Steam Gets Civilized

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"Experienced Points: Steam Gets Civilized"

"Some long-time Civilization fans are getting pretty steamed."

Good God, The puns man, the puns!..

As a supporter of steam i fully support this, i hope more game developers follow suit.

Shamus Young:
Experienced Points: Steam Gets Civilized

Some long-time Civilization fans are getting pretty steamed.

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I loved that article, agreed with every word, and I thought the ending line was h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s! I'm rubbish as Civ too, I always play with barbarians enabled (cos I'm always playing it with friends at LANs, and they love the barbarians for the following reason), and they ALWAYS, without exception, target me and only me, proceeding to conquer and pillage all my settlements by turn 5.

All that can be heard during a Lan game of Civ with my friends are my cries of "F**KING BARBARIANS, F**K THOSE UNWASHED TITS RIGHT UP THE ARSE, ARRRGHHH!!! Guys, can we please load the last autosave?"

Treasured memories.

Thats great news! I love the series and to see it getting some love is brilliant!

Cody211282:
Damn it why do i need steam, I don't play multiplayer(except local) and I hate auto-updates not to mention I despise having steam on my computer. The only reason I have it right now is because I need to for DOW2 and I hate the fact that it takes about 5 min for steam to launch, then update, then look for updates for the game, then it prepares to launch for another 3, then finally lets me play my damn game.

Right click DOW2, click properties, click the tab that says "updates"; you'll probably be pleasantly surprised.

Johkmil:
Steam requires to be booted with an internet connection before being able to turn on the off-line mode.

If you don't have an internet connection and you launch Steam, it will prompt you to go into Offline Mode automatically. The only time it seems to have problems is if you have a network connection but that network doesn't have internet access. In this case, just disable your network adapter temporarily and you'll be able to launch in Offline Mode.

dekkarax:

Cody211282:
Damn it why do i need steam, I don't play multiplayer(except local) and I hate auto-updates not to mention I despise having steam on my computer. The only reason I have it right now is because I need to for DOW2 and I hate the fact that it takes about 5 min for steam to launch, then update, then look for updates for the game, then it prepares to launch for another 3, then finally lets me play my damn game.

Right click DOW2, click properties, click the tab that says "updates"; you'll probably be pleasantly surprised.

I tried that one and it when a patch came out it wouldn't let me play because I was out of date, I'll check to see if that has changed, but it will have to wait until steam is done patching.....again.

Ok then.

I bought "portal" on disk a few years back, only to discover that it required Steam, and, not only this, but the entire game had to be downloaded. (Hello? I just bought a CD?!) That was one of the most annoying installations I have ever had to do.

Now... I use Steam as much as any other means of buying games, and it's usually my first choice, simply for the convenience of it.

What I hated originally, though, was HAVING to use it, and I have to say I feel for the Civvies on this one. Why should any game be locked into a specific platform on the PC? Doesn't make sense by any consumer-friendly standpoint. If I want the game but not Steam, I should be able to play the game without Steam. This isn't a case of owning two or three consoles with different hardware requirements. If the PC is the most buggy gaming platform, it's also the most versatile. I can't see any technical or consumer-focussed reason for not being able to release a game without Steam attached.

So... the core of your argument is "steam is big, big is bad and scawy."

The problem with anyone concerned about the size of steam, is its still nothing compared to even the average retail chains. If it keeps growing at a steady rate, it may be a relevant force against retail in about 30 years, and by that time we'll be signing EULAs with full brainscans and enjoying full sensory experiences while the people who are currently anti-drm will evolve into anti-technology cults.

Games shipping with steam are essentially retailers signing their own death warrants, though. Not entirely sure how in the hell anyone talked them into that.

Oh, and I pity anybody who has a less-than-stable Internet connection (that'll be the two-thirds of the UK who are either on Tiscali or BT Broadband then. Thank the good Lord for cable.) Offline mode or no offline mode.

