And when it hangs on update... kill the process, delete ClientRegistry.blob, retry?

    And back to the "hardcoded white background" issue... I see that a lot in non-web installers. Mostly InstallShield.



  • @The_Assimilator said:

    [steam rant]
     

    I don't have any of your issues.

    It just works.

     



  • @dhromed said:

    While I agree with the "stick it in and play" sentiment that is sadly unpossible for PC games,

    It's not unpossible. Like I pointed out in the post, there's no technical reason that an Xbox should be able to pull that off, but a PC not. As a commentator pointed out, one of the principles of the "Games for Windows" project (sadly mostly ignored) is that PC games not only can do that, but should.

    And what really, really drives it over the top is that some of the Xbox 360 games that *do* do it are exact ports of PC games that *don't* do it. When you get into that situation, there's really no rational explanation... other than perhaps "game developers attach shitty installers to their products out of habit." Or, the old standby, "game developers are shitty programmers and don't give a rat's ass for the quality of their product."

    @dhromed said:

    I've never had to enter a serial key for a game, nor has one ever spent 30+ minutes to install.

    Wait, for PC games? Liar.

    The 30 minutes one, maybe. But you're seriously telling me you've *never* had to enter a serial key to install a PC game? I do not believe you.

    @dhromed said:

    So, Dark Messiah sucks, rather than PC games.

    Except for scenarios like those described in the post happen to me on about 50% of PC games I buy. In fact, despite my Steam griping, I actually buy all my games through Steam now... why? Because Valve makes sure the installer fucking works! (One of the very few things that service does correctly.) Like that aforementioned commenter, I gave up on fucking Battlefield: 2142 because it was not only a buggy piece of shit after a dozen patches, but it would frequently require itself to be reinstalled for no fucking reason.

    Even World of Warcraft, which is otherwise a gold example in PC games, doesn't fucking install in the right directly, and thus drives UAC batty on Vista and Windows 7. Who the fuck installs applications in "C:\Users\Public\Games"? Seriously, WTF even is that? Thanks for totally breaking my backup scheme, Blizzard! Thanks for pissing all over the concept of multi-user-aware software!!

    I mean, you're talking to a guy who used to play nothing but PC/Mac games from about 1992 to when the original Xbox came out. When I started playing Xbox games, hey, it turns out... they all fucking work! On the first fucking try! Even though the original Xbox had a harddrive, none of the games had to be installed onto it! Joy! Xbox 360 games all fucking work on the first fucking try, too!

    I'm sick of paying money for products that don't work. PC developers (with rare exceptions) simply do not give a shit.

    (And as always, when I discuss product quality on this board, my general opinion of the people who say "it works fine for me" are people who are extremely tolerant of bugs. I'm pretty much the opposite of that... nothing drives me more batty than easy-to-fix low-hanging-fruit bugs, like WOW's wrong installation directory.)

    @dhromed said:

    PS.
    Once Fallout3 and HL2 are installed, "stick it in and play" becomes just "play", so, take that for what it's worth, I suppose.

    So does Heroes of Might and Magic 5. One of my favorites, because:

    1) It'll run on low-powered laptops with goofy non-standard screen resolutions

    2) You don't need to drag the disk around with your lower powered goofy laptop

    Again one of the rare good examples.

    But what's HL2's excuse for not being able to stream off the disk in the first place? HL2 on Xbox 360 can pull that off on far inferior hardware... oh, right, the developers just don't give a shit.



  • @The_Assimilator said:

    As soon as I saw "Steam" I knew your blog post would be about everything going to shit, and I was right. How Valve can create such awesome games, but are unable to create a content distribution system that doesn't cough up its lungs when trying to update itself, is beyond me.

    My buddies and I used to have a theory that Steam development was handed to summer interns with no supervision. The new version is better, but it still has tons of bugs. What really bugs me are the frequent pricing errors, which they never correct or even acknowledge if you send email to their "support". "Support" my ass.

    The only thing I appreciate about Steam is that they re-do the game installers, and the Steam installers actually work. (With a few niggling details-- for example, Steam keeps re-installing the same version of DirectX even though it knows what version of DirectX I already have installed. But that's not a huge deal.)

    @The_Assimilator said:

    Bonus story: my Steam install has been stuck at "Updating Steam platform" for over a week now. Sometimes the progress bar hangs at 0%, other times it immediately goes to 29% and hangs.

    I've had that happen before... sadly I can't remember how I fixed it, sorry.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    RRAAAWWRR!
    lol windows lusers

    With Ubuntu, all I have to do is [code]sudo apt-get install battlefield2142[/code].  (Or install it with the graphical luser interface made for the n00bs.)



