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Steam Cloud Launches This Week

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the names-that-are-puns dept.

Software 69

Valve announced yesterday that their extension of Steam, called Steam Cloud, will launch later this week with the Left 4 Dead demo. Steam Cloud is "a set of services for Steam that stores application data online and allows user experiences to be consistent from any PC." We discussed an early announcement for it back in May. Valve adds that "Steam Cloud will be available to all publishers and developers using Steam, free of charge, and Valve will add Cloud support to its back catalog of Steam games. Cloud services are compatible with games purchased via Steam, at retail, and other digital outlets."

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69 comments

The only service (5, Insightful)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623511)

This is the only service where I won't get pissed off about that god awful buzzword "cloud". Puns make the world a better place.

Re:The only service (5, Funny)

Spasmodeus (940657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623547)

I dunno. Sounds like a lot of hot air to me.

Re:The only service (5, Funny)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623575)

Yeah, you're right. It's probably just vaporware.

Re:The only service (0, Redundant)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623679)

yeah that's why it's already (partially) in use by every auto-updating game on steam and several HL2 mods.

Also, it's not "Steam Cloud" it's Steamworks.

Re:The only service (3, Informative)

Sulix (1154971) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623715)

Steam Cloud != Steamworks (Steam Cloud may be a _part_ of Steamworks, but they're not the same thing)

Re:The only service (1)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623727)

That was a (admittedly cheezy) pun.

Also, it's not "Steam Cloud" it's Steamworks.

Are you responding to the same article as I am?

Re:The only service (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623787)

Because I've heard about steam cloud everywhere except valve, but valve has a page for steamworks.

Re:The only service (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623797)

And yeah I know the article is on a valve page, but reading steam cloud it sounds almost exactly like they're describing some feature of steamworks.

Re:The only service (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624015)

yeah that's why it's already (partially) in use by every auto-updating game on steam and several HL2 mods.

There's an awful lot of superheated water vapour whooshing right over your head there - be careful!

Re:The only service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25623713)

-Insert unfunny steam pun here-

Re:The only service (5, Funny)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623759)

-Insert steamy pun in here-

OK, but I wish you'd get your mind out of the gutter.

Re:The only service (4, Funny)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623839)

Maybe I need more info, because I'm still a little hazy on the details.

Re:The only service (5, Funny)

ben0207 (845105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624245)

Could someone give me a condensed overview please? I'm a little foggy on the concept, and that would really clear things up for me.

Re:The only service (1)

zolaar (764683) | more than 5 years ago | (#25627433)

No sweat!**

It's like regular Steam, only scald up to better deal with high pressure in the pipes.

** - Actually, I'm drawing a blanche. This is just my crockpot theory.

Booo... (1)

hickory-smoked (969938) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634801)

HISSSSS...

Re:The only service (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623693)

Just wait until you actually try to use it.

Re:The only service (3, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624269)

Just wait until you actually try to use it.

I'll let someone else be the guinea pig. I've been burned by this sort of thing before.

Re:The only service (2, Funny)

PearsSoap (1384741) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625903)

I've been burned by this sort of thing before.

Scalded, surely?

Re:Awful Buzzwords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25623739)

This is the only service where I won't get pissed off about that god awful buzzword "cloud".

FTFA:

Upon logging into Steam from another PC, these settings will be brought down from the Cloud and automatically leveraged by the game.

If it's not one thing...

first (-1, Troll)

elvesrus (71218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623513)

had to do it

Re:first (1)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623549)

Failed at it. Are you on steam power or something?

Re:first (1)

elvesrus (71218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623697)

reload button was broken

Re:first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25623591)

Smallest penis. You just have to tell everyone how small it is don't ya?

Not the same, but... (3, Interesting)

MR.Mic (937158) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623723)

I have just been performing a file sync with all my saved games every morning between my laptop and desktop for about 3 months now.
It saves internet usage, costs nothing, works for all games, and provides a backup in case one machine dies catastrophically.

