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 »

  1. chabuhi says:

    I had no troubles running From Dust (my standing protests against pointless DRM notwithstanding).

    My real problem with From Dust is that, although it cost “only” $15US, I was able to play through it in one sitting.

  2. magnus says:

    This is one car-wreck which I can’t look away from.

  3. Soram00 says:

    From Dust? More like From Stairways and Screen Tearing.

    Bad joke? Perhaps… Or maybe the joke was purposely made poor, to reflect the PC release of this abomination.

  4. Zarunil says:

    Glad I didn’t pre-order. I really wish they’d stop this silliness. If they care at all about their image, they won’t implement asshat DRMs that only hurt consumers in future releases. Ubisoft’s image is down in the dumps.

  5. jonfitt says:

    Never pre-order. That’s number one right there.
    If you also never buy a game before reading a good review and you’ll be fine.

  6. JoeFX69 says:

    I never bought the game so this issue doesnt bother me directly, (although I have serious misgivings of Ubisoft as a “company”) but let me personally just give a massive thank you to Sheng-ji for all his help with everyone….

    You sir are a great human being

  7. Urthman says:

    and a above-cinematic 30 is entirely sufficient

    Anyone who compares pc framerates with film frame rates has absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Film is an analogue medium.

  8. terry says:

    I like the game! But really not being able to turn off some of the eyecandy is making my computer cranky, despite being well above minimum specs. I *know* that if I could turn shadows to low it would run just fine for my tastes, but there’s no slider. So I’m playing in 800×600 :-(

  9. Urthman says:

    The really sad part is that the gameplay and art style seem to be a much better fit for mouse controls and high-resolution monitors and graphics cards. The Xbox reviews have all complained about the muddy graphics and the awkwardness of using a controller.

    I’ll bet they would have made a lot more money if they’d just focused on making this a good PC game.

  10. rocketman71 says:

    Fucking Ubi. Goddamned Ubi. Why the hell did you have to buy Nadeo?!?!?. WHY!?!?!. Now I’m completely torn about Trackmania 2. Do I buy it and give money to these utter bastards?. Do I pass on what can be again my game of the year?. Damn Guillemot and his ilk!!!.

    PS.- Hey, John, when you get screenshots of walls of text in your browser, use PNG instead of JPEG. You don’t lose any quality, and usually the size is way smaller (unless the screenshot includes lots of images).

  11. MadTinkerer says:

    You know what’s really great? An online launcher that doesn’t work with the Steam overlay and thus forces you to go hunting for your activation key. I quit, then copied & pasted the key to Word before starting the process over again. Also: LOVE that I must register ANOTHER whole new account before I can even activate the game. Chantelise didn’t try to pull this shit, I’ll tell you that.

    And it crashed when i finally tried to play it.

    And then the sound quit on an apparently unskippable intro when I finally got started. But after that bit it finally started working.

    Three levels in and there haven’t been any more headaches, but I’ll remember how much of a pain it was to actually start the game next time Ubisoft tempts me with an exclusive TF2 hat- er, I mean new game.

  12. Hardtarget says:

    Launched the game last night when I got home and wasn’t surprised that it needed uplay and what not with my cdkey so that didnt’ bother me really but i was kind surprised at the lack of graphical options.

    I had no problems going through the first few levels though and had quite a fun time with it.

  13. SpakAttack says:

    It’s almost like they want us to hate them!

  14. jokomul says:

    I am absolutely furious over this release. I was looking forward to this game possibly more than any other game this year… and it’s a freaking shitty port with (unacceptable, for me at least) horrible DRM.

    I’m going to contact Steam and do my best to get my money back.

  15. D3xter says:

    I saw this after I bought and was moderately pissed right away (Pre-Ordered LIMBO, Bastion, From Dust, Avadon and Rock of Ages as I planned on buying them anyway).
    It required some UbiSoft Launcher Account… it updated itself a few times instead of using Steam and then it did some other stuff, including a circle going round and round InGame probably indicating this “Requiring of Internet”.

    It’s damned retarded too is what it is, after all it IS a Steam game and it already requires a Unique CD-Key, WHY put this on top of all of that?

