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My week with Windows Live and Fallout 3 DLC

Posted on 12th Apr 2009 at 11:09 by Richard Swinburne with 14 comments

Richard Swinburne
So I reluctantly take on the second pack of Fallout 3 DLC: The Pitt, and after Joe's last attempt at getting Operation Anchorage working, not to mention the fun with GTA IV, I wasn't particularly wanting to install it on my system. However, I am playing Fallout 3 and I do like free software, so weakness to potential stupidity prevailed.

The Games For Windows Live install was relatively painless, except for the "there's an error" "there's an error" "there's an error" on first login that doesn't tell you it's not because of your password - it's because you have to load a (IE only) webpage to tick another EULA.

At this point, I'm so hesitant I'm treating it like a newborn child. Check the pulse "CPU and memory usage" (it's only using 85MB of memory, respectfully that's less than Firefox with two tabs open) check I don't click too much, be patient, be patient..

Why couldn't have Bethesda just used Steam!?

It works, I'm in and downloading the latest DLC for Fallout 3. It's pretty fast too, so the several hundred meg update is down in a couple of minutes.

Now, the thing I didn't realise is that the process needs to log into Live within Fallout 3 as well, so there I am waiting for it to work in game and nothing happens. The "LIVE" on the main menu doesn't directly allude to being "Games For Windows Live", and Steam doesn't require this, so I hadn't expected it. I naively assumed it would check the other GFWL program.

Anyway, so I login, again, and I'm asked to associate my game CD key with the patch. Since the purchase was non-refundable using fake money Microsoft Points, it seems they are happy to take my money before verifying whether it will work. I'm not talking about the obvious anti-piracy implications, but what about if you've bought the game second hand or the CD key has been stolen and used already?

Another irritation is that every time I want to play the game with the patch, I have to be logged in, despite the fact it has nothing to do with online and I've already downloaded and verified the purchase.

Anyway, I start playing again.

Nothing happens.

I end the mission I'm in and go outside for a wander..

Nothing happens.

I exit the game, restart the machine, login from Fallout 3 only (and not the desktop G4WL client) and yes! finally I get a call over the radio to come to The Pitt. The walk is so far north though, and I spend a good 30 minutes trekking it up past Paradise Falls (I'll pop back later with my sniper rifle to get my game on... I hate slavers out of principle, and I'm already in the super negative karma so it won't hurt).

Anyway, as usual I get sidetracked and end up in the Satellite dishes and it takes me a few days just to get to the door of The Pitt. In the meantime literally two out of every three times I attempt to load the game for a short session the extra content doesn't kick in and I'm sent back to a save well before I "introduced" the content to my game.

It's taken over a week to get enough working sessions and I've just made it into The Pitt. There will be coverage of Fallout 3 DLC, but it will be this time next week, but as far as the content delivery system goes - don't bother because it's a nightmare. I thought Joe was being overzealous in his first Windows Live experience downloading Operation Anchorage, but I realise now his experience is not unique.

The current Games For Windows Live is like Steam was 4 years ago, and in my opinion, it's not good for Bethesda to be associated with it.

14 Comments

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WildThing 12th April 2009, 12:23 Quote
Damn, that sucks. I know I'm still grieving from my trouble with GTA4. I think that took me at least 2 hours to get working. :( GFWL=Epic Fail
UncertainGod 12th April 2009, 15:04 Quote
This is the problem as I see it, Steam came out and was atrocious, so Valve went to work like crazy and 4 years later it's a pretty good stable system, although the client still needs work and should be separated from using the IE engine for everything.

So it took Valve 4 years, GFWL is a MS product, it's going to take them 4 years to admit there may be a slight issue with the software.
GoodBytes 12th April 2009, 17:45 Quote
My experience with Windows Live and GTA IV, is simple. Because I set my account to be offline, I can't backup or save my game because it's locked down to my system. If I re-install my OS... I have to restart the game. Brilliant.

What's the point?!?! What were they thinking!!!
thEcat 12th April 2009, 20:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes

What's the point?!?! What were they thinking!!!

