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Valve Releases Steamworks

Valve announces the release of Steamworks free of charge, offering developers and publishers the game publishing tools used for Half-Life 2 and The Orange Box. Steamworks allows for copy protection, stats tracking, auto-updates, voice communication, and more:

January 29, 2008 - Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announce Steamworks, a complete suite of publishing and development tools - ranging from copy protection to social networking services to server browsing - is now available free of charge to developers and publishers worldwide.

Steamworks, the same suite of tools used in best-selling PC titles Half-Life 2 and The Orange Box, is available for all PC games distributed via retail and leading online platforms such as Steam. The services included in Steamworks may be used a la carte or in any combination.

Specifically, Steamworks offers:

    Real-time stats on sales, gameplay, and product activation: Know exactly how well your title is selling before the charts are released. Find out how much of your game is being played. Login into your Steamworks account pages and view up to the hour information regarding worldwide product activations and player data.

    State of the art encryption system: Stop paying to have your game pirated before it's released. Steamworks takes anti-piracy to a new level with strong encryption that keeps your game locked until the moment it is released.

    Territory/version control: The key-based authentication provided in Steamworks also provides territory/version controls to help curb gray market importing and deliver territory-specific content to any given country or region.

    Auto updating: Insures all customers are playing the latest and greatest version of your games.

    Voice chat: Available for use both in and out of game.

    Multiplayer matchmaking: Steamworks offers you all the multiplayer backend and matchmaking services that have been created to support Counter-Strike and Team Fortress 2, the most played action games in the world.

    Social networking services: With support for achievements, leaderboards, and avatars, Steamworks allows you to give your gamers as many rewards as you would like, plus support for tracking the world's best professional and amateur players of your game.

    Development tools: Steamworks allows you to administer private betas which can be updated multiple times each day. Also includes data collection tools for QA, play testing, and usability studies.

    "Developers and publishers are spending more and more time and money cobbling together all the tools and backend systems needed to build and launch a successful title in today's market," said Gabe Newell, president of Valve. "Steamworks puts all those tools and systems together in one free package, liberating publishers and developers to concentrate on the game instead of the plumbing."

    "As more developers and publishers have embraced Steam as a leading digital distribution channel, we've heard a growing number of inquiries regarding the availability of the platform's services and tools," said Jason Holtman, director business development at Valve. "Offering Steamworks is part of our ongoing efforts to support the needs of game developers and our publishing partners."

    Steam is a leading platform for the delivery and management of PC games and digital content. With over 13 million active accounts and more than 250 games, plus hundreds of movie files and game demos available, Steam has become a frequent destination for millions of gamers around the world.

For more information regarding Steamworks, please visit www.steamgames.com/steamworks. To find out about more about Steamworks contact jasonh@valvesoftware.com

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131 Replies. 7 pages. Viewing page 7.
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11. Re: ... Jan 29, 2008, 14:15 Bhruic
 
That's missing the point. If the end user has the ability to choose to install patches or not, then you can't simultaneously claim "Auto updating: Insures all customers are playing the latest and greatest version of your games."

One of those two options is wrong.

 
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10. Re: ... Jan 29, 2008, 14:14 Justus
 
so, it's basically a way for devs to put their game on steam? or am i reading it wrong?

From my interpretation, I would say it's not just a way to put your game on Steam (though I'm sure it makes it very easy to do that, if you want to) but rather it exposes some of the other functionality that you see in the Orange Box but not in non-Valve offerings.

Essentially, this means that instead of opting to implement all of these features on their own, developers can instead pay Valve to use their implementation. In general, I think this is a good thing, as the Valve implementations aren't bad, and some of them (like the stats tracking info we've seen released about the Orange Box games) seem quite polished. Paying Valve for these features will free game developers to work on other things, and will also make gamers happy as it'll reduce the odds that we'll be stuck with, for example, a crappy in-game server browser or some half-assed community features (oddly, I think of Relic Online when I say this, possibly as the result of too much CoH play).

In reference to the forced authentication issue, I would imagine that the game developer has some control over how much of Valve's authentication they use. I could easily see it being a simple turn-key solution for generating/validating CD keys that doesn't require constant online presence. That might not be true, of course, but given the press release's mention of "distributed via retail or online platforms" I'd say they're pretty much forced to offer at least some flexibility there.

Also note that they stated that the features can be purchased a la carte, so it's not a given that every game which pays for the service will have possibly undesirable features like auto-updating.

 
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9. Re: ... Jan 29, 2008, 14:12 Duc
 
You do know you can disable auto-updating for steam games?
Right click on a game -> properties -> [updates]

 
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8. Re: ... Jan 29, 2008, 14:11 skyguy
 
So no thanks to any system that forces patches on me.

You can disable auto-updating on a per-game basis.


 
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7. No subject Jan 29, 2008, 14:10 xXBatmanXx
 
Cool. lots of neat toys.

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we go where eagles dare........
 
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6. Re: ... Jan 29, 2008, 14:03 Bhruic
 
Auto updating: Insures all customers are playing the latest and greatest version of your games.

And there's one reason that I don't use Steam.

An illustration to demonstrate why that's important: Civ IV BTS had a 3.02 patch, followed relatively quickly by a 3.03 patch. The 3.03 patch used the wrong build tree, and introduced numerous bugs. So all the people who bought the game in the store stuck with the superior 3.02 patch (the 3.03 wasn't even designed to fix anything within the game). Of course, the Steam users had no option to stick with 3.02, they got force-upgraded to 3.03. So they were stuck with a buggy game. The next patch wasn't released until months afterwards.

So no thanks to any system that forces patches on me.

 
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5. Re: ... Jan 29, 2008, 13:56 manic half
 
This should be an interesting thread.

my thoughts exactly.

so, it's basically a way for devs to put their game on steam? or am i reading it wrong?

i have no problem with buying games online and what not, more options is always good. but i am very much against the way they wont let you play the games on your own time. you have to be on the net and ask their 'permission' before you can.

i know theres an offline option on steam but we all know it never works and is flat out a hassle.

there we go, first rant in the thread :p

 
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4. 404 Jan 29, 2008, 13:51 Cortex Reaver
 
I hope the 404 in the www.steamgames.com/steamworks link doesn't mean that Valve changed their minds.

 
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3. Re: ... Jan 29, 2008, 13:41 NKD
 
DENNY CRANE!!!

 
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If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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2. Re: ... Jan 29, 2008, 13:39 Krovven
 
This should be an interesting thread.

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1. ... Jan 29, 2008, 13:31 theyarecomingforyou
 
I really like the Steam platform - anything that brings more games to it is a good thing.

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