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Civilization Comes to Steam

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the steam-gets-civilized dept.

104

Gamespot reports that yet another publisher has joined the ever-growing stable of Steam fans. 2K games is working to bring some of their games to the service, with Civilization III and IV coming to Steam this week, and other titles to follow. From the article: "Also included will be the high-seas adventure Sid Meier's Pirates! and the alternate-history real-time strategy game Shattered Union ... According to a statement released today by Valve, Steam currently has some 10 million customers for both its 'core' products--which include advanced shooters such as Half-Life 2--and casual games, such as PopCap Games' Bejeweled and Zuma. "

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If you buy from Steam, Steam works (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16583986)

But if you buy retail, Steam is a source of bugs and problems.

Re:If you buy from Steam, Steam works (4, Insightful)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584122)

I assume you are reffering to the problems that came about from the launch of HL2 (assuming as you do not elaborate at all).

So again, most of the problems that were there have been fixed. Yes, you can play your purely offline content offline with no problems. Yes, you still need to unlock the game from the start, however I personaly prefer that to other forms of copy protection. Yes, the launch of HL2 was rocky b/c of the steam servers getting hammered horribly.

If you wana bash something, bash it, don't just make random comments.

As for the Civ series showing up on Steam? Nifty, I am always glad to see the library grwoing, admitedly I have no interest in strategy games so this is not great boon to me.

Re:No its rather recent (2, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584508)

I assume you are reffering to the problems that came about from the launch of HL2 (assuming as you do not elaborate at all).

Recently, I saw Red Orchestra [redorchestragame.com] at Target and bought it as an impulse buy because I really liked the Mod. However, to my dismay, I could never get it to run because it could not connect to Steam.

Even tried connecting directly to the internet without a router and turning off firewall and hacking the WinXP TCP/IP, but to no avail that game would not work.

I would have reformatted the machine, but it was my room mates. *coughs* My main computer is a PPC mac *coughs* and they were disproving of me playing games on it anyways.

Still... I thought it as money towards supporting an indie game dev, and eventually I'll have a Intel Mac so it will hopefully work.

But doesn't mean I will shy away from games that use Steam.

Re:No its rather recent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16584614)

Hrmph, that sucks. I am honestly surprised you had so many problems...

I really would sugest poping over to steampowered.com and asking around on the forums (well, obviously, read all the relavent info first). I recomend this because red orchestra is a friken awsome game!

As a random note:
External firewalls should generate no problems with steam, internal ones should work once you identify steam as a program that is alowed to connect to the outside world...
Try deleating the client.blob file, it seems to be sorta the catchall fix for steam.

Goodluck!

Re:If you buy from Steam, Steam works (1)

secolactico (519805) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584450)

WTF are you talking about? I bought Half Life (original), Opposing Force and Blueshift retail several years ago and activated them on steam when it came out with no problems at all.

Re:If you buy from Steam, Steam works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16585482)

responding to undo accidental moderation.

Re:If you buy from Steam, Steam works (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 7 years ago | (#16585978)

Um, IIRC, that only works if you post using the account that did the moderation.
Kudos for being the first-ever-documented AC-with-a-conscience, though!
You don't have to reply directly -- just posting anything to the thread will kill it, so go ahead.

Re:If you buy from Steam, Steam works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16586408)

Um, IIRC, that only works if you post using the account that did the moderation.
No, even an AC post done from the account that made the moderation will undo the mod.

You can freely post AC on a story and still mod afterwards. You can't post AC after you've modded: if you do, it'll undo your mods but it won't prevent you from going back and re-modding.

Re:If you buy from Steam, Steam works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16594116)

Sure you can - just use that "other" browser without your account cookie.... ;)

Kind of like this post, made from behind a nice proxied setup from a non-cookied browser that makes it virtually impossible to trace, or at least I hope so :)

Fancy that... (4, Funny)

sirboxalot (791959) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584068)

I've been meaning to buy Civ IV for a while now, and now I don't even need to leave the room.

Re:Fancy that... (1)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584598)

Yeah, those torrents come in pretty handy eh? ;)

Excellent. (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 7 years ago | (#16586216)

I admire you, sir. You have reinvigorated my dream of achieving such indolence by proving it possible.

Re:Fancy that... (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 7 years ago | (#16594144)

Once you get Civ IV, you won't leave the room. You might want to email everyone you know a fond farewell while it's installing. Only reason I'm not playing is because my friends formed an intervention group.

High prices (5, Interesting)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584076)

Civ 4 is $50 [steampowered.com] and Civ 3 is $30. [steampowered.com]
The latter seems quite high for a 5 year old game.

Re:High prices (1)

kevin.fowler (915964) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584386)

I believe that the CIV 3 includes the expansion packs.