They were thinking what Microsoft are always thinking. 'Must Control'. Once in control they can dictate the content, the price, the availability and most importantly for them, when you must upgrade, at a suitable cost of course. Sure they coat this mission statement in sweet phrases like anti-piracy, DRM, user friendliness, but in the end it's all down to maximising revenue through enforced purchase schemes.

</tinfoil hat> ;)
wuyanxu 12th April 2009, 22:09 Quote
GFWL simply sucks, it doesn't do anything apart from "press Home to access" and some annoying "achievement unlocked" when im just messing about.

how do i backup my saved games anyway? got it linked up to GTA4 but can't seem to find the option to do it.
GoodBytes 12th April 2009, 23:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
GFWL simply sucks, it doesn't do anything apart from "press Home to access" and some annoying "achievement unlocked" when im just messing about.

how do i backup my saved games anyway? got it linked up to GTA4 but can't seem to find the option to do it.

As I said, you can't it's locked down to your system. If you re-install the game or your OS, the game can't be loaded. Windows Live will say "unable to load".
Apparently, there is this super complex hack, in editing the file with an hex editor at several areas... but I never was able to make it work.

However, there is a way. If you ORIGINALLY made an online account, then once you log it the save game is downloaded and you can continue. But because Microsoft great lack of documentation or even a freaking message, you create an offline account.. you screwed yourself.
r4tch3t 13th April 2009, 02:24 Quote
Okay no Fallout for me then. The DRM in Far Cry 2 is almost too much. GFWL should make things easier, not more difficult. Steam is actually useful and provides a service that is free and generally stable (2 crashes I was affected by and 1 that actually caused problems, and that's in the years I have been using it.)

From all the negative reports surrounding GFWL and no advantages to using it, I will be staying away from any game with it until it has been removed or greatly improved.
stoff3r 13th April 2009, 04:43 Quote
I steer clear for sure :) One thing that bothers me is that Achievements does not compare with Xbox Live, GTA4 PC seems to be a different game from the Xbox version so my mate can't compare his achievements with mine... Have been using steam since the first day it came out, and have never had any problems whatsoever, and the games was cheaper too. Perfect... bought 22 games there in total. Now they're around $10 more expensive so it's back to retail....
r4tch3t 13th April 2009, 07:50 Quote
lol 90 games from steam here. Definitely the best online distribution platform.
Bindibadgi 13th April 2009, 10:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by r4tch3t
Okay no Fallout for me then. The DRM in Far Cry 2 is almost too much. GFWL should make things easier, not more difficult. Steam is actually useful and provides a service that is free and generally stable (2 crashes I was affected by and 1 that actually caused problems, and that's in the years I have been using it.)

From all the negative reports surrounding GFWL and no advantages to using it, I will be staying away from any game with it until it has been removed or greatly improved.

You can still play Fallout 3 without G4WL, it's just the DLC you can't access and tbh, you won't be losing much.
r4tch3t 13th April 2009, 10:24 Quote
Good to know, Fallout 3 does look good.
hardflipman 14th April 2009, 10:25 Quote
hmm, not got fallout 3 yet (no time to play it!) but didn't know whether to get it on pc or 360. might just go for the 360 version and avoid the games for windows nonsense
Bindibadgi 14th April 2009, 10:27 Quote
Get the PC version - it's an FPS!! Just dont install G4WL.
Mantronic 24th April 2009, 23:54 Quote
Fallout 3 is the first game I've purchased that includes GfWL and I'm not pleased with the arrangement at all.

I was irritated from the start with Bethesda because the game didn't want to auto-install on my isolated gaming rig. The PC has no ethernet or network connections enabled and I think that freaked the app out. I was able to load the game using the setup file found on the disc but I wasn't at all pleased with the fact that this was the method I was forced to use if I wanted to play using this particular hardware configuration.

Now that I've been playing the game (off and on since January) I've been quite pleased with the experience and the irritation I initially felt with Bethesda has almost been forgotten. That is until recently. Now I'm eager for new content and the only way to get and play the official DLC is to connect to and use GfWL. That for me is not an option I'd be willing to consider at this point.

Maybe one day there will be a Fallout 3 GoTY edition that I'll be able to purchase that will include all the DLC I'm missing out on.

Lastly .... have any of you thought to call or write Bethesda and voice your feelings and opinions of their use of GfWL? You might consider it if you haven't already.
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