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Valve Unveils Steam Cloud

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the steam-cloud-haha-get-it? dept.

PC Games (Games) 153

Erik J tips us to news of Valve's announcement that their content distribution system, Steam, will receive an update "in the near future" called Steam Cloud. The new service will allow users to save games and configuration settings online. According to MaximumPC: "This system will be completely transparent to the user. The files cache locally, and will upload when Steam detects an internet connection. There will be no restrictions on users - no save quotas or file management - the system will 'just work.' Any Steamwork game will be able to support these features, and it'll be free for customers and developers."

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Saves.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23596887)

Cannot load save games, server is DOS'ed by MD.

Re:Saves.... (3, Informative)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23596951)

Nope, sorry, not happening...

The files cache locally, and will upload when Steam detects an internet connection.
You keep a copy of all your settings on your local system. So long as you're playing on the system you made the save game, you'll always have access to it...

JUST LIKE NOW!

Re:Saves.... (2, Informative)

theprophetofmephisto (1163535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597687)

the point of this is so you can save a game and your settings at one computer and continue it at a different one exactly if you were on your main, man. read the article.

Re:Saves.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23597745)

I just released a cloud of ass gas. Smells like cowboy neal got stuck up my poop chute. Fuck, it's rancid. The other people on the bus are looking at me, I better get off at this stop.

Re:Saves.... (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23599229)

Great, so if I have a monster rig at home, then when I visit my parents, Counter-Strike: Source will attempt to run at 2560X1600 with 16xQ AA and all other settings maxed out on their little Dell with it's integrated video card and a 17" CRT....

Re:Saves.... (2, Informative)

gencha (1020671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23599877)

You're not supposed to play CSS while you visit your parents!

Re:Saves.... (2, Interesting)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 6 years ago | (#23596961)

I really doubt such a system would stop players from loading saved games. While, yeah, obviously you would need an active internet connection to download the data from Steam, the article indicates that the data would still be stored player-side, so there's nothing preventing him or her from saving to/loading from their hard drive. Concerned players could even backup their saves, configs, etc. to a flash drive, if they were planning on playing their games on systems without a guaranteed connection to Valve's servers.

A great adea (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23596903)

Finally, it's about time. I've loved the fact that I can access my Steam games anywhere (like from work ;), but hated that I couldn't continue my saved games...

Re:A great adea (5, Funny)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23596913)

"I've loved the fact that I can access my Steam games anywhere (like from work ;), but hated that I couldn't continue my saved games..."

Steam evaporates. Its very hard to save it.

"Valve Unveils Steam Cloud" ... come on... that should have been "Valve Releases Steam Cloud"... then we could say stupid shit like "well close the damn valve!"

Not to mention (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#23596931)

Not to mention "any Steamwork game". What's that? Steampunk? :P

Re:Not to mention (1)

Pyrion (525584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597497)

No. Steamworks [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Not to mention (5, Funny)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23598861)

Not on my network, it doesnt.

Re:A great adea (5, Funny)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597369)

"Valve Unveils Steam Cloud" ... come on... that should have been "Valve Releases Steam Cloud"...
Yes but at the moment this new version of Steam is just vaporware. Thus I'll leave mine on the back burner until new Steam is produced.

In other news... (2, Funny)

pokeyburro (472024) | more than 6 years ago | (#23599809)

...CowboyNeal Unveils: Methane Cloud.

Re:A great adea (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23599329)

I just want an option to disable this great new feature. If I wanna play an online game right now, I don't want the bandwidth to be used for uploading multi-megabyte saved games.

Re:A great adea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23599853)

Well when you are downloading an update to a game, it automatically stops when you start up a game to play online.

No file management? (5, Insightful)

Drenaran (1073150) | more than 6 years ago | (#23596915)

I understand how for some users not having file management isn't something they'll notice or care about, but what about the multitudes of people that would enjoy having a choice? What if we just plain don't want something game related (save, setting, whatever) stored any more? I checked the article to see if there really weren't any options at all about your stored files, but unfortunately it gives about the same amount of information as is in the article summary.

This seems like a fairly big thing to leave out seeing as there seems to be a great deal of options and tools (import/export/backup, etc.) for controlling your data (games/saves/etc.) when it comes to the current Steam client.

