Study of BioShock activation

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Study of BioShock activation

Postby DosFreak » 2007-8-21 @ 21:26

Well I bought Bioshock today and got to experience the activation.....

I almost thought that there was no activation even though I'd heard that there was.

I inserted the CD and installed the game
It then got to a point where it wanted to "autopatch" the game.
I of course canceled the autopatch.....and the game uninstalled itself. Great.
I then reinstalled and made a backup of the bioshock directory and then autopatched.
The "patch" appears to just be the bioshock executable that is not included on the cd! Wonderful!
I guess they did this so they could update the protection in the future since the activation program is included in the Bioshock executable.

So I autopatch the game (which just puts the Bioshock executable in the game directory", and finish the install.

I then run Bioshock.exe and it wants to activate. This goes very fast and doesn't modify the game directory so I'm not sure what I'll need to backup on the system so I won't have to go through activation again.

After you activate the game works.

The following details what I've done so far:

BACKING UP THE PATCH THAT THE AUTOPATCHER DOWNLOADS.

1. Install Bioshock.
2. Run the autopatcher.
6. Go to "C:\Documents and Settigs\Administrator\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files" and sort by last modified.
7. You should see the file "bioshock_patch.gz".
8. Make a copy of the "Temporary Internet Files" folder and then search this copy for "bioshock_patch.gz"



On execution of "bioshock.exe" it wants to activate using your serial number from your manual.
Activation happens very fast and doesn't seem to modify the game directory at least not according to Windiff.
It doesn't modify the game executable.



WINDIFF

A windiff of the bioshock directory before the autopatcher ran and after.

The only difference were these files in the Bioshock directory that was patched.

\builds\release
bioshock.mce.lnk
bioshock-mce.mcl
bioshock-mce.png
bioshock.exe




OLD

2. When it gets to the autopatcher screen surf to "C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Temp"
If you cancel the autopatcher then it will delete the game!
3. Now begin the patch download.
3. Now look in this directory "{23E3D4B8-8AB1-4279-9F4C-E0B51202B426}"
4. and then in this subdirectory "{E280923D-C5D9-4728-8C79-AC9A0DC75875}" and you should see a "bioshock_patch.gz" file being downloaded.
5. When the download is done it will start patching your BioShock directory and the patch will disappear.



If someone could have a registry and file monitor going while the activation process is taking place (including a network monitor), then that would be great. The only way I can figure to try the activation out again is to uninstall the game and I'm not sure if that would clear the activation or not.


It appears the all someone needs to do is crack the activation in the Bioshock executable and then when we make our backup CD's we can just include this executable on the CD. So the process for install would then be.

1. Install the game.
2. When you get to the autopatch screen, make a backup of the bioshock directory.
3. Cancel the autopatch which uninstalls the game.
4. Copy the patched bioshock.exe into the bioshock directory.

The above assumes if the autopatch server can not be reached. If it can then you can still download the activation requiring executable and finish the install without having to make a backup copy.


Link to the Bioshock "patch": http://www.2kgames.com/bioshock/installer


If your receive an "application configuration" or "side-by-side" error when executing the game then you need to execute the "vcredist_x86.exe" file on the CD. If your using 64bit Windows then you'll need to download the 64bit ver from the Internet. (I thought the "Game for Windows" label was so supposed to solve issues like these?)
Last edited by DosFreak on 2007-8-27 @ 15:42, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby eL_PuSHeR » 2007-8-21 @ 22:15

I am thinking about buying this game. But I think I will be getting a crack too. Sorry but I cannot stand those activation measures.
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby DosFreak » 2007-8-22 @ 00:07

It's definetly worth buying. I've been playing it for the last 2hrs and it's been great. Just got to the point where I had the choice if I wanted to harvest Adam from the the Little Sister or save her. Adam doesn't seem that hard to collect in the game since I use it sparinly so I decided to save her. Supposedly saving them has some benefit but I don't see how considering that if you harvest their Adam the short term benefit is you get alot of Adam......so what....if I save them do I get some lame video at the end or something that I could probably just load up the video file and watch anyways? heh.
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby DosFreak » 2007-8-22 @ 11:23

Latest rumour going around the tubes:

http://forums.2kgames.com/forums/showth ... 527&page=4

From users that have replied having hit the limit, it looks like it really is only 2 activations in total - and reinstalling on the same PC, in a different copy of windows counts as the 2nd activation. So people going 'oh, it installed fine on my laptop too, it's no problem' are in for a nasty surprise when they come to reinstall windows.



ahahahahahahahahahahaha!

