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Valve Details Upcoming Improvements for Steam

By - Source: Valve Software | B 30 comments
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Steam gets better, stronger, faster without the need for silly bionics.

Friday Valve said that its digital distribution platform Steam has been revamped with all-new server and client code that improves the core service: content delivery. For users, this supposedly means better download rates in more places around the world. For publishers, this means Steam now offers a streamline publishing process for faster "shipments" of games.

"The maximum aggregate bandwidth of the system will be greater than the current system; this will help us satisfy spikes in demand when there’s a big release," the company said in a blog. "We will also be able to send content from more places, to better serve people all around the globe. All the content on the new system is sent via HTTP; this is more firewall-friendly than the current system, and will automatically take advantage of web-caching proxies installed at ISPs."

Valve said that the updated service now requires each user to download less data than before. "With the Steam content system that’s been in place for a few years now, if an individual file on disk were modified by a game update, your client had to download the whole file," Valve added. "That can be painful when the file in question is really large. The new system supports delivering only the differences between the old and new files, meaning game updates will be much smaller overall."

Thanks to the changes in the server and client code, Valve has created new tools for game developers and content publishers that simplify publishing and updating a game on the platform. Valve also has plans to implement user requests into the service such as download scheduling, bandwidth throttling, and prioritizing which games get downloaded first. Gamers will also be able to download a patch while still playing the game – it will be installed once the player exits.

"Over time, more and more of the content on Steam will be delivered using this new system," Valve said. "Soon, Dota 2 will be delivered using it. In the meantime, if you’d like to try out this new content system you can do so right now; if you download a 1280x720 (HD) trailer from the store, it will happen via the new content system."

Don't have Steam? Get it here.

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Top Comments
  • 24 Hide
    techseven , July 19, 2011 12:45 AM
    Nice, sensible improvements to an already great service... I just hope they will soon allow installing on more than 1 hard drive, like if you want to utilize your ssd only for a limited selection of games...
  • 13 Hide
    fonzy , July 19, 2011 1:06 AM
    I'm still eagerly awaiting Episode 3 or HL3... what ever they decide to call it.
  • 10 Hide
    soulrider4ever , July 19, 2011 12:44 AM
    Now if only they would ever respond to support requests... I have one that's 4 days old and no response. Other than that, this is great news.
Other Comments
    Display all 30 comments.
  • 10 Hide
    soulrider4ever , July 19, 2011 12:44 AM
    Now if only they would ever respond to support requests... I have one that's 4 days old and no response. Other than that, this is great news.
  • 24 Hide
    techseven , July 19, 2011 12:45 AM
    Nice, sensible improvements to an already great service... I just hope they will soon allow installing on more than 1 hard drive, like if you want to utilize your ssd only for a limited selection of games...
  • 0 Hide
    Lobodomy , July 19, 2011 12:49 AM
    Sounds good to me! Anyone else eagerly awaiting Dota 2?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , July 19, 2011 1:01 AM
    I have heard that you can move specific games to a differnt drive/folder and use the mklink command to "link" it back in the steam folder. Have yet to try it as of yet. Waiting for the ssd to come in :) 
  • 13 Hide
    fonzy , July 19, 2011 1:06 AM
    I'm still eagerly awaiting Episode 3 or HL3... what ever they decide to call it.
  • 3 Hide
    4745454b , July 19, 2011 1:09 AM
    Finally, Bandwidth throttling. I used a program many years back that would show me all my individual programs traffic and allow me to limit each one. I really wish this was built into windows itself. Thank you Valve for finally building this into the Steam.
  • 2 Hide
    Darkerson , July 19, 2011 1:12 AM
    Sounds great. I know Steam was taking a beating during the summer sale. Would have been nice if they had done this before having the sale, but whatever, at least they did it.
  • -1 Hide
    tjf311 , July 19, 2011 1:19 AM
    @techseven