Re:High prices (4, Insightful)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584660)

Great, Civ 3 Complete is $18.98 [amazon.com] on Amazon. The listed MSRP is $19.99, so it's not like you're even getting a discount from them. Steam is selling it for $10 more than that. What benefit are they offering you for your $10?

Re:High prices (3, Informative)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 7 years ago | (#16585122)

I realize that my case is so unusual as to be negligible and so it doesn't really justify it, but...I live 100 miles from Wal Mart (or any other place that would carry these games), so driving to get it, having it shipped next day air, or downloading it for $30 are my options for getting it quickly, and honestly the download would probably be the best balance of time and money. As it happens, I already own (and don't really like) Civ III, so I won't be getting either, though.

Re:High prices (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16585218)

And you have high speed internet If you just have sat then you may have to deal with FAP

Re:High prices (1)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 7 years ago | (#16585754)

3Mbps up/down cable, so yeah, downloading is fine.

Re:High prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16585312)

> Great, Civ 3 Complete is $18.98 [amazon.com] on Amazon. The listed MSRP is $19.99, so it's not like you're even getting a discount from them. Steam is selling it for $10 more than that. What benefit are they offering you for your $10?

The DRM/spyware, of course. That kind of code doesn't just grow on trees, you gotta pay someone to code something like Steam.

Re:High prices (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16586084)

The benefit of not being able to play the game once they go out of business.

Re:High prices (1)

FrenZon (65408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16587234)

I am happy to pay more for Steam titles - not having to worry about physical media is super great, especially since Steam lets you use your games on multiple computers. I have complete access to my Steam games library anywhere, and the games I do have installed are automatically patched and updated as needed.

Yes, internet access speeds in the US make downloading some games painful, but it's still faster than waiting for next-day delivery, and gives you a smug "I'm not needlessly polluting the air by driving to a store" feeling (well it would if I had a car to not drive).

Re:High prices (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 7 years ago | (#16595310)

What benefit are they offering you for your $10?
Judging from my expeience with Steam/HL2, the main benefit is that you won't be able to download or ever play it properly, so you'll be saved from Iain Banks's reported problems with Civ addiction.

Re:High prices (0, Redundant)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584426)

Then don't buy it.

Re:High prices (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16584712)

Found on Amazon.com for $18.95. URL: http://snipurl.com/10esk [snipurl.com]

Civ 4 for $29 (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16587034)

For the next 3 hours you can get Civilization 4 DVD edition for $29.99 at gogamer.com [gogamer.com] .

Steam & Shadowgrounds (3, Interesting)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584108)

If you've got Steam, give that Shadowgrounds [shadowgroundsgame.com] game a whirl. It's old-fashioned 2D and is very nifty - lots of weapons, lots of stuff to kill, just fun to play all around. And only $20, so, hey.

Re:Steam & Shadowgrounds (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584166)

100% true

topdown, mouse aiming, keyboard movement goodness.

There are not enough games like that one!

Re:Steam & Shadowgrounds (1)

NinjaFarmer (833539) | more than 7 years ago | (#16585534)

Shadowgrounds was pretty good... until the ending. Man they REALLY messed that up so badly that I was pretty much cracking up while watching the end credits.

Re:Steam & Shadowgrounds (1)

PaganRitual (551879) | more than 7 years ago | (#16586434)

I'd like to supply an alternate opinion.

I found that Shadowgrounds was cool old school retro in appearance only. It was apparently totally lost on the devs that the appeal in that sort of game was lots of enemies that are easy to kill, not a middle amount of enemies that take a bunch of shots to kill, thus requiring endless running backwards. I was higly disappointed with the demo, although I'll probably end up with the game anyway as it's part of the sci-fi games pack I've been eyeing off (x3 AND Darwinia for $30? sign me up) so I'll give it another go.

Maybe it's been too long since I played Alien Breed, but I was sure this is how it works.

Sadness.. (2, Interesting)

yamamushi (903955) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584190)

Am I the only one who finds this disappointing?

Re:Sadness.. (1)

DarthBibble (1015727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584288)

How is it disappointing that Steam is expanding their game library? It can only mean more money for Valve, and subsequently more upgrades to the service.

Re:Sadness.. (1)

El Gigante de Justic (994299) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584792)

I don't know that I find it disappointing but I can see how some people might, and I don't think this should be labeled as Troll.