Re:No file management? (3, Interesting)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23596999)

What? That's a terrible idea. A Steam game is just a huge tree of files that's parsed by the Steam loader. Those files, including cached sound data and map node resources, are being updated continuously as you play through the game. What difference does it make if one more file is altered to store configuration data? Would you really rather have to re-set your audio/video settings every time you want to play, as well as rebind your keys, as well as re-tweak your Voice volumes, as well as reconfigure your steam community overlay options? Have you even seen how powerful the console is? It would take me 10 minutes to manually execute everything in my autoexec.cfg.

Re:No file management? (1)

ticklejw (453382) | more than 6 years ago | (#23598087)

I agree that file management as in the same we are used to on our own hard drives, like able to selectively edit or delete individual files would just be out of place in this case. There's little benefit to doing so, and even if you wanted to, just do it locally and I imagine the changes would be uploaded.

I think the concern expressed is that you may not want "this saved game" or "that configuration file" to be automatically uploaded (talking about groups of files that make up an item here, not individual files), or that you might want to delete them entirely at some point. I'm not sure *why* you'd want this, I mean we are talking about video games and not root passwords here, but it'd be cool if they did provide a way to delete or not upload certain items.

Re:No file management? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23599201)

What if you play on multiple computers with different hardware capabilities? This seems like it could be a PITA in some cases.

What? Files stored online? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23596919)

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Re:What? Files stored online? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23596935)

"fuck the filter" I didn't read anything about any content filtering. If you think about it, each game will be saving files for itself, so there shouldn't be much filtering needed, unless you have a lot of player-generated content...

Re:What? Files stored online? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23597119)

I didn't read anything about any content filtering.
He means Slashdot's "Lameness filter" which (amongst other things) stops you posting entirely block caps.

Re:What? Files stored online? (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597239)

I wish it did a better job...

Re:What? Files stored online? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23598485)

a lameness filter on slashdot is like a shit filter on cowboy neal's ass after he bankrupts an all-you-can-eat burrito bar.

Re:What? Files stored online? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23597897)

Really? Wow thanks for clearing that up. I was under the impression that typing "fuck the filter" 17 times after an all-caps diarrhea attack was a way to start a civilized conversation...but yeah, actually he was just trolling!

Thanks for clearing up the misunderstanding. My very serious post has benefited from your assistance.

Valve (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23596953)

Is consistently late with consistently stellar products.

I know I'm a happy customer... eventually!

Steam rocks (5, Insightful)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 6 years ago | (#23596957)

Steam is the first online content distribution system that's genuinely made it easier to buy a game rather than pirate it.

New games are purchased, downloaded, activated and constantly patched all automatically and in no time at all...it's step in the right direction in combating piracy; just make it easier to NOT pirate ffs rather than just stuffing games full of anti-piracy nastiness.

Re:Steam rocks (5, Insightful)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 6 years ago | (#23596979)

And what happens when Valve decides that they don't want you to have a game any more? What happens if/when Valve goes out of business or is bought by a less scrupulous company? Oops, sorry. EA owns your ass now.

Re:Steam rocks (4, Insightful)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597057)

There are many "what ifs" when it comes to Steam, but given the popularity of the system, it would seem a lot of people prefer to look on the bright side and take a gamble. If everyone had to worry about the what ifs in life, we'd never have any fun cos we'd be too afraid.

Re:Steam rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23597859)

STEAM isnt popular. its complete crap people are willing to put up with because....

The games that steam has ARE popular.

Re:Steam rocks (1)

devman (1163205) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597917)

The benefits outweigh the risks. Not having to manage physical media, and being able to download it an have it just work is really nice. I'm not really a collector of games so even if it does go belly up in 5+ years (arbitrary number there), I'll happily buy the game again out of the bargain bin if I really want to play it (though the only old game I still play on occasion is Starcraft), or better yet I'll use steam "offline" mode to play backup copies of the games I've purchased.

Re:Steam rocks (3, Interesting)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597173)

While I agree it's a likely scenario, it's not really any different from how many other games stop working after a few OS revisions. As an example, System Shock 2 was released on 11 August, 1999, and has never worked reliably on Windows 2000 and XP (it also refuses to install unless you feed the installer a command line option). So if you bought a new Windows XP based computer little more than two years after SS2 was released, you would likely be unable to play it. And that's for a true classic, one of the best games ever, etc.

