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PC Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Valve Unveils Steam Cloud 153

Posted by Soulskill
from the steam-cloud-haha-get-it? dept.
Erik J tips us to news of Valve's announcement that their content distribution system, Steam, will receive an update "in the near future" called Steam Cloud. The new service will allow users to save games and configuration settings online. According to MaximumPC: "This system will be completely transparent to the user. The files cache locally, and will upload when Steam detects an internet connection. There will be no restrictions on users - no save quotas or file management - the system will 'just work.' Any Steamwork game will be able to support these features, and it'll be free for customers and developers."
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Valve Unveils Steam Cloud

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  • A great adea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2008 @02:43AM (#23596903)
    Finally, it's about time. I've loved the fact that I can access my Steam games anywhere (like from work ;), but hated that I couldn't continue my saved games...
  • by Drenaran (1073150) on Friday May 30, 2008 @02:49AM (#23596915)
    I understand how for some users not having file management isn't something they'll notice or care about, but what about the multitudes of people that would enjoy having a choice? What if we just plain don't want something game related (save, setting, whatever) stored any more? I checked the article to see if there really weren't any options at all about your stored files, but unfortunately it gives about the same amount of information as is in the article summary.

    This seems like a fairly big thing to leave out seeing as there seems to be a great deal of options and tools (import/export/backup, etc.) for controlling your data (games/saves/etc.) when it comes to the current Steam client.
    • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:13AM (#23596999)
      What? That's a terrible idea. A Steam game is just a huge tree of files that's parsed by the Steam loader. Those files, including cached sound data and map node resources, are being updated continuously as you play through the game. What difference does it make if one more file is altered to store configuration data? Would you really rather have to re-set your audio/video settings every time you want to play, as well as rebind your keys, as well as re-tweak your Voice volumes, as well as reconfigure your steam community overlay options? Have you even seen how powerful the console is? It would take me 10 minutes to manually execute everything in my autoexec.cfg.
      • by ticklejw (453382)
        I agree that file management as in the same we are used to on our own hard drives, like able to selectively edit or delete individual files would just be out of place in this case. There's little benefit to doing so, and even if you wanted to, just do it locally and I imagine the changes would be uploaded.

        I think the concern expressed is that you may not want "this saved game" or "that configuration file" to be automatically uploaded (talking about groups of files that make up an item here, not individual
      • Actually most of the settings you mentioned are machine specific, and while theres a lot of thing's I'd want to keep I'd much rather lose my video settings when I go from playing on a 1280x1024 lcd at home with an 8800gt to a widescreen lcd at work with a 7300something.

        Audio and Video settings are very A/V card related. Ideally you'd want the games to be able to create profiles and store the profiles remotely, but even that's rare.

        As for why you might not want to, I can think of more than a few things that
  • Valve (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:01AM (#23596953)
    Is consistently late with consistently stellar products.

    I know I'm a happy customer... eventually!
  • Steam rocks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toreo asesino (951231) on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:01AM (#23596957) Journal
    Steam is the first online content distribution system that's genuinely made it easier to buy a game rather than pirate it.

    New games are purchased, downloaded, activated and constantly patched all automatically and in no time at all...it's step in the right direction in combating piracy; just make it easier to NOT pirate ffs rather than just stuffing games full of anti-piracy nastiness.
    • Re:Steam rocks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Majik Sheff (930627) on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:09AM (#23596979) Journal
      And what happens when Valve decides that they don't want you to have a game any more? What happens if/when Valve goes out of business or is bought by a less scrupulous company? Oops, sorry. EA owns your ass now.
      • Re:Steam rocks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by FoolsGold (1139759) on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:24AM (#23597057)
        There are many "what ifs" when it comes to Steam, but given the popularity of the system, it would seem a lot of people prefer to look on the bright side and take a gamble. If everyone had to worry about the what ifs in life, we'd never have any fun cos we'd be too afraid.
      • Re:Steam rocks (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MrHanky (141717) on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:54AM (#23597173) Homepage Journal
        While I agree it's a likely scenario, it's not really any different from how many other games stop working after a few OS revisions. As an example, System Shock 2 was released on 11 August, 1999, and has never worked reliably on Windows 2000 and XP (it also refuses to install unless you feed the installer a command line option). So if you bought a new Windows XP based computer little more than two years after SS2 was released, you would likely be unable to play it. And that's for a true classic, one of the best games ever, etc.