    Not sure if I should go through all the trouble of refund and all that now :/

  16. Pointless Puppies says:

    I say someone needs to throw a lawsuit on Ubisoft’s asses. They clearly have no regard for the consumer whatsoever, and now blatantly lying about a required internet connection can most definitely land them in legal trouble in several countries.

    They need to be whipped back into line. Ubisoft is completely out of control.

  17. Stochastic says:

    I just want to applaud RPS for standing by their guns and refusing to look the other way when Ubisoft tries to squeeze in another obtuse DRM scheme in their PC games. This is the sort of chastening that all gaming websites should be doing on a regular basis. Instead, we get sites like Eurogamer trying to defend Blizzard’s decision to implement an in-game store in Diablo III.

  18. Zarunil says:

    I’ll wait for the PC version.

  19. Bilbo1981 says:

    Hey chaps

    I thought its all well and good ranting in here but Ubisoft are less than likely to look. So I took the liberty of posting them a link to this article and comments on their forum:

    http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums?a=tpc&s=400102&f=9751064939&m=2771083249&r=2771083249#2771083249

  20. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Ubisoft, now PC enemy n.1

    What’s really dumb about this is everyone who’s played it on console have commented on how much better they expect it to play on PC, and from the ones who really liked it, how much they are looking forward to playing it a second time with the superior version.

    Nice one Ubisoft, real fking smooth, twats.

  21. MattM says:

    I am willing to admit that I can see only moderate differences between 120fps and 60fps, but the difference between 30 and 60 is huge. I played spore (another 30fps locked game) and it was functional but always looked choppy.

  22. Cryotek says:

    Extra DRM, in addition to Steam, FOR A $15 FUCKING INDIE GAME?!

  23. feda says:

    Hey, guess what, Ubisoft. THIS IS WHY I PIRATE MOST OF MY GAMES. There, I said it. Wanna blame me? Go ahead, but you won’t get a cent. I don’t wish to throw money at developers who would defraud me. Keep on angering your honest (albeit at this point I’d add the word gullible) customers. I’ll download a free version of From Dust when it’s out — without the pesky DRM. The only games that I plan on buying this year are Railworks 3, RO2 and BF3.

  24. psyk says:

    “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. ”

    What limit? the console bashing is getting worse.

  25. shiajun says:

    Well, just to add to this comments section (in the improbable case someone at Ubi sees this): I still dont’ get what’s going at Ubi. A game whose gameplay seems to be tailored to PC gaming tastes gets a shoddy port and DRM restrictions that have gotten the company in ugly PR with the community before. Yeah, nice going there, you hardheaded fools. I don’t think they have any more feet or bullets to shoot them with.

  26. Bungle says:

    John Walker, this is an awesome article. I will always love RPS for having the balls to write the truth instead of sucking up to their corporate overlords. Love you, Mr. Walker!

  27. Reikon says:

    I can’t say I’m surprised. It’s Ubisoft.

    I’m more sad that I have to make a list to keep track of all these PC games lately I need to avoid because they screw PC users. And that buying a game on release can be a really bad choice. I really want to preorder Saints Row 3 but I just don’t have faith the PC version will be good.

  28. stillwater says:

    I couldn’t give a rat’s arse about always-on internet connections, since my internet is always on anyway, just like it is for almost everyone who is nevertheless whining about this issue. But being capped at 30fps – that’s a total deal-breaker for me. 30fps tends to give me headaches.

  29. RegisteredUser says:

    In the fiercely competitive sports of “Piss off as many of your actual and prospective customers as fiercely and quickly as possible”, Ubisoft is still winning by an arm and a leg and a fist to the gamer’s balls.

  30. wujj123456 says:

    Looks like the thread is gone, again.

  31. dellphukof says:

    Just realized that ‘jellify water’ also prevents earth from settling, enabling construction of insanely high earth walls, which can be ‘fixed’ by adding a thin layer of lava on top before the jellify effect ends. Pretty neat. Funny how Black and White, a 10 year old god-game still surpasses this POS on every level.
    That comparison is a bit weird.
    Black and White was a full retail game; From Dust is a budget-priced downloadable title.
    Black and White had really good AI (which was the game’s focus); From Dust has pretty good physics (which is this game’s focus).thoi trang giay