Copy protection sucks. Steam makes the shortcomings more obvious, but not bigger. It's cheaper than less reliable physical media, and it is reliable. Now. Perhaps not in the future, but seriously, those old games are rarely as much fun as you remember them to be.

Re:Steam rocks (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23598203)

Well as a happy Windows 2000 user I have the other fear, that steam will stop supporting win 2k and bang... all the games that I bought on steam.. now out of action.... and I can't even stick with a lower patch version because they don't do that.

Re:Steam rocks (1)

Overneath42 (905500) | more than 6 years ago | (#23598821)

System Shock 2 has been patched to run reliably in Windows XP. It's kind of a pain to set up, but there are great tutorials to walk you through the steps and afterwards it works perfectly. I've played through the game twice without problem in Windows XP.

Re:Steam rocks (3, Insightful)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23600415)

That may be true, but it's not like your copy of Windows 98 (or ME, if you're perverse) will have evaporated into the ether, so you could still play the game if you kept the old hardware and OS. With continual online checks you don't even get that choice, you can change nothing and the game will just stop working when the publisher gets bored of providing the authorisation servers.

DRM like this results in de-facto perpetual copyright - if the keys never get released the copyright materials never get released to the public, so the public interest side of the copyright bargain never materialises. I think we need laws to enforce key escrow, patches to disable online activation when the authorisation servers are taken off-line and the like. They're just running rings around the intentions of copyright law otherwise.

Re:Steam rocks (5, Informative)

Phydeaux314 (866996) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597219)

First, I think Valve is primarily owned by the founders, so unless they decide to sell it, I don't think it's likely that it will get sold.

Secondly, Valve has publicly stated that if the company does go out of business, they already have DRM removal patches ready to go for all the content on Steam. So if Valve does go belly-up, you won't lose access to your games.

Re:Steam rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23597269)

Secondly, Valve has publicly stated that if the company does go out of business, they already have DRM removal patches ready to go for all the content on Steam. So if Valve does go belly-up, you won't lose access to your games.
Any link for that?

And I suppose if Steam was ever going to go offline for good you'd be able to update all of your games to the final de-DRM'ed versions and then back them up and archive them. Presumably they'd also release a final Steam client that would be able to work completely offline in order to install and play the games you'd backed up and archived.

Re:Steam rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23597325)

Secondly, Valve has publicly stated that if the company does go out of business, they already have DRM removal patches ready to go for all the content on Steam.
Maybe. But their EULA explicitly states that they make no guarantees that this will happen. So it could still go either way.

Re:Steam rocks (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23598073)

Secondly, Valve has publicly stated that if the company does go out of business, they already have DRM removal patches ready to go for all the content on Steam. So if Valve does go belly-up, you won't lose access to your games.
It's fine to say that, but have they done anything to make sure that it actually happens? I'd imagine that if Valve goes belly up, nobody there is going to be worrying about making sure those patches go out. After all, where are they going to put them when the bailiffs are taking the servers out the door.
They need to put those patches in the hands of a third party that will make sure they are released. I'd suggest that the games industry should set up their own organization to handle these issues.

Re:Steam rocks (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597251)

If the rules change and Valve pull the rug out from under you, that's when the piracy starts. Users will download a copy that they feel reflects their rights. I know that if was locked out of my Steam account, my next stop would be usenet. No doubt about it.

Re:Steam rocks (1)

Jupix (916634) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597789)

Then crack it.

Re:Steam rocks (1)

devman (1163205) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597895)

You can play backup copies in "offline" mode. Steam gives you the option to backup games locally.

Re:Steam rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23599077)

Offline mode only works for 30 days. Still, it wouldn't be too hard to crack the offline ticket timeout.

Re:Steam rocks (2, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 6 years ago | (#23599133)

And what happens when Valve decides that they don't want you to have a game any more? What happens if/when Valve goes out of business or is bought by a less scrupulous company?

That's when we start Googling for game names with special keywords which lead us to downloads that make the games not require Steam running anymore to use. Even if Valve themselves don't free their games from Steam when it goes under (which they have said they would, and I like to believe they are trustworthy) we can always fall back on the huge community dedicated to making games free. We already paid for and own the games anyway.

Re:Steam rocks (1)

Slugster (635830) | more than 6 years ago | (#23599311)

I have a copy of HL2, but I can't play it anymore.