        Copy protection sucks. Steam makes the shortcomings more obvious, but not bigger. It's cheaper than less reliable physical media, and it is reliable. Now. Perhaps not in the future, but seriously, those old games are rarely as much fun as you remember them to be.
        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Well as a happy Windows 2000 user I have the other fear, that steam will stop supporting win 2k and bang... all the games that I bought on steam.. now out of action.... and I can't even stick with a lower patch version because they don't do that.
        • System Shock 2 has been patched to run reliably in Windows XP. It's kind of a pain to set up, but there are great tutorials to walk you through the steps and afterwards it works perfectly. I've played through the game twice without problem in Windows XP.
        • Re:Steam rocks (Score:4, Insightful)

          by mollymoo (202721) * on Friday May 30, 2008 @10:40AM (#23600415) Journal
          That may be true, but it's not like your copy of Windows 98 (or ME, if you're perverse) will have evaporated into the ether, so you could still play the game if you kept the old hardware and OS. With continual online checks you don't even get that choice, you can change nothing and the game will just stop working when the publisher gets bored of providing the authorisation servers.

          DRM like this results in de-facto perpetual copyright - if the keys never get released the copyright materials never get released to the public, so the public interest side of the copyright bargain never materialises. I think we need laws to enforce key escrow, patches to disable online activation when the authorisation servers are taken off-line and the like. They're just running rings around the intentions of copyright law otherwise.
          • by MrHanky (141717)
            I'm not sure Windows 98 will run on all modern hardware, and you may have gone the route of perpetual upgrades.

            Anyway, it wasn't my intention to praise Steam's DRM, just to put it into perspective: it's good value for money, when you consider the actual options (DVDs). As for perpetual copyrtight, I played through almost all of Episode 2 before I decided to give Valve my money and buy the Orange Box through Steam. I may still have my pirated version somewhere. Steam isn't the first "protection" scheme that
      • Re:Steam rocks (Score:5, Informative)

        by Phydeaux314 (866996) on Friday May 30, 2008 @04:07AM (#23597219) Homepage
        First, I think Valve is primarily owned by the founders, so unless they decide to sell it, I don't think it's likely that it will get sold.

        Secondly, Valve has publicly stated that if the company does go out of business, they already have DRM removal patches ready to go for all the content on Steam. So if Valve does go belly-up, you won't lose access to your games.
        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Secondly, Valve has publicly stated that if the company does go out of business, they already have DRM removal patches ready to go for all the content on Steam. So if Valve does go belly-up, you won't lose access to your games.

          It's fine to say that, but have they done anything to make sure that it actually happens? I'd imagine that if Valve goes belly up, nobody there is going to be worrying about making sure those patches go out. After all, where are they going to put them when the bailiffs are taking the servers out the door.
          They need to put those patches in the hands of a third party that will make sure they are released. I'd suggest that the games industry should set up their own organization to handle these issues.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Phydeaux314 (866996)
            Ok, after some searching I found that there's a note about it in the Steam license agreeement - section 12-C part 2. I know I read a more, ah, verbose version in an interview, but I can't find the link at the moment.
          • The patches are *already out*. Doubt it was their intent, but theres a fake steam that was used as far back as the CS:Condition Zero leaks (before HL2 was even out..aside from the e3 demo copy that leaked with it)

            I have no fear that my games will become unusable in the future. Maybe a little more complicated, but thats it.
      • by dintech (998802)
        If the rules change and Valve pull the rug out from under you, that's when the piracy starts. Users will download a copy that they feel reflects their rights. I know that if was locked out of my Steam account, my next stop would be usenet. No doubt about it.
      • by Jupix (916634)
        Then crack it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by The MAZZTer (911996)

        And what happens when Valve decides that they don't want you to have a game any more? What happens if/when Valve goes out of business or is bought by a less scrupulous company?

