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Wardell on Impulse::Reactor

Stardock's Wardell Details Impulse Reactor Specifics on Gamasutra talks with Stardock CEO Brad Wardell about Impulse::Reactor, and what it means to gamers, developers, and publishers. Here's a bit:

Like Steamworks and Games for Windows Live, Impulse Reactor is offered free to developers -- but unlike those services, it doesn't require users to maintain accounts on those systems. So what's in it for Stardock?

"The requirement is that the developer has to put their title on Impulse, non-exclusively, and the benefit to us is that they're not using Steamworks," Wardell said. "When someone uses Steamworks, that leads to everything being on Steam, and that's a non-ideal situation for us."

"If they spend $10 million making a PC game, they don't want an SDK to come in and steal their experience," he went on. "This is something we heard loud and clear about Games for Windows Live in particular -- 'I have my game, and all of a sudden here's this bubbly interface.' Hey, Games for Windows: you didn't spend the money to make the game; don't hijack the experience as if it's somehow your game. And that applies to anyone who tries to inject their experience into the user's face."

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24. Here it is. Mar 17, 2010, 22:11 I've Got The News Blues
 
Fifth wrote on Mar 17, 2010, 20:56:
Do you have a source?
Yes. Here's a post on this very forum from the developer of the game about it. http://www.bluesnews.com/cgi-bin/board.pl?action=viewthread&boardid=1&threadid=92100&id=472058&view=threads It's post #20.

Remember though that this is just one example that happened to be made public. Normally these details are not aired publicly because Valve requires an NDA in its contracts.
 
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23. Re: How Steam is restrictive for developers Mar 17, 2010, 20:56 Fifth
 
I've Got The News Blues wrote on Mar 17, 2010, 12:40:
RTSNut wrote on Mar 17, 2010, 09:44:
How is Steam restrictive at all?
Steam is so popular that Valve is able to get away with this with small developers who don't have the leverage to negotiate on this point because they can't afford to miss out on having Steam as a sales channel. Tank Universal is a publicly known example of a game where this happened.
Do you have a source? I've browsed TU's forums and the developers blog, but haven't seen anything like that.
 
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22. Re: Wardell on Impulse::Reactor Mar 17, 2010, 12:45 I've Got The News Blues
 
Island Dog wrote on Mar 17, 2010, 12:02:
one of the main points of Reactor is that Impulse does not have to be bundled with a game, so other distributors can carry the title without issue.
And customers don't have to run any extra software just to play the game.

It's a great idea and it offers a real alternative to Gamespy's service IF your company can make it work reliably. I hope it can.

 
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21. How Steam is restrictive for developers Mar 17, 2010, 12:40 I've Got The News Blues
 
RTSNut wrote on Mar 17, 2010, 09:44:
How is Steam restrictive at all?
There aren't enough hours in the day to cover it all, but here's just a sample. Since I was referring to developers, I will address the restrictions from their perspective. One way Steam is restrictive for developers is that it forces their games to have DRM and their customers to use the Steam client even if they don't want it. Unlike digital distributors like Direct2Drive, Gamersgate, and GOG.com or retail distribution, Steam forces all games which are sold on its service or which use Steamworks to use its DRM and client software. There are no DRM-free offerings. Customers have to install and run the Steam client and login to their accounts to play all games which use Steam. So, even if a developer just wanted to use Steamworks for achievements tracking or as a multiplayer master server, its customers would still have to use the Steam client and have Steam accounts to play its game.

Another way that Steam is restrictive is that it forces developers to sell their games at a price point which Valve determines as a condition to offer the game for sale on Steam. Steam is so popular that Valve is able to get away with this with small developers who don't have the leverage to negotiate on this point because they can't afford to miss out on having Steam as a sales channel. Tank Universal is a publicly known example of a game where this happened.

This comment was edited on Mar 17, 2010, 16:27.
 
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20. Re: Wardell on Impulse::Reactor Mar 17, 2010, 12:02  Island Dog 
 
I'm not sure about your definition of "bloatware", but one of the main points of Reactor is that Impulse does not have to be bundled with a game, so other distributors can carry the title without issue.
 
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19. Re: Wardell on Impulse::Reactor Mar 17, 2010, 12:01 I've Got The News Blues
 
BobBob wrote on Mar 17, 2010, 04:53:
I like Steam. GWFL has limited activations.
And Steam is a universal kill switch for all of your games which use it. Both of those systems of DRM have major restrictions. Choosing one over the other is just choosing your poison.
 
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18. Re: Just make it work reliably. Mar 17, 2010, 09:49 Verno
 
Steamworks games require a Steam installation on the user end. So even if you bought a Steamworks enabled game at Direct2Drive, you were required to install Steam. Naturally the other etailers dont like this because it's shameless self promotion and makes the user more naturally inclined to purchase future titles on Steam itself.  
Avatar 51617
 
Playing: Fire Emblem, Diablo 3, Bravely Default
Watching: The Machine, After the Dark, Devils Due
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17. Re: Just make it work reliably. Mar 17, 2010, 09:44 RTSNut
 
I've Got The News Blues wrote on Mar 17, 2010, 01:29:
Like Steamworks and Games for Windows Live, Impulse Reactor is offered free to developers -- but unlike those services, it doesn't require users to maintain accounts on those systems....When someone uses Steamworks, that leads to everything being on Steam
Amen, Brad, now make it work reliably.

