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Upgrades Entertainment Games

Steam To Begin Hosting Game Mods 81

Posted by Soulskill
from the upgrades dept.
Valve made a brief announcement on Friday that they will be allowing the download of user-created game mods directly from Steam. "Once installed, these MODs will appear in your 'My Games' list and will receive automatic updates just like other games on Steam. Also, these MODs now take advantage of Steamworks, which provides stat tracking and tighter integration with the Steam community." Mods will be available for five different games to start, and more in the future.
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Steam To Begin Hosting Game Mods

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  • Very nice! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by CRiMSON (3495)

    It's about god damn time!

  • That should improve compatibility for some of these mods. Nothing more annoying than trying to connect to a server and having to wait to download the latest version. Ok well there are more annoying things, but I'm just sayin'
    • Seems like that's a problem with the mod, not the platform. That should be the responsibility of the mod team, Valve can't help code every single mod out there.
      • Do you really want every mod team writing their own auto-update code and then you installing it on your computer? No thank you. If it goes through Steam there will at least be a modicum of responsibility involved.
    • by ozphx (1061292)

      Err, thats what the hosting on Steam thing is all about...

  • Double-edged sword (Score:5, Interesting)

    by winphreak (915766) on Monday September 29, 2008 @07:23PM (#25199955)

    I can see the benefit of free hosting to this, but I also sense it'll be a while before all the mods take advantage of this new system.
    I'd like to think that Garry's Mod 10 counts as the first MOD to try this approach, and as long as I've been playing, it seemed to work pretty well.

    • by Kneo24 (688412)
      It's not exactly up to the mod makers to take advantage of the system. It's up to Valve, for now anyway.
      • Actually, I believe steam allows you to host your (indie) games as well (for free) on their servers. What the requirements are, I don't know, but I believe it said any developers can upload their game.

        Sorry for the lack of a link though. Take my word or explore the site to find it.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by SCPRedMage (838040)
        • by Kneo24 (688412)

          Valve is allowing you to do this, but it's still at their sole discretion for now (as far as mods are concerned). If you visit any of the good mods forums, you'll see their fans saying "hey, why isn't this happening for us?", and the devs for those mods will keep saying "bug valve about it, it's out of our control". All of which means, "we've contacted Valve and they have no plans right now to allow us to use their tools". You're even forced to contact someone at Valve just to get the tools to do so.

    • In the case of GMod, it went to a pay model; these mods are being distributed for free.
  • About time (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JimBoBz (111826) on Monday September 29, 2008 @07:23PM (#25199957) Homepage Journal

    It's about bloody time. When i bought Half-Life 2 i assumed that the popular MODs would make it on to Steam. I hardly play any of my Steam games anymore however being able to install and play MOD without having to search them out is just the ticket for a casual gamer like me...

  • by jer2eydevil88 (960866) on Monday September 29, 2008 @07:37PM (#25200081)
    Valve Games sold through Steam are a good example of what can go right with PC gaming. I am sure they are going to do great things for the modding community as well. Oddly I initially hated Steam when they launched HL2 thanks to the bugs and speed of that product but since that time they have really improved the system. With companies like EA putting more and more DRM into games like Spore I am glad that Valve released Team Fortress with the same lax licensing that accompanied all their previous launches. I also look forward to what http://www.gog.com/ [gog.com] will be bringing to the table in terms of competition for Valve older release title bundles.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Steam's the only DRM I'll ever accept, because in exchange for requiring me to inconvenience myself to use a product I OWN they offer me great services while still leaving it pathetically easy to get to my product without using their system.

      I don't think it's an accident that it's so easy to run legitimately bought games with steam-free hacks.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The DRM in Steam exists to protect the game content from unscrupulous people pre-launch. For the non-Steam users: when games are launched on Steam, you can usually preload them (ie download the game content) before the release date, so on release day, all you have to do is open the game and away you go!