        That's when we start Googling for game names with special keywords which lead us to downloads that make the games not require Steam running anymore to use. Even if Valve themselves don't free their games from Steam when it goes under (which they have said they would, and I like to believe they are trustworthy) we can always fall back on the huge community dedicated to making games free. We already paid for and own the games anyway.

      • by Slugster (635830)
        I have a copy of HL2, but I can't play it anymore.

        I bought a CD copy at a local retail store, it worked for about a year and then one day it said my password was incorrect... I never gave out the password, never played it from any public or other PC and nobody else played on my PC.

        {I kinda still wonder what the fuck was ON those CD's, because after loading them and connecting to Steam for the first time, it still took my PC over two hours to "decrypt" the files--all the while keeping the lights on, on
        • I am sorry, but I can't believe your story as you have written it, clearly you are omitting details somewhere. I have a Steam account and I have forgotten the password at least once, which was easily resolved by the automated password reset system. So, what's wrong with your email address?

          Then you say you "couldn't get a response from anyone at Valve", are you saying they ignored your emails and never sent you anything at all, no further questions? Considering they deal with real money from people, I battle
      • What happens if your 3 year old finds your game disks? then you have to go purchase another copy. I haven't used steam in a year now (removed windows XP from my computer), but it was nice that every time I re-installed, or got a new computer, I would download a small file to install steam, and my games would start downloading and installing. (and man do they have bandwidth. I remember downloading CS:S in about 30 minutes). Thats much faster than if I had to drive down to the store, find the game, find
      • And what happens when Valve decides that they don't want you to have a game any more?
        Do you keep all your money under the mattress just in case your bank decides that it doesn't want to give it back to you, some day? Wait, maybe the govenment will decide your money is worthless, so what you really need to do is carry some gold ingots. Grab your shotgun and run to the hills!

      • Heh. I'll give you those answers the next time I see you on Steam. I'm more worried about how long it's going to be before they release the Pyro Achievement Pak.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Brian Gordon (987471)
      I completely agree.. unlimited matchmaking, being able to easily download any of my games whenever and wherever I want at insane speeds, steam community.. it's all well worth the tiny prices Valve asks.
    • Although all three of them beat the freaking snot out of putting a CD in the drive.
    • by Pyrion (525584)
      Maybe, but Stardock Central isn't so anal about how many computers it's loaded onto simultaneously.
    • Re:Steam rocks (Score:5, Informative)

      by Splab (574204) on Friday May 30, 2008 @08:10AM (#23598393)
      Back when it launched it wasn't without hitches, but it sure has come a long way since then.

      However, a major issue I got with steam is its not possible to control the amount of information they publish about your activities if you use the friends system. A coworker persuaded me to activate friends so we could play together, thats fine - but suddenly the amount of time I play, when I play and what games was available to anyone who knew my login/alias.

      To me privacy is very important and I sure as heck don't like any information about me available unless I specifically put it there - now activating fiends does tell you this, however like any other windows monkey I just hit next till it was active, didn't seriously expect a company to retain and publish private information without the possibility of getting it removed (officially). Steam to their credit did remove it immediately when I wrote them and told them that their practice was illegal in Denmark.
      • Steam only shows information about non-Steam games being run if you specifically add them to Steam and then only launch them through Steam.

        For Steam games just sign out of friends before launching, but I fail to see how letting your friends know you're playing Team Fortress 2 is a privacy concern, unless you're playing it at work, in which case I would prefer your boss find out and fire you because I need a freaking job.

        More seriously, if your friends can see you playing a multiplayer game, they have th

      • No, the practice would have been illegal had they not NOTIFIED YOU IN ADVANCE before you activated the feature. Just because you played the click-through zombie does not in any way/shape/or form point to any illegality on Valve's part.
        • by Splab (574204)
          Not true.

