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Steam Cloud Launches This Week 69

Valve announced yesterday that their extension of Steam, called Steam Cloud, will launch later this week with the Left 4 Dead demo. Steam Cloud is "a set of services for Steam that stores application data online and allows user experiences to be consistent from any PC." We discussed an early announcement for it back in May. Valve adds that "Steam Cloud will be available to all publishers and developers using Steam, free of charge, and Valve will add Cloud support to its back catalog of Steam games. Cloud services are compatible with games purchased via Steam, at retail, and other digital outlets."
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Steam Cloud Launches This Week

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  • The only service (Score:5, Insightful)

    by martinw89 ( 1229324 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @04:35AM (#25623511)

    This is the only service where I won't get pissed off about that god awful buzzword "cloud". Puns make the world a better place.

  • Not the same, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MR.Mic ( 937158 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @05:26AM (#25623723)

    I have just been performing a file sync with all my saved games every morning between my laptop and desktop for about 3 months now.
    It saves internet usage, costs nothing, works for all games, and provides a backup in case one machine dies catastrophically.

    Steam cloud is an interesting concept, but it really doesn't provide any additional functionality against what I have already been doing.

    • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @06:02AM (#25623857)

      Apart from say allowing you to go to a cyber cafe or friends house or similar and play Half-Life 2 there with the same settings you'd use at home and without having to plug your laptop into the cyber cafe's/friend's network or PCs and sync your data back to said PC?

      The point of it is that you don't need to prat about with syncing and you don't need to worry about re-syncing. When you change the settings on one machine, it handles this all for you because the settings are stored online.

      In todays connected world worry about internet access is rather a non-issue and it's even much easier to connect to the internet and have Steam update for you than it is to handle a sync!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, I know.

      I print all of my POPed emails at home and then manually type them in at work, so I have the same ones everywhere.

      Dunno what this fancy IMAP is good for anyway.

      I also run to and from work (about ten miles). No use for fancy cars or public transport.

      I also hate everything that's new and I happen to love to brag about my pretty cumbersome workarounds.

  • by mattbee ( 17533 ) <> on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @06:05AM (#25623867) Homepage

    I spent about 4 hours playing Stalker, bought off Steam, and eventually gave up in frustration because it was failing to save *and* it was failing to notify me that it had failed to save, so I only found out I'd lost a chunk of progress once I'd died. I *think* it was just hardwired to save its games to a path starting in c:\ and my Windows machine is installed on h:\ (I don't understand that either, but no other games seemed to have a problem making one lousy system call to find the right path to save under!). Never got to the bottom of the problem either, and I daren't start the game again for about the fifth time.

    I had already assumed Steam forced games to do its saving via its own library calls so they could do this kind of trick more easily, so I'm not sure how they're going to do it other than by updating every single game that will need to support it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Steam doesn't need to know anything about the format of the gamesave, only to deliver it to the user, wherever s/he may be.
    • by angusr ( 718699 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @07:18AM (#25624173)
      That's a known issue with S.T.A.L.K.E.R (standalone and Steam). I will now no longer stick all those dots in.

      Ran into it myself because I have XP on I:. You need to edit the fsgame.ltx file which is in the STALKER program directory and edit the data path at the top of it to match your system.

      I'm surprised you didn't notice quicker because your display settings would also not have stuck.

    • I had already assumed Steam forced games to do its saving via its own library calls so they could do this kind of trick more easily, so I'm not sure how they're going to do it other than by updating every single game that will need to support it.

      The latter is pretty much how it has to be done (hence why it's rolling out for just one game initially). In theory Steam could just look at the game directories and see what changed, but a) that would also roll in any mods/custom content the user has, which I don't see Valve wanting to sync, and b) assumes games behave incorrectly and write to their own directory instead of Documents and Settings, which has been a no-no for years but is finally being enforced by Vista.

    • Windows being installed on H: is typically because of a card reader. I don't know why Windows XP wants to give them first dibs on the drive letters, but if you have one plugged in when installing XP, you usually end up with an installation on a random letter.
      Only way to fix it is to format with the card reader unplug (just an fyi).

      • by BobMcD ( 601576 )

        Only way to fix it is to format with the card reader unplug

        That's not totally true, but isn't necessarily bad advice either.

        Drive letter mappings are stored in the registry. Those who know their way around in there can find and modify those letters.

        YMMV, but it works for me in XP and Vista.

      • by Jaysyn ( 203771 )

        Odd, I have a 7 in 1 / Floppy device & a fresh XP Pro install, no weirdness on my end.

        Same went for XP on my laptop.

  • Interesting... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Notabadguy ( 961343 )
    When a community of people talk about DRM, I find it interesting that Steam has a unique role; people are quick to slam EA for the debacle of Spore or its various other IPs, (and now Epic for their own anti-PC gamer shenanigans). Yet it seems like Valve is consistently viewed with the attitude of, "Well, their DRM isn't so bad." Personally, the only time I used Steam was when I bought the Orange Box, and then only because it literally forced me to - I found that to be quite annoying, but then again, I did
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      (all IMHO)
      Steam does "DRM" correctly.They don't attempt to cripple your pc, or punish people for things that pirates do. They don't assume you're a pirate. another thing that has made me a valve fanboy is that they always release the sdk (for free). Back to the point again ,when EA stops assuming everyone is a pirate (see also:"stops selling their poop"), I may look at it again.

