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Valve Blog Announces Dates For Steam Linux External Beta

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the time-to-play dept.

Games 183

An anonymous reader writes "In the third post to the new Valve Linux Blog, the Linux team has announced that starting next week they will begin their internal beta, with an external beta of 1000 users to begin mid 'some time in October.' There will be an external beta sign up page made available 'soon' according to the blog."

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Hot and steamy first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484121)

Oh yeah I love it being naked in this steamy room.

I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (4, Informative)

pecosdave (536896) | about 2 years ago | (#41484135)

but as someone who ditched Windows back when Win2K was still new I'm not really up on it.

Is it closer to an iTunes like store, an Apt like installer, or is it some sort virtual machine running a standardized program, like Flash, Java, or a console emulator?

Also - how does it compare to something like the Ubuntu Software Center I used to install Torch Light and the rest of the recent Humble Bundle stuff.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (4, Informative)

bersl2 (689221) | about 2 years ago | (#41484161)

More like iTunes, plus the usual social additions expected of gaming communities (IM, chat, voice, achievements, etc.).

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484181)

It's like an itunes store/software center, but for games. You can talk with your friends, even if you're both in games (shift+tab iirc will bring up an overlay in any game). Also they're porting the source engine (iiuc), so we'll (probably) have games like L4D2 and maybe even Half Life 2. More info on their blog: http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/linux/steamd-penguins/

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 2 years ago | (#41484387)

So obviously if there's a background chat some component of Steam is still running after the game is started, so it's less like Apt. I'll look at the source engine thing later, I'm at work now, they block all links to game companies, I'm half surprised games.slashdot.org isn't blocked just for the URL.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (5, Interesting)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 2 years ago | (#41484543)

Slashdot is miraculously blessed by IT departments. In one of the offices I work at, their connection is so limited it's untrue - even stuff like the Community Recycling Network (crn.org.uk) is blocked, and the block page says "Category: None" so it may even be a whitelist.

Yet all the slashdot subdomains and the main one are completely unfiltered - along with, suspiciously enough, things like The Register and xkcd. So it's geeks policing geeks I guess. I get a free pass!

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 years ago | (#41484569)

It is blocked at my workplace (because it has "games" in the hostname), but any games.slashdot.org slashdot can also be accessed from slashdot.org.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484697)

Steam is a bit like a big repository of games with social features bolted on. The nice part about the social features which I hope they carry over to Linux as well, if you add non-Steam games to the client's game library (effectively using it as a launcher), the in-game overlap might work (it's not compatible with all games, but I've never seen it crash a game when it doesn't work).

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (4, Informative)

DarkTempes (822722) | about 2 years ago | (#41485041)

Think of a webkit-based instant messaging client and app store mixed together. It keeps your games up-to-date, has really good sale prices, and makes it stupidly easy to play games with friends.

The downside is that there is DRM (many games have to be launched through steam to play them) and it's kind of a pain to play games when offline.
In the past Valve has said that if they were to ever dissolve then they'll release a DRM removal tool.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (4, Insightful)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | about 2 years ago | (#41484433)

iTunes wishes it was as good as Steam!!! This should be awesome, it'll be good to have some L4D2 games with the guys at work on our lunch break. We're running a mix of linux and mac systems here, so everyone should be able to play :)

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484425)

Think iTunes, though specific to games. It's more of an all-encompassing service than a single tool like Apt. Compared to the USC I'd say it's way more polished, though it's technically a closed platform. If you're familiar with game consoles, think that except on PC, less restrictive on developers, and led by a company that has some semblance of knowledge regarding what the customer wants. Regarding the platform the games run on, it depends on the games. Most games are native, naturally, but there are some Java, some Flash, and some .NET as well. It's really up to the developer.

Though it's not just a distribution channel:

-Automatic game updates (unprompted, unlike apt, take that how you will)
-Cloud services for games that make use of them (saved games, achievements, stats, etc.)
-Communication/Social tool: you can send text chats to other players on your friends list and there are various other community features

Some other tidbits:

-Rumor is, they're going to soon expand to non-game applications
-They're trying out a new community-driven greenlighting system for games
-They have LOTS of sales with massive discounts as well as free weekends
-Not that it applies to you necessarily, but if you buy a game on one platform, you own it on every platform it's available on
-I worry about the day when Valve goes under and all my games go with them, though that scenario looks less and less likely
-Steam is often cited both as a giant ball of DRM and as DRM done right, so... there's that

Someone has kindly made a larger version of my post: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_(software)

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (5, Insightful)

NemosomeN (670035) | about 2 years ago | (#41484623)

The simplest way to explain Steam is that it is DRM done right. If you pirate the game, you get the game for free. But, you lose auto updates, chat client, steam trading, access to servers with anti-cheat features, etc.

