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Impulse Phase 3 Launches

The Impulse Website announces that Phase 3 of the Impulse digital distribution platform is now live, offering a new user interface, new features, and new developer tools. Here's the list of new features:

1. The Impulse client has had its user interface significantly improved and updated with features such as player rankings, achievements, intelligent match-making, and more. It also includes a new tray application that lets users track friends, receive update notifications, and much more.
2. The beta of Impulse Anywhere, a new web-based method for users whose home Internet connections are non-ideal to download their software on another machine, take the files home and install them.
3. The release of Impulse Reactor, a development platform that lets users add many new features to their games without having to re-distribute a third-party client (i.e. users don’t have to distribute the Impulse client). Impulse Reactor includes features such as intelligent match-making, multiplayer tournament support, NAT negotiation, friend lists, rankings, community features and much more. Gas Powered Games’ much anticipated PC game, Demigod, is being released next week and makes full use of Impulse Reactor.
4. Impulse Reactor Overlay, an in-game overlay that lets users instantly access chat, friends lists, profile data, micro-expansions, and more. Demigod will also be the first title to make full use of this.
5. Game Object Obfuscation (Goo) - An alternative method for developers to protect their intellectual property. Goo allows developers to associate licenses with people rather than their PCs which will eliminate the issue of “limited activations”. It also provides the underpinnings to support vendor neutral software downloads and transferring of licenses.

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32. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 8, 2009, 10:27 theyarecomingforyou
 
It's not as big an issue as people in this thread seem to be suggesting but it's not perfect.
+1
 
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31. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 8, 2009, 09:46 Tumbler
 
Steam Offline mode:

I was curious about using steam's offline mode as well so I disabled my wireless adapter. Steam wasn't running at the time so I started it, and after a few seconds it comes up and asks if I want offline mode.

I wanted to try it on a fresh boot as well so I restarted and was able to get into offline mode as well.

Was able to run DoW2, IL2, L4D. L4D had some lag issues that I thought might be related to being in offline mode but I could be wrong.

It sounds like the complaints people have with offline mode revolve around managing multiple accounts? Or using software for the first time without an internet connection? It's true that you can't use offline mode unless you've been online prior to that, and you can't just bring a new game home and install it in offline mode and play it.

I've heard offline mode has a time limit involved as well, IE after 30 days it stops working?

It's not as big an issue as people in this thread seem to be suggesting but it's not perfect.

This comment was edited on Apr 8, 2009, 09:47.
 
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30. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 8, 2009, 02:51 GT
 
There's always been a way to go to offline mode in Steam, with or without a connection and without logging in and switching to offline mode. You have to hit cancel when the window first pops up trying to connect, and it will give you the option to continue logging in online, or switch to offline.
Again, that will only work for the last used Steam account and then only if the password was stored at the time. That doesn't cover every situation so for some people offline mode isn't available in that case.
 
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29. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 8, 2009, 02:37 GT
 
It's not "very easy" to accidentally logout.
No, but it is very easy to accidentally forget that logging out or changing accounts erases the stored login information and therefore disables offline mode. It is also very easy to have a family member or friend use your PC and login to their Steam account from it which erases that information.

Only a minority of people ever need to logout
Whether it's a 49% minority or a 10% minority, that's still a lot of users who will experience the problem which explains the complaints you see in forums about offline mode not working for them. Even if it were just one user who is affected, that's still one paying customer too many.

Other games with decent DRM like Quake Wars Enemy Territory and UT3 don't have this problem. They have unrestricted offline and LAN play. Even the Crysis Warfare full version trial download has unlimited offline and LAN play. Steam should too, but it doesn't.

This comment was edited on Apr 8, 2009, 02:53.
 
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28. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 7, 2009, 23:57 jimnms
 
There's always been a way to go to offline mode in Steam, with or without a connection and without logging in and switching to offline mode. You have to hit cancel when the window first pops up trying to connect, and it will give you the option to continue logging in online, or switch to offline. Of course if you are connected and have a fast connection, it's hard to do because that screen is only there for a split second.

