Author Topic: To Steam or not to Steam  (Read 2530 times)

Frodo

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To Steam or not to Steam
« on: 30 Jul 2017, 17:47 »
[This thread was split out from here, regarding problems with Heroine's Quest because of Steam integration. This thread is for discussion of Steam-free versions of AGS games released through Steam. Questions and tech issues directly related to HQ should go in the original thread. – Snarky, as moderator.]


I don't know about Crystal Shard's version, but the version available HERE (Screen 7) is definitely DRM-free, so you don't have to touch steam. :cheesy:

I'm not a steam-fan either, so I can understand how frustrating this is.  :wink:
« Last Edit: 02 Aug 2017, 00:06 by Snarky »

Radiant

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Re: To Steam or not to Steam
« Reply #1 on: 30 Jul 2017, 17:58 »
All versions of HQ are DRM-free. Think about it for a minute, why on earth would we ever put DRM in a free game??

Frodo

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Re: To Steam or not to Steam
« Reply #2 on: 30 Jul 2017, 18:02 »
Many of us consider steam as DRM.

Radiant

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Re: To Steam or not to Steam
« Reply #3 on: 30 Jul 2017, 19:40 »
Many of us
Yeah right :grin:

Anyway as this is not actually related to Emte's problem, I suggest discussing it in a different thread. CW has already provided the answer; I'll check if I'll have to include some extra files in the release packages in the future.

Re: To Steam or not to Steam
« Reply #4 on: 30 Jul 2017, 20:56 »
I'm a player, not a developer, so I don't understand fully the nuances of cooperation with Valve.

Is it like, when you decide to put your game on Steam, you also agree to distribute it with plugins and other trashware, so that the player would know that this is "Steam" game, or are you still allowed to distribute Steam-free version via other websites?

If second, why not put both versions on the website, if so many players report problems?

Thank you all for answers of course.


Radiant

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Re: To Steam or not to Steam
« Reply #5 on: 30 Jul 2017, 21:43 »
That's because the entire Steam debate is a red herring. This issue has nothing to do with whether or not you have Steam on your computer, or with whether or not a "non-Steam" version exists.

Rather, the issue appears to be that a library is absent on your system. I suggest going to the link CW posted earlier and see if that resolves your problem.

Snarky

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Re: To Steam or not to Steam
« Reply #6 on: 02 Aug 2017, 00:12 »
I'll just chime in as a player who has had issues with downloading/installing Heroine's Quest because of Steam. I think it's definitely better practice to make a non-Steam build that doesn't have any Steam dlls or unnecessary library dependencies.

Dave Gilbert

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Re: To Steam or not to Steam
« Reply #7 on: 02 Aug 2017, 15:54 »
I believe the most recent version of the Steam plugin has fixed these issues? I can confirm that the current version of Unavowed runs just fine when the user doesn't have Steam installed.

Gurok

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Re: To Steam or not to Steam
« Reply #8 on: 03 Aug 2017, 08:12 »
Many of us
Yeah right :grin:

She is right.

When Steamworks games require you to have Steam running to play your game, that's DRM.
When the Steam client generates a custom executable on installation, that's DRM.
When a game requires you to log in to play it, but allows you to put Steam into offline mode so you only need to log in once, that's slightly more permissive DRM.
The Steam client enforces DRM. It's not a stretch to say that Steam is the DRM component of these rights-managed games.
Put yourself in the shoes of a buyer (or player). You might think it's lazy or wrong, but people err on the side of caution and just treat Steam as DRM.

I would also question the value of Steam integration. In Radiant's case, it's created compatibility problems and an achievements system is fairly trivial to implement in AGS.
« Last Edit: 03 Aug 2017, 08:14 by Gurok »

Radiant

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Re: To Steam or not to Steam
« Reply #9 on: 03 Aug 2017, 16:45 »
I believe the most recent version of the Steam plugin has fixed these issues? I can confirm that the current version of Unavowed runs just fine when the user doesn't have Steam installed.

Good to know, thanks.

Re: To Steam or not to Steam
« Reply #10 on: 03 Aug 2017, 20:35 »
I'm not really a huge Steam fan or anything either, and I'd much prefer to distribute my games myself, or through my favorite site (Itch.io).  Steam is just necessary due to the visibility and distribution opportunities which are just too massive right now to pass up, especially if you're trying to do game development as a profession. I've just had so many people say, "I'll wait till Neofeud comes to Steam" that it's basically a must, even if I don't really like DRM, and am pretty agnostic with respect to achievements and 'social gaming' stuff.  That's really a lot of the pull of Steam, I think -- it's like the Facebook or Amazon of games, that has the winner-take-all network-lock-in effect going for it.
« Last Edit: 03 Aug 2017, 20:37 by SilverSpook »

horusr

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Re: To Steam or not to Steam
« Reply #11 on: 03 Aug 2017, 21:28 »
I would wait for Neofeud to come to steam butI would feel guilty too. Because steam games are cheaper for me since steam use its own dollar/TRY thingy. 10 dollar is like 35 try but in steam you can buy for half price of it.
But feel bad for developers.

Dave Gilbert

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Re: To Steam or not to Steam
« Reply #12 on: 04 Aug 2017, 12:13 »
Just to clarify, games bought from Steam do NOT require the Steam client to be running in order to play them. I play games offline all the time when I am on the train or on a plane, and I find it quicker to navigate to the game on my hard drive than to wait for the Steam client to boot up.