          You must always provide an opt out for stuff like this when you are selling to Danish residents.
    • That depends on the publisher. Some of them refuse to sell their games through Steam to regions other than North America and Europe (I'm looking at you, Rockstar and 2K), leaving the rest of the world with the usually overpriced retail versions.
    • by Verteiron (224042)
      I'll tell you what will happen. After a year or so, you'll be able to do 'apt-get install steam-daemon' on your resident Debian/Ubuntu box and get your copy of Steam to connect to it for authorization. Or perhaps you'll be able to download [NoSteam] EXE files off of GameCopyWorld. If Steam's central server is deactivated for whatever reason, someone somewhere will figure out a way around it, just as every other copy protection ever created has been defeated.
    • Funny, I was just searching today for "steam sucks" because I wanted to see if my recent experiences with it were common.

      I'm enough of a sheep to buy Painkiller after it was recommended in a Zero Punctuation review, but the downloading was far inferior to what I've experienced on less-than-legit channels. The Steam client is slow as hell on what I consider to be an older, but not terrible computer - 1.8ghz, 1.5GB ram, etc - it takes a couple minutes to open, and anything it needs to do (switch tabs, get pro
    • by Chelloveck (14643)

      Steam is the first online content distribution system that's genuinely made it easier to buy a game rather than pirate it.

      You're kidding me, right? My first (and, god willing, only!) experience with Steam was when I bought the Orange Box last Christmas. "Game not available now, Steam client is updating." "Game updating, wait." "Oops, can't contact the server, so sorry." Fer cryin' out loud, I just want to play a freakin' single-player game, on a single computer! There's no reason that the game shoul

    • by anethema (99553)
      It really has. I was skeptical on online purchasing actually slowing piracy, but I convinced myself in a way.

      Disclaimer: It probably isn't "Right" and you may not like it, but I pirate everything. I don't pay for cable or satellite, all my TV is downloaded from private trackers automatically through RSS feeds to my media center, no ads, no fees.

      My books are downloaded from IRC onto my Sony Reader.

      My Music is torrented from various sources, as are any movies I watch.

      I just don't pay for content if I don't ha
  • Umm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NoobixCube (1133473)
    Sooo... You store your settings locally, they are uploaded silently, then you go to a friend's place, who has a computer with lower hardware specs, and... your save is unplayable, because it never makes it to the config screen?
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They're assuming you'll be running the game on a system with the recommended, or at least minimum specifications to run the game as intended.

      Just like every other software developer under the Sun.
    • Re:Umm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Awptimus Prime (695459) on Friday May 30, 2008 @04:01AM (#23597201)

      Sooo... You store your settings locally, they are uploaded silently, then you go to a friend's place, who has a computer with lower hardware specs, and... your save is unplayable, because it never makes it to the config screen?
      I don't know what world you live in, but even when changing video cards and monitors, most Windows games will still load but fail back to the default resolution and color depth. This isn't 1990.
      • Sorry. My hardware has pretty much only ever moved forward, however slowly (Still using a GeForce 6200, which I only got about a year ago). I've never had reason to find out they fall back to the default when they fail. I've found when I set the options too high it causes a lot of problems, since a game will technically run without a hitch, but be completely unusable, even on menu screens.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          But you appear to be able to set the options back after setting them too high. The point is, you probably aren't going to find a situation where you are completely locked out of a game because it loaded the wrong config file.

          I've never had a situation arise where a friend would come over and install a game on my machine so one of us could sit around and watch the other play. Either you bring your own machine and I'll supply the monitor or we'll be playing something on the 360.
      • This isn't 1990.
        As long as I didn't miss the big millennium party, I'll be fine. :)

        I can't wait until I can play Prince's 1999! It'll be so cool and funny!
    • by Syrente (990349)
      Uh, I'm pretty certain when they say "configuration" they don't mean "hardware settings for video cards," I'm sure they mean your keyboard configurations, preferred options and the like.
    • Virtually any game made in the last 10 years will simply revert to the lowest resolution if switching to the "desired" one fails. In fact, both with DirectX and OpenGL, that's handled almost automatically (you request a certain mode - optionally leaving some fields blank - and the function returns the mode it was actually able to set). Besides, display options are usually not part of the savegames.

