Valve Working to Make Steam's Offline Mode Not Suck as Much

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Valve Working to Make Steam's Offline Mode Not Suck as Much

steam offline mode

The fact that Steam requires you to go online once every few weeks is a bug rather than intentional design, according to Valve.

Steam has an offline mode, but, since the vast majority of Steam users don't really use it (who doesn't have their PC constantly connected to the internet these days?) it sort of sucks. Valve says that this isn't good enough, and is working to make it not suck so much. In particular, the fact that Steam requires you to go online once every few weeks is a bug rather than intentional design, and something the company aims to fix.

"There are many components involved in Offline Mode," writes Valve poster Henryg in a post on the official forums, "some of them have known issues and bugs which we are continually working to improve. We're aware that it doesn't always work as flawlessly as we want it to, but please keep reporting bugs with Offline Mode. It is not broken 'by design'."

Henryg also mentions that Valve are planning to completely overhaul the way Steam authenticates its games in the near future. Anyone who has had problems with Steam in the past knows of the dreaded ClientRegistry.blob file, which, thankfully, will soon go the way of the dodo. "Some day soon, once this work is completed, we will eliminate the old authentication system and Offline Mode should immediately become much more robust."

Back when everyone was up-in-arms about Microsoft's vision of an always-online Xbox One, no-one was willing to talk about the elephant in the room: Valve's Steam. It is technically already an always-online system, as a large portion of it's library doesn't function properly without an internet connection, and you had to go online to authenticate every game purchased on the system at least once. Good to see them taking steps to improve it.

Source: PC Gamer

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This is a very pleasant surprise.

On a similar note, I would also express my joy over how Always Online DRM has become all but extinct.

Always online isn't good from an international standpoint. It isn't so much an issue that a consumer isn't connected to the internet - but if an ISP or site is blocking/blocked. I cannot play some games because I am in China. I cannot do micro transactions to some games because the payment sites are blocked. So if a service decides to shut down everything because it cannot say 'hello' that is a poor service. This move by Valve is positive.

I would have liked this back when i hated steam and i wanted to be able to play half-life 2 without constantly installing updates, of course back then i was still on dial-up

I kinda like how this "news" is based on a forum post made back in July. Quite funny how news spread this "fast".

Now, if they'd kindly remove region locks from some retail games which require Steam anyhow (like Skyrim, Deus Ex HR, Torchlight 2, Magicka, just from my own experience)...

It's a travesty really, and all that the Customer Service said was to ask for a refund at the shop I bought it?! The hell? They require a once and only registry to an account, making it unrefundable, WHICH THEY DAMN WELL KNOW.

Seriously. You skip borders for a few months and your games are gone.

Sorry, but you're too late Valve at least for me you are. I have GOG, Deura and DotEmu. There's nothing on Steaming that really tantalizes me to sacrifice my consumer rights to play.

The first reason Steam was used, was because people stole HL2's source code adn with no sign of HL3, I can't even sympathize with you any more.

Never seen the issue. When my net goes down, I just can't talk to my friends. Everything still works. Offline Mode is not working as intended? Ok then. You guys get right on "fixing" that problem.

All these people that bang on about consumer rights and DRM - I have to wonder how many of them read EULA, enter all their information on god knows how many websites to join forums, save passwords in their web browser, allow cookies, own a mobile phone, browse the internet without relay tunnels, etc. Because you're getting fucked every day for convenience you probably don't even think about. But I'm sure having to connect to the internet every few weeks is the major issue you need to worry about.

*cough*

Actually, Steams offline mode has been working flawlessly for me for over a year now - lots of trips with my netbook, several internet outages due to maintenance, etc.

You know what they need to fix? How shitty the in game web browser is. Same with the store browser. Steam takes forever to load the store page when I can just open Firefox and get to the site page in no time at all.

Also Steams current DRM is pretty awesome. I can totally deal with needing to check in like once a month. It is completely reasonable to me.

I never used steams offline mode. probably because i havent used steam all that much to begin with. but guess its nice that they are making it more robust.

marurder:
Always online isn't good from an international standpoint. It isn't so much an issue that a consumer isn't connected to the internet - but if an ISP or site is blocking/blocked. I cannot play some games because I am in China. I cannot do micro transactions to some games because the payment sites are blocked. So if a service decides to shut down everything because it cannot say 'hello' that is a poor service. This move by Valve is positive.

But thats really kinda localized problem to great firewall of china. there is a reason companies put a seperate servers in china and you decribed it quite well. everywhere else in the world ISPs dont block sites, ever. well excelt the failed attempt of UK legislating TPB blockage.

Solo-Wing:
You know what they need to fix? How shitty the in game web browser is. Same with the store browser. Steam takes forever to load the store page when I can just open Firefox and get to the site page in no time at all.