  I think some people may see this as disappointing because it's a further move towards more restrictive copy protection; restrictive not in the sense that it's harder to crack, but that its more difficult for people with legitimate copies to play. While copy protection is all well and good, requiring an internet connection to play a game isn't always convenient, especially if you like to play while on the go (i.e., sitting in an airport where internet access is $8 an hour). Also, not everyone has broadband at home yet, which is another hindrance to this being a great system. If it maybe it only required you to connect to progress past certain points of the game or after every N hours of gameplay (besides upon initial install) it would be a bit more convenient. Alternatively, the steam service could pass you a keycode which is created upon various parameters, such as your CD-Key, the date/time of the last validation and your IP, and then it could require you to enter this code when not online for the next X days, and then you have to revalidate to get a new updated code after the last one expires.

    Personally, I miss the old days of being told to find the page with symbol W and enter word X from line Y of paragraph Z, even if it does keep from finishing EOB2 since I lost the manual.

Re:Sadness.. (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16585302)

Steam has offline play. Once the game is installed and unlocked, you no longer need to connect to the servers for any reason. You can connect when you want to get updates and such, but you don't HAVE to connect.

Re:Sadness.. (3, Interesting)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 7 years ago | (#16585216)

No, you're not (and let the Valve/Steam fanboys mod me down, I've karma to burn anyhow).

If some games players want an easy life and not to have to worry about applying updates manually then good luck to them and I hope Steam gives them what they want.

But Steam has also been shown to be as intrusive as spyware in what it "phones home" about in regard to what it finds on your PC - sure, those at "Steam Central" may not be able to do much with any information to any specific individuals but that information is still probably useful statistically and may even be used to justify even tighter restrictions on we consumers further down the line. No, I've nothing to hide whatsoever (apart from my own personal data on my machines) but I also work in operating system and server security - Steam is just another closed server/client application that has the potential to be misused or cracked and is therefore not running on any PC I own - it's that simple.

What's a real shame is that the original Half-Life (and its expansions) is my favourite game of all time and I would like to play Half-Life 2 and the new Episodes - yes, and like everything else I play, I'll happily go out and buy the full retail version. But I decide what I run on my PC and I simply will *NOT* allow any power-hungry company ride roughshod through my PC for the sake of a game.

It's even more annoying that I'm also a big fan of the Civilization series and have played them all up to Civ 3 - Civ 4 was going to be a game I was going to ask for a Christmas present from the missus. Hopefully, I'll still have the choice of buying the boxed version and downloading the updates to install manually, otherwise I'll be choosing something else for Santa Claus to bring me.

But to end on a positive note, at the other end of the scale I think Stardock deserve some real praise with the way they have handled Galactic Civilizations II. Not only is it a superb game (if you're a Master Of Orion fan like I am) but once you've installed it and registered your license key with their web site, you don't even need to put the game disc in the drive to play it - plus they even tell you how to export you registration to another machine so you can have it installed simultanously on a desktop and laptop or so that you don't need to go through the registration process again after a rebuild.

Re:Sadness.. (1)

yamamushi (903955) | more than 7 years ago | (#16586290)

Thank you. I love civilization 3 & 4, but I absolutely hate steam. I don't understand why I was modded as troll though..

Re:Sadness.. (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 7 years ago | (#16587016)

I don't understand why I was modded as troll though..

Probably because you offered no insight as to what you found sad about it. So, it was just empty bashing.

The follow-up poster filled in the blanks for you. (He also used the trick of saying he would get moderated down to almost guarantee being moderated up, but I digress.)

Re:Sadness.. (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16588452)

"Hopefully, I'll still have the choice of buying the boxed version and downloading the updates to install manually, otherwise I'll be choosing something else for Santa Claus to bring me."

Shouldn't be a problem. In addition to Steam, Take 2 has arrangements with Direct2Drive for online distribution as well. These are both in addition to purchasing the regular store bought version. You off the shelf Civ 4 won't become "Steamified" as far as I can tell. Mine certainly hasn't.

No Warlords? (2, Interesting)

DarthBibble (1015727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584196)

I thought maybe they would include Civ 4: Warlords in a bundle.

Re:No Warlords? (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 7 years ago | (#16586830)

You can get a bundle of Civ IV and Warlords at direct2drive for $69.95 downloaded. Not a bad deal and the DLs are pretty speedy, at least as fast as steam. (I have no interest in Direct2Drive, and frankly this entire article was an advertisement)

Civilization comes to Steam? (5, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584210)

... right, so after Steam get Railroad, then Industrialization. Then build factories, factories, factories, and start churning out the cavalry and artillery units 50% faster than your neighbours. The rest writes itself...

Re:Civilization comes to Steam? (1)

jusdisgi (617863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16585146)

...so after Steam get Railroad, then Industrialization. Then build factories...

Your tech tree is so 1996. These days, factories come with Assembly Line, well before Industrialism. You don't even need railroad to get them. Industrialism is later, in any case, requiring electricity; but since there's no Mobile Warfare tech, you get to build tanks (and battleships) with Industrialism. So now my typical path is Steam Power -> Assembly Line -> Railroad -> Combustion -> Electricity -> Industrialism.