Steams great redeeming feature is it has an offline mode, so I only have to be online once. Steamworks, however, is going to get Valve in the same pile of shite that Microsoft has had to deal with with Explorer etc in the next 5-10years.

I already buse battle.net service for WoW, so ok, I will try steam for civilization V and see how it goes.

I might also add that the auto-update feature of steam is particularly unwelcome on a game that is made for mods. I mean, what can be more fun than starting up steam, and then discovering that all your mods have been rendered useless by a patch you didn't want to install?

Korten12:

I somewhat agree on best vaules, some old games are a bit pricy, and Team Fortress 2 is $20 on steam and $10 in stores.

I think in a lot of cases they push up the prices of the original games and offer things like "valve complete pack" instead, bunching it with a load of other games to save you money.

Saverio:
I really cannot wait for Valve to get put under investigation for their anti-competitive practices. They are simply bullies who make everyone else happy.

Monopolies are only shown to be bad if there is monopoly abuse. Until they show signs of monopoly abuse, there really isn't a problem.

On topic, I bought Civ 3 on steam for 75p, though not sure I want to play it, but i've spent more then that on a bottle of water...
I'm of the mind that I'd be fully justified to pirate any games I own on steam if it went down, and thus less worried about that happening.

AC10:

I think he means the half-life series was a flagship.

Here's the thing about Civ V. It's using steam for it's community, mod distribution and online multiplayer matching. Would you rather they used gamespy or something else? Steam filled the gap with easy to use tools that did exactly what they needed, so they took advantage of that.

I agree it's a kick in the balls to NEED to install steam (even though I love steam) but at least understand the reason for them doing this. Ideally, they would allow you to install a "non steam" version of the game that doesn't use steam at all or have any community or online features for the people who want that. Even if they did I would use the steam version.

I have to say I agree this. Back in the day I would have been rather sceptical to install steam, as AC10 says it would be like a kick in the nuts. Nowadays though, I'd happily spread my legs and take the pain, because Steam is nothing short of a godsend in terms of deals. Most of the games I now own were gotten cheap as chips from steam and the Christmas sales gave so many I'm still playing through them all. The community sections are good too, I've made many a gaming friend from the likes of Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress 2.

I also think the article is being a bit narrow minded with steam's range of games. They aren't all source based FP shooters, there's quite a few companies on board with a wide selection of games. To give an example, some games from my steam list are: Batmam: Arkham Asylum (Action), The Last Remnant and Dragon Age: Origins (RPGs), Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War (RTS) and Sam and Max Episodes 1 and 2 (Point and Click). There's literally thousands of games with a lot of choices.

Guess what I'm saying is don't knock it till you've tried it. If you really are a Civilization fan, then accept this minor irritation, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Johkmil:
As a long-time Civilization fan, I must say that this is a *huge* step backwards. Civ is simply not a game you need an internet connection for whatsoever. About 1/3 of the time I play, I'm *without* an internet connection, and Steam requires to be booted with an internet connection before being able to turn on the off-line mode. This is shamelessly selling out those playing on laptops or the few who are without a stable internet connection.

That is not true at all. I boot up my laptop and play steam games without it being connected to the internet every single day (almost). When you open Steam and it doesn't see an internet connection, it just asks you if you want to go to offline mode...It's that easy.

Pandalisk:
"Experienced Points: Steam Gets Civilized"

"Some long-time Civilization fans are getting pretty steamed."

Good God, The puns man, the puns!..

As a supporter of steam i fully support this, i hope more game developers follow suit.

I have no problem with people who want to sell their games on steam, but it pisses me off when you buy the damn disc then are required to have steam to play.

I recall being pretty miffed when I brought home Empire: Total War and Steam popped up to install it. You'd think they'd mention that on the box, wouldn't you?

I got Portal for free from Steam today. It was awesome to replay this brilliant game and even better knowing it didn't cost me a thing.