The game also includes SECUROM. Nice.

Hopefully the NOCD/Activation will be on gamecopyworld pretty soon. I heard the game has already been cracked and is on some torrents. So the NOCD/Activation should be up for download soon.
Last edited by DosFreak on 2007-8-22 @ 13:10, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby SysGOD » 2007-8-22 @ 13:00

damn i hate such nasty activations! anyway thanks for the infos dosfreak.
iam going to buy this game soon when its released here in germany.
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby eL_PuSHeR » 2007-8-22 @ 14:44

Too bad about those nasty protections. In the end, they annoy the legal end user the most and encourages other people to use cracks.

I bought The Elder scrolls Oblivion. It has no protection and sold quite well.
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby Dominus » 2007-8-22 @ 15:36

I bought The Elder scrolls Oblivion. It has no protection and sold quite well.

Beg to differ, Oblivion had some kind of Protection, quite weak, AFAIK, probably just a DVD check. I was one of the poor souls that bought the German version of this game (I NEVER saw such a bad translation in a game - the worst book translation was in Microserfs (Windows/Mac desktop translated literally as desk top)). I downloaded and installed the English version and used the German DVDs to let it verify the copy protection.

hmmm: Just verifyed and it did NOT have copy protection just DVD check which is nowadays not counted as copy protection anymore... oh well, the rant was nice anyway... :)
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby SysGOD » 2007-8-22 @ 16:20

you're not the only one who've buyed the german version of oblivion... ;)

the german voice acting was quite good imo. only the localization team (ingame text, booklet) failed and it was nearly the same with shivering isles. after all, oblivion was only enjoyable with some fanmade translations.
btw i never cared about using a nocd crack, but in the case of bioshock... i will definitively use one!

@dosfreak: if we have luck, maybe the final activation infos (serial number) are stored somewhere in the registry (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\2KGAMES\... or similar). have you taken a look in there, what bioshock creates after the installation/activation?
iirc unreal engine games stores mostly some infos in it.
Last edited by SysGOD on 2007-8-22 @ 16:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby DosFreak » 2007-8-22 @ 16:34

I looked in HKLM and HKLU but nothing really stood out. A regisitry or installation monitor may tell us more....but I've already tainted my system with the activation so I'm not sure how trustworthy a reinstall on the same windows install would be at capturing the install.

I might try installing it on a laptop tonight....it won't be able to play the game but it should install.
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby Trainee » 2007-8-23 @ 18:36

I'd buy the game but since it's just released the price is alot and I'm a little short on cash. This whole activation deal scares me, there's a reason why every game with StarForce got so much critique
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby ADDiCT » 2007-8-23 @ 20:12

I read somewhere (i thinki it was Kotaku) that it's only possible to install the game twice. If i got that correct, then the game will phone home during the installation process, and will refuse to install a third time if it wasn't uninstalled in between. What a PITA. I guess the scene will take care of that.
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby njaydg » 2007-8-24 @ 10:10

And after such aggressive attitudes towards the customers they still complain about piracy...? What happens if in 10 years from now if you want to play the game and STEAM servers are no longer around to allow proper activation? Unless it's specifically an online game (that due to it's nature is dependant on servers), the user/customer has the right the play the game WHEN he wants and HOW he wants! That 2 activation limit is even more ridiculous...
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby DosFreak » 2007-8-24 @ 10:59

I don't think they care if people are playing their game in 10 years. They wouldn't be making any money off a ten year game unless the game is still on an online distribution service like STEAM where they can distribute it in 10 years at the same retail price as when it was released.