Well obviously your login was working. If you cannot log in to steam you absolutely cannot go into offline mode without being connected to the internet. And this is the situation going on right now. Go ahead and try it.

Ok, I just did. I haven't logged into Steam in weeks. I turned off my cable modem (well put it in standby), then to be double safe I set my router's firewall to block all connections to/from my IP, then to be triple safe I set my software firewall to "block all" mode. I launched Steam and when the box pops up where it says "Updating Steam" I clicked cancel rather than wait for it to time out, and was then given the option to go to offline mode. Only click cancel once, if you click it more than once it will just close Steam.
 
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27. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 7, 2009, 22:44 theyarecomingforyou
 
It's not "very easy" to accidentally logout. You can't do it from the right click menu, you can't do it by ending the process in task manager, you can't do it by clicking anything in the Community tab, you can't do it by restarting your computer, you can't do it by crashing the Steam client, etc. The only way to log out is through a double-prompt system - either clicking "don't save credentials" and clicking OK; or by selecting Change User and clicking Logout on the warning prompt. You're completely misrepresenting the situation. Only a minority of people ever need to logout, mainly for multiple user setups.  
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26. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 7, 2009, 21:33 GT
 
Numerous restrictions? Checking a box isn't really that hard.
The real problem is not so much checking the box; the problem is keeping it checked/keeping the password saved. It's very easy to accidently uncheck the box or have Steam do the equivalent by logging out of your Steam account or if Steam screws up its database file and forces a rebuild by requiring a successful login. I can certainly see why offline mode wouldn't be available exactly when users need it due to these limitations.

This comment was edited on Apr 7, 2009, 21:33.
 
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25. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 7, 2009, 20:17 theyarecomingforyou
 
If you were not logged into steam already when your connection went down you would have been locked out until it came back. If you tried what I asked you to, you wouldn't have been able to play anything.
Sorry, I was talking about Steam being used in its normal context - remember password with auto-login. When my connection went down I was able to restart my computer and use Steam without issue. Afterall, it doesn't make sense for me to have to type in my details every time I load Steam.

Nonsense. Steam's offline mode has more restrictions than that. Offline mode will only work if you successfully login to Steam, check the save password box before you do and keep it checked, exit Steam, and then subsequently if your Windows GUID doesn't change or you don't try to login with a different Steam account.
Numerous restrictions? Checking a box isn't really that hard. I agree that the limitations are more problematic for multiple-user situations but the majority of times you're talking about a single user that will save their details. But yes, I agree that the restrictions are unnecessary and you shouldn't need them - it's something I'd like Valve to change.

I don't know, Tacfy. I have never gotten offline mode to work. About a year ago, my subdivision was still under heavy construction, lots of digging, etc. This caused the coax running through my neighborhood to be cut many, many times (Ah, Mexicans and their Bobcats :D). I would literally lose my internet connection 4 or 5 times a week - sometimes, more than once in a day! The point of this story is that through all that, I never, not one single time, was able to play Steam games in offline mode.
I remember that when I used it years back I had a similar situation and I couldn't access my games without first going into offline mode but it was flawless when it happened several months ago. Valve keep updating the Steam client so I assume they changed something.

After that, it will try to connect your account. Based on the logic that, if you can't download updates, maybe you can still connect to the login server, I guess. That takes another minute to time out. Then I finally get the "Hey, it appears you don't have any internet access!" box, and I can choose to go offline and finally play my games.
Yeah, it takes longer to load but after that it works as normal.

This is, quite frankly, a sucky as shit system. The thing should try to login my account for 20 seconds. If it can't, go offline. If it can, THEN check for updates. And download those stinking updates in the background while I'm playing a game.
+1. I agree completely.

My only point was whenever I've been without internet access I've been able to play all my games without issue. I'm speaking of my own experience. My hope is the competition from Impulse will get Valve to take action and improve the experience.
 