        The DRM in Steam is not there to say, "Hey, you already installed this 3 times? Too bad! No game for you!" In fact, it works in the opposite way: all your purchased games are available for download all the ti

        • by gehrehmee (16338) on Monday September 29, 2008 @08:29PM (#25200399) Homepage

          Nonetheless, it's still the sort of DRM where:

          • The owner gets to know when, where, and how you use the product
          • If the owner dissapears or goes bankrupt, you'll be unable to use your purchased content
          • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            If the owner dissapears or goes bankrupt, you'll be unable to use your purchased content

            Actually you will still be able to download and play those games, but they will no longer be updated/supported.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by syntek (1265716)
            Actually no, that's not true. If you save your account credentials (by going to file>settings and un-checking "Don't save account credentials on this computer" you can login under offline mode and launch and game. You just would not have access to the Steam community. The only thing the Steam Community is used for is friends, stat tracking and server finding in Valve games. Other games like CoD4 don't use the Steam Community for server finding and you could still /connect in console on your CS to connect
            • Another cheap way to do this is to turn off the internet via Zone Alarm/firewall or whatever dialer you're using(if DSL). Most have an icon in the program tray that you can quickly click to disable your networking.

              The thing will time out in about 20-30 seconds and ask you if you want to go into offline mode. You can then re-enable the internet after selecting this and the game will play without contacting Steam. This is great for games where you aren't playing online and want to keep your PC more secure.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by V!NCENT (1105021)

            "If the owner dissapears or goes bankrupt, you'll be unable to use your purchased content"

            Simply not true. Valve has tested in-house patches for when they go bankrupt. They will work with the retail dvd's you purchased in a RL shop. I don't know if this works with backup game content (option in Steam to back up the map of your games) through Steam.

          • by Roxton (73137)

            IMV, The fundamental answer to this is for the DRM frameworks to be consumer-owned and managed. Due to a complete lack of any private social organization, however, that would have to involve government intervention, just like we need government intervention to enable cellphone number transfers.

            Lame, lame, lame. If consumers were organized around consumer interests, so many things would be possible, and as many corporate abuses would be impossible. And it'd be 100% libertarian friendly.

          • by brkello (642429)

            Nonetheless, it's still the sort of DRM where:

            • The owner gets to know when, where, and how you use the product

            And I care about this why? They use the data to better understand their customer and improve games in the future. They aren't going to call your mommy upstairs and tell her you have been playing too much.

            If the owner dissapears or goes bankrupt, you'll be unable to use your purchased content

            If this happens I will get the crack for it which will be available before the servers even go down.

            It really isn't any different than any other old game. Try playing a game from 15 years ago and you will realize it isn't going to run on your system any more without an emulator. Or you just download it

        • by Pyrion (525584)

          I keep bringing up this example in these discussions, but what could become Steam's rival, Stardock's Impulse, doesn't have login restrictions. You can log into your Impulse account to download and play on multiple computers simultaneously and Impulse generally doesn't care.

        • by Ash-Fox (726320)

          and I can login to Steam on both (not simultaneously) and play whatever games I've bought.

          Actually, you can. You just can't use the Steam friends network (instant messaging bit of Steam) at the same time on both computers.

      • by morari (1080535)

        I would very much like to hear more of these Steam-free hacks. I'd love to be able to play my copy of Team Fortress 2 on my home network with the rest of the family. I'll be damned if I'm going to buy three more copies just so the wife and kids can play together--privately.

        • Haven't tried this myself, but I've heard on the interwebs that you can log in to one account multiple times as long as it's behind one IP address, or something like that. I haven't actually played any multiplayer games on Steam yet, although I intend to buy the Orange Box this week.
        • I'll be damned if I'm going to buy three more copies just so the wife and kids can play together--privately.

          You're feeling the effects of what I perceive to be the biggest downfall of PC gaming as of 2008: no support in most games for playing with one PC + one TV + multiple gamepads.

          • by morari (1080535)

            No, that would be even worse when it comes to the FPS genre. I have multiple computers in my office, it is simply Valve's lame DRM that is stopping me from using it. I remember long ago when games came with multiplayer only "spawn installs" for just this type of situation.

            • No, that would be even worse when it comes to the FPS genre.

              Then great-grandparent is feeling the effect of one of the causes of what I perceive to be the biggest downfall of PC gaming as of 2008: over-concentration on the FPS, RTS, and MMO genres. Whatever happened to non-first-person shooters like Raiden or Ikaruga or Zero Wing or even Contra? Why hasn't Bomberman for PC got an update since the Windows 95 days?

              I remember long ago when games came with multiplayer only "spawn installs" for just this type of situation.

              And like the lack of PC titles in genres amenable to a shared view, the lack of spawn installs has contributed to drive gamers to the consoles.

