From Dust DOES Need Online, Badly Ported

By John Walker on August 18th, 2011 at 11:28 am.

And back to dust it will return.

Update: Ubisoft have deleted the forum post which was saying the DRM would not require an internet connection! Just removed it from history. Fortunately, we took a screenshot.

Update again!: Now the post is mysteriously back, with a disclaimer saying the details are being checked, and a statement should be coming shortly.

It’s hard to know what to say. After their insisting that From Dust, the delayed PC version from Ubisoft, would not require an internet connection to launch after the first time, of course it does. It’s impossible to launch From Dust, even from Steam in offline mode, without being online. Launching the game fires up their new Ubisoft Game Launcher, which refuses to work unless it can find a connection. And that’s ignoring the fact that the game is in no way properly ported.

After someone alerted us to the GetGames site carrying a warning that you required a permanent internet connection to play, we got back in touch with Ubi on Monday to check. Came the reply,

“I can confirm that From Dust won’t require a constant internet connection, as before.”

This obviously leaves things ambiguous. However, Ubisoft’s forum manager, back on the 1st August, made a very clear statement on the matter, that’s pinned to the top of the From Dust forums:

“We are aware of some confusion over the inclusion of DRM in the release of From Dust on PC.

To prevent any on-going confusion we would like to clarify From Dust PC will release with DRM requiring a one-time only online activation. After which you will be able to play the game offline.

We hope this clears any outstanding confusion on the matter”

They hoped wrong, sadly.

And then, the struggle to get the game to play (there are myriad issues being reported with the game, especially the menu screen’s not loading which I experienced on one launch) isn’t rewarded by a proper port. The first thing to notice is that the game is capped at 30fps. With PCs offering four times that, being locked off at a crappy console limit is good evidence of how little effort has gone into the PC version. Worse is the lack of options. Yes, it can be run in a window (for some reason not at the largest resolutions though), but beyond that you’re on your own. Anti-aliasing? No chance. The game is made of staircases on a machine that could be making it look beautiful. So what were they doing during the eleventh hour delay?

What is this? Outright lying? Complete disarray at the company so no one knows what’s going on? One maverick employee posting nonsense on the forum? Whatever it is, customers are being deceived and buying a product that comes with inherent flaws they’ve claimed wouldn’t be there. Which is absolutely unacceptable.

Of course we have contacted Ubisoft to ask when the DRM will be removed, and whether the porting will ever be finished. In the meantime, we can only suggest that you do not buy From Dust.

Edit: It’s worth noting that commenter Sheng-ji reports below that he was able to get a refund from Steam over this.

Also, Ubisoft are now suggesting that you contact their support team to pursue refunds.

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263 Comments »

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  1. Teddy Leach says:

    People expected more from Ubisoft? Really?

  2. Jody Macgregor says:

    For some reason, the idea of you taking that photo of the dustpan and brush just for this post pleases me immensely. I can’t see it on the first page of Google image search results, so I choose to believe you did. Nice one.

  3. MrMud says:

    Well this is a massive bummer.
    Delay it a month and still cant give it a proper treatment, really ubisoft?

  4. GenBanks says:

    It’s incredibly deceptive to change an official stance on something so important after lots of people preordered…

    anyway, I’m glad I waited. Will spend the money on Bastion instead.

  5. Cinnamon says:

    Not too long ago I did not care if a game had dodgy copy protection and just bought it and played it with a crack. Now I just won’t buy it and it appears other people try to get a refund. It’s funny how these things work.

  6. faraany3k says:

    Thanx for the update RPS. I was actually planning on buying it once i was going to the Hill station for summers. I guess i wont be able to play it cuz there is no internet there.

  7. Exo says:

    This is an excellent example of why we could do without impressions of a game from the console version, regardless of how caveat ridden they are.

  8. Dao Jones says:

    It seems the post was “accidentally” taken down when the one moderator edited it to say there will be an official statement later on.

    http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/9751064939/m/5561081249

  9. Premium User Badge

    shoptroll says:

    Thanks John for raising the alarms on this one.

    It’s stuff like this that makes me wary about pre-ordering games these days. I really really wanted this to turn out well after the mysterious delay and this is what happens :(

    If I could return the game in disgust I’d have done so by now. Pronto.

  10. Tei says:

    On my copy of the game the “Save game” function don’t work.

    It don’t feel like a bad game. Feel like a good game with a faulty DRM staped on it.

