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Steam To Begin Hosting Game Mods

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the upgrades dept.

Upgrades 81

Valve made a brief announcement on Friday that they will be allowing the download of user-created game mods directly from Steam. "Once installed, these MODs will appear in your 'My Games' list and will receive automatic updates just like other games on Steam. Also, these MODs now take advantage of Steamworks, which provides stat tracking and tighter integration with the Steam community." Mods will be available for five different games to start, and more in the future.

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81 comments

Very nice! (1, Insightful)

CRiMSON (3495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25199931)

It's about god damn time!

Re:Very nice! (0, Redundant)

CRiMSON (3495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25201309)

ROFL Offtopic?

Nice. (1)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | more than 5 years ago | (#25199947)

That should improve compatibility for some of these mods. Nothing more annoying than trying to connect to a server and having to wait to download the latest version. Ok well there are more annoying things, but I'm just sayin'

Re:Nice. (1)

TheSambassador (1134253) | more than 5 years ago | (#25201459)

Seems like that's a problem with the mod, not the platform. That should be the responsibility of the mod team, Valve can't help code every single mod out there.

Re:Nice. (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 5 years ago | (#25201871)

Do you really want every mod team writing their own auto-update code and then you installing it on your computer? No thank you. If it goes through Steam there will at least be a modicum of responsibility involved.

Re:Nice. (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25204213)

Err, thats what the hosting on Steam thing is all about...

Double-edged sword (5, Interesting)

winphreak (915766) | more than 5 years ago | (#25199955)

I can see the benefit of free hosting to this, but I also sense it'll be a while before all the mods take advantage of this new system.
I'd like to think that Garry's Mod 10 counts as the first MOD to try this approach, and as long as I've been playing, it seemed to work pretty well.

Re:Double-edged sword (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 5 years ago | (#25200271)

It's not exactly up to the mod makers to take advantage of the system. It's up to Valve, for now anyway.

Re:Double-edged sword (1)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25204923)

Actually, I believe steam allows you to host your (indie) games as well (for free) on their servers. What the requirements are, I don't know, but I believe it said any developers can upload their game.

Sorry for the lack of a link though. Take my word or explore the site to find it.

Re:Double-edged sword (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 5 years ago | (#25209445)

Valve is allowing you to do this, but it's still at their sole discretion for now (as far as mods are concerned). If you visit any of the good mods forums, you'll see their fans saying "hey, why isn't this happening for us?", and the devs for those mods will keep saying "bug valve about it, it's out of our control". All of which means, "we've contacted Valve and they have no plans right now to allow us to use their tools". You're even forced to contact someone at Valve just to get the tools to do so.

Re:Double-edged sword (1)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 5 years ago | (#25200735)

In the case of GMod, it went to a pay model; these mods are being distributed for free.

About time (4, Interesting)

JimBoBz (111826) | more than 5 years ago | (#25199957)

It's about bloody time. When i bought Half-Life 2 i assumed that the popular MODs would make it on to Steam. I hardly play any of my Steam games anymore however being able to install and play MOD without having to search them out is just the ticket for a casual gamer like me...

It's about frickin' time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25200053)

I was playing the older versions of Counter Strike just so that I could do neat things like adjust gravity or ride RTD2 around like a Segway while shooting terrorists...

Re:It's about frickin' time... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25200285)

You can adjust gravity in all Source games with the right console commands. You can also adjust cool shit like forces involved (make any kill instantly pummel your foe into the nearest wall) and the speed of the ingame tick (for instant matrix-style-mod). Some fun servers do random shit like this for a laugh, it's pretty fun when you just want to dick about.

Steam is a good example (5, Insightful)

jer2eydevil88 (960866) | more than 5 years ago | (#25200081)

Valve Games sold through Steam are a good example of what can go right with PC gaming. I am sure they are going to do great things for the modding community as well. Oddly I initially hated Steam when they launched HL2 thanks to the bugs and speed of that product but since that time they have really improved the system. With companies like EA putting more and more DRM into games like Spore I am glad that Valve released Team Fortress with the same lax licensing that accompanied all their previous launches. I also look forward to what http://www.gog.com/ [gog.com] will be bringing to the table in terms of competition for Valve older release title bundles.

Re:Steam is a good example (3, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#25200109)

Steam's the only DRM I'll ever accept, because in exchange for requiring me to inconvenience myself to use a product I OWN they offer me great services while still leaving it pathetically easy to get to my product without using their system.

I don't think it's an accident that it's so easy to run legitimately bought games with steam-free hacks.

Re:Steam is a good example (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25200221)

The DRM in Steam exists to protect the game content from unscrupulous people pre-launch. For the non-Steam users: when games are launched on Steam, you can usually preload them (ie download the game content) before the release date, so on release day, all you have to do is open the game and away you go!

The DRM in Steam is not there to say, "Hey, you already installed this 3 times? Too bad! No game for you!" In fact, it works in the opposite way: all your purchased games are available for download all the time, everywhere. I have Steam installed on my laptop and my desktop PC, and I can login to Steam on both (not simultaneously) and play whatever games I've bought. It's awesome.