It deters piracy by adding value to legally purchased games.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (4, Insightful)

guises (2423402) | about 2 years ago | (#41485237)

There are certainly people who see value in Steam's added services, but it is most certainly not "DRM done right." Every game purchased through Steam requires online activation, every single one. A stark contrast to the iTunes comparison - even when iTunes was DRMing their media, an internet connection was never required.

I'm not sure what "DRM done right" would be, DRM is after all a limitation on what you can do with your purchased media. For me however, any form of DRM that requires me to ask permission before I can read or watch or play with my stuff, that will never fall into the "acceptable DRM" category.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485751)

Funnily enough you also need an internet connection to actually download the game through Steam. Since a game is generally installed as soon as it's downloaded, what's the frikkin problem again?
Ok their Offline mode could be improved to make it a bit smoother but your argument sounds like a tantrum over nothing. The only point where it holds up if you buy the game in a store and want to install it though it requires Steam, but how frequently do people actually buy PC games in stores these days?

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (5, Interesting)

Spad (470073) | about 2 years ago | (#41485765)

Every game purchased through Steam requires online activation, every single one

You mean the online store, that you're using, while online, to purchase games, online, requires you to be online to install your game, that you download while online? Say it ain't so.

The Steam DRM is optional, btw, entirely up to the publisher, which is why a lot of older games don't have it and can be run without Steam once they're installed.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485951)

"You mean the online store, that you're using, while online, to purchase games, online, requires you to be online to install your game, that you download while online? Say it ain't so."

No... i mean the offline game i bought offline at a brick & mortar store that requires you to be online to play a single player game.

Its bullshit when microsoft does it, its bullshit when ubisoft does it, its bullshit when rockstar does it... and yes its even bullshit when valve does it.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (1)

guises (2423402) | about 2 years ago | (#41485997)

More than that, it's a tired argument to make in the first place, yet it keeps popping up. Is the GP really claiming that he can't tell the difference between a Steam game that he can only install through Steam, only while online, and only if he has permission vs. a DRM free game that he buys online, for which he has the installation files and can install and play whenever and however he sees fit? Of course not. There's some kind of willful ignorance going on here.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485255)

>The simplest way to explain Steam is that it is DRM done right.

It's also the shittiest way of explaining it.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (5, Interesting)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#41485265)

The simplest way to explain Steam is that it is DRM done right.

Speaking as somebody who recently lived in a hotel with shitty wifi for 6 months, I have to chuckle at that statement. It stopped being "DRM done right" when it decided it wouldn't let me play my single-player game while the wifi was down.

Don't get me wrong, I do agree with most of your post, especially the point about it being a deterrent to piracy, but really it's not 'right' it's just courteously applied lube.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (3, Informative)

glittermage (650813) | about 2 years ago | (#41485309)

Steam doesn't require online access to play games once they've been downloaded. The game might have had an additional DRM besides Valve. The Steam only DRM games I have tried without Internet access work fine (it seems confused at first that Internet isn't available).

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (4, Informative)

wolrahnaes (632574) | about 2 years ago | (#41485339)

There was a long-standing bug in Steam which made offline mode unreliable for anyone who shuts their computer down regularly.

When you'd shut down Windows, Steam would apparently just sit around and fail to heed the warnings the OS gave it until it would be forced to close. This made it not properly save the offline mode token, so if the next time you launched the client was without an internet connection, you were SOL.

If you closed Steam before shutting down it worked fine, but since this wasn't common knowledge and you don't usually plan internet outages at the consumer level as far as an average user cares it didn't work.

The actual cause of the bug was identified publicly by a user a few months ago and shortly followed by a Steam client update which resolved the problem. At this point offline mode works exactly as expected.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#41485573)

Steam doesn't require online access to play games once they've been downloaded.

Yes, it does. It re-authenticates every couple of weeks or so. Trust me, I gnashed my teeth quite a bit during that hotel stay.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (2)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 years ago | (#41484619)

In my very limited use, it's closest to software center with a non apt back-end (so software center+aptish type system).