Small game developers really need a free, open multiplayer infrastructure like this. Rolling their own solution is too complicated and unreliable, Gamespy is too expensive, and Steam is too restrictive, selective, and excluding. If Stardock can pull this off without dropping the ball or restricting developers who use it, more power to it.
How is Steam restrictive at all? Also, what is Brad talking about exclusive? I just bought the new Dawn of War exp pack at Target, and it uses steamworks. The first one was for sale on Direct2drive as well.
 
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16. Re: Wardell on Impulse::Reactor Mar 17, 2010, 09:31 SpectralMeat
 
BobBob wrote on Mar 17, 2010, 05:34:
Bucky wrote on Mar 17, 2010, 05:20:
I use Steam as my game launcher for everything because it has such an extensive community--this way I can play other games and still chat with friends.

Same, except for the fact I have 2 friends on Steam.

I'd add you but not sure what's you Steam ID.
Also I wish Steam wouldn't allow multiple users with the same user name. If I want to add someone I have no idea if it is the right person or not. I don't know why they allow multiple users with same username.
 
Avatar 14225
 
Steam: SpectralMeat
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15. Re: Wardell on Impulse::Reactor Mar 17, 2010, 05:34 BobBob
 
Bucky wrote on Mar 17, 2010, 05:20:
I use Steam as my game launcher for everything because it has such an extensive community--this way I can play other games and still chat with friends.

Same, except for the fact I have 2 friends on Steam.
 
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14. Re: Wardell on Impulse::Reactor Mar 17, 2010, 05:20 Bucky
 
Drezden wrote on Mar 16, 2010, 21:24:
And being able to see what my buddies are playing and chat with them even if we're no longer playing the same game. Is that so wrong?

Just toss a shortcut into Steam for whatever non-Steam game you're running. You'll still get the Steam overlay, without having to use the service exclusively. I use Steam as my game launcher for everything because it has such an extensive community--this way I can play other games and still chat with friends.
 
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13. Re: Wardell on Impulse::Reactor Mar 17, 2010, 05:06 Shadowcat
 
I dislike Steam for all kinds of reasons, but having a consistent interface to a common set of behaviours just isn't one of them. This seems to be Wardell's major focus, though. Weird.  
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12. Re: Wardell on Impulse::Reactor Mar 17, 2010, 04:53 BobBob
 
I like Steam. GWFL has limited activations.  
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11. Re: Wardell on Impulse::Reactor Mar 17, 2010, 04:05 StingingVelvet
 
DDI wrote on Mar 16, 2010, 21:51:
Pretty sure, it isn't forced on anyone. Don't buy the game.

Wow, I had no idea you would say something like that! Shocker!
 
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10. Steam is DRM. Mar 17, 2010, 01:31 I've Got The News Blues
 
Talisorn wrote on Mar 17, 2010, 00:20:
While it's not called DRM
It's only not called DRM by the clueless and the Steam fanboys. The rest of us who are rational and informed know that it is DRM.
 
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9. Just make it work reliably. Mar 17, 2010, 01:29 I've Got The News Blues
 
Like Steamworks and Games for Windows Live, Impulse Reactor is offered free to developers -- but unlike those services, it doesn't require users to maintain accounts on those systems....When someone uses Steamworks, that leads to everything being on Steam
Amen, Brad, now make it work reliably.

Small game developers really need a free, open multiplayer infrastructure like this. Rolling their own solution is too complicated and unreliable, Gamespy is too expensive, and Steam is too restrictive, selective, and excluding. If Stardock can pull this off without dropping the ball or restricting developers who use it, more power to it.

This comment was edited on Mar 17, 2010, 01:37.
 
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8. Re: Wardell on Impulse::Reactor Mar 17, 2010, 00:20 Talisorn
 
Steam needs lose some of the attitude though.

People have reported being permanently account banned by Steam, all their games locked and unable to be accessed as a result of bank-initiated creditcard charge backs. These chargebacks have not been as a result of fraud, but instead the confusion caused where games are advertised in US dollars but charged in Aussie dollars. Ok, yes they say prices are in US dollars, but unless you know the current exchange rate it is possible to accidentally max your card.

Thankfully it's never happened to me, but I feel for the poor buggers with thousands of dollars tied up in games they can't access anymore.

While it's not called DRM, it's draconian to say the least.

Sorry ... rant ended now.
 
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7. Re: Wardell on Impulse::Reactor Mar 16, 2010, 23:51 RaZ0r!
 
Impulse could have pioneered an API like Steamworks as Valve did, but they didn't. Sucks to be them.  
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6. Re: Wardell on Impulse::Reactor Mar 16, 2010, 22:06 D4rkKnight
 
Monopolies are bad  
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5. Re: Wardell on Impulse::Reactor Mar 16, 2010, 21:51 DDI
 
Pretty sure, it isn't forced on anyone. Don't buy the game.  
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24 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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