      I'm sure there will be some issues with Cloud, but I suspect they won't be of the "bloody obvious" variety.
    • Simpler to assume they are clever enough to only upload your personal player config settings/saves etc, and keep things like video res local to the PC. So they would upload HKCU, but now HKLM.
  • Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YodaToad (164273) on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:27AM (#23597077)
    Yes! I'm really excited about this. I've been buying the games I can from Steam since the original release because I like the fact I don't have to keep track of CDs or DVDs when I reformat my PC (which tends to be every couple months). I've always wished there was a way that games could automatically store my progress online so I don't have to remember to back up my save games (or forget to as is usually the case). It sucks when I'm playing Bioshock and reformat only to realize that I forgot to save and lost all the time I already spent playing. It tends to kill games for me because I don't feel like playing through that part again. I never finished Quake IV, Prey, Bioshock, Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and a few other games because of this.

    I was happy when I found out UT3 saved all my controls and single player stats between installs because it's always a hassle setting those up.

    Now I can be as forgetful as I want and not have to worry!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dintech (998802)

      when I reformat my PC (which tends to be every couple months)
      Solidarity brother. I'm a windows user too. :(
    • Next time you format, partition your drive so that you keep your Documents structure on a separate partition to your OS. Map the My Documents shortcut to a directory on the separate partition.

      Almost all recent games save their save information to a directory in the My Documents target (IIRC one of the criteria for Games for Windows is that game saves are redirected into My Documents -> My Games) so the saves go straight to the segregated partition.

      On subsequent formats, simply nuke the OS partition, rei
      • Then you don't have to re-install.

        10 Restore the drive image, update that which needs updating and add/remove that which in the months between restores you've added/removed yourself*, and create a new image.
        20 do stuff for several months
        30 goto 10

        * that's the 'difficult' part.. keeping track of what you've added that you really like and want to have on the new image, what you no longer use and can be tossed from the image, etc. For example, I updated my WiFi drivers for this notebook recently. It doesn't
  • Sounds great (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 88NoSoup4U88 (721233) on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:36AM (#23597105)
    Such a coincidence; This week I've been backing up most of my config-files for all of my Steam games (and sent them off to my email to be stored there), as I became quite fed up with having to re-bind my keys on each install (and since I'm preferring ESDF-config over WASD, it's quite some work to get everything bound for each game).

    So for me, this is one of the better improvements coming from Steam the last few months.

    One thing I'm very curious about is how much of the config files are saved though: For example, my TeamFortress 2 configs are very much deviating from the default: I have seperate class-configs, voice-commands configs and some other .cfg-files which are referred to from the default-config file: If this would only store the default-config file, it has no use for me.

    Also, it would be quite cool if the configs would be saved for the several mods for HL/HL2.
    • ESDF?!?!? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mefdahl (93154)
      I was really starting to believe that my son and I where the only people left on earth that use that left hand layout. Way way back when binding your movement to home row was l33t, this was the way everyone I knew who played FPSs bound there keys for the LAN parties. Always kind of wondered where wasd came from, and how they strafe left and run at the same time.

      Good to know there is someone else out there that is constantly remapping there keys to esdf.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by alisoul (923488)
        i started playing on the very unorthodox a/z/ctrl/alt - did that for years before switching to wasd. no, i didn't hit the windows key (much) - the bigger problem was having to use my index finger to hit the space bar to jump while strafing right. i haven't pc gamed in quite a while, but if i do go back, i think i'll give esdf a shot - with so many binds now, seems like a good idea.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Splab (574204)
        Same here, always wondered why the heck anyone would want wasd over esdf for fps - there are quite a lot more buttons to be used from esdf - and you got the added benefit of being able to find the damned keys in the dark (the little thing on f).

        But I guess we just don't subscribe to the right 31337 letters, I also missed the one about VIP and hostage maps in CS were teh suxors.
      • by mollymoo (202721) *

        Always kind of wondered where wasd came from, and how they strafe left and run at the same time.