It tracks purchases, allow downloads to multiple computers of purchases (like software center or iTunes), tracks the installs (I'm curious weather the Linux version will include it's own tracking, or use it's own installer/remover, commercial software appears to be 50/50 on that in generall).

It also has some social aspects, much like Xbox Live.

I should include that I really mean dpkg for most uses of apt (I don't think the Software center you're referring to uses apt in any way, but I could be wrong, I certainly have not used "apt" for any commercial software, but was referring to .deb files).

On Windows it felt like "Yay, there's something resembling apt for games" when I first used it. I've always felt for almost all of my work that package management (Yast, yum, apt) more than made up for inferior/incompatible software (Yast, Gimp) almost any time there was an equivelentish option. It's too bad there's no document/deposition presentation software that's OSS, or I wouldn't need Windows at all.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (2)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 2 years ago | (#41484791)

Desure is an excelent comparison - though without the bonus DRM.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484839)

*Desura, that is.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484821)

The difference between steam and apt? Well, I can't apt-get twink-that-likes-bears :)

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 2 years ago | (#41485907)

Well, you technically could use the install hyperlink: steam://install/[some game id] but you'd need to know that ID and have a browser set up to know what to do with it.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (1)

Bureaucromancer (1303477) | about 2 years ago | (#41484927)

Think Ubuntu Software Center, combined with a launcher and some DRM. Software doesn't strictly have to be launched from the Steam client, but the client does need to be running for stuff purchased through it to run (not always online DRM, but definitely DRM, albeit about as unobtrusive as it can get). Software gets installed into Steam's directory, but with it's own file structure, and I'd guess what will happen is that there will be a recreation of the usual Linux directory structure inside the Steam folder. Of course this may also change drastically if they go crazy and do something like roll a WINE implementation into that version of the client, but I have my doubts that's happening.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (1)

Jartan (219704) | about 2 years ago | (#41484991)

DRM is completely the choice of the publisher of the game being sold. Steam is not required for all applications to run.

Plus there's also an extensive "overlay" that can be brought up inside games. Sort of like dashboards on consoles (but much better since it's a PC).

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (1)

Bureaucromancer (1303477) | about 2 years ago | (#41485047)

Strictly yes, but Steam is pretty clearly a DRM system in itself, or just bloody restrictive. Official Steam DRM or no you can't just go in and run the .exe steam installs, nor can you run it without being logged in or successfully turning on offline mode. Mind it or not this is a pretty big difference from Ubuntu Software Center, and one of the core things that differentiate Steam from being purely a package management system.

Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 2 years ago | (#41485913)

Steam recently added the ability to have multiple folder locations for the game installs (maybe it's because I'm opted in for beta clients if you don't see it under settings) so you can specify what hard drive or folder you'd like to install your library of games to.

third post? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484143)

An Anonymous poster writes in the third post...

1000? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484157)

"an external beta of 1000 users"

Wow, they are rolling it out to the entire Linux gaming community at once with plenty of spots to spare.

Re:1000? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41484171)

Hardly. The german tinkerer community alone would gobble that down in no time.

There are way more linux users than you realize Mr AC.

Re:1000? (5, Funny)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#41484231)

And I hear a few of them even have a sense of humor!

Re:1000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484239)

Still less than Mac users. I would guess there are even more Mac users on Slashdot than Linux users.

Re:1000? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#41484285)

There are way more linux users than you realize Mr AC.

Do any of them have a sense of humor?

Re:1000? (4, Funny)

interval1066 (668936) | about 2 years ago | (#41484455)

Do any of them have a sense of humor?

$ man woman
No manual entry for woman

No, not at all.

Re:1000? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#41484617)

To make up for that perceived shortage, the official GNU/Emacs distribution comes with a large amount of crufty, unfunny junk crammed in its /etc directory. Take a look!

Re:1000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485405)

My kingdom for a mod point...

Re:1000? (1)

toejam13 (958243) | about 2 years ago | (#41484711)

I think you're mistaking the Linux gaming community for the FreeBSD gaming community. And yes, I would love to try Steam out with Linux-compat compiled into my FreeBSD kernel.

Re:1000? (1)

Lucractius (649116) | about 2 years ago | (#41485471)

Thats on my todo list actually. But I use both, though the more i use Gentoo, the harder it is to really enjoy FreeBSD like I used to when I used it as my main desktop oh so many years ago.