Re:Civilization comes to Steam? (1)

Stripe7 (571267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16585240)

LOL! I love your sig.

Re:Civilization comes to Steam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16589986)

It's a old quote though......but still a really good one.

Re:Civilization comes to Steam? (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#16585786)

No, no! You can win much earlier by getting democracy, and then building the statue of liberty ASAP. Then switch to a fundamentalism. You can dominate the world with Crusaders long before the discovery of tactics. Not very ethical, but I'm not killing REAL people and REAL liberty.....

Of course getting steam is nice because the first steam boats are incredibly powerful despite the fact that that has almost nothing to do with reality.

Now as for Steam and Valve, well that seems stupid and clunky. I don't even like Civ III or IV anyway, I just wish FreeCiv was more exactly like Civ II which (to me) is near perfect in hundreds of ways.

Hey Valve! Release Civ II that looks like Civ IV and maybe I'll buy it! Or better yet, release Civ II as FOSS like Id does with quake, etc. Let the community rebuild the interface to be 3d and pretty.....

rhY

Re:Civilization comes to Steam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16589040)

Your strategy may be effective, but it is lacking something in grace and artistry.

I prefer to build a medium sized underwater empire, then concentrate on getting a dozen or so planet busters while pursuing peace in all negotiations. When the time is ripe, send the planet busters without warning to cleanse the most populated areas of the world, concentrating especially on noncoastal regions. The next few years will see massive flooding due to global warming, eliminating most of the remaining coastal cities and bringing every one of your opponents to their knees.

Old PC Games (5, Interesting)

Jesterboy (106813) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584252)

This is all well and good, but what I'd really like to see on Steam is the "ancient school" games that used to run on Win95/DOS running under Windows XP and available $5-$10 a pop. It seems like an ideal situation for Valve; small download sizes, minimal work, and I would think a high demand. As for the gamers, we could get games like the original System Shock running no hassle under WinXP, with possibly some minor graphical improvements (i.e., unlocking higher res video modes [ttlg.com] in this example).

I know games such as these are widely available on abandonware sites, but I would gladly pay for true support. Referring to System Shock again, I managed to get it to run fine on my old laptop with Windows XP, but my current system is unable to play it reliably, despite trying to use Dos Box, VDM Sound, etc. I would gladly pay for these games if I could easily run them, and would like to support the developers who made them. We could have Lucasarts Adventures, classic DOS games, and older FPSes at our fingertips without delving into a legal quagmire such as abandonware. Is this just a pipe dream?

Re:Old PC Games (2, Interesting)

secolactico (519805) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584584)

but what I'd really like to see on Steam is the "ancient school" games that used to run on Win95/DOS running under Windows XP and available $5-$10 a pop.

I'll say! I would gladly pay (again!) for a chance to play "Master or Orion", the Ultima series (incl. Worlds of Ultima) with no hassle on modern hardware/OS.

Still, this is a good idea. I never bought CIV III or IV, so I guess I'll give them a whirl.

Re:Old PC Games (5, Informative)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584688)

There's no such thing as giving Civ III a "whirl."

You can start a game in the afternoon. You'll be "just finishing up this turn" when the sun comes up the next morning, and you haven't slept at all. You've been warned.

Re:Old PC Games (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584918)

You can start a game in the afternoon. You'll be "just finishing up this turn" when the sun comes up the next morning, and you haven't slept at all. You've been warned.

Amateur. If you get up and eat breakfast at the PC you should be conquering the world by lunch (against the AI anyway).

Re:Old PC Games (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584938)

I don't need Civ III for that... Civ I already did that for me, and yes, I do play it from time to time in DosBox. Yes, I know there are opensource alternatives by now. *sigh*

Re:Old PC Games (1)

autophile (640621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16585588)

Ultima?! Forget that -- I'd like to play Wizardry. The one without the roman numeral after it, you know, the first one. Mmmm, Apple II graphics fringing effects!

--Rob

Re:Old PC Games (1)

GeorgeS069 (956679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16586046)

damn you're old!...I haven't heard that game mentioned in a very long time
I had it for the NES and I played it constantly for months

Re:Old PC Games (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16587272)

Part of the problem is that there isn't a really good way to run some of those games. At least not 100% (see compatibility with DOSBox and many games). Some reengineering would probably need to be done.

