Steam for Mac?

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Official announcement possibly coming at GDC next week:
http://www.macrumors.com/2010/03/03/valv...e-for-mac/
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All the signs definitely point to it Smile. It's pretty exciting news if so.
Alex
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I just hope this means that a lot of PC games will suddenly show up. Steam with no games in it isn't very exciting Rasp
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FreakSoftware Wrote:Steam with no games in it isn't very exciting Rasp

That'd just make it ripe for devs like us to get our stuff out there!
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You hit on an interesting point there Seth.

FWIW, I think it's actually quite possible that we'll see more AAA games released for Mac and PC. Because a lot of games are released for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 (which uses OpenGL and GCC), I think that a lot of the porting work is already done for making native Mac games. A proven distribution system (Steam) could be the catalyst necessary for getting large studios to add Mac to their list of release-day supported platforms.

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Hopefully they've ported the source engine, that's what it seems like so far.
Alex
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Ya it looks like we're at least getting Half Life 2, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2 & Portal. I'm pretty sure the original Half Life coming to Mac is the first sign of the apocalypse, but if those newer games are coming then it wouldn't be much of a stretch to assume most of Valve's "Sourced" back catalogue will come along with them. At that point it'd be a no brainer for 3rd party Source developers to get porting - and who knows, maybe we'll eventually (and finally) get that Unreal 3 engine port promised years ago...

I just hope I can log into Mac Steam and download & play any compatible games I already bought for Windows. Given how they stress that "games are associated with your account, not your computer" I have hope this might be the case.

Either way, this is seriously good news.
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cmiller Wrote:PS3 (which uses OpenGL and GCC)
It is a common misconception that PS3 games use OpenGL. They do have a port of OpenGL available on the PS3, but it is much slower than their proprietary low-level graphics library, so only games with simple graphics use it. The fact that it uses gcc doesn't help much either: you get your real speed boosts on the PS3 by programming for the SPUs, which aren't going to be portable to any other platform. Overall, it is a bad place to start for a port.

However, all is not lost for Mac games on Steam. All of Valve's modern games are based on the Source engine, which means that once they port that all their games based on it should be relatively easy to bring over as well. It seems to be very versatile and scalable, so assuming they designed it with the possibility of swapping out renderers in mind, it shouldn't be too daunting a task. Having Steam available will probably make the Mac a bit more juicy for publishers, but regardless of what they do they will have the initial hurdle of making their engine use OpenGL for a Mac build.
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I have to admit that I don't really know much about Steam except it's pretty popular on Windows. I imagine it is somewhat of an AppStore distribution system for desktop computers, offering some DRM. Am I way out there? Could someone here enlighten me?

I do know that Valve hasn't been a big Mac fan by any stretch of the imagination, pretty much since forever. I'm pretty sure the founders of Valve were all former MS employees. So I have a bit of skepticism that they would offer full support for Mac and stick to it, but I'm all for new attitudes if that's what they'd like to do. Wink

Anyway, that said, what would Steam bring to the table? How does it work? Does anyone here know what the developer-side details might involve? What could be the benefits? What could be the negatives?
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AnotherJake Wrote:I have to admit that I don't really know much about Steam except it's pretty popular on Windows. I imagine it is somewhat of an AppStore distribution system for desktop computers, offering some DRM. Am I way out there? Could someone here enlighten me?

+ "for games" = nail on the head.

Also has in-community chatting and buddies, pre-releases and cross promotions etc that don't occur elsewhere.


Quote:What could be the negatives?

Somehow it flops because of one stupid little reason, and all major game developers say "See! The Mac is not a gaming platform, and that's why we'll never ship for it." ?

Other than that I can't think of any.
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FreakSoftware Wrote:+ "for games" = nail on the head.

Also has in-community chatting and buddies, pre-releases and cross promotions etc that don't occur elsewhere.

I see, so I assume it does the whole social networking thing with gamerscore and leaderboards too?

Outside of the basic features it offers gamers, what I guess I'm more interested in is, does anyone know how hard it is to get into as a developer? Do you pay an annual fee? Royalties? Can any developer get in?