Steam cloud is an interesting concept, but it really doesn't provide any additional functionality against what I have already been doing.

Re:Not the same, but... (5, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623857)

Apart from say allowing you to go to a cyber cafe or friends house or similar and play Half-Life 2 there with the same settings you'd use at home and without having to plug your laptop into the cyber cafe's/friend's network or PCs and sync your data back to said PC?

The point of it is that you don't need to prat about with syncing and you don't need to worry about re-syncing. When you change the settings on one machine, it handles this all for you because the settings are stored online.

In todays connected world worry about internet access is rather a non-issue and it's even much easier to connect to the internet and have Steam update for you than it is to handle a sync!

Re:Not the same, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25635851)

Well, for a start I wouldn't want performance settings to be carried over from PC to PC, and secondly, if I were at a friend's house I'd just copy my save files from my home PC (which is always on anyway). No reason for it to go through Steam's servers.

Having said that, I can understand its usefulness for the "common folk"; I just hope they make it optional.

Re:Not the same, but... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25629483)

Yeah, I know.

I print all of my POPed emails at home and then manually type them in at work, so I have the same ones everywhere.

Dunno what this fancy IMAP is good for anyway.

I also run to and from work (about ten miles). No use for fancy cars or public transport.

I also hate everything that's new and I happen to love to brag about my pretty cumbersome workarounds.

They have their work cut out (2, Interesting)

mattbee (17533) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623867)

I spent about 4 hours playing Stalker, bought off Steam, and eventually gave up in frustration because it was failing to save *and* it was failing to notify me that it had failed to save, so I only found out I'd lost a chunk of progress once I'd died. I *think* it was just hardwired to save its games to a path starting in c:\ and my Windows machine is installed on h:\ (I don't understand that either, but no other games seemed to have a problem making one lousy system call to find the right path to save under!). Never got to the bottom of the problem either, and I daren't start the game again for about the fifth time.

I had already assumed Steam forced games to do its saving via its own library calls so they could do this kind of trick more easily, so I'm not sure how they're going to do it other than by updating every single game that will need to support it.

Re:They have their work cut out (2, Informative)

zombietangelo (1394031) | more than 5 years ago | (#25623931)

Steam doesn't need to know anything about the format of the gamesave, only to deliver it to the user, wherever s/he may be.

Re:They have their work cut out (4, Informative)

angusr (718699) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624173)

That's a known issue with S.T.A.L.K.E.R (standalone and Steam). I will now no longer stick all those dots in.

Ran into it myself because I have XP on I:. You need to edit the fsgame.ltx file which is in the STALKER program directory and edit the data path at the top of it to match your system.

I'm surprised you didn't notice quicker because your display settings would also not have stuck.

Re:They have their work cut out (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624715)

I had already assumed Steam forced games to do its saving via its own library calls so they could do this kind of trick more easily, so I'm not sure how they're going to do it other than by updating every single game that will need to support it.

The latter is pretty much how it has to be done (hence why it's rolling out for just one game initially). In theory Steam could just look at the game directories and see what changed, but a) that would also roll in any mods/custom content the user has, which I don't see Valve wanting to sync, and b) assumes games behave incorrectly and write to their own directory instead of Documents and Settings, which has been a no-no for years but is finally being enforced by Vista.

Re:They have their work cut out (1)

matazar (1104563) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624781)

Windows being installed on H: is typically because of a card reader. I don't know why Windows XP wants to give them first dibs on the drive letters, but if you have one plugged in when installing XP, you usually end up with an installation on a random letter.
Only way to fix it is to format with the card reader unplug (just an fyi).

Re:They have their work cut out (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624997)

Only way to fix it is to format with the card reader unplug

That's not totally true, but isn't necessarily bad advice either.

Drive letter mappings are stored in the registry. Those who know their way around in there can find and modify those letters.

YMMV, but it works for me in XP and Vista.