    The game need to login to a server wen you launch it. And wen you “logoff” from the game, it connect again to the server, and upload your savegames.
    Since my copy of the game fail to syncronize with the server, my savegames are lost.

    There are absolutelly no reason to do that, copyright protection, or other.. Steam also have a cloud system for savegames, but I don’t lose my savegames

    I have this problem connected to the internet.

    Ubisoft, you owe me 2 hours of my life, and 1 videogame.

    • Dao Jones says:

      Ubisoft made Tei sad. I don’t like Ubisoft. :(

    • Tei says:

      @Dao Jones

      I like the game. And is cheap enough, I can deal with it.
      My other option is to check the warez networks, and download a version of From Dust where the “Save game” function work. But I don’t want to do that, since I don’t want to risk to install a rootkit.

      Humm… *checks warez site*
      “From Dust-CLONEDVD-P2P
      Posted on 16.08.2011 at 23:14 in Games, PC by Sinapse”

      The game was already warezed yesterday at 23:14 hours. About ~5 hours after release.

  11. Jockie says:

    John essentially convinced me to buy Bastion yesterday, I was on the fence, but his ‘WIT’ convinced me to take the plunge and it’s been worth every penny.

    Now he has saved me from grabbing this disgrace of a port. I am around £11 in your debt sir.

  12. zeroskill says:

    been watching this, have been wondering if I should pick up Fron Dust or Bastion, looks like im going for Bastion then. Anybody can confirm?
    Edit: Im guessing from the comments that Bastion would be a better investment of my money right now if I was to choose between From Dust and Bastion.
    Opinions?

  13. Ertard says:

    I was the one that saw that Getgamesgo thing. Yay, I’m useful! Well, maybe I was just one of many.

    I don’t understand why Ubisoft are so terrible at both marketing and in some regard their porting. It’s like they really, really want their PC games to fail, so much so that I’m starting to think it’s deliberate – so they can ditch the format. That would be a brilliant PR plan, but right now it just looks like no one gives a shit and no one within the company is talking to eachother – they just expect to get money while being dicks.

  14. DuckSauce says:

    “In the meantime, we can only suggest that you do not buy From Dust.”

    I suggest, do buy it, unless the DRM poses an issue, or you really hate DRM, because despite the lack of graphic options, capped fps and some control problems, it’s an amazing game, though I’m not expecting to get much more than 10 hours of it, the experience is what matters to me here, it’s a nice concept, with some nice challenges, badly ported, yes, for me it’s fully playable though.

    • Jnx says:

      I agree with this.

    • Avish says:

      Or just wait a couple of months for a sale and a patch.

    • pistolhamster says:

      +1 I am quite surprised at the high level of Angry Internet Men this has caused. I bought it and played it yesterday. I acknowledge and agree on the criticism, but they are way, way out of scale except for the DRM bit. It annoys me a bit, but I am having a good time playing “From Dust” and I would not recommend anyone to avoid it. That is too harsh a verdict, too nerd-ragey-I-have-RIGHTS-you-know Angry Internet Man-ish.

    • Prime says:

      @Pistolhamster – taken as an isolated case this is all true. What I think is happening here is the culmination of many weeks of stories telling us that Ubisoft just don’t care about PC enough to give us decent, timely product. It hurts particularly with this one because most of us will have been entranced from the moment it first appeared on our radars – we wanted this one to be a bit special, a bit old skool, something we could support and rally behind. But now Ubisoft’s appalling publishing behaviour is over-shadowing it.

      So, yes, an over-reaction for one game but this isn’t solely a reaction to one game, although there are specific disappointments being aired; for many it’s the final straw in being treated so poorly by Ubisoft.

  15. Premium User Badge

    LTK says:

    I was going to cut Ubisoft some slack and buy this game anyway for the sake of the devs, on the basis that it has an original premise and interesting gameplay. But now they can just suck it.

  16. PatrickSwayze says:

    What a shame. Really glad I got this on le X-brick.

    For those of you with gamepads I’d say its worth investing in still.

    And I’m sure you’ll be able to force AA on via graphics card software.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Earl-Grey says:

    Goodness, Ubisoft make me cross eyed with rage these days.
    A steady supplier of breakfast gall.
    If I wasn’t such a feeble, delicate little thing I’d crush my cup in my hand in a dramatic fashion.
    I’ll have to settle with looking broodingly out the window instead.