I bought a CD copy at a local retail store, it worked for about a year and then one day it said my password was incorrect... I never gave out the password, never played it from any public or other PC and nobody else played on my PC.

{I kinda still wonder what the fuck was ON those CD's, because after loading them and connecting to Steam for the first time, it still took my PC over two hours to "decrypt" the files--all the while keeping the lights on, on a 384kb cable modem... }

So then it doesn't work anymore. I couldn't get any response out of anyone at Valve, even though my email pointed out that I had only ever played the game from my home cable connection--seems like this should have been pretty easy to get to the bottom of. And from reports of people who tried running hacks or buying foreign licenses, I don't even know that paying for another copy would allow me to play again.

For some reason, I'm not interested in more network-dependent products and features.
~

Re:Steam rocks (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#23600559)

What happens if your 3 year old finds your game disks? then you have to go purchase another copy. I haven't used steam in a year now (removed windows XP from my computer), but it was nice that every time I re-installed, or got a new computer, I would download a small file to install steam, and my games would start downloading and installing. (and man do they have bandwidth. I remember downloading CS:S in about 30 minutes). Thats much faster than if I had to drive down to the store, find the game, find an employee to unlock the cabinet so I could purchase the game, and get home. Now, if steam would just have a native Linux client, I would re-install in a heartbeat. (don't like the wine thing).

Re:Steam rocks (2, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597021)

I completely agree.. unlimited matchmaking, being able to easily download any of my games whenever and wherever I want at insane speeds, steam community.. it's all well worth the tiny prices Valve asks.

Stardock/Direct2Drive both better in my experience (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597487)

Although all three of them beat the freaking snot out of putting a CD in the drive.

Re:Steam rocks (1)

Pyrion (525584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597509)

Maybe, but Stardock Central isn't so anal about how many computers it's loaded onto simultaneously.

Re:Steam rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23597767)

You're absolutely right, I used to pirate a lot of games and only play some of them.

Now I buy the games I play on Steam and even impulse-buy some that I will never play.

But i'd like to see some kind of a "shopping cart" in the steam store to purchase more than one game at a time...

Re:Steam rocks (1)

Tragek (772040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23599213)

I want to see a wishlist too; There's games I'd love to buy if I had the funds. If I had a wishlist, i'd probably buy more games.

Steam is buggy as hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23597805)

Steam *would* be the kind of content distribution system you are talking about... if it wasn't so god awful. I don't think I've ever used steam or played a steam game for a significant period of time without something bugging out or crashing.

I've found it, and half life, to be incredibly buggy. If half life wasn't so fricking awesome, there's no way I'd put up with it.

If halflife 2 + episodes didn't allow quick saving at every point in the game, they would be unplayable, due to the random crashing.

Re:Steam rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23597841)

I used Steam for the first time a few days ago, mainly because it was free ( a few levels of portal, half-life2 lost coast level, hl2 deathmatch and some peg game). It crashed and took down my whole system every single time I tried to play anything other than the peg game. Granted, it was free - but installing, downloading etc, just to have it constantly crash is annoying.

Why I would buy something that needs that, I don't know. It was probably the exception rather than rule but I dont want it back. Give me a game disk and they can keep their bloat.

Re:Steam rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23597939)

If you say so. Personally, I've never gotten Steam to run on my pc. It dies a horrible, screaming death whenever I try to start it up. A couple of mails to the support resulted in the conclusion that there's probably something software-realted on my pc that is not compatible to Steam. So the only way for me to play Half Life 2 and the first expansion, both which I have legit purchased originals of, has nothing whatsoever to do with installing Steam.

Re:Steam rocks (4, Informative)

Splab (574204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23598393)

Back when it launched it wasn't without hitches, but it sure has come a long way since then.

However, a major issue I got with steam is its not possible to control the amount of information they publish about your activities if you use the friends system. A coworker persuaded me to activate friends so we could play together, thats fine - but suddenly the amount of time I play, when I play and what games was available to anyone who knew my login/alias.

To me privacy is very important and I sure as heck don't like any information about me available unless I specifically put it there - now activating fiends does tell you this, however like any other windows monkey I just hit next till it was active, didn't seriously expect a company to retain and publish private information without the possibility of getting it removed (officially). Steam to their credit did remove it immediately when I wrote them and told them that their practice was illegal in Denmark.