Re:Steam is a good example (3, Insightful)

gehrehmee (16338) | more than 5 years ago | (#25200399)

Nonetheless, it's still the sort of DRM where:

  • The owner gets to know when, where, and how you use the product
  • If the owner dissapears or goes bankrupt, you'll be unable to use your purchased content

Re:Steam is a good example (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25200813)

If the owner dissapears or goes bankrupt, you'll be unable to use your purchased content

Actually you will still be able to download and play those games, but they will no longer be updated/supported.

Re:Steam is a good example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25202911)

Actually you will still be able to download and play those games, but they will no longer be updated/supported.

Err, how exactly are you going to download from servers that have been taken down and sold off?

Not that it matters really- what commercial model lets you re-acquire fresh new copies of your games whenever you want, forever? You at least need a CD or something, and you can just back up your steam files somewhere to mimic that.

Re:Steam is a good example (2, Interesting)

syntek (1265716) | more than 5 years ago | (#25201753)

Actually no, that's not true. If you save your account credentials (by going to file>settings and un-checking "Don't save account credentials on this computer" you can login under offline mode and launch and game. You just would not have access to the Steam community. The only thing the Steam Community is used for is friends, stat tracking and server finding in Valve games. Other games like CoD4 don't use the Steam Community for server finding and you could still /connect in console on your CS to connect to a server. For finding a server for CS or Valve game, there are tons of websites that track that. Also, as far as I know Valve doesn't make a practice of spying on your game usage and probably doesn't really care except to get other companies to sign on. "We have x amount of users playing x amount of hours per week on game x, you should sign up with us as more people buy games via Steam then they do by going into their local Wal-Mart or GameStop for PC Gaming." The only downfall(and it's not really a downfall) is VAC(Valve Anti-Cheat). Once you're banned, your banned for life (the current policy) and have to jump through a million hoops to reverse that. Although they were instances of False Positives, but the accounts affected by that were reversed. Also Internet Cafe's or Lans use a different version of Valve so if someone somehow put hacks on a computer and all users who logged in on that computer were VAC banned, then it's a different story. Overall though, it's great that I can buy/download/install a game in less then 3 hours (CoD4 took 2 hours from buying to playing) and have the game for life and play from any computer in the world. Considering Steam was also running a special the weekend I purchased CoD4 I got it cheaper then if I had purchased it from the store. Also no waiting in lines (which if you go to wal-mart you'll likely wait in line for at least an hour, if they have it, and most GameStops and EB Games selection of PC games is quite pathetic) So yes, Steam is the superior way to purchase PC Games (consider they have Most big titles, GTA, CoD, Crysis, Raindbow6, etc etc.)

Offline Mode (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25207955)

Another cheap way to do this is to turn off the internet via Zone Alarm/firewall or whatever dialer you're using(if DSL). Most have an icon in the program tray that you can quickly click to disable your networking.

The thing will time out in about 20-30 seconds and ask you if you want to go into offline mode. You can then re-enable the internet after selecting this and the game will play without contacting Steam. This is great for games where you aren't playing online and want to keep your PC more secure. Or games where the CPU load is too high and you want to limit your background processes.(BioShock is a good example).

Easy, seamless, and it works. I like it that I no longer need to manually update games and download patches, have boxes cluttering my closet, or have to install. I just log in with a new computer and set it to download everything overnight. 30+ games in one big wad with no keys, inserting CDs, or other nonsense like Starforce and other system crippling copy protection - Steam games have that crud yanked out by default.

Plus, sometimes they have really good games for very little money. The new XCom pack is $15 and has 5 games. they used to be a total pain to get running at all(true of most DOS era games). Now they are simple to run and stable.

Re:Steam is a good example (2, Interesting)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 5 years ago | (#25203003)

"If the owner dissapears or goes bankrupt, you'll be unable to use your purchased content"

Simply not true. Valve has tested in-house patches for when they go bankrupt. They will work with the retail dvd's you purchased in a RL shop. I don't know if this works with backup game content (option in Steam to back up the map of your games) through Steam.

Re:Steam is a good example (1)

Roxton (73137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206999)

IMV, The fundamental answer to this is for the DRM frameworks to be consumer-owned and managed. Due to a complete lack of any private social organization, however, that would have to involve government intervention, just like we need government intervention to enable cellphone number transfers.

Lame, lame, lame. If consumers were organized around consumer interests, so many things would be possible, and as many corporate abuses would be impossible. And it'd be 100% libertarian friendly.

Re:Steam is a good example (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 5 years ago | (#25211195)

Nonetheless, it's still the sort of DRM where:

  • The owner gets to know when, where, and how you use the product

And I care about this why? They use the data to better understand their customer and improve games in the future. They aren't going to call your mommy upstairs and tell her you have been playing too much.

If the owner dissapears or goes bankrupt, you'll be unable to use your purchased content

If this happens I will get the crack for it which will be available before the servers even go down.

It really isn't any different than any other old game. Try playing a game from 15 years ago and you will realize it isn't going to run on your system any more without an emulator. Or you just download it from someone who hacked it any play.

My point is it is a reasonable DRM that adds value to games rather than removing it. You make your petty little points for who knows what reason (justifying piracy? scared of big brother?) when it just isn't a significant issue for anyone who doesn't have some sort of mental complex. As much as people on here don't want to admit...DRM is not going to go away. We are going to have to support something that is reasonable and Steam has a good balance of features for the customers and protection from piracy.

Re:Steam is a good example (1)

Pyrion (525584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25202605)

I keep bringing up this example in these discussions, but what could become Steam's rival, Stardock's Impulse, doesn't have login restrictions. You can log into your Impulse account to download and play on multiple computers simultaneously and Impulse generally doesn't care.