        In exactly the same way as you do with ESDF I'd guess. With my central three fingers on WAD, my pinkie falls on shift and my thumb on space, which feels perfectly natural and maps to the major controls in every FPS. I just don't see the big difference, it's exactly the same layout just one key over. You may have more spare keys to map on the left, but as it's only your little finger which can hit them, having

    • Since Valve themselves implemented class-specific configs I am sure they will make sure to store those. If you have made your own .cfg files you may want to merge them into autoexec.cfg since that will probably be uploaded. Or you can type "bug" in the console of any Valve Source game and file a bug report requesting that Steamcloud follow "exec" commands in autoexec.cfg to recursively upload other .cfg files you make.

      Steamcloud may also simply sync directories, so all your CFG files, whether you use th

    • by Mendy (468439)
      It's just a shame that (as far as I can tell) they're not planning to have functionality which allows you to set custom defaults for new games. Whenever I get a new game I change WASD to UHJK (left handed) and always think it should be able to do this automatically somehow.
  • I just don't see any purpose in saving config files online. Even for backup purposes, a USB key is more than enough.
    • by Flamora (877499)
      Portability. You really don't want to have to drag around a USB key everywhere you go on the off chance that you get to play a game of TF2 or what have you somewhere. Plus, in a place like a internet cafe or LAN center, will the establishment let you bring an outside storage device and put it on their hardware? I don't find that likely. And would you even want to? Too many cans of worms. This lets you keep your personalized settings pertinent anywhere you go. It's hardly necessary, but it's wonderfully con
      • Plus, in a place like a internet cafe or LAN center, will the establishment let you bring an outside storage device and put it on their hardware? I don't find that likely.

        Says who? Google internet cafe usb brought up this review [osdir.com], which states: "USB mass storage device - I could use it everywhere, and some copy shops prefer it."

        This lets you keep your personalized settings pertinent anywhere you go.

        Unless some settings legitimately vary per PC, such as key bindings and graphic detail.

        • by Flamora (877499)

          Unless some settings legitimately vary per PC, such as key bindings and graphic detail.
          Given, at least for graphical detail, but unless you're using something crazy like a 7-button mouse at home, keyboards are keyboards and mice are mice.

          And admittedly, I made a bit of an assumption about the USB storage thing; my area doesn't have many internet cafes, sadly.
          • Mice is mice? Not. (Score:2, Insightful)

            by tepples (727027)

            unless you're using something crazy like a 7-button mouse at home, keyboards are keyboards and mice are mice.
            High-DPI optical mice are not low-DPI ball mice, and keyboards with extra keys aren't ordinary 104-key keyboards. Furthermore, gamepads aren't keyboards.
    • I just don't see any purpose in saving config files online. Even for backup purposes, a USB key is more than enough.

      Two reasons, both of which I would think are obvious. 1. Your configuration is available to you on any computer with Steam installed. You can go to a friend's house and load up your game and it's already set how you want. Or you can show him the cool thing that happens in your particular savegame, whatever. 2. Backup. You mentioned that USB keys make adequate backups, but that's not true. Why? Because USB keys don't remember to plug themselves in before your hard drive crashes or you reformat or reinstal

  • Hypothetical (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kamineko (851857) on Friday May 30, 2008 @06:09AM (#23597691)
    What would happen if I had a different set of HL2 saves on two different computers? Would it just merge the two seamlessly like cards in a deck, or would one take precedence?
  • Fun with Statistics (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Clovis42 (1229086) on Friday May 30, 2008 @06:15AM (#23597709)
    Valve really loves statistics, and if you've ever listened to a commentary track they are very intent on players making it through their games. I wonder if they will be scanning these save game files to create statistics on how far players get in the games they play, or how long they spent in various areas, etc.

    Even the save game habits of players would be interesting. I always create a new save game file for every save. I can't remember the last time this was actually helpful. In the past some games would actually make it impossible to continue if you forget to pick up a certain item. If you kept replacing your save game file you were forced to start from the beginning. In FPSs I'm always afraid that I'll start chewing through ammo and get stuck in an area with sparse ammo and be screwed. So I'll make saves with titles like "GoodAmmoGoodHealth5", and "nearlyDead7".