Anyone else first read "External" as "Eternal"? (4, Funny)

bersl2 (689221) | about 2 years ago | (#41484167)

Heart skipped a beat there.

Re:Anyone else first read "External" as "Eternal"? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484185)

"Eternal Beta" does describe certain types of software you can find on Linux...

Re:Anyone else first read "External" as "Eternal"? (4, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | about 2 years ago | (#41484267)

As someone who's used Linux nearly exclusively for more than a decade I'll proudly say:

Most of it. The better stuff anyways.

There's a lot of Alpha and cobbled together feeling stuff on there also. Still, when I go to work and use my Windows 7 machine I look at it and wonder how my coworkers could possibly go home and continue using that crap.

Re:Anyone else first read "External" as "Eternal"? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 2 years ago | (#41484481)

I bet you're a blast at company parties.

Re:Anyone else first read "External" as "Eternal"? (2)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about 2 years ago | (#41484655)

Well, I'd prefer a dullard at a company party - who you can always liven up by coaxing them out of their shell - than someone with seemingly closed minded arrogance (and still stuck in a high school "popularity matters more than character" mindset).

Hopefully my reading of your post was wrong and it wasn't snarky, just some attempt at levity.

Re:Anyone else first read "External" as "Eternal"? (3, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | about 2 years ago | (#41484933)

I'm a real tech.

They schedule company parties during my work shift and I don't get to go.

Of course the apartment party I was sort of the hero, they didn't expect a fat guy to beat that many skinny people in limbo.

Is that an invitation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485421)

And, cue more Debbie Downer replies that continue to lack and clue as to what humor is...

Re:Anyone else first read "External" as "Eternal"? (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#41484279)

"Eternal Beta" does describe certain types of software you can find on Linux...

Only if it's made by Google, otherwise it's an alpha branded as a release candidate.

Re:Anyone else first read "External" as "Eternal"? (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41484299)

"Eternal Beta" does describe certain types of software you can find on Linux...

Pffft, I'd say it describes Windows even better.

Re:Anyone else first read "External" as "Eternal"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484393)

"Eternal Beta" does describe certain types of software you can find on Linux...

Valve said they were beginning Steam support with Ubuntu, not Fedora!

Re:Anyone else first read "External" as "Eternal"? (1)

FunPika (1551249) | about 2 years ago | (#41484291)

Knowing Valve, the time between beta/final release will be (close to) eternal [valvesoftware.com] anyways.

Mandatory Binding Arbitration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484177)

Does it still have Mandatory Binding Arbitration?

Will it still stop you from downloading your games before you leave if you don't agree with the new contract?

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...

Well, there's not going to be a second time. I'm done for life with steam.

Re:Mandatory Binding Arbitration (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#41484273)

seeings as that has become industry standard while I don't care for it in eula I will tolerate it in exchange for the games it provides. Besides has that clause been tested in a real court case yet? I doubt that a would stand up as you can't sign away your legal rights.

Re:Mandatory Binding Arbitration (4, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 2 years ago | (#41484369)

you can't sign away your legal rights

This would be clicking away your rights, that is totally different, and probably patentable.

Re:Mandatory Binding Arbitration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484547)

Didn't AT&T already prove a clause like this was legal? Or am I getting confused with a different case?

You won't have to use Steam to benefit from this. (5, Insightful)

Jartan (219704) | about 2 years ago | (#41484331)

The intent is more to get Steam users off Windows and onto Linux than to take advantage of the current Linux market.

With Windows 8 announcing an app shop and scaring the hell out of small time developers we could finally see a real push for Linux adoption.

Re:You won't have to use Steam to benefit from thi (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484401)

So that's why Steam went with OSX after Apple's own app store was already in place? Your theory goes against the evidence.
 
As far as "real push for Linux adoption"? You're quite the optimist... Sadly this isn't the utopia you hoped for. After seeing what Steam has done for OS X I can't help but think things will be positively abysmal for Linux. There are a number of games in the Steam store for OS X that they only offer the Windows clients for, there's a number of bugs in their own client which don't seem to be being addressed and there are next to no new releases for OS X in the near future.
 
You may shrug it off as being an OS X thing. Say what you will but all evidence points to OS X users being more likely to shell out cash for software than any other platform. Who's going to go for Linux if they can't get software developed with 5-10 times more established OS X users?
 
The only solid bet from Steam on any other platform is Valve's offerings and if their direction is in any way represented in CS:GO than Valve isn't going to be around as a major player for much longer.