I assume they offer something like a libSteam? Is it C++ only? Does anyone here have any experience with it?
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AnotherJake Wrote:I do know that Valve hasn't been a big Mac fan by any stretch of the imagination, pretty much since forever.
Quote from a few years back (source: http://archive.videogamesdaily.com/featu...p07_p1.asp)
Quote:...we have this pattern with Apple, where we meet with them, people there go "wow, gaming is incredibly important, we should do something with gaming". And then we'll say, "OK, here are three things you could do to make that better", and then they say OK, and then we never see them again. And then a year later, a new group of people show up, who apparently have no idea that the last group of people were there, and never follow though on anything. So, they seem to think that they want to do gaming, but there's never any follow through on any of the things they say they're going to do. That makes it hard to be excited about doing games for their platforms.

Maybe the app store was a well needed slap in the face for Apple and they're actually taking games seriously now? I don't know...

AnotherJake Wrote:Anyway, that said, what would Steam bring to the table? How does it work?
http://store.steampowered.com/about/

AnotherJake Wrote:Does anyone here know what the developer-side details might involve?
http://www.steampowered.com/steamworks/ (basically boils down to "email us")
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Frank C. Wrote:Quote from a few years back (source: http://archive.videogamesdaily.com/featu...p07_p1.asp)
Yeah, I've seen that one. I certainly wouldn't be one to say Apple has done much to help game developers. Even Carmack recently mentioned something to the effect that Apple seems to be embarrassed about games being so popular on iPhone.

Still, publishing games on the Mac does not require Apple's support Wink

Frank C. Wrote:http://store.steampowered.com/about/
http://www.steampowered.com/steamworks/ (basically boils down to "email us")

Thanks for those links! Reading the FAQ, yah, "email us" seems to be about it. Not many details about squat beyond that. I am particularly interested in knowing if they have a decent API I could work with. If so, I would consider shooting them an email, but without any preliminary developer-side details at all, whatsoever, I don't see much incentive to bother with it. Maybe they'll announce something a little more substantial for Mac, other than how many games they have.

Also, glancing through those links, I don't see any mention of social networking features like leaderboards, gamerscore, or anything like facebook integration. Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems a little thin on features. Plus, there is less rampant piracy on Mac and higher sales conversion rate. Need to see a little more offered before I get excited about the *idea* of Steam on Mac I suppose...
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FreakSoftware Wrote:Somehow it flops because of one stupid little reason, and all major game developers say "See! The Mac is not a gaming platform, and that's why we'll never ship for it." ?

Other than that I can't think of any.

Being someone that intensely dislikes Steam, I'd have to say that another possible downside is that Steam could end up dominating the Apple gaming market, and you'd be in major trouble if Steam didn't let your game into their store.


AnotherJake: as far as I know, they don't have facebook integration; they instead have their own version of social networking, which is pretty similar to facebook, in some regards. There are groups that you can join (most of them actually have a definite point, though...they're more like clans than "oh ya, I agree with that"), you can become friends with other steam accounts, and you can message other steam accounts.

There's also the idea of achievements for games you've purchased with your steam account, which work just like Xbox Achievements; I'd say the majority of games on Steam have at least a couple of them. Steam's multiplayer games implement these, too, which can be kind of fun in games like Left 4 Dead.


One thing I'll be interested to see, is how they end up building their app for Mac. On Windows, their entire UI is a skinned version of Internet Explorer 7, which.....is pretty terribly. Not because I have a personal hate for IE 7, but because it means 10 second or more wait times when you launch a popup window to see a larger version of a picture in a game's description, etc.

They've integrated flash into their interface pretty heavily, too. I know most of this because the integration didn't work on one of my Windows laptops, so I was stuck not being able to click any links in their store.


Anyway, didn't mean to turn this post into a rant, but hopefully this gives a bit more of an overview of the platform Smile
-wyrmmage

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wyrmmage Wrote:Being someone that intensely dislikes Steam, I'd have to say that another possible downside is that Steam could end up dominating the Apple gaming market, and you'd be in major trouble if Steam didn't let your game into their store.

If that were possible, I'd imagine it'd be an overall plus (sales increase) for the gaming market. LOL


Quote:One thing I'll be interested to see, is how they end up building their app for Mac.

All I know is that they switched/are switching from IE to WebKit for all platforms.
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