Re:They have their work cut out (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628471)

Most drives you can also change via Computer Management in the Admin Tools. Not sure if you can do that with the boot drive, though.

Re:They have their work cut out (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628649)

You can if you boot to another OS and remotely edit the registry...

Re:They have their work cut out (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#25629877)

That sounds like enough of a pain where a reinstall is probably easier...

Re:They have their work cut out (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625991)

Odd, I have a 7 in 1 / Floppy device & a fresh XP Pro install, no weirdness on my end.

Same went for XP on my laptop.

Cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25624595)

Taking the Personal out of personal computing since 1995(*).

*Network computing is a trademark of Oracle Corporation

Interesting... (2, Interesting)

Notabadguy (961343) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624727)

When a community of people talk about DRM, I find it interesting that Steam has a unique role; people are quick to slam EA for the debacle of Spore or its various other IPs, (and now Epic for their own anti-PC gamer shenanigans). Yet it seems like Valve is consistently viewed with the attitude of, "Well, their DRM isn't so bad." Personally, the only time I used Steam was when I bought the Orange Box, and then only because it literally forced me to - I found that to be quite annoying, but then again, I didn't get them for the multiplayer aspect. Egads! No TF2 for me. It would be fantastic if the EAs and Epic studios of the industry would STOP blaming pirates for lost revenue (when the problem is really the crap that they're releasing and expecting us to buy)and using it as an excuse to stop developing PC games or stuff DRM down our throats. Instead, they could look at the companies who *are* being successful - Valve primary among them - and use them as case studies for their own business practices.

Re:Interesting... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25624985)

(all IMHO)
Steam does "DRM" correctly.They don't attempt to cripple your pc, or punish people for things that pirates do. They don't assume you're a pirate. another thing that has made me a valve fanboy is that they always release the sdk (for free). Back to the point again ,when EA stops assuming everyone is a pirate (see also:"stops selling their poop"), I may look at it again.

Re:Interesting... (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625005)

The thing is, Steam, though DRM, isn't anything like as intrusive as SECUROM...Hell, it even provides features that are actually useful, this service being another example of same. Install Steam on a new machine, log in, and have it rebuild your whole setup. That's pretty cool.

That's why people put up with Steam.

Re:Interesting... (2, Interesting)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628109)

That feature itself makes me consider buying through steam rather than buy a physical copy.

Re:Interesting... (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634761)

AA few minor notes: It will probably not be storing your mods, (free mods that is, not the commercial mods like Gary's Mod) and it is possible that a few other fairly minor things might not be stored, like video settings, since the optimal video settings vary by computer.

But the commercial games, and all the saves for all commercial games with "Steam Cloud" support will be stored, and be reconstructed on a new pc automatically. Obviously, save files for Steam games without Steam Cloud support will probably need to be back-ed up through some other system.

Re:Interesting... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635435)

It works with physical copies as well.

By the physical copy, I have found that
A: It's usually cheaper*

B: It's nice to have in case Valve has issues.

*Don't get me god damns tarted on online crap being the same price or more expensive then physical media.

Blizzard want's 15 bucks for the digital starcraft when I got it from the store for 7.99

Re:Interesting... (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636133)

Blizzard actually gives you Digital Brood War with that Digital Starcraft. Buy both together from a store, I reckon you'll find that they cost the same.

However, enter your Physical Starcraft key into the Blizzard account page (even with no expansion) and you can automatically download Digital Starcraft and Digital Brood War.

Make sense now?

Re:Interesting... (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636153)

In related news, earlier this year Blizzard started offering digital downloads of games you already own by entering your CD Key, so in your case it would definitely be a better idea to buy from a store and then you could still later download it from anywhere if you wanted to.

Re:Interesting... (1)

Kattspya (994189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625547)

So who was the Valve employee that literally put the gun to your head?

Re:Interesting... (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#25633623)

So who was the Valve employee that literally put the gun to your head?

The sniper [steampowered.com] .

