The internet is a very devious and dangerous place. Yet it is as fascinating to watch as a bar brawl from the periphery of the brawl with a cloak of invisibility around yourself. There are many devious and dangerous people in this analogy of a medieval tavern, but the same kind of people populate it merchants, commoners and, of course, pirates of the high seas masquerading as legitimate businessmen. The following account happened at the Valve’s distribution service, Steam:-
One of Steam’s most well-enjoyed games is Garry’s Mod created by a Mr. G. Newman (not the Gabekind). Since it is so well loved on Steam it is also well-loved in the shady corners of the pirate bays, so Garry thought of a plan and posted an update of the game later. Then he asked a very innocent question on his Twitter account:-
Anyone unable to shade polygon normals?
Apparently a few legitimateusers on the official forums were reporting the same bug, saying that the game crashed on startup with this error code:-
Unable to shade polygon normals(################)
In a few hours, the user who had the problem was permanently banned from the forums for pirating the game. Also, the the string of numbers (###â€¦) was basically the 64-bit Steam ID of the user, which was not on Steam’s database as a registered user of Garry’s Mod. Guess whose account was going to have some problems?
A very clever way to weed out the pirates. Good going, Garry!
It has been a few days since Valve officially opened the valve on the new kind of identity management service for its digital distribution platform Steam. Named, very creatively, Steam Guard, the service will allow users to locktheir Steam identity semi-permanently to their main computer. More precisely, the gamers can lock their Steam ID to their Intel processors (the second generation kind with the Corebrand name with Sandy Bridge et al).
This kind of two factor authentication system is akin to what Google has recently given to its users, and what the RSA keys have been to corporates with Enterprise Resource Planning servers and other systems. The Core CPUs will soon be updated with the Identity Protection Technology (IPT) that generates a key every 30 seconds according to some preordained algorithm. Once the Steam account is synced to this processor, it will not be available for use anywhere else. Valve’s CEO Gabe Newell was so confident about this new tech that he freely gave away his username and password for people to try (and fail) at hackinghis account.
However, this piece of technology is teetering towards the locked down EA-DRM kind of protection. While Steam does not allow for two computers to simultaneously login to the same account, anyone can download as many games as they want on any number of systems from the same account, go offline on their Steam client and play for as long as they want. If this kind of protection eventually becomes mandatory for systems running the Core CPUs, how many PCs can you authenticate? Will this create a problem for the folks on AMD machines and older Intel processors? (Agreed very feeble questions, but questions nevertheless!)
Either way, to hackinto Gabe Newell’s account, login with these details:
Username: [email protected]
(Mooly refers to the nickname of Intel Corp.’s Vice President Shmuel Eden)
(Sigh: If only this were present while I was writing about my first impressions of Dragon Age II.) Valve’s Steam client for digital distribution games just got updated to its newest version. With the latest client, gamers can easily take screenshots and also sync it with Steam’s Cloud (about 1GB of personal space) and display it on their Steam Community profiles. This is similar to what Xfire has been doing for quite a while now. This functionality is available on any game with which Steam’s Overlay works (i.e. even non-Steam games with the Steam Overlay enabled will have this functionality enabled.)
The use is very simple start up a game (wait for it to load), load your save file (wait for that to load) and then start a really cool battle or something (and wait for the enemy to come close to you, become impatient) and then press the mighty twelfth Function key (F12) to hear the beautiful sound of the miniature Steam camera clicking:-
Sadly though, in some games (such as the above: Mount & Blade: Warband), the F12 key is bound to the autosave function. Although the autosave does not work during battle with Mount & Blade, in other games you might just see a shot of the save-screen when you press F12. Solution: re-bind the autosave to some other key.
The Screenshot Manager is quite a wonderful little thing that sits below the News Itemsfor the currently selected game. Here you can see the screenshots from different games, or your last session. It is here that you can describe the screenshot and upload it to your Steam profile. (For example, this screenie can be seen on my profile here).
Good stuff from Valve we’d like to see cross-platform Instant Messaging next!
Well this is a first for both Valve and Sony. The highly anticipated successor to the really awesome First Person Puzzle Solver That Ate Your Brains Out While Being Ridiculously Funny Portal will very probably be one of the firsts in gaming history; Portal 2‘s PS3 version will come with an activation key for the Steam version to play on your PC (or Mac), completely free!
All you need to do is type up the key on Steam and voila, you’ll have Portal 2 waiting to be downloaded and played by you, the gamer on the go. Apparently, this cross-platform gaming will also include PS3-to-PC chatting between players, and might also involve a good deal of cross-platform play (obviously) and will include syncs between your PlayStation Network (PSN) ID and your Steam account.