    You can already do that using the 3rd party app Game Save Manager 2

  • 1 Hide
    tjf311 , July 19, 2011 1:20 AM
    Sorry forgot to link

    GSM2
  • 9 Hide
    schmich , July 19, 2011 1:48 AM
    Good. Now how about reducing the prices on games on Steam? Especially your own ones Steam. In Switzerland it's cheaper to buy a Valve game retail than on Steam...quite the scam really when they don't have any middle man cost, no material cost, no packaging cost and no delivery cost except minor bandwidth.
  • 1 Hide
    chrisjust98 , July 19, 2011 1:55 AM
    techsevenNice, sensible improvements to an already great service... I just hope they will soon allow installing on more than 1 hard drive, like if you want to utilize your ssd only for a limited selection of games...


    tjf311@techsevenYou can already do that using the 3rd party app Game Save Manager 2


    I think he's looking for more something like this.

    http://www.stefanjones.ca/steam/
  • 2 Hide
    chrisjust98 , July 19, 2011 1:57 AM
    schmichGood. Now how about reducing the prices on games on Steam? Especially your own ones Steam. In Switzerland it's cheaper to buy a Valve game retail than on Steam...quite the scam really when they don't have any middle man cost, no material cost, no packaging cost and no delivery cost except minor bandwidth.


    I don't know if that has to do directly with Valve. The prices for their games ( as well as most games on Steam) are retarded cheap to begin with. And then you have the sales to top it off.
  • -8 Hide
    Anonymous , July 19, 2011 2:13 AM
    When I saw Improvement to Steam, I thought it meant they were shutting down their services and liquidating their assets...
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , July 19, 2011 2:20 AM
    And the whole reason they did this is cuz of the Witcher 2 having a 9GB file that had to be reinstalled every time an update went out.
  • 4 Hide
    bustapr , July 19, 2011 2:24 AM
    schmichGood. Now how about reducing the prices on games on Steam? Especially your own ones Steam. In Switzerland it's cheaper to buy a Valve game retail than on Steam...quite the scam really when they don't have any middle man cost, no material cost, no packaging cost and no delivery cost except minor bandwidth.

    most of steams big sales have the valve collection and most of their games at 75% off, and sometimes more, and even give their games for free. The valve games on steam are really stupidly cheap for such quality games, and as for reducing other games prices, they do that every day. And if you missed summer camp, I feel sorry for you since you missed out on the best sale Ive seen ever, and a free decent game...
  • -1 Hide
    stratplaya , July 19, 2011 2:31 AM
    Anyone else concerned of an impending hack on Steam? I hate having to go through these types of services. Why not just let me play the freaking game? Why do you have to keep track? If I didn't have to use Steam I'd get more Valve titles. But for now the only ones I've picked up (not through Steam) are Half Life and Half Life 2.
  • 2 Hide
    markso125 , July 19, 2011 3:31 AM
    Hmm makes you wonder if this new implementation system they have devised is part of the reason why EA pulled BF3 from steam. With the new tool requirements put forth to developers it makes you wonder how much shared data is required between the developers(ie how much of EA's new Frostbite 2 code is required to be given to Valve for tool integration) to make the new steam work.
  • -1 Hide
    alhanelem , July 19, 2011 4:09 AM
    would be nice if they could also implement multiplayer servers for non valve games, i used to play spiral knights but as soon as i got to tier 3 stages the lag would get me killed...
  • 2 Hide
    RazberyBandit , July 19, 2011 5:24 AM
    Solid improvements, but when will we be able to play a game while a new one is simultaneously downloading? I can't stand how Steam pauses new game downloads if you start playing any currently installed game.
  • 4 Hide
    spectrewind , July 19, 2011 7:26 AM
    soulrider4everNow if only they would ever respond to support requests... I have one that's 4 days old and no response. Other than that, this is great news.


    Even better when they arbitrarily close it on you unsolved. I have had some tech support instances where the answers they send you seen obviously canned, or their tech support is completely brain-dead, or both.


    I had an instance with them where they were overcharging sales tax (same state). I had to threaten reporting them/legal action before they would refund what they owed me.

    After doing so...
    1 - I received my owed refund for a purchase.
    2 - System now charges correct sales tax.
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