Calhoun347:

Well, To be fair to the competitors, Steam has taken pages from the Impulse play book with regards to sales.

I love steam, I love valve, I also love Civilization. I have around 150 steam games, and I've not regretted the purchase of a single one. (around 3 were BAD games, but I got them for so cheap, i can't even be angry.)

True but they evolve and change steam and in general they listen to the users, and the sales are a good display of this. On the other hand impulse hasn't changed that much since they released it.

Korten12:

I somewhat agree on best vaules, some old games are a bit pricy, and Team Fortress 2 is $20 on steam and $10 in stores.

Well yeah they do get it wrong from time to time. A perfect recent example is: The Whispered World. 40euro on steam in the euro zone, 30$ in the US on steam. Every other online retailer has it at the proper price of 25euro. But when you can get Total War:Medieval 2 for 2euro in a sale it all balances out i think.

Cody211282:

Pandalisk:
"Experienced Points: Steam Gets Civilized"

"Some long-time Civilization fans are getting pretty steamed."

Good God, The puns man, the puns!..

As a supporter of steam i fully support this, i hope more game developers follow suit.

I have no problem with people who want to sell their games on steam, but it pisses me off when you buy the damn disc then are required to have steam to play.

This, seriously, either make it a digital distribution, or physical disc, there's no reason to require both simultaneously.

Personally, I oppose Steam on principle. I've never installed it, or any system like it, and I sleep well knowing that I truly own all of my games. Yes, it means that I've missed out on a few games I would have liked to play, but guess what? I haven't had any trouble filling my gaming hours with non-Steam titles. As far as I'm concerned, I haven't lost anything, and the game developers who use Steam have lost my business. As long as game companies use programs and systems that will liimit and dictate the use of my own computer and purchased software, then I will continue to vote with my wallet.

Blackbird71:

Cody211282:

Pandalisk:
"Experienced Points: Steam Gets Civilized"

"Some long-time Civilization fans are getting pretty steamed."

Good God, The puns man, the puns!..

As a supporter of steam i fully support this, i hope more game developers follow suit.

I have no problem with people who want to sell their games on steam, but it pisses me off when you buy the damn disc then are required to have steam to play.

This, seriously, either make it a digital distribution, or physical disc, there's no reason to require both simultaneously.

Personally, I oppose Steam on principle. I've never installed it, or any system like it, and I sleep well knowing that I truly own all of my games. Yes, it means that I've missed out on a few games I would have liked to play, but guess what? I haven't had any trouble filling my gaming hours with non-Steam titles. As far as I'm concerned, I haven't lost anything, and the game developers who use Steam have lost my business. As long as game companies use programs and systems that will liimit and dictate the use of my own computer and purchased software, then I will continue to vote with my wallet.

Cody211282:

Pandalisk:
"Experienced Points: Steam Gets Civilized"

"Some long-time Civilization fans are getting pretty steamed."

Good God, The puns man, the puns!..

As a supporter of steam i fully support this, i hope more game developers follow suit.

I have no problem with people who want to sell their games on steam, but it pisses me off when you buy the damn disc then are required to have steam to play.

This i completely agree with, have no doubts in that regard.

They should have it Disc or Digital, not both, but regardless i will love steam, simply because my rural enviroment means i cannot go out and purchase Discs with ease, Steam is a god send in my eyes without it i wouldn't be able to play more modern games.

Everytime a publisher joins Steam i skip a damn heartbeat.

it has its faults but it definatley brings games to a wider audiance.

The only problem I have with Steam IS the auto-patching system. I play mods with alot of games and auto-patching usually screws it up royally. I'd prefer them to do what Impulse does and tell you there are updates and allow you to install them when your ready.

Enkidu88:
The only problem I have with Steam IS the auto-patching system. I play mods with alot of games and auto-patching usually screws it up royally. I'd prefer them to do what Impulse does and tell you there are updates and allow you to install them when your ready.

agreed, most of the time i have to do it myself. No matter, i lik the satisfation of patching my own games.