I know the Slashdot crowd generally hates subscription services (except WoW of course), but if you want to try some old classics GameTap [gametap.com] is pretty decent. The strategy game selection is really good with classics like:

Heroes of Might and Magic 1-4
Civilization 3
Age of Wonders 1-2
Tropico 1-2
Command and Conquer 1 and Red Alert
Homeworld 1-2
Sid Meir's Gettysburg
Caeser 3, Pharoah and Zeus
SimCity 2000

They even have some ancient stuff, like well the Ancient Art of War series.
Ultima 1-5 are included, but I would love to see at least 6,7 and the Worlds of Ultima series added. Early Sierra games (King's Quest 1-5) and Infocom (Zork, Planetfall etc.) are well represented.

I'm taking a break from MMOs for awhile so I thought I'd try the service. At $10 a month for the base cost it's pretty inexpensive.
A word of warning though, you probably will run into problems with some of the games. I've had issues with Uplink (although the issue occurs if I download the demo, so it isn't GameTap's fault) and Lego Rock Raiders wouldn't run at all. The client occasionally craps out and you can't play if your Internet connection is down. And of course you aren't BUYING any games - it's really just a software rental service. From that perspective it's cheaper than renting a handful of games from Blockbuster.
Cool bonuses include Space Ghost episodes with everyone from Richard Garriott (Lord British) to Steve Wozniak. Oh yeah and you get the Same & Max episodes included.

Re:Old PC Games (1)

secolactico (519805) | more than 7 years ago | (#16587514)

That looks pretty nifty. Too bad it isn't available outside the U.S.

Site makes no mention of legal issues tho, but since it's got limited availability, I guess there are none. Still, they should have a faq or section explaining that users will not be left high and dry because BSA came knocking up their door.

Re:Old PC Games (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16587586)

They just launched in Canada - although not all games are available there yet due to licensing reasons. The service is legit - it's run by Turner Broadcasting (Time Warner) which is why you will find some systems notably absent (for example they have a lot of Sega stuff but no Nintendo). The selection of games for each platform also varies in quality. Aside from old Epyx games there are few of the top Commodore 64 classics represented.

Re:Old PC Games (1)

ahmusch (777177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16596166)

DosBox with D-Fend.

Done.

Re:Old PC Games (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16584692)

Never mind "ancient school", civ III should be $5-$10. $30 is a total rip-off, and makes a mockery of everything steam is "supposed" to stand for - it cuts out the publishers, they take 99.99% of the cost of a game for themselves - it allows us to deliver cheaper games to the end customer for a moderate inconvenience of not having a physical product and having to have internet activation . Absolute cheek.

Re:Old PC Games (3, Informative)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584736)

This is all well and good, but what I'd really like to see on Steam is the "ancient school" games that used to run on Win95/DOS running under Windows XP and available $5-$10 a pop.

What you want is Gametap [gametap.com] . They don't have System Shock, but they have a lot of old DOS games (including LucasArts adventures).

Re:Old PC Games (1)

joncraft (237454) | more than 7 years ago | (#16596974)

FYI, Gametap just added Civ3 to its lineup. They have a suprisingly large collection of reasonably new games (less than 3-4 years old) available, and they seem to be adding new ones at a rate that just barely keeps me from dropping my subscription.

Re:Old PC Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16584880)

LucasArts tapes over the source code from their games when they're done making them to create special editions, so it might not be exactly what you remember.

The problem is (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16586158)

That it is generally a non-trivial amount of work to update the game to run on modern systems. I mean the way you dealt with things in the DOS was was just totally different from now. For graphics most games would do something along the lines of directly write information to the VGA card's registers then call an interrupt to switch it to a non-directly supported mode (320x240 with multiple buffers was popular, called Mode X often). You'd then directly write to the off-screen video RAM and flip the page when you were ready to display.

Ok so there's just no such thing now in Windows. You don't directly access anything in hardware. You instead call upon an API for it (usually DirectX). This means that to make it directly Windows compatible you have to totally re-write large parts of the code. You aren't just hacking one little thing to be different, it's a different way of dealing with a computer.

The only other option is emulation. You leave the program as is and have something that translates those direct hardware access instructions in to calls to APIs Windows can deal with. That's precisely what DOSBox or the NTVDM do already.

I just don't think you'd find the market to be large enough to justify the development cost of a Windows port.

However, as to the Lucas Arts games, you are in luck. Turns out that all those adventure games they made were designed with the same basic software. It was called the Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion, or SCUMM. Basically they developed a tool to put together Maniac Mansion. Well when they made another game like it, they started with the same tool and updated it. The upshot is that emulating that engine has become an easy way to make lots of those old games run, and that has been done. See http://www.scummvm.org/ [scummvm.org] for the project.

Re:The problem is (1)

spacey (741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16590798)

Doesn't a freedos and a virtual x86 (i.e. bochs or something similar) that's self-contained make for a market for this? Just package up a 30-40mb VM (that's enough space built in to save games), and sell it for $10.

