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Steam UI Update Beta Drops IE Rendering For WebKit 244

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-a-coincidence-with-battle.net-in-beta-too dept.
Citing massive growth in their user base ("25 million users, 1000+ games, 12 billion player minutes per month, and 75 billion Steam client minutes per month"), Valve unveiled a revamped UI for Steam on Tuesday, opening the beta test to anyone who wants to try it out. There are many changes, and an increased focus on social features: "Right from within your own game Library, you can now track which of your friends plays each game or invite them to play one with you. Before you've even bought a game, knowing whether your friends play it is one of the most useful pieces of information to have. So on the store homepage, there's a new listing of what your friends have bought or played lately." Tracking games and achievements have both gotten simpler, and Valve has dropped the Internet Explorer rendering engine in favor of WebKit. An enterprising user also found files that may indicate the existence of an OS X Steam client.
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Steam UI Update Beta Drops IE Rendering For WebKit

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  • Why OSX? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:06AM (#31270400) Journal

    Exactly how many steam games have OSX versions? Does anyone actually game with Macs?

    • Re:Why OSX? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by oiron (697563) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:09AM (#31270414) Homepage
      Maybe they're trying to create the market?
    • Re:Why OSX? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:10AM (#31270418) Journal

      Quite many games in stores at least have that PC&Mac logo, so I don't see why it wouldn't be the same in Steam.

      And even if not currently, Steam gained popularity on PC because it was the first online platform to buy and play games (it wasn't as good as it is now, they had to work a lot on it). Now they're first on Mac's too and will dominate that market too.

      • Re:Why OSX? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @09:20AM (#31271128)
        wiki, of course, holds the answer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_games

        But one problem with mac games is that macs doesn't have the same layers of backward compatibility as windows does. I reluctantly bought a simcity deluxe last day from amazon, and I've yet to discover if it runs or not on snow leopard. On the windows 7 rig, I'm confident that I can get oldies to run one way or another, the market for older mac games instead is more limited.

        still, I welcome greatly the use of webkit in the client instead of trident.
        • You just reminded me why I don't want to buy a Mac. The software has a short lifespan, such that you don't know if your old copy of Microsoft Office 97 will work or not. (Most likely not.)

          It works just fine on 98, XP, Vista, and Win7. Windows backwards-compatibility helps save me money.

        • As long as your game doesn't run the first few versions of DirectX you should be fine :-)

          I had FF7 and 8 for the PC. They used weird DirectX drivers that have since been retired. There are hacks available to bring them up to current though.
        • by Blakey Rat (99501)

          Yah. Just yesterday I installed Wizardry 8 on my Windows 7 PC-- worked like a champ, first try, all I had to do is set compatibility mode to "Windows 2000". That game originally came out in November, 2001.

          I doubt *any* software written for Mac in 2001 still runs on Snow Leopard on a modern Mac, frankly. In fact, I can nearly guarantee it-- since the Classic layer is gone for x86 Macs, and everything released in 2001 would be written for Classic. (I guess if you're lucky enough to have a PPC Mac, you could i

        • by toastar (573882)

          On the windows 7 rig, I'm confident that I can get oldies to run one way or another, the market for older mac games instead is more limited.

          still, I welcome greatly the use of webkit in the client instead of trident.

          Dosbox works on macs too

          Also Getting rid of IE was genius, why didn't they do that a year ago.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by PePe242 (1690706)
      World of Warcraft. Don't know if it is being sold through steam though...
      • World of Warcraft is a really old game though. I can't see it attracting a lot of new players to any particular market. Everyone who wants to play WoW is already playing it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ladadadada (454328)

          As a counter-example to your assertion, I started playing WoW about three weeks ago on a Mac.

          Despite WoW being an old game, it is constantly being updated with expansions and new content. Even old players are still finding it a rewarding experience.

          I understand that this doesn't mean that a lot of users are like me, but to say that "Everyone who wants to play WoW is already playing it." is not correct.

