Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Steam - improvements for next version

Last response: in Video Games
Share
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 5:18:53 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

First, let me make my position on Steam clear:
I have the retail version of HL2 and that was my first experience of
Steam. I'd heard a bit about it and read some of the comments on this
forum. My attitude has changed as I used it and as I read and
understood more of other people's problems and concerns.

Having used Steam now to play HL2, download patches and download the
SDK, I have formed an opinion based on my experience, but coloured by
the experiences of others.

Overall, I am on the "pro-Steam" side of the fence, meaning that I am
happy to use it. I'm not going to vote Gabe Newell for president, but
neither do I think he is the devil incarnate. Steam has worked for me
(partly due to the way my PC is set up - see point 1 below). I
personally have no concerns about it, but I accept that others do,
mainly due to point 1 below. I don't think Steam restricts my freedom,
intrudes or imposes on my life, humililates me, dictates when and what
I can play, or is ugly.

I don't have a problem with downloading software through Steam. As a
"content delivery system" I appreciate the way it automates the
searching, downloading and installation process - not dissimilar to
Windows Update. I also like having it check for and apply patches
automatically, so I don't need to bother searching for them.

Combining the product registration with the installation process and
linking it to a password protected account is, I think, a good move
against piracy. It doesn't matter now if the CD gets copied globally,
because the CD-Key is "used" and none of those copies can be activated.
The legitimate purchaser can install his games anywhere he has access
to Steam.

Things I would change are:

1) "Offline" means "offline". You should be able to select offline mode
easily and permanently (or until you switch to online mode), and Steam
should make no attempt to connect to the internet. Of course you miss
out on the auto-patching this way, but that's your choice. (Because my
internet connection does not connect automatically, this is how Steam
already works for me, hence some of my previous comments - I didn't
realise offline mode didn't work if you had an open internet
connection).

2) Patches should be optional. You should be offered the choice of
downloading the patch now or "remind me later" (perhaps a counter to
select how many days before the next reminder?) This is really just a
nicety, since you must have the latest patch to play online, but it
does allow you to choose when to do your downloading for those who
haven't got anytime or unrestricted internet access, or dial-up users
who don't want to tie their phone up during the day.

3) Instructions in the retail box. The installation is not intuitive
for the man in the street. If you're buying it through Steam then
you've already installed Steam separately and it's more obvious what
you're doing, but most people who buy the retail box expect to just put
the disc in the drive and for it to install automagically. HL2 is not
that straightforward, but nothing that another Quickstart guide
wouldn't have overcome. For most of us, Steam is new technology and new
technology always needs explaining in words of one syllable.

More about : steam improvements version

Anonymous
February 1, 2005 5:59:15 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

Peter Lykkegaard wrote:
>> Btw send your thoughts to Valve
> My experience is that this gaming company does listen to their fans -
maybe
> a littlee too much
>
Yeah I thought of that even as I typed. But I'm at work right now and
the firewall doesn't let me visit interesting sites. I'll do it this
evening.
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 12:26:01 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

Nick Hounsome wrote:
> "Chadwick" <chadwick110@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1107253133.444546.213960@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
>
> > 1) "Offline" means "offline". You should be able to select offline
mode
> > easily and permanently (or until you switch to online mode), and
Steam
> > should make no attempt to connect to the internet. Of course you
miss
> > out on the auto-patching this way, but that's your choice. (Because
my
> > internet connection does not connect automatically, this is how
Steam
> > already works for me, hence some of my previous comments - I didn't
> > realise offline mode didn't work if you had an open internet
> > connection).
>
> I have a firewall which allows me to easily block all traffic.
> I block all traffic; start steam which goes to offline mode and then
I
> reenable traffic. Steam remains in offline mode.

Yes, we've all got ways around it. I make sure I'm disconnected when I
start up HL2, others pull the plug out. But surely it would be better
if it wasn't a workaround, and was a working feature of the software?
After all, an option for "offline mode" does imply that it will not go
online.

This is one of the big gripes of the anti-Steam lobby - that it always
tries to connect even when you're playing single-player. Sometimes I
want to just play the game, not check for updates first.