    • Re:Interesting... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <.Satanicpuppy. .at.> on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @09:52AM (#25625005) Journal

      The thing is, Steam, though DRM, isn't anything like as intrusive as SECUROM...Hell, it even provides features that are actually useful, this service being another example of same. Install Steam on a new machine, log in, and have it rebuild your whole setup. That's pretty cool.

      That's why people put up with Steam.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by internerdj ( 1319281 )
        That feature itself makes me consider buying through steam rather than buy a physical copy.
        • by Tacvek ( 948259 )

          AA few minor notes: It will probably not be storing your mods, (free mods that is, not the commercial mods like Gary's Mod) and it is possible that a few other fairly minor things might not be stored, like video settings, since the optimal video settings vary by computer.

          But the commercial games, and all the saves for all commercial games with "Steam Cloud" support will be stored, and be reconstructed on a new pc automatically. Obviously, save files for Steam games without Steam Cloud support will probably

        • by geekoid ( 135745 )

          It works with physical copies as well.

          By the physical copy, I have found that
          A: It's usually cheaper*

          B: It's nice to have in case Valve has issues.

          *Don't get me god damns tarted on online crap being the same price or more expensive then physical media.

          Blizzard want's 15 bucks for the digital starcraft when I got it from the store for 7.99

          • Blizzard actually gives you Digital Brood War with that Digital Starcraft. Buy both together from a store, I reckon you'll find that they cost the same.

            However, enter your Physical Starcraft key into the Blizzard account page (even with no expansion) and you can automatically download Digital Starcraft and Digital Brood War.

            Make sense now?

          • In related news, earlier this year Blizzard started offering digital downloads of games you already own by entering your CD Key, so in your case it would definitely be a better idea to buy from a store and then you could still later download it from anywhere if you wanted to.
    • So who was the Valve employee that literally put the gun to your head?
    • Re:Interesting... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <> on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @10:59AM (#25625787)

      Steam is proof that there is a working middle ground between absolutely no protection on your software and simply hoping everyone is honest enough to pay for their games and locking the games down so hard that only pirates can play your games.

      While there are disadvantages to Steam, especially with games that weren't written with it in mind or adapted to it later on, on the whole Valve has done an excellent job of making their 'restrictions' reasonable and in providing extras that make up for those restrictions.

      As you said, more companies need to look at what is working and emulate that. Unfortunately, like DRM on music, I don't think the actual purpose of EA's style of DRM to be the same purpose as Valves.

      EA wants to keep selling you the same game over again, literally. Look at how they handled the Sims series. Every time they released a bundle, it would include expansions from the previous bundles. But it wasn't as simple as "everything in the old bundle". They'd release one set with expansions 1, 2, and 3. One set with expansions 4, 5, and 6. Then the next year it'd be expansions 1, 3, 5 and 2, 4, 6 with the original game matched up with 7 and 8. (Not the actual order, I'm not that invested in looking them up on Amazon, but it is fairly close)

      DRM that limits installs and prompts you to buy a new copy when you run out instead of reminding you that you can call customer support to reset the installs, works to that purpose. EA's version is designed really for only one thing, making it so that two years from now when they release the 'Game X collection', with five old games that they haven't even bothered to update to be able to run on the current version of Windows, you'll have to buy it to play any of the games in it because your orginal copy is out of installs.

      Valve on the other hand wants to keep selling you new games, to the point where they allowed people who had Half-Life prior to Steam to convert to Steam versions and where they have set it up so that buying a 'box set' like the Orange Box let you re-gift the games in it that you already had. Valve's version is the real DRM, the point is to allow you to play your game almost everywhere without being able to give away free copies to all your friends.

      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        If only is wasn't such a crappy piece of software. Forever to load, big memory hog.

        Here's one for you, check when the game loads and then remove your big ugly ass foot print from memory.

        "..let you re-gift the games in it that you already had"
        Yeah, to other steam users.

        "give away free copies to all your friends."

        or resell them, or d0nate them to the library, or lend them when you are done playing.

        The only copyright concern is if two people are using the same key at the same time. ANYTHING else is a violation

    • by Reapman ( 740286 )

      What has steam prevented you from doing, exactlly? Spore prevents me from installing it more then xyz number of times, therefore no Spore for me. But I've been running Steam for years on multiple systems, and haven't been able to do anything I wouldn't have otherwise. Only thing Steam has done for me is prevented me from having to dig out my HL1 discs for those rare moments i fire it up, or heck my HL2 discs for that matter (nice since one got scratched)

      Steam is DRM, but it doesn't turn you into a crimin

  • Cool but... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dafradu ( 868234 )
    Different hardware demands different configuration.

    Everytime i setup a computer to play Counter-Strike i have to tweak my mouse settings for the windows/mouse/hardware configuration for that machine.

    This could work to store my config for THIS computer, or saved games when applied, but game settings depend heavily on the hardware and Windows configuration.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by malakai ( 136531 )

      You need to add:

      -noforcemparms -noforcemaccel -noforcemspd

      to your cstrike.exe command line.

      That will prevent any of the OS level mouse tweaking from interfering with CS. That is your multi-computer-mouse-sensitivity-rosetta-stone.

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