The Making of Good Old Games

September 20, 2010 | 10:09

Tags: #behind-the-scenes #free-games #industry #making-of

Companies: #cd-projekt #gog #gogcom #good-old-games #retro-games

DRM-free Games

DRM-free games is one of the most important features of our service,” says Lukasz. “All of us, I mean gamers, have similar feelings about DRMs implemented in games. Would you be happy to be treated like a criminal? I don't think so. And basically that's how gamers who legally buy games feel when they see another crappy DRM software in the product they spent 50 dollars on.

“Installing crappy software which runs in the background and consumes most of your computer’s memory, requires being online all the time to play the game, has a limited number of installations... These are only a couple of examples of the copy protection systems which make you feel like someone is doing everything they can to spoil your fun.

GOG believe that there’s another way to avoid users illegally obtaining their wares; using the carrot approach, as opposed to the stick.

The Making of Good Old Games DRM-free Games
The GOG team have strong views on DRM

In our opinion giving incentive in the form of good value for money is the best way to convince gamers to spend their hard earned money,” says Lukasz. “If they decide to download our games from elsewhere for free, then ok, but they won't get the bonus materials like soundtracks, artworks. They won't get the support, nor the certainty of getting it virus free or that it will work on modern operating systems. Either way, our approach seems to be right. You won't find many (if any) GOG installers on torrent sites. That's how great our community is!

GOG doesn’t work alone though, especially when it comes to making sure the games they sell work on newer platforms than they were intended to. GOG's team of programmers are supported by DOSBox’s developers to make sure that all of us are able to get our purchased wares up and running straight away.

Sometimes the game runs as it is, without many tweaks from our programmers, but there are titles which have been known for acting weird on new systems – or even on the systems which they were developed on! So, sometimes it can take a couple weeks or even months to get a game running.

The development team is unsurprisingly a little secretive about the efforts required to get everything working so fantastically well. All anyone would say is that it’s “all in the hands of our programmers - they are doing some ‘black magic’ to make those games run like a charm.

Yet the phrase, ’Good Old Games’ could, you’d think, exclude some titles from appearing on the site. Some GOG titles, such as the often criticised Master of Orion III, have been accused of only being ‘Old Games’, nothing more. Yet the team maintain that they are trying to keep standards high – Lukasz freely admits that some titles have been rejected, often when publishers have approached GOG.

The Making of Good Old Games DRM-free Games
Many GOG games, like Duke 3D, support mods too

Most of the games we turn down are either too new or are independent games which, even if good don't exactly fit into the 'classics' category.

I know that "classic game" is a subjective expression and could be anything to anyone, but we try to release on GOG games which were either acknowledged as good ones by the press or which went under the radar of many journalists but still have lots of fans.

A reasonable explanation and one you’d be hard pressed to disagree with. While the site could conceivably stick to the 10/10’s, 99 percents, and 5 star rated titles, that’s missing out on a massive amount of genius that finds its way into some titles. Did you realise that the astounding point and click adventure title The Longest Journey, now known as one of the most mature examples of a gaming story, barely scraped an average score in one major PC gaming publication? Would you rather that the third in the Gabriel Knight series was passed up on just because it didn’t hit the heady heights of the earlier titles? Just because a game doesn’t attain absolute praise doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve to be remembered.

Good Old Games is one of those fantastical ideas that lots of people hypothesised about, yet always expected it would be far too complicated to ever come to fruition. Lukasz and the team have to be commended for offering a service that’s allowed us to turn our quad core processors towards reliving - and in some cases just opening our eyes to – some of the greatest gaming titles ever realised.
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