No hassle with trying to turn your teraherz machine into a 8-bit cpu, and your whizbang video card into a BIOS-driven EGA display, just emulate it. The best part is it probably won't become obsolete again. The emulator should work for a long, long time.

-Peter

Re:The problem is (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16595154)

I think you're missing the point here. That's already done, DOSBox is probably one of the best examples. It emulates a DOS machine, with an eye specifically on games. Ok, great. Problem is, as with all emulation, it's imperfect. For one thing it's really slow (this is partially because the programmers aren't that trained in ways to make it fast) and there's also all kinds of compatibility problems that crop up.

What the GP was saying he wanted was for companies to actually port their games to Windows, make them native code. This would basically fix speed and compatibility problems. My point is that it's too expensive to do per game. Something like emulation is the only way to go and we've already got that.

Re:Old PC Games (1)

jalefkowit (101585) | more than 7 years ago | (#16586562)

This is all well and good, but what I'd really like to see on Steam is the "ancient school" games that used to run on Win95/DOS running under Windows XP and available $5-$10 a pop.

GameTap [gametap.com] is exactly what you are looking for: 700+ classic games (including not just DOS/Windows goodies, but console games as well), playable on demand, $7/month.

Is this just a pipe dream?

Apparently not ;-)

Re:Old PC Games (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16589634)

Nice for Americans. I tried "Play Now" on a game and it refused with "Only Available in America".

Re:Old PC Games (1)

kevmo (243736) | more than 7 years ago | (#16589994)

Have you seen Windows Marketplace [windowsmarketplace.com] ? There are some old games on there ...

I say (1)

Enoxice (993945) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584346)

I hope that (a) future versions/expansions to Civ aren't Steam exclusive and (b) no games are Steam exclusive. As you can probably tell, I am not a big fan of Steam.

I prefer buying retail and patching via ftp downloads, thank you very much. Steam is yet another background process to cause problems on my computer. I'm not sure how it is now, but it caused many a headache back when I used to play HL2 and CS:S.

Re:I say (1)

Twanfox (185252) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584730)

I concur on the headaches from Steam. It seems that, using Steam, it takes for-fucking-ever to start to play a game (5 minutes is not atypical) and my system runs the games themselves just fine (HL2 and CS:S). Not only that, but the forced patch cycle has made it impossible for me to play on occasion (THANKS!) and has caused me grief with my favorite servers in CS:S. Ever since they force-patched my game a year or so ago, my favorites (which used to be fine) now don't show up without me refreshing, and managing the favorite list seems to be impossible, as I cannot delete some entries out.

Stupid system.

When worlds collide (2, Interesting)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584376)

I've already got Civ 4, but it would be very nice if I can use the CD code to run it off steam. For some unknown reason, my CD Drive trips a copy protection on Civ 4, causing a switch to low priority on my machine. I can reset it to normal, but it doesn't stay for long. It's incredibly frustrating. All tech support could say is "update your CD drive drivers" but apparently my drive's company doesn't support this drive anymore. This drives' not even supposed to work on XP!

It's really nice to see higher qualities coming to steam. It's even scheduled to have an Unreal Engine 3 based game. The Pop-caps games are just annoying to see advertised; maybe Civ 4 can class-up the place alittle.

Re:When worlds collide (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584970)

my CD Drive trips a copy protection on Civ 4, causing a switch to low priority on my machine. I can reset it to normal, but it doesn't stay for long. It's incredibly frustrating. All tech support could say is "update your CD drive drivers" but apparently my drive's company doesn't support this drive anymore. This drives' not even supposed to work on XP!

Rather than spending $50 to buy the game again on Steam, why not spend $30 and get a new CD-ROM (DVD-ROM/CD-R/RW). Or see if you can find a no-cd hack and use that.

Re:When worlds collide (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16585084)

I'm not interested in spending money either way, I was merely wondering if they'll allow retailers to use the steam version, kind of like how HL2 retail worked except after the fact. I've tried no-cd hacks, haven't found one that doesn't crash in the middle of the game (I assume because it also trips the protection.)

Re:When worlds collide (1)

saviorsloth (467974) | more than 7 years ago | (#16586238)

This may be what you tried, but I just wanted to recommend the potent trifecta of the "pr1m45" Civ IV mini-image, which can be loaded into a virtual drive through Daemon Tools, and the program SD4hide, which masks the fact that you're running daemon tools

Good luck, I hope this allows you to play this fantastic game

Re:When worlds collide (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16590954)

For some unknown reason, my CD Drive trips a copy protection on Civ 4, causing a switch to low priority on my machine.
The copy protection in Civ4 ruined my laptop's DVD-ROM -- I am really tired of being punished for being legit (and before anyone says, yes - I have contacted them on the issue - no, nothing came of it).

