I don't know if this is happening to anybody else, but today I tried the kathy rain demo and crashed at launch. Yesterday I bought Shadwen and it also crashes saying there was a problem with galaxy64.dll. And a few days ago Ziggurat did the same saying the same thing with galaxy.dll. The common denominator is that all three come with those galaxy's dll. I don't have any problems with other games that don't have it. I could run Ziggurat just renaming the problematic file, but not the other two (they require galaxy.dll or galaxy64.dll to work). I already sent yesterday a ticket to support about Shadwen, but I'm worring this could become a problem for other games as well. I never installed galaxy and I don't plan on doing it either so, what can I do about this? Is this happening to anyone else?
I think I know what your problem is since I have exactly the same problem. And (if you have indeed the same problem as me) I know how to solve it.
Do you have a firewall installed that restricts access to localhost (127.0.0.1)? If the answer is yes you have to configure your firewall to allow access to localhost for all GOG games that have Galaxy features.
The first thing the dll does seems to be to check if Galaxy is present. It does so by trying to connect to the Galaxy service. If the port is open and the service responds the game will run with Galaxy features enabled. If the port is closed then the service either does not exist or isn't running so the game will run without Galaxy features. But what happens if thanks to a firewall there is no reply from the network stack at all?
Theoretically you could simply set a timeout. If there is no reply within 1 second (or 0.5 seconds or whatever would be considered a reasonable timeout) run without Galaxy. But it seems the programmers of the galaxy.dll know so little about network programming that they have never even thought about the possibility of localhost not replying for any reason and since there is no code to catch the 'no reply' error the dll will simply crash.
For some older games (like Ziggurat for example) that had a DRM free release outside of GOG the developers have checked for the existence of the galaxy.dll and if it didn't exist use the non-Galaxy code so removing or renaming the dll was a usable (though of course unsupported) workaround.
Games that have a dedicated Galaxy release rely on the dll. If you remove it the game will simply not run. I made that experience with Bloodrayne Betrayal for example. And if you try to restrict the game from using Galaxy with your firewall it will crash. And that is NOT
considered a bug by support since you interfered in the working of the game with security software.
From that follows:
*) If Galaxy is installed it becomes mandatory for all games since you can't prevent a game from using it. Trying to do so will only make the game not work at all.
*) If you don't want to use Galaxy on some games your only option is to uninstall it. Which will effectively lock you out of Multiplayer (or other features you might want to use) on all your games.
In other words: Galaxy (as it is now) is an all or nothing choice. You use it with all its features on all your games or you don't use it at all. This might or might not change in the future.
Before anyone asks where I know this from: I've had a lengthy discussion with GOG support on this topic.