Re:You won't have to use Steam to benefit from thi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484483)

In short, it isn't about the Linux desktop communnity as a primary revenue stream. It's about the Linux desktop community being used by Steam as a larger testing community. The end game is most certainly a Steam set top box to compete with MS without having to pay MS or being forced to dilute the branding with MS branding.

Re:You won't have to use Steam to benefit from thi (1)

an unsound mind (1419599) | about 2 years ago | (#41485113)

Portal 2, CS:GO and Dota 2 are all recent Valve games.

More importantly, Valve is very much a major player in publishing - these days more so than in developing. They likely can keep their developing arm going on longer than the lifespans of current staff with the profits from their publishing arm.

The game library for Steam Linux will likely be Valve's titles and a wide library of 3rd party independent titles at first. Certainly nowhere near Steam Windows, but still nothing to sneeze at.

Re:You won't have to use Steam to benefit from thi (2)

kermidge (2221646) | about 2 years ago | (#41485165)

I think you're correct that OS X users are more likely to shell out cash.

However, Linux gamers have consistently paid more for Humble Bundles than those using other OSes; the total amount compared to Windows, anyway, is still relatively small. I'm curious to see how this plays out. As others have suggested, this may be a path to a non-Windows set-top box and store.

Re:You won't have to use Steam to benefit from thi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484447)

No, the strategy is to make PC gaming into console gaming, and possibly even into phone-based gaming, in parallel with PC gaming. They want to break into the casual gamer market which has been largely not been the realm of PC based gaming, and has exploded a million fold since the smartphone revolution.

Imagine an inexpensive $100-200 Linux-based, network enabled set-top box which is able to access all of your games and media, and even savegames from your PC. It'll have a reasonably powerful processor, with reasonably powerful GPU, and enough memory to make it work for the foreseeable future, and no more. That's where it's going, I guarantee you. The only reason they care about Linux is that it's mature enough to do what they want, and most importantly, no licensing fees.

Re:You won't have to use Steam to benefit from thi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484679)

With Windows 8 announcing an app shop and scaring the hell out of small time developers we could finally see a real push for Linux adoption.

Emphasis is mine. Sorry, but when talking about Steam and Valve I don't think small time developers fits the bill. Sure, as game developers Valve may not be very large, but Steam as a delivery channel is huge. I know a lot of people that buy most, if not all, their new games using Steam. Sure, I hate the DRM (and it's consistently a source of problems), but the bottom line still is that it is more convenient than alternatives (including physical media).

I really do hope that we will see more Linux ports of games I actually want to play, but this is only the very first step in this process. So keep your fingers crossed!

Re:You won't have to use Steam to benefit from thi (3, Interesting)

an unsound mind (1419599) | about 2 years ago | (#41485123)

Another way you won't have to use Steam to benefit from this: The Steam development effort has already brought a lot of driver patches along, improving mostly 3D performance.

Re:You won't have to use Steam to benefit from thi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485437)

Hmm, might me begin to see marketing badges that proclaim a game to be "Best on Linux" or something equivalent?

Re:You won't have to use Steam to benefit from thi (1)

Barryke (772876) | about 2 years ago | (#41485801)

No, the intent is to control their own software stack as to not be dependant. And when its finished they can sell us the Steam console, which strangely nobody sees coming.

"Dates"? (1)

Goaway (82658) | about 2 years ago | (#41484343)

"Next week"? "Some time in October"?

This is some new and exciting definition of the word "dates" which I have not yet encountered.

Re:"Dates"? (1)

schitso (2541028) | about 2 years ago | (#41484631)

Welcome to Valve Time [valvesoftware.com] .

Re:"Dates"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484861)

You must be new here. That is as much precision as I usually get when I ask someone for a date...

if this is viable maybe no more windows for me (5, Interesting)

Dan667 (564390) | about 2 years ago | (#41484407)

if Steam works on Linux with enough games I may just skip Windows 8 and everything after that.

Re:if this is viable maybe no more windows for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484589)

Surely most games will still only work on Windows though, right? Or perhaps I don't really understand what steam is, since I've been a Linux user for about 15 years.

Re:if this is viable maybe no more windows for me (1)

Ignacio (1465) | about 2 years ago | (#41484637)

Once the engines are ported, the games should be available with just a few commands on the part of the developers (assuming the programmers knew their head from their ass in the first place [yes, I'm an optimist that way]).

Of course, porting the engines is no mean feat...

