And Stardock raises the white flag (to Valve)

By on February 20, 2012 4:24:49 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

GoaFan77

Join Date 10/2008
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Its the end of an era folks.

Quoting Yarlen,
The Steam client will be required for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion for initial install, updates and Internet multiplayer, regardless of purchase location. You can choose to play in offline mode via the Steam client after initial install, though ICO features and achievements will no longer be available.

---

4. Gamers shall have the right to have their games not require a third party download manager installed in order for the game to function.

...

8. Gamers have the right to use their games without being inconvenienced due to copy protection or digital rights management.

Now its debatable whether this news actually goes against the PC gamers bill of rights Stardock pushed forward 3-4 years ago, but it certainly seems an ominous change of pace for the company to me. Are the other Stardock gaming communities concerned? Will other Stardock titles follow suite? Does this symbolically show the finalization of the Steam monopoly, short of the self sufficient EA and Blizzard titles? What does the wider community think, and what can we do about it?

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February 20, 2012 7:32:32 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
In all these discussions, I have never heard someone suggest what alternative should be used for the features Steamworks provides.

The issue for us isn't Steam. It's Steamworks. I've talked about this very issue for literally years.  IMO, the OS vendor should be providing this stuff for free and aggressively supporting it. But they're not.  

Frankly, as a game developer, I think it's ridiculous that there aren't viable alternatives to Steamworks. But there aren't.  And at the end of the day, we want to make great games. And Steamworks helps us do that.  

If someone wants to point to a viable alternative to Steamworks, then do so.  Otherwise, asking us to cripple the experience for 95% of the player base (in-game achievements, leader boards, multiplayer help -- people are going to freak when they see how well Rebellion does in MP compared to Trinity, player stats, etc.) is unreasonable.  People want these features. They're expected in modern games.  

Too much of this reminds me of the days when people railed because we started making Windows games (when we started out an OS/2 developer).  We just want to make cool stuff that people enjoy using.   

Will you please implement SteamCloud for saved games? I often play on several PC on multiple location and SteamCloud is great - its also very usefull when I reinstall Windows, that I dont have to hunt for saved games from every game I currently play.

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February 20, 2012 7:40:11 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Steam

oh well...

I guess I'm going to have to buckle down and start using it prolifically...

:/

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February 20, 2012 7:59:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What we don't like, Brad, is the heavy-handed approach Steam has. We don't like the idea that if Steam THINKS we've tried to rip them off (whether we did or not), they lock out our account forever and we lose the ability to play all our games that we paid for.

We don't like having to expose our computers to an on-line client every time we play a game.  I for one don't give a crap about multi-player features as I never play games multi-player.  Not only will most of us never use those wiz-bang Steam features, I'd pay extra not to have them using my memory or cluttering up my interface. 

It angers me that by default Steam loads itself every time I boot my computer and I have to dig down through their fracking interface to figure out how to stop it from automatically loading. If every single software developer takes it upon themselves to load shit on my computer every time I boot up, my computer will run like a snail across fly paper.  Now I have one more gorram app I don't want running computer.

It pisses me off MAJORLY that you can't buy an app anymore that doesn't think it has the right to load some extra shit on your computer.  I ran a recent update the GameStop app when I loaded FE beta and now I get pop-up advertisements of games on sale at Game Stop!!!  It fracking sucks, Brad!!!

One of the reasons I was such a loyal fan of Stardock was because of Impulse.

Steam is the future of PC gaming only if people buy games from them.  Of course if every game producer sells out to them, then Steam will become like Windows and people will no longer have a choice any more. 

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February 20, 2012 8:01:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Rebell44,

Quoting Frogboy, reply 25In all these discussions, I have never heard someone suggest what alternative should be used for the features Steamworks provides.

The issue for us isn't Steam. It's Steamworks. I've talked about this very issue for literally years.  IMO, the OS vendor should be providing this stuff for free and aggressively supporting it. But they're not.  

Frankly, as a game developer, I think it's ridiculous that there aren't viable alternatives to Steamworks. But there aren't.  And at the end of the day, we want to make great games. And Steamworks helps us do that.  