      • by Kenz0r (900338)

        World of Warcraft. Don't know if it is being sold through steam though...

        (Activision-)Blizzard has been trying to get their own piece of the legal game download market through the Blizzard Store [blizzard.com].
        I think it actually has a chance of taking off. Steam got big through Valve's big titles: Half-Life 2, CS:S and other source engine games.

        Blizzard has even bigger games: World of Warcraft and soon Diablo III and Starcraft 2. Those three titles alone can turn the Blizzard Store into a well-known and credible platform.
        Once that has happened they can move in the newest Activision titles,

      • by gparent (1242548)
        And for that matter, most if not all Blizzard games.
    • Re:Why OSX? (Score:4, Informative)

      by am 2k (217885) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:34AM (#31270526) Homepage

      Torchlight is one out of my head. Well, the Mac version isn't out yet, but it has been announced.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Pojut (1027544)

        Uh...why was parent modded troll for pointing out that the Mac version of Torchlight isn't out yet? Come on, people...if you are going to mod, at least try to mod appropriately. For example, you should mod down my post because I'm about to make a shameless self-plug.

        Here is my review of Torchlight: http://livingwithanerd.com/torchlight/ [livingwithanerd.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BlueTrin (683373)
      I would buy more games off Steam if I could get both versions for the price of 1 game, the key would be unique for both to prevent me playing on both computers at the same time.

      I am sure that I am not the only one who has a Mac and a PC, especially here on Slashdot.

      I would not mind playing Starcraft 2 on a MacBook when I am abroad.
      • I would not mind playing Starcraft 2 on a MacBook when I am abroad.

        IIRC, but Steam is more or less a front-end for the publishers and their ego. Highly likely, as it was always before, Mac ports would require a different key thus one has to purchase the Mac version separately. This is long standing tradition, mainly due to the fact that Mac porting is licensed/subcontracted to another company and has different money trail. Since it means -in theory- more profit for publishers, highly likely Mac v. PC on Steam would be the same as it is with boxed version of games.

    • Re:Why OSX? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@h a c k i sh.org> on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:45AM (#31270560)

      I'm not sure what portion of Steam's sales they account for, but Steam does distribute a decent number of indie games [steampowered.com], and Mac sales often account for a disproportionate share [wolfire.com] of indie-game sales, possibly due to Mac users being culturally more into "pay $10 for an app" mindset, and less competition from AAA titles.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by halowolf (692775)
      I game on my Mac quite nicely. But I also have it Bootcamped with Windows 7 and that is where my Steam is installed. I wouldn't bother putting it into my Mac OSX atm.
    • by wfolta (603698)

      Does anyone actually game with Macs?>

      ... yes, we do.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ephemeriis (315124)

      Exactly how many steam games have OSX versions? Does anyone actually game with Macs?

      Gaming has never been that huge on the Mac. A large part of this is limited retail shelf space... If a retailer knows the PC version of a game is more likely to sell than the Mac one, they're more likely to stock the PC one. Which means less shelf space for Macs... So less Mac users go into the store to buy stuff... So you put less Mac stuff on the shelves...

      These days we're seeing the same trend with PC gaming. Consoles are taking over the market and you're seeing less and less shelf space devoted to

  • by Tromad (1741656) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:07AM (#31270404)

    I'm not steam's biggest fan, but I liked how minimal it was. I do like the different game layout views; the icon enlargements are a nice touch. I'm not sure how useful this is to me as I have many non-steam games, so I edit windows 7's crippled game explorer instead of using the steam launcher, so I rarely see the steam interface. The store does seem much faster though.

  • So (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:09AM (#31270416) Journal

    Tracking games and achievements have both gotten simpler, and Valve has dropped the Internet Explorer rendering engine in favor of WebKit.