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24. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 7, 2009, 19:10 GT
 
Nonsense. The offline mode works fine as long as Steam was installed with internet access
Nonsense. Steam's offline mode has more restrictions than that. Offline mode will only work if you successfully login to Steam, check the save password box before you do and keep it checked, exit Steam, and then subsequently if your Windows GUID doesn't change or you don't try to login with a different Steam account. Barring all of that, offline mode will not be enabled and remain so. In addition if the Steam database file gets corrupted as can frequently happen, offline mode won't work until the next successful login and password save.

Offline mode has numerous restrictions on it so that it doesn't bypass Steam's DRM. The only real way to ensure that Steam will run your games every time you want them to run is to crack Steam.

This comment was edited on Apr 7, 2009, 19:58.
 
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23. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 7, 2009, 18:58 Scottso
 
No. You are wrong. I was in normal mode and hadn't run offline mode. My internet connection went down; when Steam tried to connect it couldn't and switched to offline mode. My games ran. There is absolutely nothing subjective about the matter.

As I said, you were already logged in. Reading comprehension FTW!

If you were not logged into steam already when your connection went down you would have been locked out until it came back. If you tried what I asked you to, you wouldn't have been able to play anything.

Random people posting on the web disprove what I witnessed myself firsthand? How strange.

Your sarcasm would make you look witty if you weren't already wrong. Oops.

 
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22. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 7, 2009, 18:45 Creston
 
I've had times where I've been unexpectedly without the internet and Steam simply booted into offline mode and continued as norma

Maybe it's just me, but it's never "simply" booting into offline mode for me.

When my internet is down, the first thing steam ALWAYS tries to do is see if there's any updates. You can cancel out of this, but then the next time you try to open it it'll just start from the beginning again. This takes three minutes to time out.

After that, it will try to connect your account. Based on the logic that, if you can't download updates, maybe you can still connect to the login server, I guess. That takes another minute to time out. Then I finally get the "Hey, it appears you don't have any internet access!" box, and I can choose to go offline and finally play my games.

This is, quite frankly, a sucky as shit system. The thing should try to login my account for 20 seconds. If it can't, go offline. If it can, THEN check for updates. And download those stinking updates in the background while I'm playing a game.

Seriously, those updates are never important enough for me to have to sit there and watch them fucking download before I can finally play something.

I love Steam as a delivery method / store, but their client sucks fucking ass.

Creston
 
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21. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 7, 2009, 18:45 Prez
 
I don't know, Tacfy. I have never gotten offline mode to work. About a year ago, my subdivision was still under heavy construction, lots of digging, etc. This caused the coax running through my neighborhood to be cut many, many times (Ah, Mexicans and their Bobcats :D). I would literally lose my internet connection 4 or 5 times a week - sometimes, more than once in a day! The point of this story is that through all that, I never, not one single time, was able to play Steam games in offline mode. I generated trouble tickets, got some responses telling me what to do so that offline mode would be available, but it would never, ever work. Weird.  
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20. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 7, 2009, 18:24 theyarecomingforyou
 
The only way it would work is if you went into offline mode BEFORE you lost your ability to connect to their servers.
No. You are wrong. I was in normal mode and hadn't run offline mode. My internet connection went down; when Steam tried to connect it couldn't and switched to offline mode. My games ran. There is absolutely nothing subjective about the matter.

The large number of folks complaining on the Steam forums would pretty much disprove your claim in any case.
Random people posting on the web disprove what I witnessed myself firsthand? How strange.
 
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19. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 7, 2009, 17:35 Scottso
 
Nonsense. The offline mode works fine as long as Steam was installed with internet access. I've had times where I've been unexpectedly without the internet and Steam simply booted into offline mode and continued as normal - I loaded up random games that I hadn't played to test it and they all ran fine. I didn't have to take any steps... Steam just did it all automatically. That doesn't help if you need to install Steam or other games, though.

Well obviously your login was working. If you cannot log in to steam you absolutely cannot go into offline mode without being connected to the internet. And this is the situation going on right now. Go ahead and try it. Without switching to offline mode beforehand, log out of steam, unplug your net connection and try to play a game. Sorry, no dice for you until you can sign back in. Which requires an Internet connection.