Re:Interesting... (5, Informative)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625787)

Steam is proof that there is a working middle ground between absolutely no protection on your software and simply hoping everyone is honest enough to pay for their games and locking the games down so hard that only pirates can play your games.

While there are disadvantages to Steam, especially with games that weren't written with it in mind or adapted to it later on, on the whole Valve has done an excellent job of making their 'restrictions' reasonable and in providing extras that make up for those restrictions.

As you said, more companies need to look at what is working and emulate that. Unfortunately, like DRM on music, I don't think the actual purpose of EA's style of DRM to be the same purpose as Valves.

EA wants to keep selling you the same game over again, literally. Look at how they handled the Sims series. Every time they released a bundle, it would include expansions from the previous bundles. But it wasn't as simple as "everything in the old bundle". They'd release one set with expansions 1, 2, and 3. One set with expansions 4, 5, and 6. Then the next year it'd be expansions 1, 3, 5 and 2, 4, 6 with the original game matched up with 7 and 8. (Not the actual order, I'm not that invested in looking them up on Amazon, but it is fairly close)

DRM that limits installs and prompts you to buy a new copy when you run out instead of reminding you that you can call customer support to reset the installs, works to that purpose. EA's version is designed really for only one thing, making it so that two years from now when they release the 'Game X collection', with five old games that they haven't even bothered to update to be able to run on the current version of Windows, you'll have to buy it to play any of the games in it because your orginal copy is out of installs.

Valve on the other hand wants to keep selling you new games, to the point where they allowed people who had Half-Life prior to Steam to convert to Steam versions and where they have set it up so that buying a 'box set' like the Orange Box let you re-gift the games in it that you already had. Valve's version is the real DRM, the point is to allow you to play your game almost everywhere without being able to give away free copies to all your friends.

Re:Interesting... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635473)

If only is wasn't such a crappy piece of software. Forever to load, big memory hog.

Here's one for you, check when the game loads and then remove your big ugly ass foot print from memory.

"..let you re-gift the games in it that you already had"
Yeah, to other steam users.

"give away free copies to all your friends."

or resell them, or d0nate them to the library, or lend them when you are done playing.

The only copyright concern is if two people are using the same key at the same time. ANYTHING else is a violation of the users right under the copyright law.
A complete trampling of the copyright laws intent.

Re:Interesting... (1)

Reapman (740286) | more than 5 years ago | (#25627973)

What has steam prevented you from doing, exactlly? Spore prevents me from installing it more then xyz number of times, therefore no Spore for me. But I've been running Steam for years on multiple systems, and haven't been able to do anything I wouldn't have otherwise. Only thing Steam has done for me is prevented me from having to dig out my HL1 discs for those rare moments i fire it up, or heck my HL2 discs for that matter (nice since one got scratched)

Steam is DRM, but it doesn't turn you into a criminal like Spore does.

Re:Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25631107)

Steam. I like Steam. Yes, DRM, but it's account based and allows you to download as many times as you like. Which is good because for me it seems that once in a while the Steam caches of all my games get corrupted and I need to redownload everything. But that may have been my fault because I was shifting partitions around and maybe some copy/pasting of some things and I may or may not have done something that utterly confused steam, forcing a reload of all my games.

Re:Interesting... (1)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 5 years ago | (#25632291)

If you delete the ClientRegistry.blob before starting steam after you've moved it it makes it so it rereads what is already there. Rather than assuming it's corrupt and forcing a redownload.

Let me finish that quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625051)

Steam Cloud is "A set of services for Steam that stores application data online where we can delete anything or simply revoke access anytime we like. Even if an accident happens we bear no responsibility. This allows the user experience to be consistent from any PC."

Well, it would be consistent if it weren't for the myriad bugs in Steam that Valve can't be bothered fixing.

Cool but... (2, Interesting)

dafradu (868234) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625381)

Different hardware demands different configuration.

Everytime i setup a computer to play Counter-Strike i have to tweak my mouse settings for the windows/mouse/hardware configuration for that machine.

