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Academagia on Steam has DRM - won't start unless you're logged in


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Why does Academagia have such strict DRM? I was surprised when I was unable to play the game few weeks ago because Steam in offline mode didn't work properly, for some reason the Steam overlay didn't consider itself updated or something like that, so until I was able to go online I was unable to play the game.

Given that the non-Steam version is DRM-free, why is it impossible to just select the game exe and play it without Steam/Steam overlay like with the TES games or Monster Prom?

Edit: Just to clarify, you only need to be logged in, not online. This had happened to me  (I assume) only because the offline mode glitched and wasn't able to switch on the Steam overlay, so games with DRM couldn't be run as they thought Steam wasn't running.


Edited by LaughingHero
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Just to clarify, you do not need to be online, but you need to be logged into Steam, so that the game launches with the Steam overlay - so if your offline mode isn't working properly for some reason (and so games launch without Steam overlay) or you can't login, then you can't play. My offline mode didn't work properly, so I could run DRM-free games that don't need Steam (and so they ran without Steam overlay), but games that do have DRM didn't until I went online and it synced/fixed and then DRM games worked again once I went into offline mode again.

If you try to run the exe directly when Steam isn't switched on, then it only shows up an error message about being unable to launch the game (or, potentially, shows you the Steam login screen, but since I was already in offline mode it just showed an error, as it was unable to launch Steam overlay and so the DRM prevented it from running).

Right now there are usually no problems with switching into Steam offline mode when offline, but I thought I'd mention this in case you didn't intend for the game to have DRM and since sometimes the offline mode can stop working properly if you end Steam via the task manager during certain moments.

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1 hour ago, Legate of Mineta said:

Yeah, there's no DRM intended. I'm not sure we'll come around to this for Y1, but I'll pass it along!

Maybe this can be the justification for the last Y1 patch. Would you like me to compile a new master list of changes for it?

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4 hours ago, Schwarzbart said:

I suspect the Steam Launcher is needed for the Steam version because Academagia have some Steam functions integrated i.e. the collecting cards.

Actually, like I mentioned above, games can have Steam functions but still be DRM-free, like Monster Prom. All that changes is that if you're not logged into Steam, the game simply launches without Steam overlay.

So it should be possible to remove the DRM, all it does is say "if you can't initialize Steam, the game will not launch" basically. It's an optional DRM-wrapper though, so I'm guessing it should be easy to remove it?



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  • 4 weeks later...
On 4/22/2019 at 2:30 AM, Legate of Mineta said:


Certainly! In any event, it couldn't hurt. :)

Hi! Is there any update regarding the DRM? Will it be removed? It's not such a bother but in the long term it'd be great if it was removed, since it means you can always play the game regardless of whether Steam is not working or not. Right now it means that whenever Steam offline mode fails (due to forced quit or something else) or Steam servers are unavailable, you can't play the game.

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On 5/16/2019 at 1:55 PM, Legate of Mineta said:


No, it's not something we'll be looking at for a bit. But it's a topic now, so it will be discussed one way or the other.

Great! If you do ever release another patch, it'd be great if DRM was removed along with it - from what I've read, it should only take removing the DMR wrapper and that's it, right? At least it seemes that way from the links I've found and posted earlier in this thread. I think this wrapper was also the cause for some people's game not authenticating despite being online until they cleared their cache or something, as the output log they've copied had that the Steam login had failed to authenticate and so it terminated the Academagia process (it's in another thread I've found in this forum while looking around if anyone else has posted about the DRM previously).

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