Also Steams current DRM is pretty awesome. I can totally deal with needing to check in like once a month. It is completely reasonable to me.

The store things laod instantaneously for me. no difference to firefox. i didnt try ingame web browser, because i play games to play games not to browse internet.

...I didn't even know this online check was a thing... Offline mode needs to be better, but who is offline for so much? I only use Offline mode for traveling, but I connect to the internet as soon as I can.

ClientRegistry.blob is going away? Joy!

I have a copy of that bloody file on my desktop to ensure that if something does go wrong I can quickly fix it.

OP, Valve's Steam was never the elephant in the room begging comparison to Xbone80's always-online restrictions.

Because Valve's Steam is one digital outlet of many on an open platform, and if they abuse it or you feel mistreated, you can- in not all games' cases, but in most cases- go elsewhere.

I only used offline mode when I traveled, but it was annoying to restart Steam 3-5 times for it to stop telling me that "offline mode cannot be launched while offline". Good they are finally fixing it.

This is good news, although from my recent house move and fortnight with no internet access, I was so grateful for the offline mode they had.

Solo-Wing:
You know what they need to fix? How shitty the in game web browser is. Same with the store browser. Steam takes forever to load the store page when I can just open Firefox and get to the site page in no time at all.

Amen. Some bookmarks, a speed bump and not randomly closing/resetting would be a start.

I did notice they've tinkered with offline mode. I recall not long ago offline mode would load the store pages. Yes, while offline I could still view the Steam store. That was rather odd. Really don't have a problem with checking in every other week or so when I get emails about games on my wishlist going on sale.

Maiev Shadowsong:
All these people that bang on about consumer rights and DRM - I have to wonder how many of them read EULA, enter all their information on god knows how many websites to join forums, save passwords in their web browser, allow cookies, own a mobile phone, browse the internet without relay tunnels, etc. Because you're getting fucked every day for convenience you probably don't even think about. But I'm sure having to connect to the internet every few weeks is the major issue you need to worry about.

One thing does not invalidate the other. The big issue with consumer protection is that all those invasive practices that abuse user lazyness or misinformation shouldn't be able to do so. Consumer protection is about protecting people from things they don't know can hurt them, since requiring everyone to be a computer security expert is ridiculous. Think it's a silly opinion? Think how easy it'd be to fool you next time you depend on people with knowledge you couldn't possibly have (at the Doctor, at the Bank, when dealing with a lawyer, when buying a car, when dealing with insurance, housing, groceries...), and think how important it is to have laws that prevent those people with superior knowledge from abusing their consumers' lack of knowledge.

In any case, a working offline mode is not about security or convenience, is about my right as a consumer to play the games I payed money for whenever the heck I feel like it, with or without an internet connection.
I'd only excuse the online requirement for games with exclusively online content (such as MMOs), but there should never be a connection requirement for single player content.

And the whole "It's not a product, it's a service" can go screw itself. A service must offer an ongoing value, such as an MMO's constant customer support or content addons. Digital retailers rarely offer such added value beyond cloud storage, which I would gladly op-out of, since I keep local copies of my games (Usually on the retail DVD that still requires Steam).

So, bottom line, Valve keeps earning points by turning away from the usual market-locking practices of its major competitors. I so hope they don't end up being corrupted.

This is good news. Offline Mode has been a pain in my arse for quite a long time now. It never seems to work properly when I actually need it to.

I still remember turning on my computer one time only to find that the internet was down. I opened up Steam to kill some time, only to be told that because I had no connection, I could either quit or start offline mode. Naturally I chose the latter... only to be told that the action couldn't be completed because Steam couldn't connect to the internet.

What is the bloody point in having an offline mode if it doesn't work properly offline?

Steven Bogos:
Back when everyone was up-in-arms about Microsoft's vision of an always-online Xbox One, no-one was willing to talk about the elephant in the room: Valve's Steam. It is technically already an always-online system, as a large portion of it's library doesn't function properly without an internet connection, and you had to go online to authenticate every game purchased on the system at least once.

What nonsense. "Always" is in no way synonymous with "once" or even "occasionally".

Maiev Shadowsong:
Never seen the issue. When my net goes down, I just can't talk to my friends. Everything still works. Offline Mode is not working as intended? Ok then. You guys get right on "fixing" that problem.

Same here. Just moved house and was without internet for weeks, but had absolutely no problem with offline mode. I've used it in the past for months with to trouble. I certainly won't claim there are no possible bugs in it, but it really doesn't have the issues some people seem to think.

Solo-Wing:
You know what they need to fix? How shitty the in game web browser is. Same with the store browser.

I have to disagree there. I already have a browser, there's absolutely no need for Valve to waste time writing another one. Just remove the shit one from Steam entirely and make it use my PC's default browser the way every program is supposed to.