If you're playing multi-player online then it's different, you need the
patches and you need them immediately. But for single-player you
shouldn't have to go online at all (apart from initial registration).
The "cost" is that you'll miss out on patches, but that's your choice.
Related resources
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 12:38:43 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

Andrew wrote:
> On Tue, 01 Feb 2005 16:04:40 +0000, Ben Cottrell
> <bench@bench333.screaming.net> wrote:
>
> >I think you misunderstand. Game patches are only optional if you
don't
> >wish to play the game. One of Steam's core purposes is 'ensured
version
> >control' - essentially meaning that if Steam finds out one of your
games
> >is not on the latest version it will refuse to run.
>
> I think you misunderstand, you can disable automatic updates for
> individual Steam based games via its properties.


That's half-way there. Well, a bit more than half-way really.

For me this one wasn't really a big issue because my internet
connection is not always on, so I checked for updates whenever I wanted
to, and I only did it if I was prepared to download them immediately.

But pretty much every other auto-updating bit of software flashes up a
message "Updates are available! Download and Install? Yes/No". I think
it would be more user-friendly for Steam to do this too. If you say
"no" it could warn you that not downloading the patch will mean you
can't play online.

Valve's aim of ensuring all your games are easily and quickly brought
up to date is laudable, but I think the user should have the last say
in what is downloaded to his PC, not Valve. The option described above
(by Andrew) is a workaround that achieves this. I'm suggesting a
"Yes/No" dialog box would put control directly in the hands of the
user, wthout impairing Valve's "ensured version control".
February 1, 2005 1:23:31 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

On 1 Feb 2005 02:18:53 -0800, "Chadwick" <chadwick110@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>2) Patches should be optional.

Game patches are optional. Steam patches aren't optional but they
aren't very big, even for dial-up users.
--
Andrew, contact via interpleb.blogspot.com
Help make Usenet a better place: English is read downwards,
please don't top post. Trim replies to quote only relevant text.
Check groups.google.com before asking an obvious question.
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 2:52:06 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

"Chadwick" wrote


> Things I would change are:
>
> 1) "Offline" means "offline". You should be able to select offline mode
> easily and permanently (or until you switch to online mode),

IIRC this was the configuration originally
I was changed at a later point
Maybe make it easier to use?

>
> 2) Patches should be optional.

And game pacthes is
Check the always keep this game uptodate

Steam patches is not optional
And can't be

> 3) Instructions in the retail box. The installation is not intuitive
> for the man in the street.

That should be addressed to VUG?

Btw send your thoughts to Valve
My experience is that this gaming company does listen to their fans - maybe
a littlee too much

rgds/Peter
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 3:14:05 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

"Chadwick" wrote

> Yeah I thought of that even as I typed. But I'm at work right now and
> the firewall doesn't let me visit interesting sites. I'll do it this
> evening.
>
Tanks a lot, I appreciate it
Always nie to read well argumented posts :-)

- Peter
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 7:04:40 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

Andrew wrote:

>>2) Patches should be optional.
>
>
> Game patches are optional. Steam patches aren't optional but they
> aren't very big, even for dial-up users.

I think you misunderstand. Game patches are only optional if you don't
wish to play the game. One of Steam's core purposes is 'ensured version
control' - essentially meaning that if Steam finds out one of your games
is not on the latest version it will refuse to run.

The change he is suggesting here is that you should be allowed to run
the game without the latest patch (a good idea IMHO for 56k users)..
although I doubt that this will ever be implemented since this would
conflict with one of Steam's core purposes

--
Ben Cottrell AKA Bench
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 7:19:43 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

"Chadwick" <chadwick110@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1107253133.444546.213960@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...

> 1) "Offline" means "offline". You should be able to select offline mode
> easily and permanently (or until you switch to online mode), and Steam
> should make no attempt to connect to the internet. Of course you miss
> out on the auto-patching this way, but that's your choice. (Because my
> internet connection does not connect automatically, this is how Steam
> already works for me, hence some of my previous comments - I didn't
> realise offline mode didn't work if you had an open internet
> connection).