  • @bannedfromcoding said:

    The "Moving" issue happened because you installed the game outside of the SteamApps directory, and probably on another partition (if on the same, it's actually stupid on Steam part to copy data anyway instead of using the rename call to just move the file between directories). Shouldn't the game installer be smarter and put the game in there immediately? Sure.

    No, I didn't do that. I hit "Next" about 3 times without changing any of the installer's options. The retarded installer then:

    1) Installed it outside of the "SteamApps" directory

    2) Detected that I had Steam installed

    3) Attempted to move the already-installed game

    4) Continually failed at that for 4 hours while thrashing my HD and pegging my CPU

    You're seriously telling me you don't see anything wrong with that installer's design? Leaving out the "why the fuck does it have to install at all" aspect, why didn't the installer check for the Steam in step 1, then install in the correct place so it wouldn't have to move the files? How come the moving files utility didn't fucking work at all?

    @bannedfromcoding said:

    And when it hangs on update... kill the process, delete ClientRegistry.blob, retry?

    No, fuck you. I paid fucking money for the product, and it's the developer's job to make it fucking work. This is what I fucking hate about PC gamers-- all PC games are shit, utter shit, and PC gamers simply DO NOT CARE.

    You're sitting here seriously telling me I should just expect to jump through hoops to install a fucking video game. Would jumping through those hoops be acceptable to install Word? Or to install Firefox? No, they fucking wouldn't, and they're not fucking acceptable here. It gives me an aneurysm when PC gamers will come to me and tell me, without any hint of sarcasm, that Battlefield: 2142 was a good game. No! It was a buggy piece of shit! And unlike Dark Messiah, its bugs were game-wide, not just in the installer.

    How do you not recognize shit when you see it? Is it some kind of PC gamer Stockholm Syndrome, where you're so used to buggy games that you embrace it?

    I mean Jesus Christ, even Lotus Notes has a working installer.

    Sorry for the rant. But, seriously, demand better.



  • @Xyro said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    RRAAAWWRR!
    lol windows lusers

    With Ubuntu, all I have to do is <font face="Lucida Console" size="2">sudo apt-get install battlefield2142</font>.  (Or install it with the graphical luser interface made for the n00bs.)

    Yes and you can play all those vastly original games that are in no way complete rip-offs of Sega games from the mid-90s! Like Frozen Bubble.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    $^°ž*&#$ó^$&#◄^$!#Θ¾!*&#
    I think it's calm down time for you.



  • @zzo38 said:

    What isn't dumb about CSS is that you can switch to system colors to do something like ".rev { color: Window; background-color: WindowText; }"
    FTFY



  • @Xyro said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    $^°ž*&#$ó^$&#◄^$!#Θ¾!*&#
    I think it's calm down time for you.

    I ran out of netrage strangling puppies, anyway. Need to hit the pet store later.



  • I don't like the controller on consoles. I much prefer keyboard and mouse. Also, forgive the ignorance, could I hook up a console to my (vga/dvi) monitor? I don't think I want to buy a TV or beamer.

    Fallout 3 just installed properly. I don't remember much about the installation process because it happened like over a year ago and I'm pretty sure I didn't input a key of some sort, but just for completeness, I'll check the boxes when I get home for keys, so I can verify if my memory is fucked.

    Also, I can mod it. With the console version, you have DLC, but not mods. I fucking love my Fallout mods.

    HL2 really has fucked loading times.

    You're sitting here seriously telling me I should just expect to jump
    through hoops to install a fucking video game.

    Of course not. That sucks.
    I never jumped through any hoops.

    You're seriously telling me you don't see anything wrong with that
    installer's design?

    As you describe it, that's some motherfucking shit, man. I can only be empathic, because I never have such issues.

    It's not unpossible.

    I retract my unpossible, but with the footnote that making a game work under a complex OS with tons of hardware variations is a can of worms compared to making it work on the Xbox which has a simple basic OS and 1 configuration. Hence some installation shizzle. I guess. Actually I don't think I know enough about the whole procedure to make that statement a fact, but it makes sense.

    all PC games are shit, utter shit

    Dude, the games are fine. The installation procedure and system stuff around it on a PC needs definite work, but that's usually a one-time operation and beyond that, the games are THE SAME.

     

    I think controllers are shit, but nobody listens to me.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    No, ---- you. I paid money for the product, and it's the developer's job to make it work. This is what I hate about PC gamers — all PC games are awful, and PC gamers simply DO NOT CARE.
    Well, PCs are not consoles. True, it is absolutely possible for a game to install in the background, or not install at all, and still have it work, (Conversely, some PS3 games now require installation.) with the exception of DirectX, SDL, all the "glue" the game needs to do sound, video, and, oh, chair vibration.