Re:Steam is a good example (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#25205523)

and I can login to Steam on both (not simultaneously) and play whatever games I've bought.

Actually, you can. You just can't use the Steam friends network (instant messaging bit of Steam) at the same time on both computers.

Re:Steam is a good example (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 5 years ago | (#25200299)

I would very much like to hear more of these Steam-free hacks. I'd love to be able to play my copy of Team Fortress 2 on my home network with the rest of the family. I'll be damned if I'm going to buy three more copies just so the wife and kids can play together--privately.

Re:Steam is a good example (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25201163)

Haven't tried this myself, but I've heard on the interwebs that you can log in to one account multiple times as long as it's behind one IP address, or something like that. I haven't actually played any multiplayer games on Steam yet, although I intend to buy the Orange Box this week.

No TV-out (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25205027)

I'll be damned if I'm going to buy three more copies just so the wife and kids can play together--privately.

You're feeling the effects of what I perceive to be the biggest downfall of PC gaming as of 2008: no support in most games for playing with one PC + one TV + multiple gamepads.

Re:No TV-out (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 5 years ago | (#25211345)

No, that would be even worse when it comes to the FPS genre. I have multiple computers in my office, it is simply Valve's lame DRM that is stopping me from using it. I remember long ago when games came with multiplayer only "spawn installs" for just this type of situation.

Shooters that aren't first-person (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25224157)

No, that would be even worse when it comes to the FPS genre.

Then great-grandparent is feeling the effect of one of the causes of what I perceive to be the biggest downfall of PC gaming as of 2008: over-concentration on the FPS, RTS, and MMO genres. Whatever happened to non-first-person shooters like Raiden or Ikaruga or Zero Wing or even Contra? Why hasn't Bomberman for PC got an update since the Windows 95 days?

I remember long ago when games came with multiplayer only "spawn installs" for just this type of situation.

And like the lack of PC titles in genres amenable to a shared view, the lack of spawn installs has contributed to drive gamers to the consoles.

Re:Steam is a good example (1)

therufus (677843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25200437)

FYI, you don't OWN the product. The publisher owns the product. You own a license to use the product. If you have a drivers license you have the right to drive a vehicle on the roads. You don't own the roads at all.

Re:Steam is a good example (1)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25200805)

actually, you have the 'right' to travel, and since the government owns the roads, and does not have rights in itself, the license isn't permission(rights can't be controlled by the government, that's why they are rights.) to use the roads, but permission to use the vehicle. You don't own your car. You own a copy of a title. The state you purchased the car in owns your car. Unless you requested the Manufacturer Seal of Origin when it was purchased. If you didn't, they sent it to the state.

Re:Steam is a good example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25200875)

That's just silly. I'm pretty sure if I built my own car, the state wouldn't let me drive it on public roads without a huge amount of paperwork. They wouldn't let me ride a horse on the freeway, either.

Re:Steam is a good example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25200987)

are you stupid ? the state owns the license plates not the actual car idiot. thats why you can reregister your car in different states. you own the fucking car.

Re:Steam is a good example (1)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25201157)

Well, with the ACs not believing me, and them not getting an email of my reply to them I'll just post a source under my own post.

http://www.freedomsite.net/car.htm [freedomsite.net]

READ THE FINE PRINT NEXT TIME!

Re:Steam is a good example (1)

MistrBlank (1183469) | more than 5 years ago | (#25203383)

No I'm pretty sure I'm sitting on the original copy of the title of my car. Pretty sure the lien holder (Nissan) held onto it for 5 years while I paid it off, and then they sent it to me. I then had to show a copy to the local DMV/MVC so they knew I owned it for purposes of registration. In other words I'm pretty sure you're 100% wrong.

Re:Steam is a good example (1)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25210789)

so then.. it looks like.. this?

http://www.motoscootersusa.com/files/mso3.jpg [motoscootersusa.com]

instead of... this?

http://www.thehebe.com/Jewett/JodyCarTitle.jpg [thehebe.com]

Re:Steam is a good example (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25200947)

I don't remember the DMV charging me when I applied for a driver's license.

Re:Steam is a good example (1)

hab136 (30884) | more than 5 years ago | (#25202407)

I don't remember the DMV charging me when I applied for a driver's license.

Maybe your state is different; I haven't seen one yet that didn't charge some nominal amount ($10 or $20).

http://www.ncdot.org/DMV/driver_services/drivingpublic/applying.html#Step%203 [ncdot.org]

Step 3 - Paying Your Fees:
spacer

The fees for an original North Carolina driver license and learner permit are as follows:
Type of License or Permit Fee
Learner Permit $15.00/ 18 months
Class A $4.00 / yr.*
Class B $4.00 / yr.*
Class C (the most common type of license) $4.00 / yr.*

Re:Steam is a good example (2, Insightful)

hab136 (30884) | more than 5 years ago | (#25202459)

Steam's the only DRM I'll ever accept, because in exchange for requiring me to inconvenience myself to use a product I OWN they offer me great services while still leaving it pathetically easy to get to my product without using their system.