I have a firewall which allows me to easily block all traffic.
I block all traffic; start steam which goes to offline mode and then I
reenable traffic. Steam remains in offline mode.
February 1, 2005 8:09:22 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

On Tue, 01 Feb 2005 16:04:40 +0000, Ben Cottrell
<bench@bench333.screaming.net> wrote:

>I think you misunderstand. Game patches are only optional if you don't
>wish to play the game. One of Steam's core purposes is 'ensured version
>control' - essentially meaning that if Steam finds out one of your games
>is not on the latest version it will refuse to run.

I think you misunderstand, you can disable automatic updates for
individual Steam based games via its properties.
--
Andrew, contact via interpleb.blogspot.com
Help make Usenet a better place: English is read downwards,
please don't top post. Trim replies to quote only relevant text.
Check groups.google.com before asking an obvious question.
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 8:54:10 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

Andrew wrote:

>>I think you misunderstand. Game patches are only optional if you don't
>>wish to play the game. One of Steam's core purposes is 'ensured version
>>control' - essentially meaning that if Steam finds out one of your games
>>is not on the latest version it will refuse to run.
>
>
> I think you misunderstand, you can disable automatic updates for
> individual Steam based games via its properties.

Read what I wrote again, Andrew. You can disable automatic updates, but
that isn't the issue. the issue which Chadwick is trying to highlight
is that not having the latest version of the game means you cannot play it.

--
Ben Cottrell AKA Bench
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 9:52:49 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

Andrew <spamtrap@localhost.> typed as if devouring a plate of spoo:
> On Tue, 01 Feb 2005 16:04:40 +0000, Ben Cottrell
> <bench@bench333.screaming.net> wrote:
>
>> I think you misunderstand. Game patches are only optional if you
>> don't wish to play the game. One of Steam's core purposes is
>> 'ensured version control' - essentially meaning that if Steam finds
>> out one of your games is not on the latest version it will refuse to
>> run.
>
> I think you misunderstand, you can disable automatic updates for
> individual Steam based games via its properties.

For many users, the setting doesn't 'stick' though - they'll disable
automatic updates and it'll enable itself again.

--
--
There is no spoon.

EvilBill - http://evilbill.50megs.com/index.html
My Quake2 FTP site: ftp://65.30.181.223/quake2/EvilBill/
Jack of Hearts of the Eeeevil Trek Cabal (TINC)
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 11:51:29 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

Andrew wrote:
>
>> I think you misunderstand. Game patches are only optional if you
>> don't wish to play the game. One of Steam's core purposes is
>> 'ensured version control' - essentially meaning that if Steam finds
>> out one of your games is not on the latest version it will refuse to
>> run.
>
> I think you misunderstand, you can disable automatic updates for
> individual Steam based games via its properties.

I think you misunderstand, Andrew. You can disable automatic updates, yes, but
if Steam detects that your game is less than 100% fully updated, it will prevent
you playing the game until you update it. Thus the option to disable updates is
worthless. The only way to prevent Steam making sure your games are fully
updated is to only use it in Offline Mode (which is what I do).

--
Paul
Anonymous
February 2, 2005 1:27:42 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

