Half-Life 2: Episode One Preloads

A new Steam Update announces that Half-Life 2: Episode One will begin preloading over Steam next week, reminds us that SiN Episode 1: Emergence is gold, mentions the Red Orchestra SDK that is detailed in the story that follows this one, and pimps some swag. Here's most of it:
Congratulations to Ritual! SiN Episode 1: Emergence has officially gone GOLD. The game is now available for preloading on Steam. The full game will be unlocked on May 10th at 10am Pacific Daylight Time (17:00 GMT).

Half-Life 2: Episode One will begin preloding next week, and will be available to play June 1st. With Episode One, we really feel like we've produced our best single player game to date, and we're excited for people to be able to play it.

Meanwhile, the Red Orchestra team continues to turn out updates, the latest of which is the beta SDK for their game. If you own RO and would like to try it out, click on the "Tools" tab inside Steam.
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92.
 
No subject
May 4, 2006, 14:24
92.
No subject May 4, 2006, 14:24
May 4, 2006, 14:24
 
I was indifferent about Steam but over time its proved itself to be just another bit of ad-ware that my PC doesn't need.

I leave it turned off (many dont and they dont know how)

it annoys me that I cannot uninstall Steam if I want to play Half-life2. Blech

91.
 
Re: ...
May 3, 2006, 11:35
91.
Re: ... May 3, 2006, 11:35
May 3, 2006, 11:35
 
I was thinking more in the video card department because poor framerate is not really an issue with editing as it is with playing.
He speaks the truth! Meh, poor performance while editing pisses me off. Especially if running HL2 concurrently with the SDK for testing. Man, I need dual core.

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90.
 
Re: ...
May 3, 2006, 09:50
90.
Re: ... May 3, 2006, 09:50
May 3, 2006, 09:50
 
given it needs more memory than HL2 to run properly.
I was thinking more in the video card department because poor framerate is not really an issue with editing as it is with playing.

Nice to know you're not above childish ad hominem attacks to make your point.
Alright sorry for that dig. I got carried away.

Though you are right in that I had forgotten the small chance that you might be editing Vampires:TM.
Or DinoHunters! (although I don't think even modding could help that game)

This comment was edited on May 3, 09:53.
89.
 
Re: ...
May 3, 2006, 03:09
89.
Re: ... May 3, 2006, 03:09
May 3, 2006, 03:09
 
I like to use a separate PC for editing especially since it usually doesn't even have to be able to run the game to use it for modding purposes.
OK fair enough, though in the case of the Source SDK I'd recommend you use your most capable computer, given it needs more memory than HL2 to run properly. Just FYI...

That ridiculous analogy explains a lot about the rest of your posts.
Nice to know you're not above childish ad hominem attacks to make your point. Though you are right in that I had forgotten the small chance that you might be editing Vampires:TM.

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Dig six feet, find three bodies. But dig twelve feet, you find forty.
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88.
 
Re: ...
May 3, 2006, 01:37
88.
Re: ... May 3, 2006, 01:37
May 3, 2006, 01:37
 
Er, they are, but they're opt out rather than opt in. For anyone committed/proficient enough to use the SDK, opting out should hardly be a big deal - four mouse clicks.
I am going to shoot the next person who says that because it is DEAD WRONG as I have written time and time again on these forums. There is no way to turn off Steam's automatic update checks and downloads that occur each time a game is launched. You can disable the background update checks and downloads which occur when Steam is idle (which is what that setting does), but not the updates which occur at each game launch if Steam is not in offline mode.

Though what you'd use the SDK for without Half Life 2 I don't know.
First, you can edit any source engine game with it. Second, many modders including myself don't always have games installed on a PC with the editing tools because the games take up so much room. I like to use a separate PC for editing especially since it usually doesn't even have to be able to run the game to use it for modding purposes.

It's like saying you'd like to be able to use a mouse without having a computer as far as I can see.
That ridiculous analogy explains a lot about the rest of your posts.

This comment was edited on May 3, 01:41.
87.
 
