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Evening Q&As

  • Steamworks
    Valve on Steamworks (And Magick Obscura) on Rock, Paper, Shotgun offers a Q&A with Doug Lombardi (and an impressive arcane Arcanum reference) about Valve's release of their Steamwork tools for game developers and publishers (story). They discuss the motives behind this, and offer a clear explanation of the package: "Yeah, itís basically itís all the plumbing involved in Steam, minus the distribution piece. Copy protection, auto-updating, voice, Steam community, and the other stuff on the release. Itís all available for free, and people can use any single part, or all of it. Itís free of charge, and you donít have to distribute the game itself via Steam."
  • Unreal Tournament 3
    Unreal Tournament 3 Interview notes from the AI frontline on Guardian Unlimited (thanks BeyondUnreal) is a Q&A with programmer Steve Polge, talking about his bailiwick of AI, and how artificial intelligence has advanced over recent years.
  • Angels Online
    RPG Vault's Angels Online Q&A - Part 2 wraps up their conversation with Joyce Zhou and Daniel Wang about this free MMORPG, learning more about equipment, the magic system, questing, and more.
  • PopCap
    PopCap on Casual, Peggle & Valve on Rock, Paper, Shotgun gets Jason Kapalka comments on the aforementioned topics, presumably by threatening to Pop a Cap in his Peggle.

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6. Re: Free here isn't really free. Jan 31, 2008, 13:00 Krovven
 
Sadly he won't get it, he will never get it. Doesn't matter what Valve or Steam does, or what anyone says to prove him wrong. Riley will continue to spew bullshit about Valve/Steam in the name of looking like a dumbass. The "Steamworks Released" thread says it all. Riley doesn't stop and just keeps going on and on about something else.

He says users will never get the value from Steam they do from Retail...I prove him wrong and show that Steam offers special prices just like any other retail outlet. Then he just changes his angle of attack unwilling to admit when he is wrong...about anything.

Notice how defensive he has been since I posted the quote from the interview. Really pathetic.

----------------------------------------------------
Currently fragging in The Witcher, Burnout Paradise, COmpany of Heroes, Team Fortress 2

Join the "Blues News" Steam Community Group. http://steamcommunity.com/groups/bluesnews/
 
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5. Re: Free here isn't really free. Jan 31, 2008, 12:46 Sepharo
 
Regarding the real price of Steamworks, I see nothing in that interview which definitively says that the use of the Steam network and servers will be free.
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Lombardi: Yeah, itís basically itís all the plumbing involved in Steam, minus the distribution piece.

When did anybody argue that distribution would be free? Nobody would be using Steam servers unless they pay for distribution. They made it clear that you can use these tools and not go with Steam. Therefore host the stats and automatic updates on your own service.

This comment was edited on Jan 31, 12:46.
 
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4. Free here isn't really free. Jan 31, 2008, 05:10 >U
 
So Riley (aka. >U) can you please inform us how evil Valve is for doing this? There must be some catch.
Well since you asked and since you obviously didn't read where I discussed this subject in posts #85, #87, #89, and #95 in the thread at http://www.bluesnews.com/cgi-bin/board.pl?action=viewthread&threadid=84591 , I'll repeat some of it here.

The bottom line is that Steamworks most likely won't be free, and it certainly won't be good for gaming consumers for many reasons. Developers in the short run may benefit depending upon what Valve ends up charging for the use of the Steam servers and infrastructure which are necessary to use the code in the Steamworks SDK. If that price is cheaper than what competitors like Microsoft and Gamespy charge for the similar use of their servers and networks, then game developers and publishers may benefit financially at least in the short term. However, the use of Steam may cost them lost sales in the long term if customers revolt given how unreliable and unavailable Steam is when demand is heavy (and demand will certainly be much greater if many game companies take Valve up on this offer), and given how tenuous Steam is since games offered on Steam are a service which can be terminated at will by Valve and not products like traditional retail games which can't be taken away in whole after purchase.

Regarding the real price of Steamworks, I see nothing in that interview which definitively says that the use of the Steam network and servers will be free. Even on the official Steamworks website it simply states that Steamworks "eliminate technology licensing fees." It says nothing about eliminating the costs of running a network infrastructure which is a significant cost and a major component of the multiplayer functionality in games. If Valve were really giving the use of that part of Steam away, surely it would say so plainly and prominently right there on the official website.

I do not believe that Valve is going to spend money on the servers and bandwidth to host game files (for automatic updates), store stats, and deliver network traffic for competitors' and other companies' games with no financial compensation in return. Sure some websites serve up files for free, but they are compensated in ad and tracking revenue for it. If Valve doesn't charge game companies for those expenses, it's going to have to make up that money somewhere, and the only real alternative would be through advertising and tracking. So, are you ready for Steam to become a cesspool of advertising and/or are you ready for Valve to sell your personal and tracking information to advertisers and marketers? That is the only other way Valve could offer Steam totally for free without restrictions and make enough money to pay for it.

Even if use of the Steam servers and network were free, it isn't feasible to think that Valve would provide the same level of service and support to game developers and publishers who are paying to use Steam as those of the freeloaders. There is also the issue of conflict of interest as using Steam would allow Valve to keep close tabs on its competitors' games which use the service. So I can't imagine that any developers and publishers of game titles with larger budgets or those that compete directly with Valve are going to entrust it exclusively to provide and support their games' Internet functionality and infrastructure especially without compensation.

There is definitely not enough information revealed thus far to conclusively claim that the use of the Steam servers and network will be free, but I can't imagine that it will be without some serious restrictions and limitations because it could become a money pit for Valve very quickly unless it's willing to sell out its millions of users to pay for this freebie.

This comment was edited on Jan 31, 07:12.
 
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3. Re: Free is Free Jan 30, 2008, 22:43 nin
 
So Riley, that developer you work for, will you guys be using any of this new free stuff?

I'm sure his coworkers hate him as much as we do.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4zXIyyaJss&NR=1
 
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2. Re: Free is Free Jan 30, 2008, 22:28 Fang
 
So Riley (aka. >U) can you please inform us how evil Valve is for doing this? There must be some catch.

So Riley, that developer you work for, will you guys be using any of this new free stuff?

 
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1. Free is Free Jan 30, 2008, 21:33 Krovven
 
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/?p=1016

Rock, Paper, Shotgun: So the Steamworks announcement is kind of interesting. All those Steam features for free?

Lombardi: Yeah, itís basically itís all the plumbing involved in Steam, minus the distribution piece. Copy protection, auto-updating, voice, Steam community, and the other stuff on the release. Itís all available for free, and people can use any single part, or all of it. Itís free of charge, and you donít have to distribute the game itself via Steam.

----------------------------------------------------
Currently fragging in The Witcher, Burnout Paradise, COmpany of Heroes, Team Fortress 2

Join the "Blues News" Steam Community Group. http://steamcommunity.com/groups/bluesnews/
 
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