    So does that mean my game will stop locking up every time I join a game because idiotic admins put horrible bloated HTML bastardizations as their MOTD?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BikeHelmet (1437881)

      I downloaded the beta a few hours ago.

      The first thing I noticed was, while the Supreme Commander 2 Demo was downloading, the UI kept locking up for ~120 seconds. (0% CPU)

      The second thing I noticed was level load times dropped about 30% in TF2.

      Browsing feels a whole lot quicker now - except during the freezes. :P

    • Re:So (Score:5, Informative)

      by AndrewNeo (979708) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @10:32AM (#31271838) Homepage

      Sorry, apparently they only changed Steam itself, as the interface used in the games to access a browser is built in with the engine, so it'd require an update and more testing for each game that still uses IE individually. However, apparently you can turn off HTML MOTDs. (Google it)

  • by GhigoRenzulli (1687590) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:14AM (#31270446)

    Why everyone keeps saying that tracking every single move you make on your pc is such a great feature?

    Leave me alone, mind your own business and stop collecting my own usage data for your strinky marketing purposes.

    When I want to tell all the world that now I'm playing a game I will do it on my own, I don't need some steamy application to make it for me.

    And yes, I want to subscribe to an asocial network. You subscribe and no one cares about you. Relax. Enjoy.

    • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:22AM (#31270470) Journal

      So then just don't use Steam. There's a difference between being tracked involuntarily a la Google Analytics and tracking your game stats and achievements on a gaming platform that contains such community features, which you signed up for.

      Your complain is like signing up to a dating site and then complaining how the girls won't leave you alone.

      • by Mad Merlin (837387) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:26AM (#31270482) Homepage

        Your complain is like signing up to a dating site and then complaining how the girls won't leave you alone.

        More like the bots won't leave him alone, and he can't find any real live women.

      • by GhigoRenzulli (1687590) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:27AM (#31270492)
        I signed Steam to play games and not to be a part of some kind of gaming social network where others know what you're doing.
        I don't see a tight connection (nor a loose one) between playing and letting know to all the world that I'm actually playing and what.
        If I sign up to a dating site, it's for finding girls. It's not a valid comparison.
        • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:34AM (#31270522) Journal

          How does Steam let the whole world know if you're playing or not? Even if you use your usual nickname with Steam, set your profile status to private (it's friends only by default if I remember correctly) and don't add friends on it. No one knows you're playing then.

          99% of games you can also buy on other media or download services than Steam (MW2 and a few other games being exceptions, since they use Steam).

          Complaining about Steam's community and friends features is stupid because you don't need to use them if you don't want to.

          • Even more stupid is that the whole thing is 100% opt-in. If you don't want anyone knowing when you're playing a game then don't add them as a friend. Or if you just have to add friends to the service select the option to always appear offline and never log your stats.

        • I guess he has a point. Playing Peggle Deluxe you wouldnt want your friends to see you. However, for the rest of us, knowing what those of us with similar tastes are into is good intel. I have bought a few games partly based on what I saw others liking enough to spend time in. There is your connection. I don't love tracking so much either though, but what are you going to do? Cross the streams and give Google a Steam ip and vice versa? heh

      • by naz404 (1282810)

        Your complain is like signing up to a dating site and then complaining how the girls won't leave you alone.

        girls? it's the men who won't leave me alone that bother me! *shudder*

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Krittick (1740572)

        Your complain is like signing up to a dating site and then complaining how the girls won't leave you alone.

        I highly doubt most /. users will be complaining about girls not leaving us alone.

      • by GF678 (1453005)

        So then just don't use Steam. There's a difference between being tracked involuntarily a la Google Analytics and tracking your game stats and achievements on a gaming platform that contains such community features, which you signed up for.

        Unfortunately there are a growing number of games that now REQUIRE Steam, despite being available as a retail purchase. Given the size of Steam and the attraction PC gamers and developers have to it, it wouldn't surprise me if 90%+ of all major titles require mandatory Ste

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by spyrochaete (707033)

        You can make your profile private which effectively opts you out of any social features. You can also disable in-game overlays but I find those handy whenever I want to pull up a web browser.