Re: ...
May 2, 2006, 15:26
87.
Re: ... May 2, 2006, 15:26
May 2, 2006, 15:26
 
There is no good reason not to make the updates optional.
Er, they are, but they're opt out rather than opt in. For anyone committed/proficient enough to use the SDK, opting out should hardly be a big deal - four mouse clicks.

Though what you'd use the SDK for without Half Life 2 I don't know. Maybe that Vampire game - were the game editing files ever released for that? It's like saying you'd like to be able to use a mouse without having a computer as far as I can see.


_______________________________
Dig six feet, find three bodies. But dig twelve feet, you find forty.
This comment was edited on May 2, 15:38.
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86.
 
Re: ...
May 2, 2006, 09:42
86.
Re: ... May 2, 2006, 09:42
May 2, 2006, 09:42
 
Have you ever used the Steam SDK?
Yes I tried it once to check it out which is why I am bitching about it. I would like to be able to use it on my own systems, but as it requires both Steam and Half-Life 2, I cannot.

Also, there are advantages to keeping the SDK up to date automatically
While automatic updates can be beneficial to some or for some things, making them mandatory especially in a development environment is a bad idea. There is no good reason not to make the updates optional. Valve needs to give its users more control over the products they purchase.


85.
 
No subject
May 2, 2006, 04:28
85.
No subject May 2, 2006, 04:28
May 2, 2006, 04:28
 
Those plush headcrabs are so cute!

84.
 
Re: ...
May 2, 2006, 03:33
84.
Re: ... May 2, 2006, 03:33
May 2, 2006, 03:33
 
Making Steam the only way to download the SDK is bad enough, but requiring that Steam be running to run any part of the SDK is just ridiculous.
Have you ever used the Steam SDK? I can assure you the Steam requirement is not a big worry compared to the random crashes. Also, there are advantages to keeping the SDK up to date automatically - I don't know how much you know about the SDK - for one keeping track of new entities without having to manually download new .fgd files (as you used to have to with WorldCraft) is quite useful and will become more so when they start adding new engine features.

Of course, the flip side is that if the updates are dodgy (which isn't unheard of) then you have a busted SDK until they fix it. To their credit, they don't usually hang around too long.

If money can be transferred between parties securely and without human intervention via online banking, then surely Steam games can be as well.
Agreed. I don't resell my games generally, but I didn't realise there was a fee for doing so. There can't be any registration costs so it is purely punitive. While it doesn't bother me, I can see how it might bother others.



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Dig six feet, find three bodies. But dig twelve feet, you find forty.
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83.
 
Re: ...
Apr 30, 2006, 23:22
83.
Re: ... Apr 30, 2006, 23:22
Apr 30, 2006, 23:22
 
I always assumed it was done for convenience, not to restrict you. You just log in and select the SDK for the game you want, no searching for files or making sure it's up-to-date.
Making Steam the only way to download the SDK is bad enough, but requiring that Steam be running to run any part of the SDK is just ridiculous.


I'm not sure I agree. If you don't login and keep the details on your computer then Steam just becomes a free for all... perhaps you could have an offline database that allows you to login to your account without needing to contact Valve. Otherwise it is just too insecure and it would be really asking too much of them.
Since you have to have a valid Steam authorization to acquire the game files via Steam, allowing offline mode to run without requiring login credentials isn't going to open up the door to unauthorized use any more than it is already open.

Without using a payment system to verify the transfer the system would be open to malicious abuse, as as soon as someone discovered a users Steam password they could just transfer away all their games.
I agree that is a potential problem, but charging a fee is not the answer as the current $10 charge still beats paying full price for the games in the eyes of a thief. Verification of registration details prior to transfer would be sufficient, and the whole thing could be automated to avoid human intervention for convenience and cost savings. If money can be transferred between parties securely and without human intervention via online banking, then surely Steam games can be as well.

This comment was edited on Apr 30, 23:25.
82.
 
...
Apr 30, 2006, 22:15
82.
... Apr 30, 2006, 22:15
Apr 30, 2006, 22:15
 
It's stupid to require Steam to be running and to be logged into it just to run a map editor or other tools to create or edit content for a game. In addition I always like to checkout the editing tools or SDK for a game before I purchase it if it is available so I know whether to buy the game. With games on Steam that isn't possible so long as the tools are tied to Steam.
I always assumed it was done for convenience, not to restrict you. You just log in and select the SDK for the game you want, no searching for files or making sure it's up-to-date. However, offering the tools separately should still be a possibility for the people that want that or that don't own the game - I also like to check out SDKs for other games as well, even if I never end up buying them.