I'm going to have to slightly disagree with you there - as someone else said, "Steam is easier than piracy". It's not cheaper, but it is way easier to click on the game, type my credit card number, and blammo, as fast as I can download it, it's there. New computer? Just login and all my games are downloaded again, for free. Staying at my cousin's house for a month? All my games come with me. It's actually easier then jumping on TPB or DC++ and looking for a seeded copy that a) works! b) isn't full of keyloggers/viruses/etc.

Steam doesn't prevent me from doing anything except using the same copy of the game on two computers at the same time, which is not something I legitimately want to do. Other copy protection schemes require me to lug around a physical disk (this is loads of fun when you have 30+ games), or install system drivers that screw up my system.

I don't think it's an accident that it's so easy to run legitimately bought games with steam-free hacks.

I think Valve really designed Steam as a way to sell products first and foremost, which means they thought about what the customer wants, then worried about copy protection. At least it feels that way. Most DRM systems assume you're buying and try to screw you over when you try to actually *use* the product; Steam provides a nice alternative way to buy.

BTW, If you legitimately own the product, there's also an offline mode built in, no hacks required. It might require reactivation if you move to a new computer, I don't remember.

Multiplayer among gamers in one household (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25205799)

Steam doesn't prevent me from doing anything except using the same copy of the game on two computers at the same time, which is not something I legitimately want to do.

Imagine a household with four gamers, and none of the (non-massive) multiplayer PC games will let the owner of a store-bought copy run it on four PCs at once. Doesn't that make PC games cost twice to four times as much as console games, which are more likely to offer single-machine multiplayer?

Re:Multiplayer among gamers in one household (0, Redundant)

StarWreck (695075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206765)

there's not really a whole lot of console games that will allow 4 player. Games like Mario Cart sure. But more graphics-intense games like Halo don't allow multiplayer without multiple machines and multiple copies of the game.

Re:Multiplayer among gamers in one household (2, Informative)

NemosomeN (670035) | more than 5 years ago | (#25209225)

Every single Halo game supports 4 players on one machine.

Re:Multiplayer among gamers in one household (1)

hab136 (30884) | more than 5 years ago | (#25215619)

Imagine a household with four gamers, and none of the (non-massive) multiplayer PC games will let the owner of a store-bought copy run it on four PCs at once. Doesn't that make PC games cost twice to four times as much as console games, which are more likely to offer single-machine multiplayer?

None of the console games will let the owner of a store-bought copy run it on four consoles at once either.

Steam does not prevent games from having a single-machine multiplayer mode. The fact that such a mode is not common on PCs is not Steam's fault.

If you want to compare the cost of 4 PCs and 4 copies of the game vs 4 console and 4 copies of the game, go right ahead. If you want to compare the cost of 4 PCs and 4 copies of the game to 1 console and 1 copy of the game, you also have to compare the experience of having the full screen and 100% of the CPU/GPU to having 1/4 of the screen and 1/4 of the CPU/GPU. It's not the same experience, so of course it's cheaper.

4 people can ride the bus way cheaper than driving 4 cars, just like 4-way split screen is way cheaper than 4 PCs/consoles and 4 copies of the game. Do you want to spend less money and sit next to a smelly homeless dude, or pay more to have your own environment and a better experience?

As an aside: Starcraft had "spawn" copies - you could install the game multiple times, but the spawn copies could only play locally with the master copy (and other spawn copies, if the master was also playing). However Blizzard decided that they would make more money having one game per PC, and so the expansion (Brood Wars) required a master copy of the game.

Multiplayer with one non-split screen (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25223987)

Steam does not prevent games from having a single-machine multiplayer mode. The fact that such a mode is not common on PCs is not Steam's fault.

I know, but whose fault is it? I want to know in order to fix the problem. Is it my fault for not developing and publishing such a game myself?

If you want to compare the cost of 4 PCs and 4 copies of the game to 1 console and 1 copy of the game, you also have to compare the experience of having the full screen and 100% of the CPU/GPU to having 1/4 of the screen and 1/4 of the CPU/GPU.

Some games, such as Chess and Reversi, have symmetric information. Other games, such as Scrabble and Stratego, have incomplete information. This is true of video games as well: compare Bomberman or Street Fighter or NBA Jam or Super Smash Bros. Brawl to Starcraft or Counter-Strike. For games in the former category, there isn't any advantage to giving each player his own view. So why are most games like this console-only?

Do you want to spend less money and sit next to a smelly homeless dude

In this recession, yes.

As an aside: Starcraft had "spawn" copies - you could install the game multiple times, but the spawn copies could only play locally with the master copy

And one of my complaints is that this practice of allowing one CD key to spawn copies is less common, and that is one of the forces driving gamers to the consoles and thus away from indie games.

Re:Multiplayer with one non-split screen (1)

hab136 (30884) | more than 5 years ago | (#25230443)

I know, but whose fault is it? I want to know in order to fix the problem. Is it my fault for not developing and publishing such a game myself?

I guess that would be partly the developers/publishers that don't want to create such a game, and partly the customer that don't buy it. Not Steam (or Best Buy, or Amazon, or other distributors), which is the only point I was trying to make.

For games in the former category, there isn't any advantage to giving each player his own view. So why are most games like this console-only?

There are tons of clones of Chess and Reversi and Monopoly and every other board game - but they're in the $5 crapware bin at the store, not the shelf. They don't get exposure because any idiot developer could make it (and they do), so there's not much profit in making it. On the console, the console manufacturer ensures that there is only one chess game, so the developer can put a little more effort into it since they have a monopoly.