Re:Steam rocks (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 6 years ago | (#23599185)

Steam only shows information about non-Steam games being run if you specifically add them to Steam and then only launch them through Steam.

For Steam games just sign out of friends before launching, but I fail to see how letting your friends know you're playing Team Fortress 2 is a privacy concern, unless you're playing it at work, in which case I would prefer your boss find out and fire you because I need a freaking job.

More seriously, if your friends can see you playing a multiplayer game, they have the option to join your game with two clicks and play with you. It's very convenient and fun.

Re:Steam rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23600071)

Are you afraid your friends will find out how much you have been playing Hello Kitty Island?

Re:Steam rocks (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 6 years ago | (#23600601)

No, the practice would have been illegal had they not NOTIFIED YOU IN ADVANCE before you activated the feature. Just because you played the click-through zombie does not in any way/shape/or form point to any illegality on Valve's part.

Umm... (1, Insightful)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23596963)

Sooo... You store your settings locally, they are uploaded silently, then you go to a friend's place, who has a computer with lower hardware specs, and... your save is unplayable, because it never makes it to the config screen?

Re:Umm... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23597061)

They're assuming you'll be running the game on a system with the recommended, or at least minimum specifications to run the game as intended.

Just like every other software developer under the Sun.

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23597385)

If you max out the quality settings on your 1337 gaming rig, when Steam tries to use these on every computer you use, most games won't run on their recommended hardware, let allow minimum specs.

Even key bindings vary depending on number of mouse buttons and the like.

I can see an appeal for the save games. But what will they do when I currently have two different saves, with the same name, on two PCs (most obviously quicksaves or level entries, but any save really).

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23597575)

If they're smart, they'll cater for souped-up configurations by first attempting to run the game at that level, and then degrading the quality if it doesn't work or if the process doesn't respond in ample time, assuming the game doesn't take your CPU hostage. I'm not in the know when it comes to threading and such (at all), so please correct me if that is incorrect.

As for duplicate names, I'm guessing that they'd use file hashing as opposed to just comparing names. Whilst this does mean you'll still have two saves with the same name, at least they won't conflict.

FWIW I'm the AC you replied to, and you make an excellent point. I'm stupid for missing that bit of information :(

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23597143)

Time to get new friends then.

Re:Umm... (4, Insightful)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597201)

Sooo... You store your settings locally, they are uploaded silently, then you go to a friend's place, who has a computer with lower hardware specs, and... your save is unplayable, because it never makes it to the config screen?
I don't know what world you live in, but even when changing video cards and monitors, most Windows games will still load but fail back to the default resolution and color depth. This isn't 1990.

Re:Umm... (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597439)

Sorry. My hardware has pretty much only ever moved forward, however slowly (Still using a GeForce 6200, which I only got about a year ago). I've never had reason to find out they fall back to the default when they fail. I've found when I set the options too high it causes a lot of problems, since a game will technically run without a hitch, but be completely unusable, even on menu screens.

Re:Umm... (2, Insightful)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23598069)

But you appear to be able to set the options back after setting them too high. The point is, you probably aren't going to find a situation where you are completely locked out of a game because it loaded the wrong config file.

I've never had a situation arise where a friend would come over and install a game on my machine so one of us could sit around and watch the other play. Either you bring your own machine and I'll supply the monitor or we'll be playing something on the 360.

Re:Umm... (1)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597553)

This isn't 1990.
As long as I didn't miss the big millennium party, I'll be fine. :)

I can't wait until I can play Prince's 1999! It'll be so cool and funny!

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23597229)


You are assuming the the game settings are saved in a game save file (checkpoint on a level) as opposed to just a backup of your configs and saves which makes more sense.

Re:Umm... (1)

Syrente (990349) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597423)

Uh, I'm pretty certain when they say "configuration" they don't mean "hardware settings for video cards," I'm sure they mean your keyboard configurations, preferred options and the like.