Does it open the door more to unauthorized play of the games? Sure it does, BUT that door is no obstacle to those who want to do that because they are already doing it. That restriction on offline mode is just hurting those who play by the rules.
I'm not sure I agree. If you don't login and keep the details on your computer then Steam just becomes a free for all... perhaps you could have an offline database that allows you to login to your account without needing to contact Valve. Otherwise it is just too insecure and it would be really asking too much of them.

There should be no charge to transfer an account. Customers could do the transfer themselves without any intervention by Valve. It's just gouging by Valve to charge for it.
Without using a payment system to verify the transfer the system would be open to malicious abuse, as as soon as someone discovered a users Steam password they could just transfer away all their games. I acknowledge that second hand games should be freely transferable but it's slightly more complicated when you're not handing over physical data like game discs but intellectual property. Ideally it should be free but I'm just thinking of the practicalities of it.

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81.
 
Re: ...
Apr 30, 2006, 21:12
81.
Re: ... Apr 30, 2006, 21:12
Apr 30, 2006, 21:12
 
Well, you have to establish an entitlement to play games so you have to have information saved... perhaps it could be done more securely, with all data hidden and passworded even when you're logged in.
I think Valve should err on the side of the customer in terms of the flexibility and security of offline mode. Does it open the door more to unauthorized play of the games? Sure it does, BUT that door is no obstacle to those who want to do that because they are already doing it. That restriction on offline mode is just hurting those who play by the rules. Plus, the non-existent copy-protection in Half-Life 1 certainly didn't hurt its sales, and making offline mode more flexible for the customer isn't going to hurt Valve either.

5) Don't charge for selling games. Whilst I agree with what you're saying I think a charge of only $1-2 would be a good idea as it means Valve has a record of the transaction, in case of fraud. The last thing I want is malicious friends or hackers just freely transfering accounts back and forth.
There should be no charge to transfer an account. Customers could do the transfer themselves without any intervention by Valve. It's just gouging by Valve to charge for it.

6) Don't require Steam to run the SDK's/development tools for Steam games. Sorry, I don't have any clue what you've talking about.
What I am saying is that the editing tools for a game on Steam should NOT require Steam in order to acquire and run them. Many people who mod don't necessarily even have the game installed on the same PC on which they do their modding. It's stupid to require Steam to be running and to be logged into it just to run a map editor or other tools to create or edit content for a game. In addition I always like to checkout the editing tools or SDK for a game before I purchase it if it is available so I know whether to buy the game. With games on Steam that isn't possible so long as the tools are tied to Steam.

This comment was edited on Apr 30, 21:12.
80.
 
Re: No subject
Apr 30, 2006, 20:55
80.
Re: No subject Apr 30, 2006, 20:55
Apr 30, 2006, 20:55
 
So preloads are bad in your book.
It depends on the situation. With Sin Episodes we have a situation where those who preload must still wait two weeks after the game is supposedly "gold" before they can play it. That is stupid unless the game is not finished, and if the game is being shipped in an unfinished state as Tom from Ritual suggested then that is really irresponsible because retail customers will be totally dependent upon Ritual's ability to get their shit together by May 10th and also on their own Internet connections and Steam's availability to get the game working when they buy it.

What if there's a bug discovered just after the game is shipped out?
You misunderstand. The way Steam works now, each time you launch a Steam game, Steam checks the files which comprise the game to see if they need updating and then updates them whether you want it to or not. That is ridiculous especially when you want to play in single-player mode or when the update is downloading slowly for whatever reason.

Then someone takes the files and burns them on dvd and copies them to another computer and it's pirated!
It's really a moot concern though because those who want to play an unauthorized version of Steam games can already do so by hacking Steam or downloading a hacked version. Valve's crippling of offline mode that way is only hurting customers who play by the rules and don't hack Steam. It is also a stupid thing to do from a security standpoint, so Valve should remove that requirement.