    They already have a lot of this information anyway, like how long you play a game, and what achievements you've completed. I'd like to see some of their statistics if they do datamine the files.
    • In the past some games would actually make it impossible to continue if you forget to pick up a certain item. If you kept replacing your save game file you were forced to start from the beginning.
      NetHack is still that way, and the fans love it. But why?
    • They're already basically do that. Here are some stats from HL2:Ep 2, maybe not exactly what you're looking for, but I'm sure they have that info too.

      http://www.steampowered.com/status/ep2/ep2_stats.php [steampowered.com]
    • I think it's funny that Valve is turning into Google from a data mining perspective in the gaming arena. More power to them though. I think it's fantastic when a company can use data mining to enhance the user experience without privacy implications.
    • Perhaps they'll use common keyboard configs and hotkeys as a way to design the default (or multiple preset) configurations for future games. That would actually be a nice thing.

      People have bitched about the info steam allows Valve to collect, but I've never really minded targeted advertising when it was done right. If a gaming company notices I like a particular variety of game and emails me that "hey, you might like this game too" it may actually be somewhat convenient (sometimes I'm out-of-touch with cu
    • by Tycho (11893)
      When I played the single player campaigns of Neverwinter Nights (NWN) and NWN2, there was no hard coded limit to the number of save slots available. However, creating up to 300+ save game files and not removing extremely old saved game files was troublesome. NWN and NWN2 have single player savefiles larger than the size of a similar savefile from other games. Many of the older savefiles were one I was unlikely to want to play again. I think the oldest save I went back to was 40 saves back from what had
  • Is it just me (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Hognoxious (631665)
    Is it just me or did anyone read 'vulva' in place of 'valve'? that would be one hot chick!
  • Thank you for just getting us. Thank you for steam. Thank you for the bad-ass games. Thank you for understanding your demographic.
    Thank you for supplying the demand. Thank you for adapting. Thank you for providing metrics. Thank you for convincing other publishers to use steam.
    I really like this cloud system. It makes playing games on other computers accessible and easy. Go to a gaming cafe and continue your SP games at will.
    All games should be released over steam.

    We're avid steam users.

    The system is
  • but the whole program is sluggish as HELL. It takes me 5x as long to launch any program from Steam as it (probably) would without. What I mean is when I launch any game or program it launches pretty quickly, but I end up waiting for nearly a minute anytime I want to play anything from Steam, even Audiosurf or Natural Selection, which are small games.

    Not saying it a horrible idea. I love being able to buy games online in an easy store. But for the love of god, why can't you make the program a little l
  • As an Australian with our stupid internet account limitations, I'm curious what kind of bandwidth this uses.
    Some accounts see as little as 6gb per month in peak times here (12:01am to 11:59pm) for example.

    I would like to THINK the game is smart enough to use a local copy, until you're finished..
    I would not like to have each save upload 1mb or 2mb (however big saves are) then download that much again per load - especially on a level chock full of quickloads :/

    Could hamper performance and cause shaping to occ
    • by atamido (1020905)
      I would imagine that save games are not very big. You only have to save information for the current level (as you can't go back to previous levels). I'm sure they would also compress the saved games before transmission.
      • by AbRASiON (589899) *
        Save games are currently 2mb per save for Half Life 2 and the majority of games now have poorly coded save systems - anywhere from 1->25mb per save game.

        Also assuming they would compress,.... yeah well - who knows? As long as they do it smart, great but if not, it could really thrash some internet links.
        • by atamido (1020905)
          Strange, my Portal save games are 100KB - 1MB in size, and a quick test on a 1MB file shows it compressing down to 100KB with ZIP compression. As long as it only transfers the saved games once you've exited, you'll probably be fine.
          • by AbRASiON (589899) *
            Agreed on the exiting thing, it's all about smart code really.
            I do note a lot of applications and websites seem to assume that bandwidth is 'free' though which is unfortunate.
            I can muster up drive space easily but here in Australia - plentiful bandwidth is expensive.

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