Finally! (4, Insightful)

YodaToad (164273) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597077)

Yes! I'm really excited about this. I've been buying the games I can from Steam since the original release because I like the fact I don't have to keep track of CDs or DVDs when I reformat my PC (which tends to be every couple months). I've always wished there was a way that games could automatically store my progress online so I don't have to remember to back up my save games (or forget to as is usually the case). It sucks when I'm playing Bioshock and reformat only to realize that I forgot to save and lost all the time I already spent playing. It tends to kill games for me because I don't feel like playing through that part again. I never finished Quake IV, Prey, Bioshock, Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and a few other games because of this.

I was happy when I found out UT3 saved all my controls and single player stats between installs because it's always a hassle setting those up.

Now I can be as forgetful as I want and not have to worry!

Re:Finally! (2, Funny)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597257)

when I reformat my PC (which tends to be every couple months)
Solidarity brother. I'm a windows user too. :(

Quick work-around (1)

FoamingToad (904595) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597725)

Next time you format, partition your drive so that you keep your Documents structure on a separate partition to your OS. Map the My Documents shortcut to a directory on the separate partition.

Almost all recent games save their save information to a directory in the My Documents target (IIRC one of the criteria for Games for Windows is that game saves are redirected into My Documents -> My Games) so the saves go straight to the segregated partition.

On subsequent formats, simply nuke the OS partition, reinstall, and then point the My Documents shortcut to the Documents partition. Simple.

... and make images. (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597807)

Then you don't have to re-install.

10 Restore the drive image, update that which needs updating and add/remove that which in the months between restores you've added/removed yourself*, and create a new image.
20 do stuff for several months
30 goto 10

* that's the 'difficult' part.. keeping track of what you've added that you really like and want to have on the new image, what you no longer use and can be tossed from the image, etc. For example, I updated my WiFi drivers for this notebook recently. It doesn't pop up in any automatic update, a system scan will tell me that all the drivers are up-to-date as from the notebook manufacturer, etc. But all the same, I had been getting bluescreens thanks to the wifi driver - though I still don't know what changed (it was fine for years) that caused this behavior - and the update straight from the wifi chipset manufacturer readily solved them. So I have to jot that down somewhere for when I do an image restore ( "- update wifi drivers. Local file: 'd:\_drivers\wifi\' inet: 'http://etc.'" ) or I'll probably have bluescreens again and I'd have to go through the annoyances of figuring out why it crashed (windbg loading the dump file) all over again.

Sounds great (4, Interesting)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597105)

Such a coincidence; This week I've been backing up most of my config-files for all of my Steam games (and sent them off to my email to be stored there), as I became quite fed up with having to re-bind my keys on each install (and since I'm preferring ESDF-config over WASD, it's quite some work to get everything bound for each game).

So for me, this is one of the better improvements coming from Steam the last few months.

One thing I'm very curious about is how much of the config files are saved though: For example, my TeamFortress 2 configs are very much deviating from the default: I have seperate class-configs, voice-commands configs and some other .cfg-files which are referred to from the default-config file: If this would only store the default-config file, it has no use for me.

Also, it would be quite cool if the configs would be saved for the several mods for HL/HL2.

ESDF?!?!? (2, Interesting)

mefdahl (93154) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597739)

I was really starting to believe that my son and I where the only people left on earth that use that left hand layout. Way way back when binding your movement to home row was l33t, this was the way everyone I knew who played FPSs bound there keys for the LAN parties. Always kind of wondered where wasd came from, and how they strafe left and run at the same time.

Good to know there is someone else out there that is constantly remapping there keys to esdf.

Re:ESDF?!?!? (2, Interesting)

alisoul (923488) | more than 6 years ago | (#23598127)

i started playing on the very unorthodox a/z/ctrl/alt - did that for years before switching to wasd. no, i didn't hit the windows key (much) - the bigger problem was having to use my index finger to hit the space bar to jump while strafing right. i haven't pc gamed in quite a while, but if i do go back, i think i'll give esdf a shot - with so many binds now, seems like a good idea.

Re:ESDF?!?!? (2, Interesting)

Splab (574204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23598631)

Same here, always wondered why the heck anyone would want wasd over esdf for fps - there are quite a lot more buttons to be used from esdf - and you got the added benefit of being able to find the damned keys in the dark (the little thing on f).

But I guess we just don't subscribe to the right 31337 letters, I also missed the one about VIP and hostage maps in CS were teh suxors.