If someone wants to point to a viable alternative to Steamworks, then do so.  Otherwise, asking us to cripple the experience for 95% of the player base (in-game achievements, leader boards, multiplayer help -- people are going to freak when they see how well Rebellion does in MP compared to Trinity, player stats, etc.) is unreasonable.  People want these features. They're expected in modern games.  

Too much of this reminds me of the days when people railed because we started making Windows games (when we started out an OS/2 developer).  We just want to make cool stuff that people enjoy using.   

Will you please implement SteamCloud for saved games? I often play on several PC on multiple location and SteamCloud is great - its also very usefull when I reinstall Windows, that I dont have to hunt for saved games from every game I currently play.

It's not my call.  The team will use whatever they think has the most benefit / cost ratio.

For me, the turning point was seeing the multiplayer performance.

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February 20, 2012 8:07:16 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Aerion Istari,
What we don't like, Brad, is the heavy-handed approach Steam has. We don't like the idea that if Steam THINKS we've tried to rip them off (whether we did or not), they lock out our account forever and we lose the ability to play all our games that we paid for.

We don't like having to expose our computers to an on-line client every time we play a game.  I for one don't give a crap about multi-player features as I never play games multi-player.  Not only will most of us never use those wiz-bang Steam features, I'd pay extra not to have them using my memory or cluttering up my interface. 

It angers me that by default Steam loads itself every time I boot my computer and I have to dig down through their fracking interface to figure out how to stop it from automatically loading. If every single software developer takes it upon themselves to load shit on my computer every time I boot up, my computer will run like a snail across fly paper.  Now I have one more gorram app I don't want running computer.

It pisses me off MAJORLY that you can't buy an app anymore that doesn't think it has the right to load some extra shit on your computer.  I ran a recent update the GameStop app when I loaded FE beta and now I get pop-up advertisements of games on sale at Game Stop!!!  It fracking sucks, Brad!!!

One of the reasons I was such a loyal fan of Stardock was because of Impulse.

Steam is the future of PC gaming only if people buy games from them.  Of course if every game producer sells out to them, then Steam will become like Windows and people will no longer have a choice any more. 

 Basically all programs load themselves by default every time your computer boots up.

 If you dont like it, learn what msconfig does.  You can turn all the autoloading off by unchecking one easily found box.

You can also start games from Steam in offline mode, which cuts down on how much you have to use it.

This kind of stuff isn't going away, and its not Stardock's fault.  If you want to continue playing many PC games into the foreseeable future, learn to live with this kind of stuff. 

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February 20, 2012 8:07:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My PC just committed suicide because it hates Steam.

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February 20, 2012 8:14:17 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
If someone wants to point to a viable alternative to Steamworks, then do so. Otherwise, asking us to cripple the experience for 95% of the player base (in-game achievements, leader boards, multiplayer help -- people are going to freak when they see how well Rebellion does in MP compared to Trinity, player stats, etc.) is unreasonable. People want these features. They're expected in modern games.

I would say 95% or more of the player base only plays Single player or LAN/ICO with friends. You could argue that it would be lower if Sins had these features. But I personally don't care for any of those things, and plenty of others would rather have lackluster ICO as it is. Whether its a good business bet remains to be seen, but it is costing you some customers. I would recommend you make it clear to everyone that preordered that its a steam works game, as the first people who pre ordered probably did so before you were selling trinity on steam, and thus couldn't imagine that it requires steamworks as it does now.

Quoting -Ue_Carbon,
You wanna blame anyone for their choice in Steamworks. Blame GameStop, blame any other digital distribution service. If you want games not to use Steamworks, then give Devs a great alternative to Steamworks.

Just because GameStop ruined the world out of a better alternative doesn't mean Stardock has to use it. They're the only ones who made the decision. You can argue that its the best and perhaps even the only real decision for them, but that doesn't mean they didn't decide to use it. They did. I just want them to make it clear to their preorder customers so that they can caste judgement with their wallets.

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February 20, 2012 8:18:24 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I had to dig up my login details to post for this one. Im not an avid Steam hater for it being so big (heck, use Google all the time which is almost the same situation) but I really have a pet hate for extra software on my computer and something controlling what I have bought.