Steam is flawed idea from the word go, its has never been cheaper, faster or easier than going to the shop in my experianced. the only steam games i have(apart from oblivion) i got by accident and basically i bought a disk which allows me to download the game i should have on disk, which is the most stupid thing ever.

not only that but unless there has been some new kind of super internet released and ive been in some kind of cryo sleep for 400years, downloadin a 6gb game takes a long time and it is much quicker to go the shop unless u live somewhere remote, like the moon or something.

Finally lol there is the price thing everyone says it cheaper but here are a few examples of games i have bought new which were also on steam. keep in mind that with these games i got the box the disk the manual etc and with the collectors editions i got lots of extra shiny bits i could touch and smell and kiss etc etc
Mass effect 2 collectors edition 40 on steam 40
supreme commander 2 (steam game unfortunatly) 25 on steam 30
dawn of war 2 ( steam game again) 20 on steam 25

dont get me wrong steam is good the people who want to use it for watever insane reason but the people who want to buy the physical game shouldnt be made to use the fat monster that is steam :)

Shamus Young:
The cost of running Steam, Impulse, Direct 2 Drive, or Gamers Gate is basically no more than the memory, CPU, and hard drive the thing eats up.

I don't know about Impulse and Direct 2 Drive, but you don't actually run Gamers Gate Shamus: when you buy a game from them they give you links to a download utility and any patches/serial codes you might need, things of that nature.

And then you run said utility, wait for it to download all the files it needs to install the game, and then it launches the install process itself. When it's finished, it asks you if you want to keep or delete the installation files (in case you foresee installing it again for some reason and want to skip the probably quite lengthy download) and that's it.

All you get with Gamers Gate is the game you paid for - I'd have nothing but good things to say about the service if it weren't for the bit where their servers are in Sweden so the downloads take forever, and if the download stalls for any reason, instead of automatically retrying the connection, it will pop up a dialog box telling you the connection died and asking if you want to retry. This is very very annoying when you start an enormous download, go to sleep, and then wake up to the revelation that it stalled after half an hour and then spent all night waiting for you to click "OK".

So yeah, in exchange for not bundling any annoyances with the software you actually want it seems they provide tons of annoyance up front before it even finishes downloading. But at least there's no mandatory utility!

I bought Civ IV on Steam and hated it. So this news doesn't bother me. Civ III (which I had a pirate copy of, and later bought on Steam when I could afford $30) cannot be surpassed, and any attempt there to do is fail.

Why all these puns?
Is it really that hard to resist?

Painted Battleship:
I recall being pretty miffed when I brought home Empire: Total War and Steam popped up to install it. You'd think they'd mention that on the box, wouldn't you?

It mentions it on the box I have - "Requires Internet Connection and Free Steam Account to Activate"

As a long time Civ fan (Playing since the original) I am not disturbed by this development in any way. I'm notoriously with losing game CDs and Steam lets me easily play without them, and in the off chance that my hard drive melts down and I need to do a full re-format, I can easily get a full, patched and updated game back on my computer (including all of its expansion packs) without praying that I have all the disks and CD keys.

As long as they aren't saying "You must buy Civ V through steam or you don't get to play it at all" then I'm all for it.

The problem with letting 'good guys' build a monopoly is that there's no guarantee they'll stay 'good guys' or that the nature of the business world won't mean that some day they'll lose control of their monopoly to someone far less benevolent.

You know what, I like Steam. That said, I have a really fast internet connection that is constantly connected and I've been using the platform through its ups and downs since beta (sometime in 2003, I think). So I don't have a problem with it, and I'm actually glad that Civ V is coming to Steam, because it's actually significantly cheaper, as are nearly all games on Steam, than they are at any of my local game stores. So my choice is an economic one, otherwise I'm sure I'd be broke constantly for having to pay $90 at EB for a game that I can get on Steam for $50.