  18. danteGideon says:

    And er, don’t call me shorty.

  19. f4Ri says:

    It’s a very disappointing game with far too many limitations. The player is walled in and there’s no chance of escape. I was hoping for a newer Black & White and this was nothing like it, not even enjoyable. In the end I deleted it and went back to Anno 1404.

  20. Premium User Badge

    Mechanicus_ says:

    Bugger – pre-ordered this based on seeing it on the 360; ironically many complained they thought it would play better with a mouse.

    Anyway; this is blatantly misleading, so I’ve dropped in a Steam support ticket asking for a refund. I think in this case even Steam may make an exception and offer refunds – their own system requirements page does not list the online connection requirement or DRM (while it certainly does for game like Assassin’s Creed 2 which has the same system).

    I suggest anyone else disappointed do the same.

  21. MaxMcG says:

    I was actually thinking of buying this. Until now.

    No doubt this lost sale will just be interpreted as a sale lost due to piracy.

  22. staberas says:

    I don’t see whats the fuss all about , I’m playing the game right now and its fine :D

  23. MrThingy says:

    Badly ported, but I am enjoying it.

    I’ll have to install ATI Tray Tools to force VSync as the screen tearing is making me hallucinate badly. (I don’t see an option for this in-game anywhere?)

  24. Eclipse says:

    I love Eric Chachi and his games, and I’m sure I’ll love From Dust, but the possibility of an aggressive DRM took me away from preordering the game. And boy I’m so glad I didn’t.
    A game that runs at 30 fps means “barely playable” in my book, it can be the standard for console players but my eyes just can’t enjoy a game that runs so sluggish for too long

    • mejoff says:

      How are you with TV and cinema?

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      You do realize TV/cinema and video games are two completely different things, don’t you?

  25. feighnt says:

    i bought this yesterday, didnt know about the DRM.

    fine, Ubi – you’ve got my purchase this time. and for pulling this crap, you’ve lost any future purchases until i find out you’ve *definitely* turned away from this stupidity.

  26. Coins says:

    So, they’re basically lying to us now? Well, gee, who’d expected that. I actually do like From Dust, it’s a charming little game and not the new Black and White (but we knew that). It’s sad it’s chained to the bully that is the UbiDRM.

    Also, I’m rubbish at networking, but I’m kind of certain it does indeed require always on.

  27. Ravious says:

    Honestly a poor port enrages more 10x more than a DRM. At least the DRM was created FOR THE PC people. As much as I am interested in the gameplay, that is an absolute deal killer for me. My new price point is $0.99.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Wait, you’re happier to be actively abused than just neglected?

    • pistolhamster says:

      Actively abused is sometimes more amusing than completely ignored :)

  28. Jimbo says:

    I can at least sort of understand the lack of effort when a PC version is only intended to pick up scraps, but this is a game I would have expected to easily do better on PC than on XBL (if they hadn’t screwed it up). A strange one this.

  29. Tom says:

    ha! if this isn’t a huge pile of WTF and LOL I don’t know what is.

  30. Premium User Badge

    Stompywitch says:

    Saw a friend playing this on their consolebox on the weekend and was interested, despite it being Ubisoft.

    Glad I didn’t purchase it, though. WILL NOT BUY.

    (And, obviously, will not pirate.)

  31. Premium User Badge

    Diziet Sma says:

    I had to point this out to their own support staff last night:

    http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/9751064939/m/8741001249?r=5181032249#5181032249

  32. MadTinkerer says:

    Woah! This is GREAT NEWS!

    Don’t you see: when it comes to vague what-if scenarios and creative goofing around with sales figures vs. imaginary piracy statistics, they can spin all they want. “Yay! This was a triumph! Making a note here: huge success!” But when it comes to customers demanding refunds, that’s a whole other matter!

    A good video on the matter: We’re The Enemy

    • Prime says:

      This is, indeed, something to celebrate. A wee touch harder to spin mass refunds into something positive, isn’t it, Ubisoft?

      Makes me all the more certain that I’m not buying any more Ubiisoft games until they change their policies and/or fire the guys running the PC department just now. I mean, From Dust is one of the few games that most PC gamers actually wanted (or had expressed an interest in) – all they needed to do was do it justice, ease back on the DRM, and the money would have flowed in. Now….it’s a mess that no-one wants.