"Chadwick" <chadwick110@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1107278761.696630.282170@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>
> Nick Hounsome wrote:
>> "Chadwick" <chadwick110@hotmail.com> wrote in message
>> news:1107253133.444546.213960@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
>>
>> > 1) "Offline" means "offline". You should be able to select offline
> mode
>> > easily and permanently (or until you switch to online mode), and
> Steam
>> > should make no attempt to connect to the internet. Of course you
> miss
>> > out on the auto-patching this way, but that's your choice. (Because
> my
>> > internet connection does not connect automatically, this is how
> Steam
>> > already works for me, hence some of my previous comments - I didn't
>> > realise offline mode didn't work if you had an open internet
>> > connection).
>>
>> I have a firewall which allows me to easily block all traffic.
>> I block all traffic; start steam which goes to offline mode and then
> I
>> reenable traffic. Steam remains in offline mode.
>
> Yes, we've all got ways around it. I make sure I'm disconnected when I
> start up HL2, others pull the plug out. But surely it would be better
> if it wasn't a workaround, and was a working feature of the software?
> After all, an option for "offline mode" does imply that it will not go
> online.
>
> This is one of the big gripes of the anti-Steam lobby - that it always
> tries to connect even when you're playing single-player. Sometimes I
> want to just play the game, not check for updates first.
>
> If you're playing multi-player online then it's different, you need the
> patches and you need them immediately. But for single-player you
> shouldn't have to go online at all (apart from initial registration).
> The "cost" is that you'll miss out on patches, but that's your choice.
>
With a dsl connection i don`t find the update/online/offline `problem`
intrusive at all, but i can see how people find it annoying. i would
probably have given up on steam and hl2 if i still had dial-up. Maybe it`s
because a higher percentage of people in america have cable/dsl connections
and online gaming is hugely popular over there that steam is designed the
way it is. With your target market having fast internet connections
automatic updates are easy to implement and distribute. At least that`s the
way i think valve see it. :-)
Anonymous
February 2, 2005 5:32:08 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

Windows Update:

1) Is not required to use Windows online of offline.

2) Is not the only update method provided by Microsoft.

3) Does not require you to login.

4) Allows you to chose what to install.

5) Allows you to chose when to install regardless of online status.

6) Allows you to chose how to be alerted when a patch is available.

7) Consumes less bandwidth than Steam.

8) Consumes less memory than Steam.

9) Consumes less time than Steam.

10) Does not have ad banners.

I think I'll stop at ten. Looks like Gabe should have stayed at Microsoft
for a little while longer, he may have actually learnt something.


"Chadwick" <chadwick110@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1107253133.444546.213960@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> First, let me make my position on Steam clear:
> I have the retail version of HL2 and that was my first experience of
> Steam. I'd heard a bit about it and read some of the comments on this
> forum. My attitude has changed as I used it and as I read and
> understood more of other people's problems and concerns.
>
> Having used Steam now to play HL2, download patches and download the
> SDK, I have formed an opinion based on my experience, but coloured by
> the experiences of others.
>
> Overall, I am on the "pro-Steam" side of the fence, meaning that I am
> happy to use it. I'm not going to vote Gabe Newell for president, but
> neither do I think he is the devil incarnate. Steam has worked for me
> (partly due to the way my PC is set up - see point 1 below). I
> personally have no concerns about it, but I accept that others do,
> mainly due to point 1 below. I don't think Steam restricts my freedom,
> intrudes or imposes on my life, humililates me, dictates when and what
> I can play, or is ugly.
>
> I don't have a problem with downloading software through Steam. As a
> "content delivery system" I appreciate the way it automates the
> searching, downloading and installation process - not dissimilar to
> Windows Update. I also like having it check for and apply patches
> automatically, so I don't need to bother searching for them.
>
> Combining the product registration with the installation process and
> linking it to a password protected account is, I think, a good move
> against piracy. It doesn't matter now if the CD gets copied globally,
> because the CD-Key is "used" and none of those copies can be activated.
> The legitimate purchaser can install his games anywhere he has access
> to Steam.
>
> Things I would change are:
>
> 1) "Offline" means "offline". You should be able to select offline mode
> easily and permanently (or until you switch to online mode), and Steam
> should make no attempt to connect to the internet. Of course you miss
> out on the auto-patching this way, but that's your choice. (Because my
> internet connection does not connect automatically, this is how Steam
> already works for me, hence some of my previous comments - I didn't
> realise offline mode didn't work if you had an open internet
> connection).
>
> 2) Patches should be optional. You should be offered the choice of
> downloading the patch now or "remind me later" (perhaps a counter to
> select how many days before the next reminder?) This is really just a
> nicety, since you must have the latest patch to play online, but it
> does allow you to choose when to do your downloading for those who
> haven't got anytime or unrestricted internet access, or dial-up users
> who don't want to tie their phone up during the day.
>
> 3) Instructions in the retail box. The installation is not intuitive
> for the man in the street. If you're buying it through Steam then
> you've already installed Steam separately and it's more obvious what
> you're doing, but most people who buy the retail box expect to just put
> the disc in the drive and for it to install automagically. HL2 is not
> that straightforward, but nothing that another Quickstart guide
> wouldn't have overcome. For most of us, Steam is new technology and new
> technology always needs explaining in words of one syllable.
>
Anonymous
February 8, 2005 1:42:15 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