The user only has the rights as what is mentioned on the EULA. Although if gone to court then usually they provide a more saner decision than what most EULA's provide.



Well according to the fanboys, people who fear that IF a company like VALVE (Which will NEVER EVER go out of business...and you're INSANE if you think they ever will) does go out of business then their absolute primary goal will be to release a patch to remove the authentication.

Yeah.....I'm a realist. I highly doubt the first priority for a bankrupt or taken over company is releasing a patch for a 10yr old game to remove authentication.
Last edited by DosFreak on 2007-8-24 @ 12:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby njaydg » 2007-8-24 @ 12:51

*** I edited my post, as it didn't noticed at first DosFreak's post edit ***

*** 2nd edit , included original post, as per DosFreak's request ***

Well according to the fanboys, people who fear that IF a company like VALVE (Which will NEVER EVER go out of business...and your INSANE if you think they ever will) does go out of business then their absolute primary goal will be to release a patch to remove the authentication.

Yeah.....I'm a realist.


DosFreak,

While I fully agree with you on the previous remarks, the history of video game companies (and a few experiences in real life) have taught me that, in the long run, NOTHING can be taken for granted... How many game game companies that where really successful in the 90's and are now gone?

Take Bullfrog or Microprose, for instance. In their own time, they where very successful companies, yet today, they either went bankrupt or adquired by a larger company, and their (now old) games are no longer officially supported. Better yet, companies like Bethesda no longer care if you can buy and/or play their old games, and if you can play them, they don't care and deny any support for it.

So IF a company no longer actively supports a game and doesn't give a damn about it, doesn't seem very likely that they'll release a patch to improve it's compatibility or bypass copy protection scheme. Remember both X-Wing and Tie Fighter Collector Edition for Windows? You can run it on Win XP today, but thanks to a fan made compatibility patch, not to LucasArts...



About the activation limit increase, one can only say : "Now that's an intelligent and fair move towards the costumer!"
Last edited by njaydg on 2007-8-24 @ 14:48, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby Dominus » 2007-8-24 @ 13:26

While I fully agree with you on the previous remarks, the history of video game companies (and a few experiences in real life) have taught me that, in the long run, NOTHING can be taken for granted... How many game game companies that where really successful in the 90's and are now gone?

Don't take DosFreak serious, after all, he wrote that he is a realist :)
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby njaydg » 2007-8-24 @ 13:41

@ DosFreak :

Please accept my apologies. I didn't notice your post editing... My mistake! :oops:

@ Dominus :

Thanks for the heads up! That's what happens when my English is rusty and don't get to practice often... I write as fast as a turtle :sly:
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby franpa » 2007-8-24 @ 14:43

njaydg wrote:*** I edited my post, as it didn't noticed at first DosFreak's post edit ***

About the activation limit increase, one can only say : "Now that's an intelligent and fair move towards the costumer!"

correction, one can only say (and do): " STFU copy protection ! and then go and find a crack for the game"
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby DosFreak » 2007-8-24 @ 14:45

njaydg, you shouldn't have deleted your post. It's always good to have people remembering that companies will not last forever and people will still play their old games. Although I'm sure that these big companies would just like us to use GameTap/STEAM or the like in the future.

I have no problem with that future if it offers the ability to download the games without requiring authentication.
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Re: Study of BioShock activation

Postby njaydg » 2007-8-24 @ 14:55

No worries, DosFreak! I've restored the original post... (since I take quite some time with correctly translating my ideas from Portuguese to English, I usually do it in notepad first. Otherwise, it would take me forever to write back all I've thought about :wink: ).

franpa wrote:correction, one can only say (and do): " STFU copy protection ! and then go and find a crack for the game"


You have a point there, franpa, but AFAIK, cracks for STEAM games are a bit problematic, all because of the STEAM authentication... There are releases of "offline" STEAM games, but you can't even update those, so it's a far from ideal solution, i think.
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