Yahoo and MSN both have online game sections that have cheap/free games to play, although I think for most of them you'd have to use two browsers to play two people on the same computer.

There's also the big matter of control devices - consoles are designed with 2 or 4 controllers. Computers are designed with one keyboard/mouse. You can pass control of the keyboard/mouse back and forth, but this precludes any simultaneous play, meaning only turn-based games can work. Some older games used half the keyboard for one player, half for the other (for example, WASD and space for player 1, arrow keys and enter for player 2). Many keyboards have problems with multiple simultaneous keys being pressed, and so games don't even try to do this any more since it doesn't really work that well. So, without additional hardware, PCs are restricted to turn-based games for multiplayer, single-computer.

And one of my complaints is that this practice of allowing one CD key to spawn copies is less common, and that is one of the forces driving gamers to the consoles and thus away from indie games.

Uh.. what? Most indie games are cheaper than major titles, even when you have to purchase multiple copies.

The "move" to consoles is more caused by a few things:
1. consoles are actually "good enough' compared to PCs
2. more widespread acceptance of gaming - Halo on Xbox for frat boys, Wii Tennis for your mom - instead of just nerds on PCs
3. most people are idiots and can operate a console, but not a PC
4. consoles live in the living room with the TV, and lots of people can sit around on the couch playing. PCs normally live in the bedroom/study with one office-type chair. It's easier to be a social activity. (ignore the argument any online game is social for the moment, most non-geeks don't agree)

I don't think people are moving to consoles so much as people who would not game on a PC are now gaming on consoles - in other words, new gamers. Two great articles here:

http://www.npd.com/press/releases/press_080131b.html [npd.com]
http://cordblomquist.com/?p=119 [cordblomquist.com]

In the first, we find that PC games are only 19% of sales, the rest are console games and hardware. Oh noes, PC games are dying, alert the internet!
In the second, we find that even though PC games are only 19% of sales, PC games grew 21% while consoles grew 50%. Moreover, PC game sales have increased every year.

They're both growing, just consoles have a larger market to expand into. Most non-geeks people want a toaster, not a toaster construction kit, even if the toaster is more limited.

Re:Multiplayer with one non-split screen (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25234329)

There are tons of clones of Chess and Reversi and Monopoly and every other board game - but they're in the $5 crapware bin at the store, not the shelf.

*whoosh* Sorry. I was using board games as familiar examples of the difference between public and private information, not actual titles. Did you gloss over the part of my post where I mentioned their video gaming counterparts such as Bomberman and NBA Jam?

There's also the big matter of control devices - consoles are designed with 2 or 4 controllers. Computers are designed with one keyboard/mouse.

And a port for a USB hub into which one can plug four Logitech Dual Action controllers. The TurboGrafx-16 needed a hub for more than one player too, as did the NES, Genesis, Super NES, PS1, and PS2 for more than two players.

So, without additional hardware, PCs are restricted to turn-based games for multiplayer, single-computer.

As are consoles, which are bundled with only one controller. You have to buy either extra controllers or extra entire systems for simultaneous multiplayer. So why don't PC games take advantage of gamepads plugged into a USB hub?

Most indie games are cheaper than major titles, even when you have to purchase multiple copies.

A $60 major label console game for four players costs $60. A $20 indie PC game for four players costs $80 because it doesn't recognize multiple USB gamepads.

consoles live in the living room with the TV, and lots of people can sit around on the couch playing. PCs normally live in the bedroom/study with one office-type chair.

Why does this continue to be the case? How can indie developers gain access to "the living room with the TV, and lots of people can sit around on the couch playing"?

Re:Multiplayer with one non-split screen (1)

hab136 (30884) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243697)

*whoosh* Sorry. I was using board games as familiar examples of the difference between public and private information, not actual titles. Did you gloss over the part of my post where I mentioned their video gaming counterparts such as Bomberman and NBA Jam?

Yep. :) In particular, sports games tend to stick to consoles (in my oh-so-humble opinion) because many of the players that buy these games are more comfortable with consoles, due to PCs being "too hard" or "for nerds". But everyone understands and is comfortable with an Xbox or PS3, because it's almost like a DVD player. Other symmetric games? Fall back to culture and the controller aspect.

And a port for a USB hub into which one can plug four Logitech Dual Action controllers. The TurboGrafx-16 needed a hub for more than one player too, as did the NES, Genesis, Super NES, PS1, and PS2 for more than two players.
As are consoles, which are bundled with only one controller. You have to buy either extra controllers or extra entire systems for simultaneous multiplayer. So why don't PC games take advantage of gamepads plugged into a USB hub?

Yeah, I remember the 4-way thingies for earlier consoles.

Some things do take advantage of multiple USB gamepads - MAME for example (not really a game itself, but whatever). Others have joystick/gamepad support, but usually only for one player, and it's optional.

Controllers are not standardized though, and if you wrote a game that required people to buy controllers to play it - well, nobody is going to buy $20 + 4 x $xx for the controller. And what if they buy the wrong controller - one with too few buttons, or no analog stick, etc. So you have to write your game to not require specific controllers, and you're back to being forced to use keyboard/mouse as the default. At that point, controller support is an extra or nice-to-have, so often doesn't make it.

