Subject: General Tech | February 15, 2018 - 09:50 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, pc gaming, steam sale, steam
If you need more games that you purchased on sale but probably will never play, then Valve’s Lunar New Year sale is for you. Year of the Dog is the theme, and so most of the promoted games have dogs in them. Yes, Half Life 2’s robot counts – Valve’s 2004 classic is currently sitting at 90% off.
Personally, I just picked up Okami HD. I was interested in this game when it first came out, but I was purposely avoiding console titles, so I just kept waiting. I just found out that it was released on the PC back in December, and it’s now 30% off its regular price. Good enough for me!
It’s cute that Valve is going back to some sort of meaning in their sales. These sorts of things used to be conversation starters. I don’t know, but it felt like a lot of the Steam Sales lately became… sterile. It feels odd to describe a sale as an experience, but they kind-of were at times.
Or maybe I just like puppies. I dunno.
Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2017 - 08:48 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, steam, pc gaming
As of today, June 6th, Valve has closed their Greenlight program. New submissions will not be accepted and voting has been disabled. Next week, starting on June 13th, Valve will open Steam Direct, which allows anyone to put their game on the platform for a deposit of $100 per title, which will be refunded once the title makes $1,000 in sales. Valve performs a light amount of testing on each game it receives, so it makes sense to have something that prevents you from drowning upon the opening of the flood gates, and it’s nice that they refund it when sales are high enough that their typical fees cover their expenses, rather than double-dipping.
There is still some doubt floating around the net, though... especially regarding developers from impoverished nations. As a Canadian, it’s by no means unreasonable to spend around a hundred dollars, plus or minus the exchange rate of the year, to put a game, made up of years of work, onto a gigantic distribution platform. That doesn’t hold true everywhere. At the same time, Valve does have a measurable cost per submission, so, if they lower the barrier below that, it would be at their expense. It would also be the right thing to do in some cases. Either way, that’s just my unsolicited two cents.
Steam Direct opens on June 13th.
Subject: General Tech | January 30, 2017 - 12:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: steam, cache, Nginx, ubuntu
There are tricks to managing your Steam library if you are running low on space or simply setting up something new, from tricking Steam by copying files manually or the new feature which allows you to move games from within Steam. One other possible way to manage your time and bandwidth is to build yourself a small little webserver which caches any Steam game you have downloaded locally, so you can reinstall them without using up your bandwidth. Those familiar with Riverbed appliances and the like will already be familiar with this process but many gamers may not be. Ars Technica walks you through the build and teaches a bit about caching and basic webservers along the way; check it out you are not already well versed in setting up something similar.
"But there’s an alternative to having to re-download all your Steam games from the Internet: you can set up a local Steam caching server, so that once you download something, you’ve got it on your LAN instead of having to reach for it across the net and incur usage fees."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Naughty sysadmins use dark magic to fix PCs for clueless users @ The Register
- Microsoft's Coming Windows 10 Cloud Release May Have Nothing To Do With the Cloud @ Slashdot
- Intel's Q4 was 'terrific' and 'record setting' says CEO as profits dip @ The Register
- Microsoft Reports New Subscribers For Office 365 Plunged 62% @ Slashdot
- Seagate pledges to make 16TB hard drive by 2018 @ The Inquirer
- Semi-Removed from Reality: How Windows Holographic Can Change Life As We Know It @ Hardware Secrets
- LIFX Gen3 Bulbs and LIFX Z Lightstrip SmartHome Lighting @ eTeknix
- Netis WF2375 AC600 Wireless Dual-Band Outdoor AP Router @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | January 27, 2017 - 10:11 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, pc gaming, steam
A little late on this one, but it’s been on my backlog for quite a while and I think it’s worthy of “public service announcement” status. Last week, Valve published a new Steam Client feature that allows users to relocate specific games to other folders. Just right-click on any installed games, click “Properties”, click the “Local Files” tab, then click “Move Install Folder...”.
So yeah, if you want to switch games to and from an SSD, the Steam Client can do it for you. You could always do it by shutting down Steam Client, moving the folder between two folders that Steam tracks, and restarting the client. I have experienced some situations where the Steam Client then looks at the files, determines that they’re invalid, and redownloads them. While I that just happened to align with a new patch or something, it’s a moot point now that Steam Client just does it for you.
So yeah, if you didn’t already find out about this: enjoy.
Subject: General Tech | November 25, 2016 - 04:17 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, steam, pc gaming, black friday
Okay, I admit it: I’m a little late on this one. Sorry, all! Sometimes you need to shelf a post because it’s taking forever to write, but you only realize it after days of researching and editing have gone by. In the mean time, simple posts, like this one, begin to collect dust in the queue. You just need to know when to let go, even if it’s temporarily. This time I didn’t.
Oh well. So Valve decided to host their Autumn Sale from now until 1pm (EST) on Tuesday. To me, a sale that starts just before American Thanksgiving and ends hours after Cyber Monday... seems like a Black Friday sale. They even acknowledge it as such in their announcement, so I guess I’m not alone.
There really isn’t much to say, though. Gabe Newell will get your money via big discounts on new and bundled back catalog games... oh wait, there is. Remember how Steam was pushing “Discovery” with their new store aesthetic? How it was supposed to help users find relevant content within their store? They just decided to create “The Steam Awards”, which are user-nominated through the store listing.