I don't like that a company can force me to install something else and I don't like that Steam has control of your games/software (take note that I know I am only buying a license and it isn't my game, but what I have purchased is MINE) and do whatever they like with them forever more. 

Yes, basement dwelling nerds will rage over this but also the average joe with a laptop who likes to actually own what he has purchased will be angry too. I didn't pre-order Rebellion due to being overseas and keeping an eye on my pennies for plane tickets home and now I am not so sure. I am very excited because of what I have seen but now very wary as well.

Steam is only really advantageous to the user if he has EVERYTHING or mostly everything using it as it will organize it all in one place. Since Rebellion is the only thing I would be interested in buying on it, well... maybe I will wait for the collapse of the gamers society in a metaphoric nuclear-war style riot that will hopefully occur once Steam controls all gaming and pisses one of the bigger players (pun intended) off. 

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February 20, 2012 8:29:02 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Draakjacht,
This pretty much means I have to do one of two things. Either give up on playing Rebellion or consider moving any potentially personal stuff to one machine that doesn't have Steam.

Just call me paranoid.

Paranoid!

I agree pretty much with the above but am willing to install Steam for Rebellion.  The friends online tracking and all is good for setting up matches and the apparent ability to play solo offline without Steam was essential and seems to be there.

I turned Impulse and GameStop off when I wasn't updating and can leave those off--so Steam will just take their place.

Multiplayer performance and a larger audience are a good reason for it.

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February 20, 2012 8:32:23 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

... now that I've gotten this out of my system I must apologize for being abrupt with my feelings. They still stand but I understand the logic behind Stardock's choice and I agree with the decision, as much as I don't want too given the circumstances. Just kind of a bummer that there are no good viable alternatives outside of additional development costs, resources, and man hours to create an updated ICO (which I thought was the plan in the first place prior to the steam deal?) 


Some Questions:

-Will LAN play (possibly in 'offline mode') still be possible if I have ten friends over at my house? This is critical to our gaming group as we all have bottle-necked internet connections.

-Will we still be able to auto-download custom maps / mods as was previously mentioned?

-How will this change impact the ways that mods are used / implemented?

-Will there be some sort of full demo version to share with our friends to get them hooked onto the game? (thus helping them decide to purchase it? This was critical in most of my group deciding they liked the game and then purchasing Collector's Editions, plus the expansion).


Lastly, a very STRONG suggestion:

-Please inform, blatantly, to all Pre-Order customers that it will require STEAM to install, run, update, and for all multi-player functionality.


It would be a shame to get a lot of users lashing out at Stardock that they 'did not know' about this. At least give your users the dignity of an informed choice on this matter (instead of waiting until after their money has been taken [Sword of the Stars 2 style] to inform them). I know I would feel at least respected that StarDock had taken the time to inform me of the changes in a timely manner.


While I am undecided about what to do ... I still wish you all at the StarDock (and anyone still working on this from the IrconClad) team the best of luck. This game has a lot of potential and it would be nice to see it fulfill it.



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February 20, 2012 8:34:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I only have steam on my PC because Civ 5 made me install it and now most games make me have it. I don't like the idea that they could block me from playing my games at anytime they so choose. I don't want to get a steam account with $600 and somehow it gets locked and then I am just out that money. That seems like something that would force people to pirating.

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February 20, 2012 8:35:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't put much value in the features of steamwanks, but I am glad it's there for those who do. But I don't accept giving over my usage license such as steam requires- among other things. I don't have an alternate for steamworks as I'm ignorant of the industry. But as a player I wonder how it was that pre-steam games could do these things. And I find it unbelievable that economic and engineering limitations forces steamworks on us. Or are they just saying that the steamworks engineers are so brilliant that no-one can match them. From my point of view, ignorant of the industry as it is; it seems that publishers are looking to save money by having someone else do the work. Yet more so, is the motivation to gain access to that vast pool of market data which steam mines from its users. If you doubt this, think on how it is that a free application such as facebook can be valued in the billions.