Controllers for consoles, though, are standardized and people understand and expect that you need one for every player. Nobody expects to buy one for PCs, nor would they know how.

I think I mentioned it, but there's also the toaster aspect to consoles and console controllers - there's no configuration, you just throw the game in and plug in the controller. PCs? You might have to fiddle with your USB stack, configure the game to match the controller,

A $60 major label console game for four players costs $60. A $20 indie PC game for four players costs $80 because it doesn't recognize multiple USB gamepads.

True. $10 or $15 for the indie game, or 2-3 players, would make it cheaper. :)

Why does this continue to be the case? How can indie developers gain access to "the living room with the TV, and lots of people can sit around on the couch playing"?

Why? PCs are for one person to sit and and play keyboard/mouse games, consoles are for the living room. This is the way it's been, and I doubt much will change it. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_effect [wikipedia.org]

Aside from culture, controllers, and seating, don't forget a lot of people have 15" monitors and 30" TVs. Which would you rather crowd 4 people around?

How to fix it? They can't. It's a bummer.

Something that might change indie developer access to consoles is either more web-based games accessed from the console (see Homestar Runner on the Wii [kotaku.com] for example) or console systems opening up their development (not likely).

Movies vs. games (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25244313)

Some things do take advantage of multiple USB gamepads - MAME for example (not really a game itself, but whatever).

MAME only has fourteen games for it [mamedev.org] .

well, nobody is going to buy $20 + 4 x $xx for the controller.

There are if more than one title can use them.

And what if they buy the wrong controller - one with too few buttons, or no analog stick, etc. So you have to write your game to not require specific controllers

I'm a fan of reduced-button gaming [google.com] . I'll start by requiring two buttons: L trigger and R trigger, or D-pad Left and button 2, or whatever anybody else can manage to press with whatever appendages he has. You don't need more than two buttons for pinball (L, R: flipper), racing (L, R: turn; L+R: brake), or platforming (L, R: run, L+R: jump).

At that point, controller support is an extra or nice-to-have, so often doesn't make it.

But why don't gaming magazines report that controller support ended up cut?

$10 or $15 for the indie game, or 2-3 players, would make it cheaper. :)

Not with the extra $1,500 for three more bargain-basement PCs and three more bargain-basement monitors.

PCs are for one person to sit and and play keyboard/mouse games, consoles are for the living room.

But in practice, your statement plays out like this: "Open platforms are for one person to sit and and play keyboard/mouse games, lockout chips are for the living room." Why is it possible (and even encouraged) for an individual to shoot, edit, and burn a movie that plays on a set-top player, but not possible (without jailbreaks of dubious legality) for an individual to develop and burn a game that plays on a set-top player?

don't forget a lot of people have 15" monitors and 30" TVs.

Then why don't more PCs come with a composite SDTV output like mine did? Or why don't people actually use the VGA jack on their $600 LCD HDTV?

Something that might change indie developer access to consoles is either more web-based games accessed from the console

One major problem with a web-based game is that most users aren't willing to become paying customers; they see "web based" and think "gratis".

Re:Movies vs. games (1)

hab136 (30884) | more than 5 years ago | (#25271651)

MAME only has fourteen games for it.

Hahaha.. yeah. Tell that to most MAME users' ROM directories. But yes, the point was that nothing uses controllers.

There are if more than one title can use them.

I'm a fan of reduced-button gaming. I'll start by requiring two buttons: L trigger and R trigger, or D-pad Left and button 2, or whatever anybody else can manage to press with whatever appendages he has. You don't need more than two buttons for pinball (L, R: flipper), racing (L, R: turn; L+R: brake), or platforming (L, R: run, L+R: jump).

Super. Who is supposed to standardize this and tell all the game companies to use this standard controller, and the electronics manufacturers to make this standard controller? There isn't a central controlling body for PC games. No standards body --> no standard controllers --> no controller support.

But why don't gaming magazines report that controller support ended up cut?

It gets cut in the initial design decisions, not that they actually designed controller support and then removed it. It wasn't removed, just not implemented in the first place (or even in the specs).

Not with the extra $1,500 for three more bargain-basement PCs and three more bargain-basement monitors.

If you're including system price, console gaming is always cheaper, even for one machine. No point in arguing about having to buy 4 copies of the game then if you're also comparing 4 computers to one (or 4) console(s).

But in practice, your statement plays out like this: "Open platforms are for one person to sit and and play keyboard/mouse games, lockout chips are for the living room." Why is it possible (and even encouraged) for an individual to shoot, edit, and burn a movie that plays on a set-top player, but not possible (without jailbreaks of dubious legality) for an individual to develop and burn a game that plays on a set-top player?

VCRs and DVD players are sold for a profit on the hardware. They don't care what content is played. They're relatively easy and cheap to produce.

Game consoles are mostly sold at break-even or a loss, and they make the profit back in game licensing. They're basically mini computers, and cost as much to produce. If they allowed free games, they'd have to charge more for the console, thereby limiting their market (and making less money overall). Nintendo has claimed they make money on consoles, but even so, they make more money by also getting a cut of every game.

So: money. That's why.

Then why don't more PCs come with a composite SDTV output like mine did? Or why don't people actually use the VGA jack on their $600 LCD HDTV?