Re:if this is viable maybe no more windows for me (3, Interesting)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about 2 years ago | (#41484687)

> Of course, porting the engines is no mean feat...
There are plenty of cross platform engines out there. All it really requires is a commitment to testing on more than one platform by the platform licensee. Hopefully with Valve and Apple pushing the envelope of what is possible (on all sorts of platforms, eg. gaming on your iPad/Android tablet etc) then developers will see that is more profitable to write a cross-platform (including Windows) game than a Windows-only game as they've been suckered in to in the past.

The other big factor is OpenGL support and usage. OpenGL was ahead of DirectX for a long time, then slipped behind in features, and is now pretty much ahead (more platforms, almost all features work on all platforms provided the graphics hardware supports it, unlike DirectX's strategy of requiring OS upgrades to get new features [probably designed that way as a revenue spinner]). Now it is DirectX platforms that are the minority and OpenGL is *everywhere*: its on Windows, Apple, Linux, iOS, Android, commercial embedded devices [eg. avionics], the PS/3. There is only one place that OpenGL isn't, and that is the XBox 360 [this is my design from Microsoft]. Kinda makes you think, why bother with DirectX when the only exclusive platform for that is the XBox 360 when by choosing OpenGL I can run my shaders everywhere else [which is exactly the conclusion I came to when designing my game - which is cross-platform and OpenGL shader based].

Re:if this is viable maybe no more windows for me (2)

jo_ham (604554) | about 2 years ago | (#41484787)

This is what we were promised in the OS X community when Steam launched on Mac OS X, and for the most part it has been a success - especially for Valve titles and smaller indie titles. Most of the big publishers are sticking to Windows though - likely because they're not using Source and the engines they do use have separate licensing for different platforms (or worse, only available on Windows).

Re:if this is viable maybe no more windows for me (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#41484959)

Once the engines are ported, the games should be available with just a few commands on the part of the developers

Should be, but not always are.

For example: Valve's Source engine was ported over to OS X. Valve ported over all of their Source titles. But they have also licensed it to other developers, and to my knowledge not a single one of them actually ported their game (going off "Dark Messiah of Might and Magic", "SiN Episodes: Emergence", "Zeno Clash" and "Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines"). Now, some of them have excuses (the SiN Episodes series was canned after one episode, and VTMB nearly predates HL2 and would have to be ported to a much newer version of the engine), but that's still a pretty bad record.

And some games that have OS X ports, and have the Windows version on Steam, haven't released the OS X version on Steam yet. Example: UT2004. Or they pull bullshit like treating the two ports as separate games (see: Call of Duty: Black Ops).

Basically, while your optimistic predictions are fully possible, in theory, the practice is likely to let you down a bit.

Re:if this is viable maybe no more windows for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485831)

You're correct. I've developed a game engine from scratch -- Basically started with an abstraction layer for windowing and creating an OpenGL context, then sounds -- models, animations, scripts, game logic, etc all "just work" after that.

I do all my coding on Linux, then git pull && make && bin\start-game on the Windows machine to create the windows build, the exact same as the Linux and Mac machines (except the last part on *nix is: ... && ./bin/start-game).

Once you've got the platform specific bits abstracted, it takes ZERO additional development time to build for the other supported OSs. Testing is another matter, but the cost/benefit analysis shows it's worth it. It makes no sense to ignore $$$ for no good reason:

"You mean all we have to to to get a larger chunk of money is start out with a cross platform engine?!"
YES.

This is why games ARE coming to Linux. It makes no sense not to.

Re:if this is viable maybe no more windows for me (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#41484873)

Most, yes, although they may offer some games (where it works really well) under a WINE wrapper (I believe they use Dosbox for some Dos games in a similar fashion). Some will, however, be native (Valve titles mostly, at the beginning anyways).

Re:if this is viable maybe no more windows for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485377)

Yeah, from what I can tell by using Steam, to play dos games it launches an instance of DOSBOX. So porting those games over should be trivial. For the wine idea, while I have gotten games to work really well in WINE it normally takes some work configuring, messing w/ winetricks, etc. And in the case of Deus Ex: Human Revolution it involved compiling WINE from source w/ a patch.

Re:if this is viable maybe no more windows for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485387)

Also though pointing to this being a somewhat viable solution, I got Fallout: New Vegas to work perfectly in WINE. It worked pretty much out of the box. It also seemed more stable then in windows.