Wait, there was something wrong with it? I honest to God never noticed. Aw well, ironing it out never hurt anyone.

Steven Bogos:

Back when everyone was up-in-arms about Microsoft's vision of an always-online Xbox One, no-one was willing to talk about the elephant in the room: Valve's Steam.

I wish everyone would stop comparing apples to pianos.

The main difference being:
Steam is a 1.2MB free file (software)
Xbox One is a $500 severely restricted PC (hardware)

The mile long list that would follow is related to this basic difference.

As for offline mode, I've had it work for several weeks on end with no problem. Xbox One had 23 hour 59 minutes and 59 seconds as the cap.

Steven Bogos:
Back when everyone was up-in-arms about Microsoft's vision of an always-online Xbox One, no-one was willing to talk about the elephant in the room: Valve's Steam.

See this:

EDITED Nov 4 2013 - holy thread necro. Looks like Kotaku decided to link to this post from six months ago, and every game blog has copy-pasted it. The "two week" timeout issue has been fixed for months now, along with several other bugs. We're still working on improvements, and you might catch them if you read the patch notes carefully, but we don't bother to post on the forums every time we fix something (maybe out of fear that it will get posted as front-page news six months later?).

Source: The thread you linked in the article. Care to update the article? This is relevant.

A look at the post dates also makes it obvious that it's an old thread.

I don't know what the problem is with offline mode... I've only used it a couple times but I've never had any problems... what is so bad about it exactly?

... Good. Steams's 'offline' mode has burned me pretty much every time I've been in a situation where I haven't had internet access for a bit.

That is thankfully rare overall, but there have routinely been periods of a week to a few months where I have had no internet access and no way of getting online, and I can never count on steam's offline mode to work when needed.

It works 'fine' when there's no point to it. (eg, if I got into offline mode just for the hell of it), but if there's actually a situation where I can't get online, it always seems to bug out and break 80% of my games...

Grabehn:
I kinda like how this "news" is based on a forum post made back in July. Quite funny how news spread this "fast".

Yeah, I was gonna say the same thing. That post if 4 months old and offline mode is still rather wonky for me.

Grabehn:
I kinda like how this "news" is based on a forum post made back in July. Quite funny how news spread this "fast".

I thought it seemed like old news. Offline mode has been made to work better a few months ago. It no longer requires a successful online log-in before changing to offline mode (at least for me).

Way to go Steve, only 5 months of news to copy paste from other sites before you catch up!

So you can make it so my PC (and two others) will not completely hard freeze when selecting offline mode. Good fucking luck. How about you ask EA how they did it with Origin, it works perfectly with them.

You can Improve on your DRM as much as you want, but as long as it's DRM I'm not buying it.

Luckily there are alternatives like Good Old Games and the Humble Bundle that don't do this kind of shit that you do.

I'm more interested in them fixing the god awful authentication system. Clientregistry.blob can screw itself.

Oh really... Well, that's one of about the dozen massive issues Steam has, but okay, we're slowing getting to something usable. Maybe.

Maiev Shadowsong:
I have to wonder how many of them read EULA

I do, though not all of them. I did reject a few game installs just because the EULA pissed me off though.

enter all their information on god knows how many websites to join forums

Real information? Pretty much nowhere

save passwords in their web browser

Only for trivial web sites

allow cookies

blocked by default with a few exceptions, no 3rd party cookies and scripts are allowed either

own a mobile phone, browse the internet without relay tunnels

Well, got me there. Not much choice there unfortunately, just like there isn't much choice of where you can live without paying taxes. Still, I don't see why just because I'm not a complete tin foil-hatter means I have to put up with more bullshit.

To be fair, most of the games I play Steam with (Killing Floor, Chivalry) are predominantly Multiplayer experiences, and the Single-Player experiences (such as Skyrim, New Vegas, etc.) usually had mods that you got online, or had people you were Skyping with in the background.

The difference between a console being online and a computer being online is that a computer has basically become synonymous with the Internet. However, consoles are known for being compatible with any TV anywhere (disregarding the current movement toward HDTVs), regardless of Internet connection or not. Sure, the most popular games on them are Multiplayer experiences like CoD and Battlefield, but then you have your Mass Effects, your GTAs, your Saints Rows, games that thrive on Single-Player experiences that don't necessarily require Internet. Consoles are easy and often have these games that people really enjoy.

That's why we're so reluctant to see the lack of online consoles. Consoles have always been more convenient offline, and while the options was THERE, there's still quite a couple of people that buy consoles solely for those single-player experiences. I don't hear a lot about people wanting a computer for the offline experience, let me tell you.

Didn't know it was ever broken to begin with. *shrugs*

Though all the Steam haters are amusing as always.

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