Do you have complaints about other digital distribution models, i.e, Direct2Drive or TryMedia? Or do those seem a little more liberal because the only online bit is the downloading and the validation, nothing more?
As I wrote below, while Direct2Drive and Trymedia are better than Steam from the download and update requirement standpoint, e.g. no forced updates, no waiting weeks to unlock the games, better download availability, I actually hate the copy-protection in Direct2Drive and Trymedia more because it is more customer unfriendly. At least with Steam you don't get a limited number of activations so if you upgrade or replace your PC, you don't have to buy the games again although with Steam you are still at the mercy of Valve for the games to be available in order to play them.

This comment was edited on Apr 30, 21:20.
79.
 
...
Apr 30, 2006, 20:38
79.
... Apr 30, 2006, 20:38
Apr 30, 2006, 20:38
 
make games purchased via Steam unlockable the moment they finish downloading, don't require games to be updated when launched, don't require login information to be saved for offline mode to work, make offline mode a user selectable option not just a worst case scenario choice which Steam makes only if the Steam network can't be reached at all, don't charge users to give or sell a purchased Steam game to someone else, don't require Steam to run the SDK's/development tools for Steam games, etc.
I understand what you're saying and agree with many points, but I will clarify my position.

1) Immediate unlock. Unlockable games just aren't practical - Valve obviously release the games as early as possible but there are other factors (often contactual, as discussed) that prohibit that. Obviously I want games unlocked as soon as possible.

2) Forced updates. Singleplayer games shouldn't be forced to update automatically, though there should be a developer option for serious updates to be compulsory. Multiplayer games, however, I believe should be, as it unites the userbase and the likelyhood is that they will be using broadband.

3) Don't require saved login information for offline mode. Well, you have to establish an entitlement to play games so you have to have information saved... perhaps it could be done more securely, with all data hidden and passworded even when you're logged in. *shrugs* I don't quite understand what you're suggesting.

4) Make offline selectable. Absolutely. Anyone that is going to bypass it will bypass it... it shouldn't hang there and keep attempting to connect for 3-4 minutes before THEN offering you the ability to use offline mode.

5) Don't charge for selling games. Whilst I agree with what you're saying I think a charge of only $1-2 would be a good idea as it means Valve has a record of the transaction, in case of fraud. The last thing I want is malicious friends or hackers just freely transfering accounts back and forth.

6) Don't require Steam to run the SDK's/development tools for Steam games. Sorry, I don't have any clue what you've talking about.

Finally we're getting to proper discussions, rather than each side being incredibly defensive and attacking anything the other has to say.

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Emotinomicon: Emoticons of the Dead
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78.
 
Re: No subject
Apr 30, 2006, 19:04
78.
Re: No subject Apr 30, 2006, 19:04
Apr 30, 2006, 19:04
 
make games purchased via Steam unlockable the moment they finish downloading

So preloads are bad in your book. I think it's a pretty good way of getting files on people's computers ahead of release, especially when those files includes stuff that won't really change. I won't say preloads reduce bandwidth problems because they always happen, but it's still nice to get stuff in chunks so that when the game does get released, I at least have all, if not the majority, of the files on my disk already. SiN Episodes was preloading the first time while Ritual was still working on the game, but wanted to get out those main files ahead of time for those people who would be interested in getting the game and had pre-ordered. Completed games that you downloaded are unlocked immediately anyway.

don't require games to be updated when launched

What if there's a bug discovered just after the game is shipped out? You've seen developers release patches ahead of releases (like Tomb Raider: Legends). I of course know that these updates don't only entail bug fixes and that you're angry about a game being shipped incomplete to consumers. I would be too, if I had to download hundreds of megabytes after installing the game from CD. A few megabytes, however, don't bug me unless Steam's servers are being slow, which they are more often than not, and that would bug me a little.

don't require login information to be saved for offline mode to work

Then someone takes the files and burns them on dvd and copies them to another computer and it's pirated!

make offline mode a user selectable option not just a worst case scenario choice which Steam makes only if the Steam network can't be reached at all, don't charge users to give or sell a purchased Steam game to someone else, don't require Steam to run the SDK's/development tools for Steam games, etc.