They used to - for example the TRS-80 and Commodore 64. However NTSC TV resolution is 720x480 or so, interlaced and usually very fuzzy. When computer graphics got better, they needed their own monitors, which couldn't also be used to TV, so they separated. By the time TVs got good enough to display a PC screen, the culture was already entrenched. By the way, fancy $600 LCD HDTVs are still inferior to monitors, not only in resolution (720p is 1280x720; super-expensive 1080p is 1920x1080; my monitor is 1920x1200) but also in terms of display lag and responsiveness, important for first person shooters or any reflex game. So - your TV still isn't good enough, and the split was made long ago between living room and desk.

(Always the exception: I personally have a Mac Mini as my media center, plugged via DVI into my $900 HDTV. But that's only for movies/DVR; right next to it is my Wii.)

One major problem with a web-based game is that most users aren't willing to become paying customers; they see "web based" and think "gratis".

Bummer.

Nintendo sells games through its Virtual Console store; they could expand that into a wider marketplace for cheap/indie games, ala the App Store that Apple developed for the iPhone. Or Xbox or Playstation could do the same. But they haven't, possibly because the costs of it aren't more than the potential profits. Maybe they don't believe in the "long tail [wikipedia.org] ". Or maybe they're busy building it right now, who knows.

Re:Movies vs. games (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25272751)

Tell that to most MAME users' ROM directories.

Please leave mass infringement of copyright out of this. That's one thing Steam is supposed to prevent.

But yes, the point was that nothing uses controllers.

So if I make and sell a game that does use controllers, does this mean I'll have more of the market due to less competition?

Who is supposed to standardize this and tell all the game companies to use this standard controller, and the electronics manufacturers to make this standard controller?

Microsoft. After a few abortive attempts under the "Sidewinder" brand, Microsoft now promotes its Xbox 360 Controller as part of its Games for Windows initiative. In fact, Microsoft introduced a whole new API in Windows XP service packs, called XInput, just to provide access to all features of the Xbox 360 controller including the speaker and microphone. Why don't more major PC game publishers make a point of taking advantage of this standardization?

But why don't gaming magazines report that controller support ended up cut?

It gets cut in the initial design decisions

Then why don't gaming magazines report that controller support ended up cut in the initial design decisions? They fail to report at all that a released PC game lacks single-screen multiplayer.

VCRs and DVD players are sold for a profit on the hardware.

Then why aren't PCs shaped like VCRs and DVD players also sold for a profit on the hardware?

By the way, fancy $600 LCD HDTVs are still inferior to monitors, not only in resolution (720p is 1280x720; super-expensive 1080p is 1920x1080; my monitor is 1920x1200)

A lot of people still have 1024x768 pixel PC monitors; these fit nicely in a 1024x768 pixel pillarboxed window in the center of my 1366x768 pixel Vizio TV.

but also in terms of display lag and responsiveness

I notice deinterlacing lag when I run 480i out of my PC, but when I use a VGA cable, I don't notice any more lag out of my Vizio TV than out of my other monitor.

Nintendo sells games through its Virtual Console store; they could expand that into a wider marketplace for cheap/indie games

WiiWare is a start, but on warioworld.com, Nintendo has stated that a developer has to be at least a certain size to qualify for a WiiWare devkit. I assume that most game developers, except those founded by industry veterans, have to publish at least one title on PC before growing to such a size. Is this correct?

Re:Steam is a good example (1)

uselessengineer (1172275) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206615)

The problem with Steam is that if you harm valve in any way:

(1) If Valve Anti Cheat (VAC) detected a hack on your computer, false positive or not
(2) They have a billing mistake and double charge you and refuse to remove the charge and when you charge-back through the credit card company

Then they lock ALL your content, even single-player only games (like portal) so you cannot play them or install them ever again.

I've had a friend suffer from (1) when he played at a LAN party and i've had a friend suffer from (2) when he tried to purchase a gift for his girlfriend's brother. They both had a lot of games on their account and both got their access removed and customer service refuses to help.

Dystopia Please! (2, Insightful)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 5 years ago | (#25200135)

http://www.dystopia-game.com [dystopia-game.com]

Far far better than the other mods. Nuff said.

Re:Dystopia Please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25200213)

Looks interesting, will have to check it out.

Re:Dystopia Please! (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 5 years ago | (#25200247)

I would recommend running through the maps on a local server by yourself so you know how they flow (which will also give you the necessary "know how" with cyberspace interaction).

Re:Dystopia Please! (1)

syntek (1265716) | more than 5 years ago | (#25201783)

Dystopia was fun. I initially kept thinking about dinosaurs for some weird reason when I started playing.

Re:Dystopia Please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25200545)

dystopia is not the best mod, sorry

how about something more worthy, like Empires

http://www.empiresmod.com

Re:Dystopia Please! (1)

Hemogoblin (982564) | more than 5 years ago | (#25200655)

Meh, I used to play Empires and then switched to Dystopia. Empires had some god-awful maps (district? Whatever that street map with the tickets was called), and team-stacking was a major problem. Aircraft sounded cool, but as far as I can tell they're never going to arrive.

Dystopia is amazing. All the new maps look fantastic, the action is fast paced, and cyberspace is really trippy.

Re:Dystopia Please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25202549)

Except for the fact that empires has always sucked. Even their major release didn't fix a lot of things wrong with the mod.

Re:Dystopia Please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25202589)

If I wanted NS, I'd play NS. If I wanted a game with a battlefield feel to it, I'd play battlefield. This mod fail all around at delivering. Good concepts, shitty implementation.

