Fallout 3 is failing me

My excitement from the Fallout 4 trailer turned to frustration at not being able to play Fallout 3, and ended with my complete disappointment in the current game distribution industry.

Fallout 3 purchases

I paid $100 or so for a launch copy of Fallout 3. I had never played the series, or any Bethesda games before, so it was a new experience for me and it was brilliant! The series is now among my favourites and I’m happy spending $100-$150 to get prelaunch goodies.

On the downside, the original ending was quite disappointing. It forced a conclusion that was clearly set as a placeholder for the DLC. I think they could have handled it better. My views on DLC at the time meant that I missed out on a proper ending.

Eventually I saw the Game of the Year edition, with all DLC, on sale for a reasonable price, so I got a new copy. But other games distracted me from ever finishing it properly.

Fallout 4 announced

After reading the announcement of Fallout 4 and watching the trailer, my excitement and love of the series was reignited.

I rushed off to grab the DVDs that had been waiting so long, and returned to my recently purchased laptop. Then I noticed, for the first time, the lack of a DVD drive.

Damn.

Ripping time

I spent the better part of an afternoon looking for Windows software to convert my DVDs into ISO images. But all I could find was software for copying disks and rippers entangled with adware.

Finally I booted up my old Kubuntu laptop (that still has a DVD drive) and, after a quick search, I found a helpful Ask Ubuntu answer:

dd if=/dev/dvd of=fallout3.iso

This was a bittersweet moment, looking at my wasted afternoon compared to this simple command. It also reminded me of the differences between the open source vs proprietary ecosystems. But all this didn’t matter. I had my ISO images to move to my awaiting laptop.

A nice feature of Windows 8 is that it allows you to mount ISO images as drives, so they look and behave the same as a normal disk drive. Given many games demand you keep the disk in the drive to play them, this should be a great relief. It should be.

After running through the install and then launching the game (with disk still mounted) I was met with a SecuROM error.

Damn.

Hunting for patches

The rest of my night was spent trying to find patches or information to help me get around this.

One suggestion was to install Games for Windows Live, but others said this didn’t work. Searching brought me to a download on the xbox.com site. But the site refused HTTPS, which instantly makes me nervous.

The box actually included a GFWL code, so I had tried loading this into Steam earlier but it did not like it.

The other option was to download the Fallout Mod Manager. I was unsure of the 3 versions I found and am cautious installing things I’m not familiar with.

So I continued searching and reading forum threads, but there was no clear answer.

My collection

Now I am left looking at my shelves decorated with legally purchased games, that after 5 years are nearly useless to me.

I have easily invested thousands of dollars on games and consoles over the years. I put up with the high prices because, like many other gamers, I’m attached to these games. They have shaped my life as much as films, music and stories have shaped others.

Piracy works

Piracy seems inevitable. It solves the problems of price and availability that many people face. Piracy protection cripples distribution. As a developer, I know that adding an extra layer of confusion on top of a project hurts how people can use it. Give me assets and code and I’ll make mods for free!

I have money and I am happy paying developers and publishers to ensure they can make more games. I’m not happy paying for extra work to create a product that is worse than what I can get for free.

I do not use pirated software because I do not trust the code has not been altered in some malicious way. But I cannot discourage piracy with anything more than the current laws they may be breaking.

My view is not uncommon and I’m sure there are many others that have debated it far better than I could. This post is simply the release of my anguish from the entire situation.

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