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18.07.2009 21:00 [Sonstiges (englisch)] Copy Protection FAQ
What copy protection is used for RISEN?

RISEN uses the Tagès system. That became clear shortly before the release when Daniel Oberlerchner, the Brand Manager of Deep Silver, excluded SecuROM and Starforce and mentioned that the system they chose also offered a DRM subsystem. That pretty much left Tagès as only option.
After release, this theory has been confirmed.

What is this Tagès thing?

Tagès is the brand name for a copy protection system like SecuROM, Safedisc or Starforce. It was developed by two french companies (MPO and Thales group) and is now in care of an independant company, Tagès SA.

Does RISEN use online activation or DRM?

No. RISEN utilises an offline copy protection. You only need to have the DVD in the drive for playing.

But I heard Tagès was a form of DRM?

It is true that Tagès also offers a DRM module to publishers who want to use it. A well known example would be "Anno 1404". But Deep Silver (the publisher of RISEN) chose the renounce that option.

There will be no DRM in RISEN in the normal retail version. Only the download version (from Steam, Gamesload, etc.) will be using DRM.

What problems can Tagès cause?

Tagès requires you to have the DVD in the drive. While you can make a backup of that disc, that backup will not be accepted by Tagès. That means if you loose your DVD or it gets damaged, you will need to aquire a new original. Usually, publishers are accommodating in such cases and replace the DVD with little or no compensation fees. However, you should keep your proof of purchase for such an event.

Tagès also installs drivers on your system. Such drivers can cause problems with other drivers for peripherals or system components and even freeze the system. Tagès offers a program on their website that they claim can install and uninstall the drivers as you wish (without reboot), so you don't need to have them installed all the time. You can restrict the potential complications to the times when you want to play RISEN.

Additionally, the verification procedure takes time. Although a single check upon game start can be tolerated, repeated checks (for example every time you load a savegame) could result in disturbingly increased loading times. And the frequent spin-up of the DVD drive might be perceived as annoying background noise and accelerate the inevitable material fatigue of the media.

Tagès is also known for having trouble with HD-DVD drives of the series TS-L802A from Toshiba (was also sold in license by other manufacturers). Other game developers who use Tagès have claimed in the past that these drives do not implement certain mandatory commands which Tagès requires.

How does Tagès work?

Tagès works with so called twin sectors. That means there are two separate sectors on the disc which have the same number in their identifier. But they contain different data. Tagès knows how to read them, but due to the way a DVD drive works, it will ignore the second sector when you try to make a backup copy and Tagès will notice that all sectors with that number contain the same data.

So is Tagès uncrackable?

No. The company claims on their website that they guarantee a 1:1 copy of a protected DVD was impossible. While that may be true, it is not necessary to make an identical copy. You just have to convince the software watchdog that it is one. Crackers will probably have no problem with the Tagès system. But that would be no different with any other system (including DRM).

Are there hidden traps in the game if I fail the authentication?

Traps like this (or triggers as they are called) are known from games such as "Drakensang" or "The Settlers III". They are always problematic because even innocent buyers can get stuck in them without even knowing what's happening to them. The Tagès API would make it fairly easy.

However, it is now some time after release and we can safely assume that there are no traps of that kind in RISEN or else we would have noticed.

Do I have to leave the DVD in the drive the whole time?

There is no official statement on this- Marcos Duarte, the Community Manager of Deep Silver, wrote in our german forum that the DVD only needs to be in the drive at the start of the game. But shortly after that, he revoked his statement.
Meanwhile, we are fairly certain that the DVD is only checked during the start of the game.
If you still feel disturbed by the spinup noise of your drive, maybe a tool that reduces the reading rate (and thus the RPMs and noise) of the drive might help you. Known programs are:

How big is the chance that Tagès won't verify my original?

A precise estimate is impossible. But since the Tagès system works on a logical data level and not the physical layer and all DVD drives should - in theory - support the reading methods which Tagès uses, the rate of false negative authentications should be much smaller than with systems like Starforce, SecuROM or SafeDisc. But false check results are always to be expected with copy protection systems.

See also the trouble with Toshiba HD DVD drives.

Will Tagès blacklist some of my software?

No. Systems like SecuROM refuse to operate once they discover software on the system which the company thought to be "evil". For example, you cannot start a SecuROM protected game after using the ProcessExplorer from Microsoft.

The company Tagès SA declares on their website that they believe that blocking emulators and other software is the wrong approach and that there is no such blacklist. So you probably won't have any problems with other installed applications.

Tagès? Wasn't that giving gamers so much trouble with "Anno 1404"?

We're a little puzzled ourselves here. There are reports from users of the game "Anno 1404" which is also protected by Tagès that they were told by the customer support to deinstall the well-spread burning program NERO or to replace their mainboard in order to play that game. Other users who also had NERO installed reported everything worked fine on their system.

We only know that RISEN will not be using the DRM module of Tagès and hence, all problems that deal that specific functionality can be safely excluded for RISEN. Furthermore, it is a common business practice that the manufacturer of the copy protection tailors his system to the specific requests of the publisher. Therefore, it is possible that all or many problems with Tagès in the case of "Anno 1404" are the result of special requests by Ubisoft and will not occur in RISEN.

While Tagès sometimes does cause trouble, we noticed no greater amount of problems with it.

Will the copy protection for RISEN be different for some regions?

That is highly unlikely. Although Deep Silver does not act as distributor in some countries and leaves that to local partners, all those partners will get the same master copy which Deep Silver uses themselves and has the copy protection already embedded.

There is little chance that the local distributors will change that.

I started RISEN and now it asks me for a serial number. Where can I find it? Can I use this instead of the DVD check?

If you have a download version you should have received an activation code from your provider (Steam, Gamesload, etc.). If you have any problems, contact your online store.

If you have the normal retail version (physical box) of the game, chances are that you just did not insert the DVD in the drive. Tagès recognizes this and offers an activation but this is not supported by the retail version. Just insert the DVD and try again. If the problem persists, contat the support.

So, DVD check and online activation are mutually exclusive. The download version uses only DRM and the retail version uses only DVD checks. The cannot be replaced with each other.

What if I have any problems with that Tagès stuff?

Contact the customer support. While this should also include a toll-free hotline (it's not your fault if the copy protection does not work, after all), this obiousness becomes more and more outdated nowadays. You might alternatively try to contact the support via e-mail. If you have internet access, that is.

It will probably depend on your local distributor. For Germany, Austria and Switzerland, we found a posting in the Deep Silver forum (translated):

Telephone (Mon - Fri 10:00 - 21:00 and Sat + Sun 10:00 - 16:00):

Germany: 0900 1 807 207 (0,62 € / min.)
Austria: 0900 1 807 207 (0,53 € / min.)
Switzerland: 0900 1 807 207 (1,19 SFr / min.)

Telefax: +49 (0)89 24245 241

E-Mail: hotline@kochmedia.com

DRM, in the context of this documents refers to all methods to tie a digital content to a certain computer or a certain person.

  written by foobar