    With consoles, everything is a known quantity. You know that everything that comes with the system is there, and everything that doesn't you need to put on the disc or compile into your program. You know what hardware is available and how fast everything runs. And the console itself provides a nice little sandbox so each game gets its designated space which is always either fully available or fully unavailable, but in no case conflicts with any other game's space. As long as you follow the rules, everything just works.

    On the PC, however, it's not so simple. Someone might be trying to run Crysis on a Pentium II 333MHz with 32MB of RAM, Windows XP Fundamentals for Legacy PCs, and an AGP card that can barely croak out DirectX 9 (true story). Someone might have just wiped their computer; the only thing you can count on being there is the OS, and every other library you could possibly need you have to bring with you. Someone might have their Program Files directory mapped to an HSM network server whose drive is full to the point that, after the game is installed for more than a few hours, the game will need to recall all its files from tape. A preexisting, newer, older, or incompatible version of the game might already be living on the machine, perhaps even in the same folder if the installer was dumb. It could be as complicated as a system with a memory error that only happens when the system temperature is this warm and that pattern of accesses just happened. Or it could be as simple as "Steam is/is not installed." With the explosion of possibilities, it's no wonder games on the PC are as screwy as they are. PC programs can't make as many assumptions as console programs can, and some cases are just so outlandish that coders don't care about them -- and yet they happen anyway.

    When it comes to game installers, yeah, you're absolutely right. Their sole redeeming factor is that they have to deal with a lot more things than most business apps, like installing DirectX (which Microsoft requires them under contract to do, because of how all the components now have their own separate versioning, although also because installers trying to figure out what DirectX was on a system screwed up so badly before...) or PhysX or any other number of libraries. But that does not excuse their imperfections and massive fails of doom. Yes, if DMMM cared about whether you had Steam it should have figured that out before copying files. Whoever built the installer hit "Next" about 3 times without changing any of the install builder's options. He probably gave the same rant about the install builder when confronted about in testing. Who knows.

    Still, in any case, the game is now allegedly on your computer, and playable, so at least that worked.



  • @dhromed said:

    Also, forgive the ignorance, could I hook up a console to my (vga/dvi) monitor? I don't think I want to buy a TV or beamer.
    For the PS3 or XBOX 360, yes, no questions asked; the cables are available from Sony/Microsoft and sometimes at your local game store. For the Wii... uh... hmm... Only if your computer monitor takes SCART. If you have a really early run GameCube you can build your own cable. But Nintendo doesn't really do that sort of thing.



  • @TwelveBaud said:

    SCART
     

    lol scart

     

     



  • @TwelveBaud said:

    For the Wii... uh... hmm... Only if your computer monitor takes SCART.

    What the fuck are you talking about? The Wii comes with RCA output and a SCART adapter. There's an official component cable available from Nintendo. The former is also valid for GameCube.



  • @dhromed said:

    I don't like the controller on consoles. I much prefer keyboard and mouse.

    I prefer keyboard and mouse (or even better, keyboard and trackball) for FPS games. I prefer a controller for all other types of games... playing (for example) Batman: Arkham Asylum with a keyboard and mouse was painful, so I whipped out my Xbox 360 controller and it was great. Ditto with Sonic All-Stars Racing.

    But that's game specific, not platform specific. And, in any case, "can use mouse" is completely overridden by, "game works correctly."

    @dhromed said:

    Also, forgive the ignorance, could I hook up a console to my (vga/dvi) monitor? I don't think I want to buy a TV or beamer.

    Depends on the console. Nintendo generally hates to acknowledge that computers exist. But you won't have any problems with a Xbox or Playstation.

    @dhromed said:

    Fallout 3 just installed properly. I don't remember much about the installation process because it happened like over a year ago and I'm pretty sure I didn't input a key of some sort, but just for completeness, I'll check the boxes when I get home for keys, so I can verify if my memory is fucked.

    Well, possibly Fallout 3 doesn't require a key. But the majority of PC games do... I should dig out my looong spreadsheet of keys for all the games I have on disk. I'd say at least 2/3rds of those games have keys, if not more.

    @dhromed said:

    Also, I can mod it. With the console version, you have DLC, but not mods. I fucking love my Fallout mods.

    True.

    @dhromed said:

    but with the footnote that making a game work under a complex OS with tons of hardware variations is a can of worms compared to making it work on the Xbox which has a simple basic OS and 1 configuration.

    It's especially hard when the game developers don't care if it's a giant ball of buggy crap. Which is the case for most PC games.

    Or, more snidely, excuses, excuses. I don't want excuses, I want the buck to stop here and to get a quality product.

    @dhromed said:

    I think controllers are shit, but nobody listens to me.