However, the clincher is that the PS3 version will include SteamCloud support which means that if you save at a certain point on your PS3, it syncs to Steam’s servers, and you can start the game from the exact place on your PC! So, just in case GLaDOS screws you over at a certain level and you decide to throw your controller at your PS3 very forcibly (thereby killing it instantly), fear not for SteamCloud will come to the rescue (of your game, not your console).
Here’s to looking at more console and PC friendships!
Gamertrolls, the commenting area is your arena. Fight!
It’s no secret that I adore the little pseudo JRPG called Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale. I call it pseudo because it is not, in fact, a total JRPG. Instead it has this incredible idea of what if the player was an NPC?. More accurately, what if the player was the shopkeeper to whom the heroes of JRPG games came to buy swords, shields, magical amulet and pink toffees from?. Yes, that is exactly what Recettear allows you to do, and while the idea itself may sound half-baked and prone to cause easy boredom, the game is not. It’s been the darling of many reviews, coming from the Japanese stock and westernized by Carpe Fulgur.
So when a recent Steam sale pushed up their sales to a hundred thousand copies, they are bound to be so happy that they would have stopped developing and gone on a collective vacation, right?
The head business dudeof Carpe Fulgur does not think so. Andrew Dice explains in a blog post about what the sales mean, what they do not mean and what ramifications these figures would have in the future. One of the most important points raised was that the sale was done at an extremely low price. Recettear was sold in a pack for about $1 (five games for $5). Since Valve prefers developers more than publishers, the lion’s share of the profit went to the Japanese developer EasyGameStation. Not that Carpe Fulgur is struggling right now (they are doing very well, but they need to release another game within the next year).
Lastly, Dice very cheekily hints at the next game that would be released by Carpe Fulgur for the world: Another EasyGameStation title called Chantelise.
In all the future of westernized JRPGs looks bright indeed! Yayifications!
Remember the Humble Indie Bundle? The brilliant initiative back in May by many indie developers to sell some great indie games, DRM-free, for whatever price that you chose?
Well, those folks have announced that all those games that you purchased can be activated on your Steam account as well! They’ve emailed every Humble Indie Bundle customer with this:-
Dear Humble Indie Bundle customer, thanks for your purchase back in May! I have some good news regarding your games. Since launching the bundle, our most common request has been the ability to download it on Steam. Well, I’m happy to announce that Valve has made this possible
Along with this, they’ve given the Steam redemption code for all the games (World of Goo, Penumbra Overture, Aquaria, Gish, and Lugaru HD). So all you need to do is go to your Steam account, click on Add Steam Gameand copy-paste the redemption key, and lo and behold, you have all five games in your account! Oh, and the Bundle will still be available for direct download forever. I wish they’d follow this model of serving customers in the long run!
That’s not all that the email said, though; they also mentioned that they’re hard at work for the second edition of the Humble Indie Bundle. Kick ass news? You bet!
Valve’s digital distribution service Steam has always been at the forefront of video games and digital distribution. Their store stocks the best in AAA games as well as indie surprises with a a discount sale almost every week. In the eight years that it has been operational, Steam has seen phenomenal growth especially in recent times, due partly to the addition of Mac OSX as a platform for many games.
Said Gabe Newell, president of Valve:
Steam is on track to record the biggest year in its six year history. The year has marked major development advances to the platform with the introduction of support for Mac titles, the Steam Wallet and in-game item buying support, and more. We believe the growth in accounts, sales, and player numbers is completely tied to this work and we plan to continue to develop the platform to offer more marketing, sales, and design tools for developers and publishers of games and digital entertainment
To meet the demand of sales, which grew by about 200%, Steam upgraded its infrastructure thoroughly-
Steam sales during the trailing 12 months increased by more than 200%, putting it on track for a sixth straight year of realizing over 100% year-over-year growth in unit sales. To meet this demand, the Steam infrastructure has been increased and now has ability to run at 400Gps, enough bandwidth to ship a digitized version of the Oxford English Dictionary 92.6 times per second.
Gamers have often showered love upon Good Old Games (Gog.com) – for a very good reason. Gog.com is a online computer games sales & distribution service – just like Steam but with a twist – Gog.com specializes in selling some of the classic games of yesteryear at pretty low prices. The icing on the cake was that all the games you purchased were DRM free, with no clumsy authentication clients and what not.
I can totally see one fine day when this happens:-
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings releases on Steam for a blowout pre-order price an offer that lasts just one day. I do not have any money on my PayPal account or on my debit card, and I desperately want that game yes more than food or the other bare necessities (I’m a fanatic gamer, you know?). So, do I run around begging people for money for a game (instead of for sustenance) or do I invoke the power of the almighty god [insert supremely powerful Entity name here] and somehow put in money into my bank account? Neither! Being a well prepared gamer, I put in money on Steam’s Wallet (around $50 should cover it, am I right?) and merrily click on the Buybutton and all is well.