      • by therufus (677843)

        FYI, you don't OWN the product. The publisher owns the product. You own a license to use the product. If you have a drivers license you have the right to drive a vehicle on the roads. You don't own the roads at all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hab136 (30884)

        Steam's the only DRM I'll ever accept, because in exchange for requiring me to inconvenience myself to use a product I OWN they offer me great services while still leaving it pathetically easy to get to my product without using their system.

        I'm going to have to slightly disagree with you there - as someone else said, "Steam is easier than piracy". It's not cheaper, but it is way easier to click on the game, type my credit card number, and blammo, as fast as I can download it, it's there. New computer? Ju

        • Steam doesn't prevent me from doing anything except using the same copy of the game on two computers at the same time, which is not something I legitimately want to do.

          Imagine a household with four gamers, and none of the (non-massive) multiplayer PC games will let the owner of a store-bought copy run it on four PCs at once. Doesn't that make PC games cost twice to four times as much as console games, which are more likely to offer single-machine multiplayer?

          • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

            by StarWreck (695075)
            there's not really a whole lot of console games that will allow 4 player. Games like Mario Cart sure. But more graphics-intense games like Halo don't allow multiplayer without multiple machines and multiple copies of the game.
          • by hab136 (30884)

            Imagine a household with four gamers, and none of the (non-massive) multiplayer PC games will let the owner of a store-bought copy run it on four PCs at once. Doesn't that make PC games cost twice to four times as much as console games, which are more likely to offer single-machine multiplayer?

            None of the console games will let the owner of a store-bought copy run it on four consoles at once either.

            Steam does not prevent games from having a single-machine multiplayer mode. The fact that such a mode is not

            • Steam does not prevent games from having a single-machine multiplayer mode. The fact that such a mode is not common on PCs is not Steam's fault.

              I know, but whose fault is it? I want to know in order to fix the problem. Is it my fault for not developing and publishing such a game myself?

              If you want to compare the cost of 4 PCs and 4 copies of the game to 1 console and 1 copy of the game, you also have to compare the experience of having the full screen and 100% of the CPU/GPU to having 1/4 of the screen and 1/4 of the CPU/GPU.

              Some games, such as Chess and Reversi, have symmetric information. Other games, such as Scrabble and Stratego, have incomplete information. This is true of video games as well: compare Bomberman or Street Fighter or NBA Jam or Super Smash Bros. Brawl to Starcraft or Counter-Strike. For games in the former category, there isn't any advantage to giving each player his

              • by hab136 (30884)

                I know, but whose fault is it? I want to know in order to fix the problem. Is it my fault for not developing and publishing such a game myself?

                I guess that would be partly the developers/publishers that don't want to create such a game, and partly the customer that don't buy it. Not Steam (or Best Buy, or Amazon, or other distributors), which is the only point I was trying to make.

                For games in the former category, there isn't any advantage to giving each player his own view. So why are most games like this

                • by tepples (727027)

                  There are tons of clones of Chess and Reversi and Monopoly and every other board game - but they're in the $5 crapware bin at the store, not the shelf.

                  *whoosh* Sorry. I was using board games as familiar examples of the difference between public and private information, not actual titles. Did you gloss over the part of my post where I mentioned their video gaming counterparts such as Bomberman and NBA Jam?

                  There's also the big matter of control devices - consoles are designed with 2 or 4 controllers. Computers are designed with one keyboard/mouse.

                  And a port for a USB hub into which one can plug four Logitech Dual Action controllers. The TurboGrafx-16 needed a hub for more than one player too, as did the NES, Genesis, Super NES, PS1, and PS2 for more than two players.

                  So, without additional hardware, PCs are restricted to turn-based games for multiplayer, single-computer.

                  As are consoles, which are bund

                  • by hab136 (30884)

                    *whoosh* Sorry. I was using board games as familiar examples of the difference between public and private information, not actual titles. Did you gloss over the part of my post where I mentioned their video gaming counterparts such as Bomberman and NBA Jam?

                    Yep. :) In particular, sports games tend to stick to consoles (in my oh-so-humble opinion) because many of the players that buy these games are more comfortable with consoles, due to PCs being "too hard" or "for nerds". But everyone understands and is c

                    • Some things do take advantage of multiple USB gamepads - MAME for example (not really a game itself, but whatever).

                      MAME only has fourteen games for it [mamedev.org].

                      well, nobody is going to buy $20 + 4 x $xx for the controller.

                      There are if more than one title can use them.