    • by arth1 (260657)

      Surely, I can't be the only person who saw the article blurb and thought "WTF?"
      I mean, has what your friends play online now become the reason for whether to play or not? I hope and trust that this is only true for the minority of players in their teens and early twenties, while the majority of players in their 30s and 40s have gotten past the need to always have what their "friends" have, always do what their "friends" do, and constant single-syllable social networking.

      I mean, it's nice to provide a "frie

      • And when I do want to play a game with my friends, I honestly prefer sitting in the living room, sharing a nice 25yo single malt, and playing together on the big screen. The simple joy of being with friends, Steam will never be able to provide or compete with.

        What about the other side of the spectrum? It's 10pm and you're in your jammies and you see on Steam that a friend is playing a casual game. With one click you can join his game, play together for 10 minutes, and make plans together for the weekend while chatting. There's a lot of value in that, even if it's not your very favourite means of gaming.

      • by sopssa (1498795) *

        You can do exactly that. Set Steam to appear offline for your friends list when you don't want to be bothered, and online when it's ok.

        On the latter point, playing with friends in the living room with some beers is of course fun. But it doesn't mean it's either that or this, you can have the both. Many of the multiplayer games are more fun with friends even if you're playing on your computers (and the added bonus of being able to play with foreign friends).

        I dont just buy some game if I see some friend play

  • YES! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by the1337g33k (1268908)
    I love that now I won't have to install both the ActiveX flash player and the Mozilla/Chrome flash player plugin.

    Just tried it out and it seems that the store page is no longer has any flash elements at all. They seem to have written it all in javascript, which as most people will agree is much faster in WebKit then IE.

    The interface reminds me of when I owned my Zune though (disclaimer: doesn't mean thats bad), but the new My Games page layout is much improved and in my opinion, awesome.
  • by TheThiefMaster (992038) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:24AM (#31270474)

    The new steam beta window is HUGE. A lot of people used the old compact mode (most of the time), so that steam was just a menu of games, not a "gaming portal" or whatever other buzzwords.

    • by MrNemesis (587188) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @09:05AM (#31271034) Homepage Journal

      Haven't you heard? If your application doesn't have a synergistic community portal for leveraging paradigm-changing reality matricies you're officially a member of the Software 1.0 generation. I can't wait until the new version of TurboTax comes out with 1-click facebook export, twitter feed for liability expenses and a CoverFlow-alike system for making your tax returns totally pimped.

      Never thought I'd be such a cynical old fart at 30, but if I want to socialise with people I'll do it down the fucking pub thank you very much :)

      • by D Ninja (825055)

        Haven't you heard? If your application doesn't have a synergistic community portal for leveraging paradigm-changing reality matricies you're officially a member of the Software 1.0 generation. I can't wait until the new version of TurboTax comes out with 1-click facebook export, twitter feed for liability expenses and a CoverFlow-alike system for making your tax returns totally pimped.

        Crap. That's an awesome idea! I can totally see how we can utilize this agile platform for demonstrating first-order capabil...wait...what? Am I a manager? Why, yes, yes I am. Why do you ask?

      • by ahecht (567934) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @09:52AM (#31271430) Homepage

        I just finished my taxes last week, and in one of the last steps after e-filing TurboTax offered to post a "I just finished my taxes with TurboTax and I'm getting a $XXX refund!" message to my Facebook profile.

      • by radtea (464814)

        Never thought I'd be such a cynical old fart at 30, but if I want to socialise with people I'll do it down the fucking pub thank you very much :)

        That's not cynicism, that's humanity.

        I'm pretty sure that 30 years from now there will still be pubs with people in them. I'm equally sure there won't be twitter.

        But I do have a terrible feeling that half the people in the pub will have borg-implant cameras feeding their "SelfBook" stream, and we will all be stars in someone else's reality TV show.