Re:if this is viable maybe no more windows for me (1)

Lucractius (649116) | about 2 years ago | (#41485487)

They could stand to be a LOT more proactive with these older games. For instance I got the original Fallout and... yeah, its useless out of the box on steam. Yes I love staring at the 256colour rainbow shotgun effect over half the game on my Windows 7 gaming box.

Yey! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484465)

After secureboot, zeitgeist, amazon ads, all we need is a DRM.
Valve, just give us the bins. This is not m$-apple-tardland...

dicks to the face (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484545)

fag

I would just like to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484551)

Christmas comes early for the lucky thousand. I wonder if another hunger strike will convince them to raise that number?

Re:I would just like to say (5, Funny)

NemosomeN (670035) | about 2 years ago | (#41484715)

I doubt Gabe Newell is familiar with hunger strikes.

What is Steam and why care? (-1, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 years ago | (#41484641)

Is Steam a game? An app-store? A chat server? What does this DO for me, will it resolve stupid 3d acceleration bugs? Patch my free or non-free kernel?

About time (1)

Psicopatico (1005433) | about 2 years ago | (#41484783)

As many of you already know, Steam works fine in wine.

Ok, it may not be 100% perfect: it doesn't recognize correctly the microphone from my 100% original SoundBlaster (but probably it's only me) and sometimes has quite long loading times. But it runs fine.

However I had to completely get rid of it. And the most funny part is not for a Steam's fault (just my uneducated guess).
Preamble: check the Nvidia support forums [nvnews.net] for various references to "NVRM XID errors".
There are some really nasty bugs that occur to a lot of users while using the 3D features or CUDA from their video cards, which render the computer completely unusable and requires a reboot (remote CLI access still works).
Now, check again: for those about the 3D acceleration it's always when using software (games) via wine.
Obviously (sigh) I'm one of the affected by this. But everything is fine while using native code (videogames, blender, w/e).
That lead me to the conclusion that it's wine who triggers the condition resulting in the freezes. Perhaps a malformed call to a function or something, I don't know. And, I repeat, it's just a my completely uneducated guess.

At the end of the day, the net result is: no Steam via wine (or any other 3D game, for the matter) for me. I simply won't trade stability for some time (can be a few minutes, can be a few hours, not predictable) of entertainment.
So, it's about time we can have it natively. I'm really looking forward for this.

Re:About time (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about 2 years ago | (#41485117)

I've been a bit more lucky. I had Civ V working fine under Wine in early '10 until I decided I needed to 'fix' something and could never get it working again. So I got Crossover Games (now all combined as Crossover XI - shows up as .cxoffice) and it works fine but only with DirectX9. Ditto with Silent Hunter IV. The games I have from Frictional I got either from Humble Bundles or Steam and they play well, natively, or via Steam in Crossover.

Have had two video cards, an 8800GT, now a 460GTX, and two processors, 9350e and 1090T (same socket, BIOS upgrade). Using current_release nVidia drivers, Ubuntu 64-bit, now 12.04.

I've had three, maybe four crashes this year with Crossover, don't remember the error messages, but I think they were either memory or dll related. Only took down the game and locked up Steam; none froze the system. As I say, lucky. That, and I'm not much of a gamer (just shy of 900 hours this year in Civ, for example) - the games I play don't make much of a demand on the system or, apparently, on Wine.

As with you, I look forward to Steam on Linux. It'll be interesting to see how it works, and progresses.

Linux != Ubuntu (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 2 years ago | (#41484803)

Support for Ubuntu 12.04 and above

It's not really "Linux support", but rather Ubuntu support. A huge disappointment for long-time *nix users/power-users, who, generally, don't use Ubuntu.

Re:Linux != Ubuntu (1)

pnot (96038) | about 2 years ago | (#41484935)

long-time *nix users/power-users, who, generally, don't use Ubuntu.

Is that conjecture/anecdata, or verifiable fact?

(Not being snarky, genuinely curious.)

Re:Linux != Ubuntu (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485035)

Conjecture. Many long time users I know use Ubuntu because it gets so many things right, has a huge q&a base when things don't go right, and generally is easy to use and change. There are plenty of reasons not to use Ubuntu, philosophical, familiarity with other systems, etc. But it certainly isn't a "dumb"version of Linux or anything. And since it feels very much Ike debian, being debian + stuff, plenty of old timers -- like me -- made the switch and are happily using it.