Re:When worlds collide (1)

discord5 (798235) | more than 7 years ago | (#16591346)

I am really tired of being punished for being legit (and before anyone says, yes - I have contacted them on the issue - no, nothing came of it).

Yep, know how you feel. I've got the same issue with several games, and I ended up buying another DVD drive just because of the copy protection. Sure, DVD drives cost next to nothing these days, but it's annoying.

Yes, I know, nobody is forcing me to buy these games, and yes, I'm well aware of the fact that there are most likely cracked versions on the net, etc etc... But in all fairness, some copyprotection schemes are just going too far these days, for example Starforce [wikipedia.org] and I'm sure the /. community can think of a few others.

If the copy-protection schemes in place make it a real pain for legal users, and in the first 2 weeks after release cracked versions still show up, then you probably are better off not using that particular copy-protection scheme but one that is nicer to users.

Same old... (1)

Jrabbit05 (943335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584392)

Awww just, when we figure out the multiplayer you give us a new one.

Does anyone know (2, Informative)

overshoot (39700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584408)

how these play on Wine and variants?

I like the Civ games, but I'm not about to buy blind.

Re:Does anyone know (3, Informative)

Clever7Devil (985356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584680)

Civ 4 does not work in Wine, to my dismay.
Not as if grinding my Hunter to 60 leaves any time for Civ 4...

http://appdb.winehq.org/appview.php?iAppId=2514 [winehq.org]

Re:Does anyone know (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 7 years ago | (#16596788)

It works fine in cedgea. It's only $5 difference...

Re:Does anyone know (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16584750)

Civ4 is supported in Cedega, not sure on the others.
There is also a Civ4 demo available

Steam questions (3, Interesting)

batmn42 (158573) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584420)

I like the idea of Steam, but I have an issue with it that has kept me from buying anything on it (I have tried the Darwinia demo, and liked it, but didn't end up buying the actual game).

My question is: what if Steam goes away someday?

I really want Episode One (and for sure will get Episode 2 when it comes out-- Portal is sweet). But if I buy them over Steam, and then my computer dies, and Steam dies someday, I've got nothing left. If I go to the store and buy a disc, then at least I'll be able to reinstall the game and play it even if I don't have a connection to Steam (or is that even possible?). But if I download the whole game on Steam, aren't I losing any chance to play it, should Steam ever disappear?

I have already bought Half Life and HL2 (in the boxes), and play them over Steam without any problems. But I've been staying away from actually buying things through Steam (even though I'd buy Episode I and Civ III in a second) because of these issues. Any answers?

Re:Steam questions (1)

DarthBibble (1015727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584476)

Steam won't go away anytime soon at the rate it's growing. But maybe if it one day disappears, people will come up with some way to get around Steam, or maybe Valve will make a workaround so we can still play the game we bought years ago. Who knows?

Re:Steam questions (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584528)

ahh, as you have some valve games already registerd in STEAM this is simple to explain.

All you need to do is poke around and find the little dohicky that lets you backup your games, then burn em to a CD!

Re:Steam questions (2, Informative)

Goose42 (88624) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584626)

Once the game has been downloaded to your machine, it is possible to force Steam into an "offline" mode which won't hit up servers for anything (updates, verification, etc). So, if the Steam service disappears, you will still be able to play your games. As well, you can back up the Steam installer and the game data to CDs/DVDs, so if the service disappears you can load the games back from your own personal backups.

Re:Steam questions (3, Informative)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584638)

Well, The Steam Review [steamreview.org] has a blog/report on the closing of Triton; an online games distribution system that once hosted Prey.

The closing of Triton is a lesson on how not to shut down DD systems. While I fully support Steam and buy all my valve products through it, it is always important to know what could happen. We can only hope Valve takes up Triton's lesson and prepares fail safes. As of now, Valve has tested and says they are prepared to allow bypassing the authentication servers should their service be offline for an extended time. This is a good first step in preparations, but it is still a small step.

You are fully allowed to backup all steam games to disk; it even provides you with a function to do so with minimal work.

In my personal opinion, Digital purchasing of Steam games is just as safe as physical purchases, easier, and (in some cases) cheaper. The real arguement is what if Steam's gone for good and that'll affect all the Steam games equally.

Re:Steam questions (1)

dupont54 (857462) | more than 7 years ago | (#16593126)

Steam "backups" will still require activation (aka log in on the Steam service) when re installed. It doesn't solve the problem at all.

Moreover, have a look at the infamous Steam Subscriber Agreement. It clearly states that they have NO obligation to provide offline versions of their games in case they decide to shut down some parts of the service.