My dick has been hosting mods (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25200209)

but you don't see it on the /. main page.

Cool! (0, Redundant)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 5 years ago | (#25200261)

I am boiling some water now!

A bold plan indeed (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 5 years ago | (#25202071)

Well, good that some companies dare to try this. Most others are just encouraging modding but don't dare to distribute mods because they're too afraid of someone pulling a Limbo of the Lost on them (and modders have been, in rare cases, ripping off content from other games, so the fear is at least minimally justified). I hope they can just enact and enforce a strong enough policy that makes the whole thing work...

About Time (1)

m8nkey (1312359) | more than 5 years ago | (#25202633)

This is awesome news. I know in gamedev communities Valve have actually copped some shit for the lack of perceived support they've provided to mods since the release of HL2. I think that only recently mods for the Source engine reached a level of polish comparable to professional releases so it's an ideal time to introduce this feature. The top mods are the result of years of hard work, it's great to see them getting the attention they deserve. It's also in Valve's interest to continue to support and nurture the mod scene. Mods add to the longevity of an engine and provide an upcoming talent pool for the industry. Shameless plug of the Source mod I recently joined: http://www.enterprise-tcw.com/ [enterprise-tcw.com]

"MODS" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25202749)

If mod is short for game modification, why is everyone capitalizing it like it's an acronym?

linux (1)

illuminum (1356693) | more than 5 years ago | (#25203739)

Does valve hate linux? No, it's probably just a positive NPV business decision. Anyway has anyone had success running steam and valve games in VMware or should I just not bother?

Re:linux (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#25205413)

Does valve hate linux?

Nope, they have released a CLI steam client for downloading, updating and installing Linux game servers.

Anyway has anyone had success running steam and valve games in VMware or should I just not bother?

Steam runs fine under Crossover games [codeweavers.com] for me. However due to a screw up by the team at X.org, the X11 server on Ubuntu hardy has some issues [winehq.org] that could be problematic for some games.

Nothing new here (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25204231)

Steam has hosted Gary's Mod for several years - in both a free and a paid version.

(Gary's Mod is a free-form mod based on the Half Life 2 engine, and is possibly the most creative mod ever).

Re:Nothing new here (1)

m8nkey (1312359) | more than 5 years ago | (#25204707)

I tend to disagree. Although Gary's mod was supported there was a lack of exposure for all the other mods that didn't adopt a pay business model. Many excellent mods (FoF and Dystopia particularly) struggle to maintain a reasonable player base. I'm sure direct Steam support will result in much more exposure and increase their popularity.

Re:Nothing new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25210021)

Steam has hosted Gary's Mod for several years - in both a free and a paid version.

(Gary's Mod is a free-form mod based on the Half Life 2 engine, and is possibly the most creative mod ever).

The free one (version 9 and below) you still have to download and patch yourself. The paid one (around version 11 now, but only internally- steam just shows it as garry's mod) uses steam's servers/downloader.

Steam Saved Games (2, Interesting)

Robmonster (158873) | more than 5 years ago | (#25204867)

I remember reading a while ago that Steam was going to also act as a repository for saved games, so you could in effect backup your saves automatically.

Did this ever get implemented? I cannot find anything about it on the Steam pages.

Re:Steam Saved Games (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#25205585)

I remember reading a while ago that Steam was going to also act as a repository for saved games, so you could in effect backup your saves automatically.

No, it does store your achievements and some statistics though.

Re:Steam Saved Games (1)

Ponzicar (861589) | more than 5 years ago | (#25210395)

It's called Steamcloud. They announced it: http://kotaku.com/5011756/valve-announce-steamcloud-sounds-great [kotaku.com] although I haven't heard anything about it since. Knowing Valve, it could be tomorrow or it could be years before it sees the light of day.

Weren't mods available before? (1)

DeskLazer (699263) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206425)

I know they're talking user created, but the headline is misleading. HL had the other mods supported, even Sven Coop [which I didn't think was official, considering how many parts were broken and how many bugs it had] and I think a soccer mod for HL. I used to play it on Steam with friends. Action HL I don't think had any official backing either. Did I miss something here?

Re:Weren't mods available before? - On Steam (1)

DeskLazer (699263) | more than 5 years ago | (#25206445)

I mean on Steam that is. I remember playing them via Steam. I know mods have been around since the dawn of time.

Re:Weren't mods available before? (1)

Volatar (1099775) | more than 5 years ago | (#25209415)

You had to download them from someone else before, now you can download them through valve themselves.

Steamed at Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25211293)

When HL2 came out I bought a copy at the store and attempted to play, and discovered I had to be online to play solo (freaking stoooopid).
So I went online and found that now I had to register an account, etc.

Which I did.

And then attempted to play HL2, and was instantly kicked & banned for using a "hacked" serial number.

I called support (extremely rude, long hold times) and was basically called a liar. I offered to mail them the box, disc, and my receipt which they declined. Basically they told me to go get fucked & buy a new copy.
I went back to the store but they wouldn't take it back since it was opened.

I asked a lawyer, and there's some fine print that basically says they can just can your account whenever & for any or no reason, so I was out of luck unless I wanted to spend a couple years in court fighting it out.

So the moral of the story is, Fuck Steam, Valve, and any other service like that.
Which is really too bad, because they have some decent games.

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