      The DRM is unacceptable. Poor ports are unacceptable. Being thrown scraps from your table is unacceptable. Lying to consumers is unacceptable. LEARN, Ubisoft!

  33. Zanchito says:

    Yet I’m sure there’s a version around that doesn’t need any of this crap. Pirate versions just give a better experience, this kind of DRM is self-defeating, alienating PAYING customers and making them jump through hoops while freeloaders can just double click install and play as much as they want. When will distributors realise this?

  34. skinlo says:

    School boy errors preordering, I’ve only done that for two games ever, Portal 2 and L4D2, and haven’t been disappointed by either.

    • Fiatil says:

      Kind of a silly thing to say don’t you think? Only naive schoolchildren pre-order, but look at me I did it twice and it was awesome!

  35. nootron says:

    Its a decently fun game. This is no Fable III port. It looks good and runs well. Sure there is a framecap, etc, but its mostly good.

    That all being said, what REEEEAAAAALLLY irks me is that you control the dirt/water/lava moving cursor with the keyboard and the camera with the mouse. I swear the person in charge of porting has never even seen a PC.

    Ubisoft head: “Sacrebleu! We need someone to port ze game to ze personal computer. Who will do zeese?”

    Jaques: “Is zeese ‘personal computer’ somesings from Nintendo?

    Ubisoft head: “no, its like zee macbook pro only is rectangle and has un paquet du case fans”

  36. Premium User Badge

    Diziet Sma says:

    If ubisoft fail to release a patch I will happily forgo updates and crack my copy of the game. :/ This is a lovely little game to tinker with and perfect for whiling away time without a net connection.

  37. reticulate says:

    It’s a bloody $10 XBLA game, why bother loading it down with crappy DRM to start with?

    I don’t understand the mindset of these publishers.

    (All that said, picked this up on the Xbox and it’s a great little diversion, especially some of the later levels. It’s not really a god game though, more a terrain deformation puzzler.)

    • Bilbo says:

      Hi! It looks like you’re discussing a game based on its merits, and not on the distribution policies of its’ publisher. Are you new here? Do you need some help?

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      @Bilbo:

      You do realize what article you’re posting in, don’t you? Not exactly surprising that people are complaining about Ubisoft’s poor PC port on an article about Ubisoft’s poor PC port, is it?

  38. Zaxwerks says:

    Pity. I was looking forward to buying this. Glad I didn’t pre-order. Honestly Ubisoft appear to be getting more and more incompitent with every game they release. Unless it’s for console or has “Assassins Creed” in the title they don’t seem to care.

    • Bilbo says:

      Lol, incompetent with an i. Better call the irony police

    • Coins says:

      Oh no! Someone made a tiny typo. My life is ruined!

    • Bilbo says:

      an ironic typo.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Ha, you pointed out his inability to spell incompetence was ironic and then forgot to use a full stop!

      Better call the irony polise.

    • Prime says:

      He also started his second post lower-case.

    • Zaxwerks says:

      Help! I’m feeling picked on! You’ll be after my dinner money next!

    • Bilbo says:

      If I’d been calling someone out for being incompetent you’d have a point… sort of… but I was just poking fun at OP so humorous putdown denied move along

  39. Chris D says:

    I bought it last night. It did not make a good first impression. Had to run the separate launcher as an adminsitrator to even get started. Then it told me it was patching the launcher. Then it told me it was patching the game. Then it told me it was checking for updates. Then I had to make another F-ing account, with the old, try to come up with a name that hasn’t already been taken game.

    As has been said the controls are not good. In fact they’re abysmal. Very limited options. I tried to change the camera within about 2 minutes only to find out it’s not possible.

    Having got past all that I actually do like the game itself quite a lot. It’s pretty, inventive and some very nice ideas. There is one hell of a difficulty spike about halfway through. (Tides level)

    If it was just the lousy controls I could live with it but the nonsense DRM makes it very hard to recommend. Which is a real shame because it looks like there’s a real interesting game under there being suffocated by a thick layer of shit.

  40. piecoughed says:

    Pretty annoyed/disappointed with this shoddy port. Poor AA/textures really makes it feel like it was upscaled from 720p. And the controls are hilariously stupid.

    At least I got a dumb hat. (Which, depending on silly virtual hat market values, sadly might offset or completely pay for the price of the damn game itself.)

    If you’re looking for a game till Deus Ex I’d recommend Bastion or SPAZ.