Re:ESDF?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23599159)

I tried esdf for a while and didn't get a lot out of it. Maybe I just have un-evolved pinky fingers, but I couldn't reliably hit the 'q' or 'w' keys with any speed and get back to movement. 'a' and 'z' were a little better, but not worth redoing every config over when I have plenty of buttons on my mouse to work with instead.

The little nub on 'f' is still a bonus I suppose.

Re:ESDF?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23598769)

The key to WASD is not to use touch typing finger placement. Instead, Index on D, Middle on W or S, Ring on A, leaving Pinky to for tab or shift, or Ctrl (it is just left of 'A' on your keyboard, right? :-D ) ESDF though does make better sense, unfortunately for Half-life 2, that means f=flashlight and g=gravitygun may need to be changed too.

Re:ESDF?!?!? (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23600553)

Always kind of wondered where wasd came from, and how they strafe left and run at the same time.

In exactly the same way as you do with ESDF I'd guess. With my central three fingers on WAD, my pinkie falls on shift and my thumb on space, which feels perfectly natural and maps to the major controls in every FPS. I just don't see the big difference, it's exactly the same layout just one key over. You may have more spare keys to map on the left, but as it's only your little finger which can hit them, having the nice big shift, caps-lock etc. is more useful than the normal-sized keys which would fall naturally with ESDF.

Re:Sounds great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23599167)

I also have to rebind my keys every install, since I use a Dvorak keyboard and Source games don't automatically detect it. It's not a horrible bother, but it would be nice not to have to do it.

Re:Sounds great (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 6 years ago | (#23599235)

Since Valve themselves implemented class-specific configs I am sure they will make sure to store those. If you have made your own .cfg files you may want to merge them into autoexec.cfg since that will probably be uploaded. Or you can type "bug" in the console of any Valve Source game and file a bug report requesting that Steamcloud follow "exec" commands in autoexec.cfg to recursively upload other .cfg files you make.

Steamcloud may also simply sync directories, so all your CFG files, whether you use them regularly or made one once and forgot about it, will always be synced.

My thoughts as a Steam gamer... (0, Troll)

doyoulikeworms (1094003) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597215)

Judging by Valve's previous offerings, this is what we can expect from Cloud: * When trying to refresh your saves list, it will freeze and display zero results most of the time. * There will be a several day delay between when your saves are made, and when they are updated remotely. * It will be impossible to find the saves you are looking for via the search function. And, without a doubt, once this feature is added, it will result in months of inexplicable game crashes fixed only by a slow trickle of patches.

What's the purpose of saving config files online? (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597283)

I just don't see any purpose in saving config files online. Even for backup purposes, a USB key is more than enough.

Re:What's the purpose of saving config files onlin (1)

Flamora (877499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597401)

Portability. You really don't want to have to drag around a USB key everywhere you go on the off chance that you get to play a game of TF2 or what have you somewhere. Plus, in a place like a internet cafe or LAN center, will the establishment let you bring an outside storage device and put it on their hardware? I don't find that likely. And would you even want to? Too many cans of worms. This lets you keep your personalized settings pertinent anywhere you go. It's hardly necessary, but it's wonderfully convenient.

Since when do internet cafes ban USB storage? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597783)

Plus, in a place like a internet cafe or LAN center, will the establishment let you bring an outside storage device and put it on their hardware? I don't find that likely.
Says who? Google internet cafe usb brought up this review [osdir.com] , which states: "USB mass storage device - I could use it everywhere, and some copy shops prefer it."

This lets you keep your personalized settings pertinent anywhere you go.
Unless some settings legitimately vary per PC, such as key bindings and graphic detail.

Re:Since when do internet cafes ban USB storage? (1)

Flamora (877499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23598191)

Unless some settings legitimately vary per PC, such as key bindings and graphic detail.
Given, at least for graphical detail, but unless you're using something crazy like a 7-button mouse at home, keyboards are keyboards and mice are mice.

And admittedly, I made a bit of an assumption about the USB storage thing; my area doesn't have many internet cafes, sadly.

Mice is mice? Not. (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23598359)

unless you're using something crazy like a 7-button mouse at home, keyboards are keyboards and mice are mice.
High-DPI optical mice are not low-DPI ball mice, and keyboards with extra keys aren't ordinary 104-key keyboards. Furthermore, gamepads aren't keyboards.