The steam client need not be as restrictive nor intrusive as it is. If players had the balls to stand for it, publishers might be motivated to leverage for a change. Of all the publishers out there, I would have thought our best ally would have been Stardock. Impulse::Reactor was billed as the alternate to steamworks. Player driven: runs only when asked, and does only that which the user tells it to ++. Is a shame it was sold out.  But it is done. I just find it hard to fathom that the industry has no alternate but to enslave us to steam. 

 

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February 20, 2012 8:38:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Relax. Most of the first class American citizens (corporations) you think are watching you are in fact not watching you. The ones you think are relatively safe are in fact scanning your computer as you read this. And one of your family members is telling them everything they want to know about your bowel movements. She will not be named. 

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February 20, 2012 8:42:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh, also I was thinking. Have you though of using Desura? It is more for indie games, but I mean it is an alternative. 

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February 20, 2012 8:45:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
Relax. Most of the first class American citizens (corporations) you think are watching you are in fact not watching you. The ones you think are relatively safe are in fact scanning your computer as you read this. And one of your family members is telling them everything they want to know about your bowel movements. She will not be named.
Are you saying that the user data steam provides to publishers has no value? That they market this feature for no reason?

Yep, I didn't think so.

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February 20, 2012 8:45:49 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I'd hope LAN play will count as an "offline option".

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February 20, 2012 8:58:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

No. I am saying that Steam has very little effect on my PC. Anyone willing to not buy Rebellion that loved the previous installments simply because it is on steam is overreacting... like when Bill shot Black Mamba in the head overreacting.

It's a slight hassle, not big brother scanning your computer for illegal content. Get some perspective. Or don't. You guys are funny to watch when you crack all the way. Just make sure you put it on Youtube.

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February 20, 2012 9:01:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
In all these discussions, I have never heard someone suggest what alternative should be used for the features Steamworks provides.

Doesn't "Do it yourself" count? Yes, you save lots of money not doing it. Yes, you save yourself the endless whinning of the platform "fans". And yes because of many other reasons. Yet, why should I be blamed for not having other alternatives? I do not have a magical hat. I cannot start my own "Wikipedia" equivalent for in game achievements, multiplyers games and such. Sue me for that! There are not alternatives because people prefer not to commit for some reason or another, which includes the unhealthy capitalist habit of profit a la Ferengi, people that "must have now and without effort",...

*shrug*

At the end of the day you will do whatever you think is best for your business (back to money) and I'll do what I think it's best for my wallet (money again). Nothing personal there.

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February 20, 2012 9:06:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
Anyone willing to not buy Rebellion that loved the previous installments simply because it is on steam is overreacting...

It's called principles. Some of us have them. And they don't need to match yours no matter how right you think that you are.

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February 20, 2012 9:18:46 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Wintersong,
I cannot start my own "Wikipedia" equivalent for in game achievements, multiplyers games and such.

I do think there is room for an open source competition for steam works. One that could provide the same sort of framework, and potentially be integrated to all the different digital stores. As people start to increasing have to use Origin and the like, in addition to steam, I think its the only way forward. But sadly its not here now. If I was a fresh software engineer out of college I would certainly try something like that, but I still have a few years on that. Maybe Notch will find time to sponsor someone to make that like he's doing for Psychonaughts II.

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February 20, 2012 9:49:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wintersong,


Doesn't "Do it yourself" count? Yes, you save lots of money not doing it. Yes, you save yourself the endless whinning of the platform "fans". And yes because of many other reasons. Yet, why should I be blamed for not having other alternatives? I do not have a magical hat. I cannot start my own "Wikipedia" equivalent for in game achievements, multiplyers games and such. Sue me for that! There are not alternatives because people prefer not to commit for some reason or another, which includes the unhealthy capitalist habit of profit a la Ferengi, people that "must have now and without effort",...

*shrug*

At the end of the day you will do whatever you think is best for your business (back to money) and I'll do what I think it's best for my wallet (money again). Nothing personal there.

So what features should they cut from Rebellion to design this steamworks competitor?  

The game obviously has a fixed budget, like all games.  Like Brad has already said, they want to design the best game possible.  Why would they reinvent the wheel at greater cost to themselves to end up with a less tested, probably less robust steamworks and a game with less features? 

