DRM in PC games – How to get it right, and what Ubisoft did instead.

Digital rights management (DRM) from the point of view of PC Gaming is a generic term for access-control technologies used by developers and publishers to impose limitations on the usage of games. Access-control technology has been used on computer games as copy protection for almost as long as computer games have existed in the form of serial number and keys files, although these are not considered DRM as they can be circumvented without modifying the game files. If the latter can be considered the era of the game-as-a-product, then the former can certainly be characterised as the rise of the game-as-a-service.

The rise of the game-as-a-service and DRM are a direct result of the mass use of the internet during a period when tools to distribute pirated media online were widely available. Access-control technology became ever more sophisticated in an effort to physically deter the pirating ‘masses’, mandated by the legal deterrence of the EULA.

Continue reading

Britain’s future strategic direction #3 – And why I believe the IPPR are wrong.

Another of the serious contributors to the debate surrounding the Future Defence Review (FDR) has been the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), a UK think-tank with its paper: Shared Responsibilities.

Think Defence have already provided a very thorough break-down of the IPPR report, so rather than repeat the exercise this blog would refer readers to those articles before continuing on with an analysis reserved to the points of disagreement.

Continue reading

A future european Kratos – can there be one in the absence of a Demos?

This post explores the logical end goal for the political project currently known as the EU, because it is suffering a crisis of legitimacy at the same time it grows its post-sovereign ambition.

To cut a very long and tortured story short; the EU was invented by France to ensure that Germany never invaded again, Germany being somewhat embarrassed by recent history was all too happy to comply, and their neighbours who tended to host the wars in question were doubtless delighted too. However, what is of concern here is the future.

Continue reading

OpenGL and 2011 as the year of Linux – Will it be because of Apple and Valve?

Somehow, no matter how many “will 20xx be the year of Linux” articles get published every year, the moment never seems to arrive and why is that? Linux has been packaged into great consumer desktop OS’s for at least six years, and by that I mean that even a novice could use it. Since that point Linux distributions have had a reasonable plug-n-play install experience, there were distros with sophisticated management tools that negated the need for command-line wizardry, the desktop environment was recognisable and usable by windows/mac users, and tools for packaging, distributing and installing apps were becoming common place. This blogger has been using SuSE flavoured distro’s since 9.1 was released in 2004 (thank you Novell for that free promo disk). Arguably, Linux has been a useful desktop OS for even longer, provided you were more technically minded, as can be attested to by the native Linux ports of games like the Quake and Unreal Tournament series which hark back to the end of the 20th century, so what happened……….

Ah gaming, that’s what has been missing from this whole desktop Linux equation, somewhere along the line it all went awry, the games dried up and somehow the great desktop revolution never happened. After all, we all know you can browse the web just fine under Linux, they even have flash support, just as we all know that the desktop experience is pretty polished these days, and that there are some truly stellar apps which compete toe-to-toe with the best windows and Mac equivalents, even better, you never have to worry about viruses or trojans, but what is that without games!

Continue reading

Britain’s future strategic direction #2 – And why I believe Think Defence are wrong.

The RUSI paper: A Force For Honour generated a lot of discussion on the web given the general interest in the Future Defence Review and how that will guide Britain’s strategic future, a notable example of which was the Think Defence series on the FDR.

Think Defence has written a great many discussion papers and other Defence related articles, all of which are interesting, most of which I find insightful and otherwise agree with, but I cannot say the same about their conclusion to the RUSI paper:

FDR – Raiding, Nation Building or a Bit of Both

Continue reading

At the gates of (climate) hell – Why it might be a good thing to take a step back.

This post has been filed under “politics” for a reason, because this blog does not dispute the following:

  1. That climate change is always happening, and the recent historical temperature record has shown significant warming
  2. That climate change has frequently been both rapid and severe, which by definition makes it catastrophic to species
  3. That feedback mechanisms, both positive and negative, work to accelerate or mitigate the scale and rate of change
  4. That humans are a climate feedback mechanism, and will have an impact on the state of climate equilibrium
  5. That CO2 is a Greenhouse Gas, and that anthropogenic CO2 is by definition anthropogenic climate change
  6. That it may yet come to pass that we, as a species, are proven to be responsible for causing catastrophic climate change

Where this blog heads of into wild and uncharted territory is in its present conviction that:

Continue reading

The problem with ebook services – How Kobo doesn’t get it quite right.

Kobo has recently joined the Royal Rumble between Apple’s ipad ebook service and Amazon’s Kindle, and it’s interesting because it allows more flexibility than is usually the case by relying on Adobe’s Digital Editions DRM, a fact that allows for PC and Mac clients, support for various ebook devices, and a host of client apps for smart-phones.

Kobo is certainly the least restrictive ebook service I have yet found, and is to be applauded for that reason. On the other hand this DRM severely restricts the usage of the content; where is Linux support, why can’t i read Kobo media on the Kindle I have already bought, and why isn’t there a Kobo app for my Maemo smart-phone? The fact that Kobo use the .epub format would otherwise be commendable, instead the advantage of an open-format is irrelevant because it is riddled with DRM.

Continue reading