Re:What's the purpose of saving config files onlin (1)

sinisterDei (992959) | more than 6 years ago | (#23599247)

I just don't see any purpose in saving config files online. Even for backup purposes, a USB key is more than enough.
Two reasons, both of which I would think are obvious. 1. Your configuration is available to you on any computer with Steam installed. You can go to a friend's house and load up your game and it's already set how you want. Or you can show him the cool thing that happens in your particular savegame, whatever. 2. Backup. You mentioned that USB keys make adequate backups, but that's not true. Why? Because USB keys don't remember to plug themselves in before your hard drive crashes or you reformat or reinstall game "x". A system that automagically performs a desired action (backing something up) is always preferred to a manual equivalent. Besides, nobody said you can't keep using your USB key and now you'll have double redundancy.

Hypothetical (3, Interesting)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597691)

What would happen if I had a different set of HL2 saves on two different computers? Would it just merge the two seamlessly like cards in a deck, or would one take precedence?

Fun with Statistics (4, Interesting)

Clovis42 (1229086) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597709)

Valve really loves statistics, and if you've ever listened to a commentary track they are very intent on players making it through their games. I wonder if they will be scanning these save game files to create statistics on how far players get in the games they play, or how long they spent in various areas, etc.

Even the save game habits of players would be interesting. I always create a new save game file for every save. I can't remember the last time this was actually helpful. In the past some games would actually make it impossible to continue if you forget to pick up a certain item. If you kept replacing your save game file you were forced to start from the beginning. In FPSs I'm always afraid that I'll start chewing through ammo and get stuck in an area with sparse ammo and be screwed. So I'll make saves with titles like "GoodAmmoGoodHealth5", and "nearlyDead7".

They already have a lot of this information anyway, like how long you play a game, and what achievements you've completed. I'd like to see some of their statistics if they do datamine the files.

NetHack (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597787)

In the past some games would actually make it impossible to continue if you forget to pick up a certain item. If you kept replacing your save game file you were forced to start from the beginning.
NetHack is still that way, and the fans love it. But why?

Re:NetHack (1)

grm_wnr (781219) | more than 6 years ago | (#23597815)

Because only people who love stuff like that play NetHack in the first place.

Re:Fun with Statistics (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#23598353)

They're already basically do that. Here are some stats from HL2:Ep 2, maybe not exactly what you're looking for, but I'm sure they have that info too.

http://www.steampowered.com/status/ep2/ep2_stats.php [steampowered.com]

Re:Fun with Statistics (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#23600353)

I think it's funny that Valve is turning into Google from a data mining perspective in the gaming arena. More power to them though. I think it's fantastic when a company can use data mining to enhance the user experience without privacy implications.

Centralization (0)

Morromist (1207276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23598089)

Why not just build a giant supercomputer in Bellview Washington, give everyone a few input devices and a monitor and do away with the whole stupid concept of "personal computers". It would be plenty cheaper and totally end gaming piracy. And modding too probably. But who cares about the modders?

Naturally a few details would have to be worked out, a few technological problems solved, but that is exactly what they are doing right now.

Is it just me (0, Offtopic)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23598699)

Is it just me or did anyone read 'vulva' in place of 'valve'? that would be one hot chick!

Thank you Gabe and Doug et al. (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 6 years ago | (#23599705)

Thank you for just getting us. Thank you for steam. Thank you for the bad-ass games. Thank you for understanding your demographic.
Thank you for supplying the demand. Thank you for adapting. Thank you for providing metrics. Thank you for convincing other publishers to use steam.
I really like this cloud system. It makes playing games on other computers accessible and easy. Go to a gaming cafe and continue your SP games at will.
All games should be released over steam.

We're avid steam users.

The system is near perfect. I think you should add a secondary logon system. IMHO, vac needs an appeals system.

Steam is good, in THEORY (1)

Spinalcold (955025) | more than 6 years ago | (#23600449)

but the whole program is sluggish as HELL. It takes me 5x as long to launch any program from Steam as it (probably) would without. What I mean is when I launch any game or program it launches pretty quickly, but I end up waiting for nearly a minute anytime I want to play anything from Steam, even Audiosurf or Natural Selection, which are small games.

Not saying it a horrible idea. I love being able to buy games online in an easy store. But for the love of god, why can't you make the program a little less sluggish. Oh, and fix the problem with Realtek, I can't use my mic. :-P
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