Just thought I'd add my two-cents worth there, and I really really wish that Shamus would go back to writing about game mechanics again, I really hate to say it but.. I just can't take his whinging about DRM and Online Distribution Platforms seriously anymore, because it seems like every single Experienced Points post for the last few months has just been about that.

Then again, I'm hardly forced to read it.

It took Modern Warfare 2 to finally make me use Steam. Now I've bought about 100 games on it. Personally I've always preferred to own nice boxed copies, but given that nowadays games are most released with just a DVD case, a disc and SFA else I don't feel like I'm missing out on much. Besides, one can't argue with the prices except for ridiculous ones like Borderlands being $79.99 USD on Australian Steam and $29.99 USD on American Steam.

Seriously, Steam is awesome. The crazy deals alone are worth having it. All these Civ people complaining; shouldn't. Soon they're going to feel the benefits. You're pretty silly not to take advantage of steam...

Saverio:
I really cannot wait for Valve to get put under investigation for their anti-competitive practices. They are simply bullies who make everyone else happy.

How so?

It's not like they tell publishers and devs to give them exclusives, they give them to steam in order to avoid as many boxed editions as possible by adding an extra incentive. By doing so they save so much money on packaging, resulting in a bigger profit from the smaller than console PC market, which will keep the PC market going strong.

@The underdogs comment.

They are underdogs, because they are rubbish. Seriously, D2D is god-damn awful, with no benefits, and often more expensive than a physical copy, with stupid America/Europe only sales.

Impulse is good, however, I've only used it to get the expansions for SinS.

Cody211282:
Damn it why do i need steam, I don't play multiplayer(except local) and I hate auto-updates not to mention I despise having steam on my computer. The only reason I have it right now is because I need to for DOW2 and I hate the fact that it takes about 5 min for steam to launch, then update, then look for updates for the game, then it prepares to launch for another 3, then finally lets me play my damn game.

...

Time to launch steam as of clicking the exe: 11.28 seconds.
Time to launch L4D: 9.68 Seconds.
Total time to get in game: 20.96 Seconds.

The problem isn't steam, it's you.

What reason is there to hate auto updates? Theres no logic behind it. If anything, it allows hot fixes to be distributed quickly and easily, and makes sure everybody has the same version

Seriously, can we have a intelligent argument against steam?

Any game that is released on steam gets a miss from me. Steam fails epically! I have had so many problems with it in the past. Give me a disc and xfire any day.

I cannot express how much I hate steam without a massive page long rant so I will stop here.

Hm... as a Steam/Valve fan, and a long time Civ fan, and a DRM hater, I really don't know what to think.

On one hand, Steam brings in lots of great things. I may actually give the online more of a chance now, since its integrated and isn't going to use Gamespy or something crap like that. I remember I barely ever touched the multiplayer in Civ4, mainly because none of my friends had it and it just wasn't that fun for me. But with Steam I'll be able to play with Steam friends right from the get-go, and I won't have to re-ad everyone. This could also help set up quick, fun games with friends. Plus with Steam we won't have to deal with the same DRM shit Bioshock 1 and 2 dealt with.

And on the other hand, I was perfectly happy playing alone. The game has infinite replayability since every new game has a brand new map, civs are randomized, and anything can happen. I didn't need to be connected online to have fun, the AI provided enough entertainment. Plus I doubt friends and lots of people would be willing to sit through a many hour game, going from ancient times to the future like I like to do. It just seems like a pointless addition to me since Civ4 offered a nice and easy way to play. No online required, infinite fun on your own, and that was it.

And I agree about the whole Steam monopoly thing. I know that right now Steam and Valve actually give a damn about their fans/costumers. But what will happen when Valve's gamer-friendly leadership is replaced with a not-so-gamer-friendly leadership. People say this won't happen, but once upon a time Microsoft was seen as the underdog, as the cool guy. Everyone loved Microsoft, and said that it would never turn into a big ass-hole corporation. And look what happened.

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