This is quite interesting. From Steam’s perspective, it allows a handful of games to get promoted to a wider audience, which could allow some games break out of their niche. On the other hand, since it is user-selected, it would need a niche to have a chance at that exposure. Whether it helps good games find an audience that would otherwise die off? Not sure. I am interested to see, if this really is a phase in the Discovery initiative, what else will be introduced. Time will tell...
Podcast #425 - Samsung 960 EVO, NZXT S340, NVIDIA revenue, wireless Vive, Serious Sam VR, Steam VR on Linux and more!
Subject: General Tech | November 17, 2016 - 03:53 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: wireless, VR, video, valve, TPCAST, tempered glass, steam, serious sam, Samsung, S340, podcast, nzxt, linux, htc, 960 EVO, 375.86
PC Perspective Podcast #425 - 11/17/16
Join us this week as we discuss new Samsung 960 EVO, NZXT S340, NVIDIA revenue, wireless Vive, Serious Sam VR, Steam VR on Linux and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store (audio only)
- Google Play - Subscribe to our audio podcast directly through Google Play!
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:13:46
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: General Tech | November 14, 2016 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, mac os. valve, steam, VR, steamvr, OpenVR
Valve's OpenVR based project, which goes by the obvious moniker of SteamVR, has been shown powering an HTC Vive, using Vulcan on an unspecified Linux distro. This proof of concept is to back up their claims that SteamVR should be available to consumers very soon. At the moment their are few VR games using either OpenGL or Vulkan so your software choices will be limited. At the same time, you may also be limited in the headset you can choose as Oculus developers have stated that all Mac OS support projects are currently on hold. Road to VR has the full presentation from Valve’s Joe Ludwig embedded in their post here.
"However, Valve will soon move to encourage a diminishing of that monopoly, as it plans to bring SteamVR – the company’s Steam-integrated VR platform – to both Linux and Mac OSX platforms within the next few months."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Kaspersky launches antitrust action against Microsoft over Windows Defender @ The Inquirer
- Google Pixel pwned in 60 seconds @ The Register
- Firewalls snuffed by 'BlackNurse' Ping of Death attack @ The Register
- Linux On Your NES Classic Edition @ Hack a Day
- IBM: Why our Power9 CPU is going to make data centers great again @ The Register
- Google Home Makes Its Debut @ Hardware Secrets
- The ROG Masters 2016 Tournament Rocks KL @ TechARP
- noblechairs EPIC Series Real Leather Gaming Chair @ techPowerUp
Subject: General Tech | November 7, 2016 - 09:07 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, steam, pc gaming
As we mentioned last week, Valve was working on a major refresh of the Steam homepage, with a heavy emphasis on letting users find products that interest them. This update is now live, and will be presented to you the
new next time you load (or reload) the store page. They also have a banner link, right near the top, that highlights changes, including a few they've already made over the course of 2016.
One glaring thing that I note is the “Recently Viewed” block. There doesn't seem to be a way to disable this or otherwise limit the amount of history that it stores. While this is only visible to your account, which should be fairly obvious, it could be a concern for someone who shares a PC or streams regularly. It's not a big issue, but it's one that you would expect to have been considered.
Otherwise, I'd have to say that the update looks better. The dark gray and blue color scheme seems a bit more consistent than it was, and I definitely prefer the new carousel design.
What do you all think?
Subject: Shows and Expos | November 4, 2016 - 02:35 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: VR, valve, steam, pc gaming
A little over three weeks ago, Valve hosted a fairly big developer conference, which excluded journalists so that attendees could network without feeling anxious. The goal was not to keep information from the public, however, and so they created high-quality recordings of the talks and the Steamworks Development YouTube channel, which I assume is owned by Valve but cannot verify this, made the videos public.
Again, each of these talks were aimed at various types of developers, and they were hosted by numerous companies. One video has Tim Sweeney, the founder of Epic Games, discuss Physically-Based Rendering (PBR) and another has Na'Tosha Bard, the technical director at Unity, highlight points that a game developer should know if they intend to publish to Linux, including SteamOS.
In all, there are 25 videos, ranging from ten minutes to an hour and a half, with most clocking in around 45 minutes. It's a fairly large commitment if you want to watch it all, but the topics vary wildly, so it could easily be a “kill an hour learning something” sort of thing. Also, the talks from 2014 are available, too. (There wasn't a Steam Dev Days conference in 2015.)
Thanks Phoronix for finding these.
Subject: General Tech | November 3, 2016 - 09:14 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: xbox, steam, pc gaming, fail
In a few short hours, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered will unlock on Steam and Windows Store. If you're intending to get it for the multiplayer, though, then you need to choose your store carefully. According to Activision's support page, Steam users can only play with other Steam users, and Windows Store users can only play with other Windows Store users.
"We need to stick together! I wanted to pad my Gamerscore and you're the only one online!"
They do not elaborate on why this is the case. PC Gamer speculates that it could be an issue with Windows 7 versus Windows 10, but that makes basically no sense. The protocol between computers is just data, controlled by Activision, so the operating system that transfer it from network socket to game application is irrelevant.
I think I know what it is, though. According to the same support page, they note that a Microsoft Account is required to play online with Windows Store. I'm not sure if Activision voluntarily chose to use two different account systems, or if Microsoft pressured Activision to use Xbox accounts on Windows Store, but I'm guessing the incompatibility is due to Steamworks versus Xbox.
Again, I really don't know why Activision chose to, or was forced to, split their user base. We'll need to see if this becomes a trend going forward, though. If it is, I can see this hurting Microsoft more than Valve.