Digital distribution, and furthermore Steam, still have issues, I agree on that.

It's not as if these customer-friendly changes and many others couldn't be made. Of course they could. The problem is Valve runs Steam for its maximum profit and control first and users' concerns and needs take a distance second priority because it knows its games are popular enough that it can get away with it.

Do you have complaints about other digital distribution models, i.e, Direct2Drive or TryMedia? Or do those seem a little more liberal because the only online bit is the downloading and the validation, nothing more?

77.
 
Re: No subject
Apr 30, 2006, 16:51
77.
Re: No subject Apr 30, 2006, 16:51
Apr 30, 2006, 16:51
 
vacs, in case you hadn't noticed, this discussion has been mostly about SiN, not HL2.

SiN is not a surefire sale like HL2. I highly doubt any publisher jumped at the opportunity without making certain they get a 100% fair shake at a sale.
Think about it for a second. You're a publisher. Your method of selling has a much higher risk. The product might not sell at all. Would you really want to spot someone else two weeks of selling time? Early adopters would guaranteed download. It's absolutely lost sales. Why would a publisher with any bargaining power take that deal?
It makes perfect sense for a publisher to be unwilling for the game to be available online first.

And since when has your english been unintelligable?

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76.
 
Re: No subject
Apr 30, 2006, 15:38
76.
Re: No subject Apr 30, 2006, 15:38
Apr 30, 2006, 15:38
 
Nothing will stop people from making a copy of the game just for offline use, and then reselling it to someone else, thus making sure Valve makes no money on the second-hand sale.
The right of first-sale in copyright law means that the copyright holder is not required to be compensated from second-hand sales. Software on physical media is no different, and Steam games shouldn't be either. However, because Steam requires login info, Valve can "tax" these sales when it otherwise could not. I buy a lot of games used on eBay, etc. because of the huge savings, and Steam and its ilk are the death of that.

This comment was edited on Apr 30, 15:41.
75.
 
Re: No subject
Apr 30, 2006, 15:32
75.
Re: No subject Apr 30, 2006, 15:32
Apr 30, 2006, 15:32
 
While I pretty much agree with what you're saying Riley...

make offline mode a user selectable option not just a worst case scenario choice which Steam makes only if the Steam network can't be reached at all, don't charge users to give or sell a purchased Steam game to someone else, don't require Steam to run the SDK's/development tools for Steam games, etc.

That kind of contradicts itself. Nothing will stop people from making a copy of the game just for offline use, and then reselling it to someone else, thus making sure Valve makes no money on the second-hand sale. You run into the same problem as buying back PC games by a real store, that's why EBGames no longer does that.

So no, I don't think its a real great idea to do both of those things -- but I could really see that working if the person buying it from someone else got a significant discount.

74.
 
Re: No subject
Apr 30, 2006, 15:21
74.
Re: No subject Apr 30, 2006, 15:21
Apr 30, 2006, 15:21
 
So tell me how you would run Steam. I'd like to hear this.
If you actually read my posts it would be blatantly obvious. Simply don't do the specific things I am complaining about such as make games purchased via Steam unlockable the moment they finish downloading, don't require games to be updated when launched, don't require login information to be saved for offline mode to work, make offline mode a user selectable option not just a worst case scenario choice which Steam makes only if the Steam network can't be reached at all, don't charge users to give or sell a purchased Steam game to someone else, don't require Steam to run the SDK's/development tools for Steam games, etc.

It's not as if these customer-friendly changes and many others couldn't be made. Of course they could. The problem is Valve runs Steam for its maximum profit and control first and users' concerns and needs take a distance second priority because it knows its games are popular enough that it can get away with it.

This comment was edited on Apr 30, 15:43.
73.
 
Re: No subject
Apr 30, 2006, 15:13
73.
Re: No subject Apr 30, 2006, 15:13
Apr 30, 2006, 15:13
 
but rather to demonstrate that this delay is one more in a long list of examples where Steam fails to deliver on its potential and promises to users.

So tell me how you would run Steam. I'd like to hear this.

This comment was edited on Apr 30, 15:13.
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