The only way it would work is if you went into offline mode BEFORE you lost your ability to connect to their servers.

The large number of folks complaining on the Steam forums would pretty much disprove your claim in any case.
 
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18. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 7, 2009, 17:23 theyarecomingforyou
 
Sure, Steam has an "offline" mode, but you have to be able log in to Steam to enable it as all these folks are finding out now that they need it.
Nonsense. The offline mode works fine as long as Steam was installed with internet access. I've had times where I've been unexpectedly without the internet and Steam simply booted into offline mode and continued as normal - I loaded up random games that I hadn't played to test it and they all ran fine. I didn't have to take any steps... Steam just did it all automatically. That doesn't help if you need to install Steam or other games, though.
 
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17. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 7, 2009, 17:20 Warskull
 
Their activation/deactivation technology is certainly interesting. It could be used to bring demos back to games if it runs as smoothly as they say. Let you have a 24-48 hour activation to try out a game, basically a time constrained demo of the full game. The reselling your used games is a nice option too.  
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16. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 7, 2009, 17:11 Tumbler
 
I still prefer Steam but I really like the idea of greater competition and a greater emphasis on users' rights.

Ditto. Steam has the selection, the deals, but the value on full price games is a joke. (IE selling your software, giving it to a friend, etc.) You don't own anything on Steam, it's more of an online service. If they decide to terminate you...you're SOL.

Every time there is a big steam sale i go and check the other online distro sites to see what they have as well. There isn't a lot of competition for Steam currently. I'll make an exception with games between $5 and $10 because I don't care if I can resell them but above $20 and I want to own that game. No strings attached.

Dawn of War 2 I hope will be the last game I ever pay full price for and don't own it free and clear. (I hope this because I knew I shouldn't be buying it at that price with the strings attached, but I did...)

$20 is about all I can justify paying for games that I'm essentially renting on services like steam. I'm overjoyed at how many games steam is making available for $5-$10 and money is flying out of my pockets because of it.

And it's great to see bigger games like Demigod appearing on Impulse. This is the major difference I see with steam, they have exclusive rights (for obvious reasons) to HUGE games that draw in tons of people. If stardock can secure enough exclusive content in this way Steam will at least having something to think about competing with.
 
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15. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 7, 2009, 16:51 HardCore
 
"The Impulse client has had its user interface significantly improved and updated..."

Is it finally user friendly and intuitive?
 
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14. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 7, 2009, 16:46 Scottso
 
Steam sucks ass. I don't know if anyone reads the Steam forums, but there are a apparently a large amount of folks that have been locked out of their games since Saturday with not a word from Valve/Steam other than, "We have ongoing issues with our POP. We are meeting with them to make sure this doesn't happen again."

Since Impulse doesn't make you go online every time you try to load your games you don't need to worry about their servers being down. Sure, Steam has an "offline" mode, but you have to be able log in to Steam to enable it as all these folks are finding out now that they need it.

I'm actually surprised none of the gaming news sites have picked up on this story. Its quickly becoming a big issue now.
 
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13. Re: Impulse Phase 3 Launches Apr 7, 2009, 16:01 theyarecomingforyou
 
Interesting reading from Brad
Yeah. I very much like what they're trying to do with Impulse. I'm intrigued as to how second hand sales will work in practice and the implications of it but it's giving users more freedom. I'm more interested in the idea of being client-less. Hopefully this will force Valve to modernise Steam in a similar way. People should WANT to use the client, not need to.

It's also interesting that Stardock is looking to make it easy to freeware producers to get their software onto Impulse with minimal intervention (only moderation). It's the advantage they've got as the underdog - they can't hope to compete with Valve with the big publishers (even Valve are lacking a huge number of titles) so they take a different direction.

I noticed an immediate difference, a list based view of my games instead of tiles. Not sure what else is changed.
I was expecting an update to the actual appearance than to the game list. I guess I just interpreted "significantly" to mean something more substantial.

I still prefer Steam but I really like the idea of greater competition and a greater emphasis on users' rights.
 
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