I think anything popular rubs people the wrong way, but use Ubuntu and install e17 or window maker if you want to. It works fine, and you will probably find other people doing the same as you...

  Valve has stated they will not be restricting it to just Ubuntu, but do want to limit the initial release to be more targeted.

And to claim that Ubuntu support is somehow some awful subclass of Linux is pretty narrow minded if you ask me. It will probably install without issue on debian and mint and other debian based distros. Ubuntu runs a Linux kernel + patches, just like every other distro. I'm not sure what the subject even means. Linux by itself is not a complete OS.

Re:Linux != Ubuntu (1)

kungfuj35u5 (1331351) | about 2 years ago | (#41485077)

Yeah and somehow products only officially supported with redhat rpms don't work on Slackware and the likes... /s
Ubuntu is close enough, ABI compatibility and packed shared libs are all we really need to ensure it works on another distro.

Re:Linux != Ubuntu (3, Informative)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#41484979)

They're doing the initial beta (and possibly initial release) only under Ubuntu, to limit the number of complications.

Why Ubuntu? There are a couple of reasons for that. First, we’re just starting development and working with a single distribution is critical when you are experimenting, as we are. It reduces the variability of the testing space and makes early iteration easier and faster. Secondly, Ubuntu is a popular distribution and has recognition with the general gaming and developer communities. This doesn’t mean that Ubuntu will be the only distribution we support. Based on the success of our efforts around Ubuntu, we will look at supporting other distributions in the future.

Source: Valve Linux blog, entry "Steam'd Penguins", posted July 16 2012 [valvesoftware.com]

And all that means, really, is that they currently only "support" it on Ubuntu - it will quite likely run fine on other distros, although probably with some work involved. And, if it's a reasonable success, they may make it supported on other major distros.

Steam runs already in wine (1)

Vince6791 (2639183) | about 2 years ago | (#41484833)

Well, except steam the program itself runs just fine under wine with no issues. Only problem is that some games don't run. Can run cod4MW Multi-Player but's it's slow on the ati radeon 6850 but fast on geforce 9600gt. If gaming came big time to linux natively and netflix(better than amazon prime) as well, a lot of people would be happy and probably move to linux for good not looking back on windows with all those overpriced license restrictions garbage. I wonder if the steam native client would run fine in kubuntu, xubuntu, etc...

Wine doesn't do mouse correctly (2)

Plekto (1018050) | about 2 years ago | (#41484891)

The main issue with running under WINE is that they have to use proprietary code for the mouse and input drivers.

What this means is that the mouse doesn't work in 80%+ of games. It's a known issue and they refuse to deal with it, despite having had a working solution when they were still offering their commercial product. They pontificate on their forums about how they support free software only and take the usual neckbeard cave-dweller *IX hard-line about "no commercial anything anywhere, any time." All the while while they HAVE the code.

They even go so far as to delete posts and requests about mouse problems from their forums and claim that there's no problem, or that it works fine. Wine are complete assholes about it. I can run Mass Effect 1 perfectly except there's ZERO control of the character with the mouse - it's just dead. No fix at all.

When I had Cedega, it ran perfectly. They killed Cedega and presto - everything simply broke due to worthless drivers.

You can bet that Steam will have no such issues getting the mouse and joystick working properly.

Re:Wine doesn't do mouse correctly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485067)

It's a known issue and they refuse to deal with it, despite having had a working solution when they were still offering their commercial product. They pontificate on their forums about how they support free software only and take the usual neckbeard cave-dweller *IX hard-line about "no commercial anything anywhere, any time."

You're full of shit and stereotypes. The devs have acknowledged the problem several times, but they can't fix it inside Wine. The "working solution" you're talking about broke several major apps and games, and only fixed some of the games with mouse problems; the only correct fix that won't break things is to alter the X Windows server to allow a different, windows-style mouse interface method to be switched on.

How many games? (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 2 years ago | (#41485005)

This will do well if and when they manage make every steam game run under Linux, magically. It's it's going to be a matter of having to make it happen on a game by game basis, however, adoption rates will be horrid, no matter how much they'd like to make it work.

Re:How many games? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485397)

It depends. Some games are going to be trivial, some are going to be neigh impossible to port. An example of a trivial port will be most of the old games that were originally made for DOS. Steam plays those games by simply running an instance of dosbox, so these should be able to be ported by doing the same method in Linux. Some of the games already have linux versions (see the humble indie bundle games a good chunk of them are also on steam)

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