    It's unpossible that they just disagree with you? Or, like me, thinks your conflating "games" with "first person shooter and RTS games"?

    @TwelveBaud said:

    Still, in any case, the game is now allegedly on your computer, and playable, so at least that worked.

    Only because Steam added it to my library when I entered the serial key. It worked once I threw the disks in the trash, and installed it from Steam.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    You're seriously telling me you don't see anything wrong with that installer's design? Leaving out the "why the fuck does it have to install at all" aspect, why didn't the installer check for the Steam in step 1, then install in the correct place so it wouldn't have to move the files? How come the moving files utility didn't fucking work at all?

    You actually agree with me here, it seems... it's the fault of the @$@% external non-Steam installer. 75% of the installers out there Just Plainly Suck, 20% Sucks Royally, rest is tolerable. Oh, and don't make me start on all those installers that use MSI, but makes the MSI package unusable standalone... "To install Product Name Here run setup.exe instead of this file", seriously?!

    @blakeyrat said:

    @bannedfromcoding said:
    And when it hangs on update... kill the process, delete ClientRegistry.blob, retry?

    No, fuck you. I paid fucking money for the product, and it's the developer's job to make it fucking work. This is what I fucking hate about PC gamers-- all PC games are shit, utter shit, and PC gamers simply DO NOT CARE.

    Yes, but Steam has bugs. Usual cure for the hang on "Updating Steam..." is deleting the blob. It SHOULD be fixed. It probably WILL be fixed.

    While we're at it, let me point out that all copies of a console are identical (at least in the core stuff), while your hardware, drivers, OS version and up-to-dateness, mess in the registry/DLLs, and such may make things go awry in some edge cases. Again, I agree NewSteam is bugged and heavy. My fav bug is the one that if you click a window-closing button (be it the X or Cancel or whatever) but move cursor away before the fade-out animation completes, it'll pop back to 0% transparency and stay open and functional. (* WinXP, focus-follows-mouse mode enabled, if anyone wants to try replicating; the latter, being an uncommon setting, is most probably what wasn't tested and triggers the bug.)

    @blakeyrat said:

    You're sitting here seriously telling me I should just expect to jump through hoops to install a fucking video game. Would jumping through those hoops be acceptable to install Word? Or to install Firefox? No, they fucking wouldn't, and they're not fucking acceptable here. It gives me an aneurysm when PC gamers will come to me and tell me, without any hint of sarcasm, that Battlefield: 2142 was a good game. No! It was a buggy piece of shit! And unlike Dark Messiah, its bugs were game-wide, not just in the installer.

    Whoa, good choice to rant over. Yes, it's one of the most bugged games out there. Patches did awesome things too, like totally breaking widescreen support, THEN making the game hang on black screen if it's set to any resolution other than the native one. Spot the problem?

    But seriously, the worst experience I had up to now was with the Steam edition of Universe at War... and the problem here was caused because it's really a GfW-Live based game, and thus Steam can't deliver patches to it. (If you're curious, the procedure was a) download patch #3, b) download most recent xLiveRedist from MS, c) install them both).

    It pays to actually read and ask about some game before you get it - you know what problems others had, and what are the fixes.

    Also... if your work would make you HAVE to use Word, you'd jump through hoops to install it. And if not, you'd get a replacement. In case of games, you have only two options - try to get it working, or not play it at all. Most people who buy games want to play it hard enough to work on fixing it, if only to justify paying for it.

    @blakeyrat said:

    How do you not recognize shit when you see it? Is it some kind of PC gamer Stockholm Syndrome, where you're so used to buggy games that you embrace it?

    No. It's just that when I actually WANT to play some game, and it fucks up, I try to fix it instead of going all RAAAGE. Software has bugs. Some software is actually crappy as hell. But in some cases "it's worth it".

    @blakeyrat said:

    I mean Jesus Christ, even Lotus Notes has a working installer.

    The uninstaller is what gets you.

    @blakeyrat said:

    Sorry for the rant. But, seriously, demand better.

    I would. But no one listens.



  • @dhromed said:

    I think controllers are shit, but nobody listens to me.
     

    I agree — controllers are shit — but I still don't listen to you.



  • @Someone You Know said:

    @dhromed said:

    I think controllers are shit, but nobody listens to me.
     

    I agree — controllers are shit — but I still don't listen to you.

     

    I disagree, and I won't listen to either of you.

    Controllers are better for football (both soccer and handegg) games, which is 50% of what I play. Also, the wiimote is a fantastic controller for tennis or boxing (which is more or less the other 50% of my playing time).



  • I just discovered that I can middle-drag and thus rotate around my character, just as is common with an analogue stick on a console controller.

     I had no idea my current garb looked like such a fashion disaster. :(


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