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February 20, 2012 9:49:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

*Yawn*

If you don't like steamworks based games don't buy them. What I hate is people who complain about steamworks but still purchase games that use it. People who lack the courage of their convictions.

I personally made the decision not to purchase any game that requires steamworks. At this point there is no point in getting pissed when another dev or publisher decides to use it. Just means I won't buy the game.

Sure my one sale doesn't mean much.. but eventually someone will pick up on the fact that there is a large untapped market of people like me who refuse to sign away all rights to valve.(or gamestop, or origin etc etc)


I rarely buy new games anymore. Not because I don't want to, or don't have the money. But because devs and publishers are stuck on this kick of making us accept some 3rd party contract that pretty much says your entitled to nothing for your money.. thanks for giving it to us now go @#$ off.

 

Give me a decent game, that I am guaranteed to be able to install activate and play in 5 or 10 years.. or sell your rental to someone else. Actually you don't even have to guarantee that.. just don't write into the contract you force me to agree to that you can take away my access to it at any time for any reason and my "exclusive remedy" is to stop using the service..

Or better yet.. don't make me need to hire a lawyer or study law  in order to understand the ramifications of installing your game. If consumer groups think credit card contracts are bad they should look at the average games EULA and the steam subscriber agreement.

 

On the issue of Data mining.. I don't care who is doing it.. but I'm of the firm belief that if your going to monetize on my personal information you should be paying me a cut. Funny how the same companies who throw a hissy fit about Intellectual property and piracy of bits of code have no problem monetizing other peoples personal information. I mean.. If you copy bits of code and share them its illegal.. but if you copy someones personal information and sell it your an innovative genius and its perfectly legal. Does that seem skewed to anyone else? (theres the start of a long rant here about Corporate vs Individuals rights but thats certainly for another time and place)

 

(ack this was supposed to be curt and turned into yet another of my long rants)

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February 20, 2012 9:51:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
No. I am saying that Steam has very little effect on my PC. Anyone willing to not buy Rebellion that loved the previous installments simply because it is on steam is overreacting... like when Bill shot Black Mamba in the head overreacting.

It's a slight hassle, not big brother scanning your computer for illegal content. Get some perspective. Or don't. You guys are funny to watch when you crack all the way. Just make sure you put it on Youtube.
It's funny you mention perspective. If you've a mind to, go back and reread that post. 

I've favored the Civilization franchise for something like 20 years now. If I could choose but one game, It would be Civ. Civ5 was a guaranteed sale until I learned that it required steam. I do not accept steams control over the usage license. I've already lost a couple hundred dollars in a related scheme. So I did not buy the game. I've other concerns but that is the primary. And in my situation, being unwilling to upgrade my hardware, I do have some minor concerns over performance leeching unnecessary software. That's fairly minor in relation to my other concerns. To each their own. 

 

Oh, and data mining is about finding patterns in sets of data. It's not about scanning peoples private files with some nefarious program. Data can be retrieved this way. But that is just one of many ways that data is assembled in order to be mined.

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February 20, 2012 9:59:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Steam doesn't bother me. The client is easy to use, doesn't have a huge impact on system resources, and I like all the features it adds. If it's collecting data about me, it can join the club with Google, EZpass, Verizon, the government, etc. It's a fact in today's world; information is valuable and information about you is being collected, sold, analyzed, and used. Most of the time all it's used for is to try and sell me stuff.

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February 20, 2012 10:34:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I guess my principals are based on cost. What am I paying to play a game with Steamworks? I have to pay money and allow some data collection. I have to give up some rights to the software, but I generally get access to a cloud network. I have had Steam since Counterstrike: Source came out. Never had a problem as a customer. As far as Stardock games, in my opinion you are getting some extremely great service and guarantee of quality. Supporting a great company like them should override any principals about cost. You can't stop Steam by not buying Rebellion, but you can potentially stop Ironclad and Stardock by not buying their games.

This is why I think it is an overreaction. Your very limited buying power should have logical boundaries on which you found your principals. My only goal is to purchase directly from Stardock Central so that they get as much  of my money as possible. 

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