This could work to store my config for THIS computer, or saved games when applied, but game settings depend heavily on the hardware and Windows configuration.

Re:Cool but... (2, Informative)

malakai (136531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628725)

You need to add:

-noforcemparms -noforcemaccel -noforcemspd

to your cstrike.exe command line.

That will prevent any of the OS level mouse tweaking from interfering with CS. That is your multi-computer-mouse-sensitivity-rosetta-stone.

The men were served one hot meal a day... (1)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625399)

...a bowl of steam.

Is there an optout? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25626683)

Me and my brothers all have our own steam accounts, but we dont all have the same games. For example, he bought portal, and I played on his account but I never bought it myself. I just bought Witcher, and now they are all playing it too. Not really encouraged by steam sure, but if we couldnt share games like that we probably wouldnt buy any, or at least we wouldnt use steam. I dont want to suddenly merge all of our saves into one pot with them using my login. I really dont care about my "settings" being availible on other systems. I use my computer, and mine alone. If I ever reinstall, its not that hard to fix my keybindings (which incidently are mapped to my gaming mouse and keyboard, so even if those maps were transfered to another system they would be useless and have to be reset to default).

It sounds like a good idea for some, but I sure hope its optional.

PS many games ive played recently use a timestamp for saves instead of letting you name it on your own. That is stupid to begin with, I think this would exacerbate it >:

Re:Is there an optout? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#25633513)

I played on his account

You are violating the ToS.

Re:Is there an optout? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25633807)

I know, but as I pointed out if I couldnt do that then I'm not likely to use steam at all. I paid extra to get the steam version of a few games so that we could all share. Otherwise I'd get a used copy from ebay for half the price and the publisher doesnt get a dime from it.

Re:Is there an optout? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635941)

I know, but as I pointed out if I couldnt do that then I'm not likely to use steam at all.

Valve's rules, not yours.

paid extra to get the steam version of a few games so that we could all share.

You should of read the subscriber agreement then, you are violating the terms. It's not like they pulled a switch and bait tactic, it's always been that way.

Otherwise I'd get a used copy from ebay for half the price and the publisher doesnt get a dime from it.

You were free to do that, but you didn't. Now you're in violation of the terms.

Re:Is there an optout? (1)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635263)

I think he'll probably get over it.

Re:Is there an optout? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635495)

Big fucking deal.
Jeez I'm tired of this crap. If I book came with that ToS it would be laughed out of court.
This shit needs to end.

Re:Is there an optout? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635959)

If I book came with that ToS it would be laughed out of court.

You agree the subscriber agreement before doing any kind of purchase. This is different from a book just comming with it. This is the shop dealer telling you the conditions before he allows you to purchase.

Re:Is there an optout? (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25636167)

Probably, but I think this is actually fairly common, and Valve doesn't mind because they're actually making enough money to profit anyway.

Re:Is there an optout? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638863)

Probably, but I think this is actually fairly common, and Valve doesn't mind because they're actually making enough money to profit anyway.

If you check out the Steam forums, they make it clear it's a ToS violation whenever someone claims to do it.

Steam is per user, not per computer.

Re:Is there an optout? (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25645763)

Yeah, I didn't deny that, I guess I was just saying that I know a lot of people who do it and they haven't gotten into trouble.

It Doesn't Matter What It's Called (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25632169)

I don't buy DRMed software that requires a remote server to be up and running.

Seems like a lot of trouble. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25665113)

This might be nice for input configurations (assuming you don't have mappings to keyboard-specific buttons and then go to another keyboard that doesn't have those buttons), but I can't really see it as especially useful for...anything else.

Am I going to have to adjust my display settings every time I go to play something on my laptop and it loads the config from my desktop? Change the sound settings to reflect my built-in speakers suddenly becoming 5.1 surround sound?

What's the utility in doing this, when before it was pretty effective? You set everything up once per machine, and it sticks.

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