                      And what if they buy the wrong controller - one with too few buttons, or no analog stick, etc. So you have to write your game to not require specific controllers

                      I'm a fan of reduced-button gaming [google.com]. I'll start by requiring two buttons: L trigger and R trigger, or D-pad Left and button 2, or whatever anybody else can manage to press with whatever appendages he has. You don't need more than two buttons for pinball (L, R: flipper), racing (L, R: turn; L+R: brake), or platforming (L, R: run, L+R: jump).

                      At that point, controller support is an extra or nice-to-have, so often doesn't make it.

                      But why don't gaming magazines report that controller support ended up cut?

                      $10 or $15 for the indie game, or 2-3 players, would make it cheaper. :)

                      Not with the e

                    • by hab136 (30884)

                      MAME only has fourteen games for it.

                      Hahaha.. yeah. Tell that to most MAME users' ROM directories. But yes, the point was that nothing uses controllers.

                      There are if more than one title can use them.

                      I'm a fan of reduced-button gaming. I'll start by requiring two buttons: L trigger and R trigger, or D-pad Left and button 2, or whatever anybody else can manage to press with whatever appendages he has. You don't need more than two buttons for pinball (L, R: flipper), racing (L, R: turn; L+R: brake), or platfo

                    • by tepples (727027)

                      Tell that to most MAME users' ROM directories.

                      Please leave mass infringement of copyright out of this. That's one thing Steam is supposed to prevent.

                      But yes, the point was that nothing uses controllers.

                      So if I make and sell a game that does use controllers, does this mean I'll have more of the market due to less competition?

                      Who is supposed to standardize this and tell all the game companies to use this standard controller, and the electronics manufacturers to make this standard controller?

                      Microsoft. After a few abortive attempts under the "Sidewinder" brand, Microsoft now promotes its Xbox 360 Controller as part of its Games for Windows initiative. In fact, Microsoft introduced a whole new API in Windows XP service packs, called XInput, just to provide access to all fe

      • The problem with Steam is that if you harm valve in any way:

        (1) If Valve Anti Cheat (VAC) detected a hack on your computer, false positive or not
        (2) They have a billing mistake and double charge you and refuse to remove the charge and when you charge-back through the credit card company

        Then they lock ALL your content, even single-player only games (like portal) so you cannot play them or install them ever again.

        I've had a friend suffer from (1) when he played at a LAN party and i've had a friend su

  • Dystopia Please! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kneo24 (688412) on Monday September 29, 2008 @07:43PM (#25200135) Homepage

    http://www.dystopia-game.com [dystopia-game.com]

    Far far better than the other mods. Nuff said.

  • Well, good that some companies dare to try this. Most others are just encouraging modding but don't dare to distribute mods because they're too afraid of someone pulling a Limbo of the Lost on them (and modders have been, in rare cases, ripping off content from other games, so the fear is at least minimally justified). I hope they can just enact and enforce a strong enough policy that makes the whole thing work...

  • This is awesome news. I know in gamedev communities Valve have actually copped some shit for the lack of perceived support they've provided to mods since the release of HL2. I think that only recently mods for the Source engine reached a level of polish comparable to professional releases so it's an ideal time to introduce this feature. The top mods are the result of years of hard work, it's great to see them getting the attention they deserve. It's also in Valve's interest to continue to support and nu
  • Steam has hosted Gary's Mod for several years - in both a free and a paid version.

    (Gary's Mod is a free-form mod based on the Half Life 2 engine, and is possibly the most creative mod ever).

    • by m8nkey (1312359)
      I tend to disagree. Although Gary's mod was supported there was a lack of exposure for all the other mods that didn't adopt a pay business model. Many excellent mods (FoF and Dystopia particularly) struggle to maintain a reasonable player base. I'm sure direct Steam support will result in much more exposure and increase their popularity.
  • Steam Saved Games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Robmonster (158873) <slashdot.journal2.store@neverbox.com> on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @10:13AM (#25204867) Journal

    I remember reading a while ago that Steam was going to also act as a repository for saved games, so you could in effect backup your saves automatically.

    Did this ever get implemented? I cannot find anything about it on the Steam pages.

  • I know they're talking user created, but the headline is misleading. HL had the other mods supported, even Sven Coop [which I didn't think was official, considering how many parts were broken and how many bugs it had] and I think a soccer mod for HL. I used to play it on Steam with friends. Action HL I don't think had any official backing either. Did I miss something here?

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