        When that happens I'm opening a bar called the Faraday Cage...

  • by DrXym (126579) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:59AM (#31270628)
    "Before you've even bought a game, knowing whether your friends play it is one of the most useful pieces of information to have."

    Steam - now with added peer pressure!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Spad (470073)

      If your friend jumped off a cliff would you do it?

      No, but if my friend said they liked a game and historically liked similar games to me then it might make me buy it.

      • Especially if that game was something awesome like Tony Hawk's Skate'n'BASE Jumparama, where you have to do rad skate tricks off of buildings, cliffs and other high structures.

        Did you see that demo with the invert 720 low-deploy with the sports chute? I can't wait to try it for real off the radio mast down the road!

    • by Hatta (162192)

      What I can't figure out is why I would need Steam to tell me what my friends play. Isn't that what conversation is for? Before I buy a game, I'll not only find out whether my friends have played it, but what they think of it too. Can Steam tell me that?

  • xmpp for chat (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slashdotmos (819804)
    Good now if they add support for xmpp things would be highly looking up indeed!
  • by nikomo (1338131) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @08:11AM (#31270694)
    Finally you get to see how big the update is when one is released. And it only took almost 7 years to code it.
    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      We would've known that for a long time if they had completed their coding progress bar code before their download bar code!

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @08:34AM (#31270832)
    • Hell's Angels (TM) Biker Gang *Headshotkill played this twice last month
    • Hello Kitty (TM) Magical Princess Tea Party *Headshotkill played this 14 times in the last week
    • Hellspawn 2: The Redecapitationing *Headshotkill owns this
    • Invasion (TM) WWII: Poland *Headshotkill played this once last month

    Headshotkill? What the hell, man?

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      Yeah. I mean, they totally ruined Magical Tea Party with the localization.


      Er, I mean Hellspawn 2. Yeah. Definitely Hellspawn 2.
  • But with more emphasis. I just haven't had enough coffee yet. I use Steam for a few games on the Windows side (notably HL2, et al), but I'd like to have it on OS X for gaming as well. I doubt this will push most manufacturers to release an OS X compatible version of their game, but it could help drive more gaming on Macs, leading to more interest from developers.
  • Privacy options? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JSBiff (87824) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @08:58AM (#31270980) Journal

    I sure hope there is a way to turn off reporting what games you own or have played recently? If I want someone to know that, I'll tell them. It's none of anyone else's business what I own and play.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ailure (853833)

      You just set your profile to private, it's that easy. Infact by default it's set on private mode, and you have to opt in for the community features. Even the JSON/XML pages for fetching various Steam stats aren't accessible by others when your account is set on private mode (Valve cites apparent legal reasons for this).

  • by Orbijx (1208864) * <slashdot...org@@@pixelechoes...net> on Thursday February 25, 2010 @09:00AM (#31270998) Homepage Journal

    With this beta release of Steam, they fix an interesting issue that cropped up with the release of Windows 7.

    For users of that particular OS who have either removed Internet Explorer, or did not have it installed at all when the OS was installed (see: Europe, and the rest of the world that couldn't even stand the browser), Steam was half-broken. One could not see any screenshots for a game before purchasing. Anything that needed a popup window in Steam would NOT default to the main browser installed on the system.

    People complained about this, asking Steam to start looking for the default browser on the system so they could at least go back to browsing for games and possibly buying them.

    It's good to see them actually address that issue.

    Maybe I'll buy Space Giraffe to celebrate.

    • There's nothing that pisses me off more than a Windows app that opens (Internet Explorer) instead of (system default browser). The developer always comes back with a blank look "Who would ever not use IE? It's the web browser!"
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It's even worse, because it's really easy to open URLs in default web browser - if you do ShellExecute() on an URL, that's precisely what will happen, and it's actually less code than explicitly invoking IE and passing it an URL.

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