Steam Wallet? Yes pre-paid wallets like what they get on the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live. Instead of using your credit/debit card, you put in some currency to Steam’s Wallet and let it ferment there (without interest, of course) until your favorite game is released. It can also be made into a gift cardfor those of us who are not old enough to pay for themselves. Let the flame barrage begin!
You can either add funds via the web link or directly from your Steam client. While you’re at it, could you send some funds along my way? I just opened my Steam wallet and a couple of moths flew away from itâ€¦
A few months ago, Phoronix posted an article saying that Valve is working on a Steam version for Linux. This got the Linux community excited and people speculated about the development of state of the art games on the Linux platform too. However, this joy did not last long as Valve has now put an end to the rumor. Valve confirmed that there is no Steam for Linux being developed and has not mentioned of any future developments on this either.
Steam is a complete platform of flagship game technologies and Valve values its ownership of Steam. It has released two big hits Counter Strike and Half Life based on the same Valve engine. The engine is extremely customizable and powers the award winning game Portal.
However, Doug Lombardi, the Marketing VP of Valve has confirmed to gameindustry.biz that they are not working on any Linux version of steam.
Now, Linux users who were too excited about this will not get to play any Counter Strike or Half Life on their Linux powered rigs. On the other hand, Valve has planned to release Steam for Mac as it can generate good revenues. However, when Phoronix reported this earlier; they posted some evidence that cannot be ignored totally.
Did they start building for Linux and left it midway? Are those traces of changes made in some files? Clearly, something is cooking at Valve and it smells good. Just that, Mr. Lombardi is not ready to spill the beans about it yet.
It’s QuakeCon time! Yes, that conference that claims to be the Woodstock of gaming (4 days of Peace, Love and Rockets) is one of the largest gaming parties in the world and is run almost entirely by volunteers. It is gaming in its pure, unadulterated-by-nonsensical-business self. QuakeCon’s principal partner, Id Software (the developers of Doom and, of course, Quake) provides support for what is possibly the largest LAN Party on the planet.
However, the business part of the gaming industry will take good care of its sales while this party rages on. Valve’s Steam digital distribution portal has racked up a bunch of Id and Bethesda games in its QuakeCon Steam Sale that any respectable fan of action games absolutely needs to check.
Here’s a short listing of all the games up for grabs in the QuakeCon Pack that is selling for just $69.99!
If the name Alien Swarm sounds familiar to you, that is because there was a fairly popular mod of the same name for Unreal Tournament. Apparently, while no one was looking, Valve quietly hired the team behind the mod – Black Cat Games.
For the past two years, they have been working on major Valve projects like Left 4 Dead and Portal 2. However, at the same time, they also continued working on their pet project, a sequel to their original claim to fame.
The new Alien Swarm runs on Valve’s Source engine and will be made available tomorrow for free. The game is a top-down shoot-em-up, which supports up to 4-player co-op mode. Alien Swarm will also have four unique classes of characters, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Like in the original game, the player will be tasked with killing waves of aliens.
Modders will be pleased to know that Valve will release the full game code, in addition to releasing the SDK. Head over to the official website for more screenshots and trailers.
NASA has teamed up with the US Army game development studio (the makers of America’s Army) to deliver an almost-realistic lunar base simulation. Moonbase Alpha is a pretty neat looking game that has you (and up to five more players) restoring NASA’s lunar base – Moonbase Alphaafter it was damaged in a critical meteorite impact. Using cutting-edge lunar technology and varied tools and robots, you and your friends must save the colony before the oxygen runs out in the base.
The lesser the time you take, the better your score is and in the near future I would expect a lot of competition to pipe up on this game. The game is well integrated with Steam with stats and leaderboards supported. Also, Valve’s Anti-Cheat (VAC) system is also integrated into this game.
The best part about this game is that it’s free. Yes, it’s rated E for Everyone and is great for family gaming and is also entirely free!
Every mission in Deus Ex has more than one way of going about and for a game released in 2000, this is a big achievement. You could either go gung ho towards your objective, killing anyone and everyone standing in your way, or you could depend on some stealth and sneak through to your objective, or use a backdoor or an alternate route to reach the goal. Add to it nanotech augmentations that make J.C. more than human, and you have the seamless blend of Role-Playing powers and First Person immersion.
But enough of the game true fans will forever remain true fans of this cult classic. Steam is offering both the original Deus Ex and the slightly flawed sequel Deus Ex: Invisible Warfor a 75% discount! This means that both games are up for a total of $4.98. Go buy this classic this instant and prepare yourself forHuman Revolution!