This problem only occurs when the developer deliberately codes their game that way. For example: earlier versions of the AGS Steam plugin assumed that your Steam client would be running, so it would throw up an error if it wasn't. That was the GAME'S problem, not Steam's. Steam is not DRM in the technical sense.

LimpingFish

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Re: To Steam or not to Steam
« Reply #13 on: 04 Aug 2017, 23:51 »
Just to clarify, games bought from Steam do NOT require the Steam client to be running in order to play them. I play games offline all the time when I am on the train or on a plane, and I find it quicker to navigate to the game on my hard drive than to wait for the Steam client to boot up.

This problem only occurs when the developer deliberately codes their game that way. For example: earlier versions of the AGS Steam plugin assumed that your Steam client would be running, so it would throw up an error if it wasn't. That was the GAME'S problem, not Steam's. Steam is not DRM in the technical sense.

It depends. Smaller indie games, or games not tied to the Steam API may work. But, for instance, if I randomly pick a game I have installed at the moment (in this case "Betrayer"), and try to launch the .exe from the game's directory without Steam running, it will first boot Steam, and then run. There's no way around it. Steam can be in offline mode, sure, so there's no DRM check happening (at least no online check), but the games .exe is looking for the Steam .exe and is useless without it.

Unless you're just talking about AGS games, which I agree are unlikely to have Steamworks tied to them in the same way. But in most cases, I'd argue that Steam is very much DRM.
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Re: To Steam or not to Steam
« Reply #14 on: 05 Aug 2017, 00:55 »
Can I copy the executable and still play it on a different machine without Steam? In most cases, I'm guessing the answer is no, but I'd want to test if it works on some smaller indie games. If the answer is no, that's still DRM.

horusr

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Re: To Steam or not to Steam
« Reply #15 on: 05 Aug 2017, 01:18 »
Steam provides drm but if you can run game without steam running it is drm free game. If you cant and you put it on a pc with steam installed, steam wikl redirect you to store page of game.
There is a list of games you can run without steam client on steam wiki http://steam.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_DRM-free_games

Technobabylon and Shardlight are there for example.
« Last Edit: 05 Aug 2017, 01:24 by horusr »

Re: To Steam or not to Steam
« Reply #16 on: 06 Aug 2017, 11:10 »
There is a list of games you can run without steam client on steam wiki http://steam.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_DRM-free_games
On that page it says: making them effectively Launcher-free once installed.
If that means you have to be online and/or have steam running when installing the games, that's still a problem
I suppose it could be argued that this is not a rights management thing, but it is restrictive in a way it shouldn't.

Steam, and the way developers and publishers (and players) have embraced it is the reason I stopped buying games completely.

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Re: To Steam or not to Steam
« Reply #17 on: 06 Aug 2017, 13:21 »
Hmm so why not download and use it and see how it works rather than making guesses at how it works? Its free and it can be uninstalled minutes later if you don't like it. You know, like all software can be uninstalled? ;) There are free games to get you started including AGS games.

Granted, in some countries maybe you still have the luxury of visiting a "shop" and finding PC video games. No such thing exists in the UK any more. Game dedicate 1 or 2 shelves at best and the only other PC Game shops are back-alley vintage game shops but I haven't personally seen one of those for years, or charity shops, and they are very hit or miss.

Steam, rather than being a high street store, is simply the biggest PC Game shop to visit, and it's online and it's a software. All Steam does essentially is keep your games catalogue in order and download the games when you want them. IT doesn't add DRM to any game. Game developers do. The Steam API by default has that "launch Steam if click EXE" set to ON, but a developer can turn it off, as I assume monkey_05_06 did with the AGSteam plugin. But there's a function in that AGS dll that can still lock you out of the game unless you're online on Steam if the developer chooses it.

Personally, I like the fact that I can move to a new PC and know that I only have to install Steam to have access to all my games. I've been able to throw most of my hard copies away and de-clutter my cupboards (and life) and this is great - of course - this is reasons personal to me. Not everyone wants to do that or have those options.

And not forgetting, that roughly 10% of commercial AGS games make it to GOG, whereas 90% make it to Steam. So when we think about which service is best serving this community (regardless of DRM) then Steam wins all the time every time. Each to their own, but you know, spare us the pitchfork rhetoric -- you may be a fussy fucker but a lot of us...most of us...are not :P It's game cataloguing software first and foremost, and the DRM is entirely on the developer side. Yes you can use Steam to download AGS game files, and yes you can then copy them elsewhere and they will work, because the dev chooses to add the code that forces you to use Steam or not (roll)

I know, trust me I know, 15+ years of this, that point & click gamers are fussy fuckers. I was once, and adamant about not using Steam. But Steam isn't worth such fuss. It's not your enemy. It's continuing to grow, it's continuing to serve this genre well, and this community too, and "not using Steam" isn't going to achieve much and in this day and age no-one is going to clap and say well done you. Where once shops meant "access to lots of videogames" the case (here in the UK at least) is that digital shops are that option now. Steam is more like the PC game shops of yesteryear (a swathe of AAA, indie, experimental games), GOG is more like the PC game shops of modern times (mostly AAA releases). Here's an interesting article about their growth over the past 3 years. It's worth giving it a try, even if you don't like it or stick with it, at least then you have some understanding of how it works and don't come off sounding completely pretentious "Steam exists therefore I stopped playing videogames altogether" or whatnot :P

https://www.polygon.com/2017/8/4/16095394/steam-users-count-2017-gaining-millions-per-month#4748773392-tw#1501943435055
« Last Edit: 06 Aug 2017, 13:49 by MJL »