    Stay le~~~~~~~~~~ heck away from From Dust.

  41. sassy says:

    Ubisoft, I hate you. Please stop existing for the good of all gamers! You have long since gone past the realms of forgivable, no longer can you just take back what you’ve done. So please do the honourable and close the business and have the board of directors commit seppuku, it is the only way to gain absolution.

    • mejoff says:

      Oh come now, I really don’t think we’re at the point of wishing actual death on people are we? I mean, this is a fucking awful way to treat customers and I would hope for legal as well as fiscal consequences for the dishonesty, but demanding self evisceration is going a little far.

    • sassy says:

      The seppuku remark was meant to be going too far, as was most of the comment. I did only wish the board of directors to do it though, whom seem to have given up their humanity anyway so it’s no loss.

      I just hope they push gamers too far soon and get a massive backlash, the whole industry needs a shake up.

  42. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    This isn’t facepalm-worthy.. come on, it’s Ubisoft. Why do we even bother with them again? Oh yeah, the actual games seem rather nice. Huh.

  43. lcpong1 says:

    Well…
    What’s the point of DRM when it can barely stop piracy and bring huge rage from the legit/genuine buyers?
    This game seriously needs to improve it’s awful control…it’s a pain to move around. Also graphic options pls !!! Let us turn on/off DoF, adjust graphic quality pls, and remove the frame limiter definitely, it lags really bad
    I had much greater expectation on this game than Bastion, yet it turns out Bastion is a much much more successful title than this port.

  44. Premium User Badge

    Napalm Sushi says:

    I just got out of bed, because I was playing this from just before midnight last night until 6:30 am this morning. All of the statements about how poor a port it is are 100% true, and my regret for purchasing it is precisely zero. If you’re willing to see through all the aliasing and screen tearing (and I won’t deny feeling some longing for what could have been), there’s an absolutely sublimely beautiful game here.

  45. The Hammer says:

    What’s horrible about this is that From Dust is evidently a very fresh, unusual game – a game rightfully championed by Ubisoft, while at the same time one that is shackled to a stupid, stupid DRM system.

    So the great reception this game could have garnered is tarnished by commercial non-thinking and downright deception of customers. For once, that isn’t hyperbole.

    • Prime says:

      It’s the sense of crushed hope that is most tragic in this thread. From Dust should have been special.

    • Tei says:

      NoooooooooOooooooooooooo!!

  46. mehteh says:

    i really have to stop looking forward or being hopeful of any Ubisoft made/published game. This was one in a very long time that looked worth getting. not anymore. Im glad i never bought it because i knew it would still require a Ubi account to play the game for its activation

  47. Ezhar says:

    Almost bought it last night, but read several reports about it being a fail port on Metacritic and now I’m glad I reconsidered. Should’ve remembered never to trust Ubisoft.

  48. Skusey says:

    I’ve waited for the PC version as I thought it would be better. Just going to ignore it completely until I hear it’s fixed now.

  49. RyuRanX says:

    The lamest port this year, don’t buy it. No graphical settings, terrible controls, always online DRM and a 30 FPS lock. Usually 30 FPS is smooth enought to enjoy a game, but not here. From Dust appears to be running at 20FPS or lower, it’s really bad.

    Buy Space Pirates and Zombies, Bastion or Avadon: The Black Fortress instead. Support developers who deserve your money.

    • Premium User Badge

      Napalm Sushi says:

      The issue here being that the developer does deserve the money, because the game itself is really quite something, while the publisher deserves a masive fine and non-chemical castration. It’s quite the conundrum.

      I just hope that this debacle convinces Chahi to take the indie road in future.

    • karry says:

      What is so good about that Bastion ? Looks like shovelware to me, especially with those kinds of system specs for what can only be described as unimpressive level of graphics.

    • magnus says:

      If I could ever psychicaly project a mexican face-palm now would be the moment.

    • Zarunil says:

      +1 for Space Pirates and Zombies. Excellent stuff.

    • UncleLou says:

      Now there’s a lot of … strange … comments one comes across on a daily basis on the net, but Bastion being shovelware is 2011’s winner so far. But seeing how you also said the game has an unimpressive level of graphics, I’ll just assume he confuses Bastion with something completely different.

  50. SuperNashwan says:

    I thought I was going to be tempted to break my boycott of Ubisoft games for this, guess I should’ve known better. Sales -1 you loons.