"Ben Cottrell" <bench@bench333.screaming.net> wrote in message
news:369njrF4v4ecuU1@individual.net...
> Andrew wrote:
>
>>>2) Patches should be optional.
>>
>>
>> Game patches are optional. Steam patches aren't optional but they
>> aren't very big, even for dial-up users.
>
> I think you misunderstand. Game patches are only optional if you don't
> wish to play the game. One of Steam's core purposes is 'ensured version
> control' - essentially meaning that if Steam finds out one of your games
> is not on the latest version it will refuse to run.
>
> The change he is suggesting here is that you should be allowed to run the
> game without the latest patch (a good idea IMHO for 56k users)..

A good idea no matter how fast the connection.

When it comes to game patches, I absolutely take a "don't fix what ain't
broke" stance. I've seen too many patches that cause more problems than they
fix, or introduced unwanted balance changes (usually aimed at improving the
multiplayer game at the expense of single-player balance.)

This rule becomes ironclad if I'm still in the middle of a single-player
campaign. I don't care how many promises the developer makes that saved
games won't break after the patch - I don't trust that kind of promise. It
would have to be an absolutely intolerable game-stopping bug that would make
me break this rule.
Anonymous
February 8, 2005 6:19:03 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

SpammersDie wrote:

>>>> 2) Patches should be optional.
>>>
>>> Game patches are optional. Steam patches aren't optional but they
>>> aren't very big, even for dial-up users.
>>
>> I think you misunderstand. Game patches are only optional if you
>> don't wish to play the game. One of Steam's core purposes is
>> 'ensured version control' - essentially meaning that if Steam finds
>> out one of your games is not on the latest version it will refuse to
>> run. The change he is suggesting here is that you should be allowed to
>> run the game without the latest patch (a good idea IMHO for 56k
>> users)..
>
> A good idea no matter how fast the connection.
>
> When it comes to game patches, I absolutely take a "don't fix what
> ain't broke" stance. I've seen too many patches that cause more
> problems than they fix, or introduced unwanted balance changes
> (usually aimed at improving the multiplayer game at the expense of
> single-player balance.)
> This rule becomes ironclad if I'm still in the middle of a
> single-player campaign. I don't care how many promises the developer
> makes that saved games won't break after the patch - I don't trust
> that kind of promise. It would have to be an absolutely intolerable
> game-stopping bug that would make me break this rule.

Absolutely. My game was screwed for days by the patch that was propagated a
couple of weeks after the initial release (I can't recall the exact timing
but it hit a lot of people). And this despite my choosing "do not update
this game" in the options. That's when I learned that the only way was to
block Steam at the firewall.

Okay, so analogies with other industries are always a bit silly, but say
there's a recall on my car due to brake problems - sure, let's arrange for
it to be taken in and fixed, but don't try to stop me in the middle of the
road to jack the thing up and fix it there and then!

--
_______________________

/mel/
Anonymous
February 9, 2005 6:21:58 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.half-life (More info?)

Steve Mellor wrote:

> Absolutely. My game was screwed for days by the patch that was propagated a
> couple of weeks after the initial release (I can't recall the exact timing
> but it hit a lot of people). And this despite my choosing "do not update
> this game" in the options. That's when I learned that the only way was to
> block Steam at the firewall.

They did actually include a cvar with that patch which allowed you to
disable the update.. unfortunately they did a pretty poor job of making
it well known :( 


--
Ben Cottrell AKA Bench

All these modern celebrities are endorsing supermarket products now...
I got a pack of sausages from Tesco the other day and there was this
picture of Anthony Worral Thompson on the front. Below, it read 'prick
with a fork'.
!