As with most digital distribution services, you never purchase anything on Steam: you merely rent it until the day they change their mind.

Re:Steam questions (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584748)

There are scene releases for all steam games so they can't completely die off, and if Valve ever closes their service they'll probably put out one last update to steam that allows everyone to play without steam being logged in. I think that if Valve ever closes it's doors there will be bigger problems to worry about than how your going to get your old steam games to function. Also, how many of your old games work today? There's a lot of classic games from the nineties that just refuse to function with WinXP and/or newer hardware, and Vista will only break even more games. This could be solved with emulators/virtual machines, but they don't support hardware 3d acceleration AFAIK, so that's not an option yet.

Re:Steam questions (1)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#16586754)

There are two possibilities: Either for whatever reason, everyone starts to hate Valve and Steam. Valve goes bankrupt, no one buys them out. No more legal department, and cracks are distributed. The other case, Valve falls apart, but someone buys at least steam off of them. Either they charge for access, or use the existing brand recognition to keep the service operating. Either way, I doubt very much that Steam is going away any time soon, and if it does, I doubt anyone will be there to protect the source code from crackers.

So what (2, Informative)

alnjmshntr (625401) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584726)

I can't understand why releasing a game on Steam is news. These games have been available for online purchase and download from other sites for ages. Direct2Drive.com for example (my favourite) has many top games for sale and their prices go down pretty quickly after release. And you get to download an actual setup file which you can backup to a dvd.

Re:So what (2, Insightful)

Zed2K (313037) | more than 7 years ago | (#16585016)

Which you can't update with official patches until Direct2Drive puts out their own version of the patch. Steam is directly connected to the publisher which just pushes the patches out to the system to update automatically.

Re:So what (1)

alnjmshntr (625401) | more than 7 years ago | (#16589174)

I don't think this is true, do you have a specific example? AFAIR all the games that I have downloaded have had patches for downloaded games released by the publishers themselves, not by Direct2Drive. For example Ubisoft will release a retail and a download version of their patches, at the same time.

And, in any case, for single player games patching is not a huge issue. Steam does a good job for patching online games, which need frequent updates.

Re:So what (1)

AlexMax2742 (602517) | more than 7 years ago | (#16593092)

And you get to download an actual setup file which you can backup to a dvd.

Steam has had this feature [imagesocket.com] since forever. It will even split it up into neat little CD or DVD sized files for you.

How do I sell a game? (0)

carlivar (119811) | more than 7 years ago | (#16584884)

Question on this Steam thing. If I buy a game and don't like it, or I play it for a while and get tired of it and decide to sell it (box, CD/DVDs and all) - how is this done? Is it possible with Steam?

Re:How do I sell a game? (1, Interesting)

InsideTheAsylum (836659) | more than 7 years ago | (#16585170)

You sell your steam account (which is against the Steam ToS). Basically, I'd create an account for each game that you purchase and then barter that account away somehow.

Re:How do I sell a game? (1)

carlivar (119811) | more than 7 years ago | (#16585748)

Then I don't like Steam.

Re:How do I sell a game? (2, Interesting)

toejam316 (1000986) | more than 7 years ago | (#16588478)

Actually, You can sell your games. Simple as hell for the seller, but it can be a nightmare for the buyer. You simply sell the DVD/CD, CD Key and thats it. The whole damn thing, done. And for them to play it? They have to send in the CD Key and $10 to Valve and say "Hey! This game is registered to another steam account! Mine is ****@***.***, Register it to this please!". Then, they get the game. Simplish. ish.

Re:How do I sell a game? (1)

dupont54 (857462) | more than 7 years ago | (#16593290)

CD-key are only for retail product. Downloadabe titles do not have any CD-key.

Short answer is, no, you can't resell anything (like on iTunes). Long answer is you can resell your account, but try not being caught.

Obligatory jab at Counter-Strike players (1)

Bugs42 (788576) | more than 7 years ago | (#16585002)

Civilization on Steam? Sure, all them 13-year olds questioning my sexual preferences everytime I get a frag are real civilized.

Re:Obligatory jab at Counter-Strike players (1)

red_kenotic (842553) | more than 7 years ago | (#16588048)

Oh! So you're the homosexual that killed me! CS NOOB!!1

Trygames.com (1)

owlman17 (871857) | more than 7 years ago | (#16588402)

The idea of Steam is good. Another site that carries downloads of Civ IV ($49) [trygames.com] and Civ III ($29) [trygames.com]
  is Trygames.com [trygames.com] .

There lots of titles, big and small. Big titles like FEAR, Empire Earth II, etc. There are smaller casual-gamer titles like Luxor, etc.
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