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View Full Version : Steam vs Evolve vs Overwolf vs Xfire vs Desura



ColOfNature
25-01-2012, 06:20 PM
So obviously I use Steam (http://steamcommunity.com/id/colR/), I'm aware of Evolve (https://www.evolvehq.com/players/colR) (even if I rarely use any of its functions), and I use Desura (http://www.desura.com/members/ColOfNature) for those games I can play on Linux. I've also used Xfire (http://www.xfire.com/): way back in the mists of time whenit was rubbish and crashed my PC at regular intervals. And I've recently been made aware of Overwolf (http://www.overwolf.com/).

Other than the obvious fact that Steam is huge, and it and Desura are distribution platforms, does anyone know of anything that makes any of these programs better than the others? And are there any similar systems I should be aware of?

Megagun
25-01-2012, 06:33 PM
The Desura client has recently been open-sourced (http://linux.slashdot.org/story/12/01/22/0255218/desura-linux-game-client-goes-open-source).

Kodeen
25-01-2012, 06:56 PM
What distro do you use Desura on, and how does the installation process usually go there?

ColOfNature
25-01-2012, 07:28 PM
I'm using it on a Debian-based distro, and installations are dead simple - I've yet to have any problems with getting games installed through the client. Well, except for the ones that don't work with my laptop's integrated graphics, but that's not Desura's problem.

vinraith
25-01-2012, 07:33 PM
How is Xfire these days? I'd actually like a system that tracked my time played in games, independent of which distribution platform the game is from.

ColOfNature
25-01-2012, 07:48 PM
Dunno about Xfire - like I say, I haven't used it in a long time - but Evolve certainly does that, in addition to having a better in-gane browser than Steam. They're still building up their database of supported games, but it's already pretty exhaustive and it's pretty easy to write rules for any games it doesn't yet support, which you submit and are then rolled out as and when the devs have time to do updates.

Nalano
25-01-2012, 07:53 PM
The only people I see regularly using Xfire are hardcore FPS junkies.

vinraith
25-01-2012, 07:58 PM
Dunno about Xfire - like I say, I haven't used it in a long time - but Evolve certainly does that, in addition to having a better in-gane browser than Steam. They're still building up their database of supported games, but it's already pretty exhaustive and it's pretty easy to write rules for any games it doesn't yet support, which you submit and are then rolled out as and when the devs have time to do updates.

Interesting, I wasn't aware of Evolve. Any connection to the PR firm?

ColOfNature
25-01-2012, 08:22 PM
Not that I know of.

vecordae
25-01-2012, 08:26 PM
Overwolf sounds great! I've always wanted cambot spam interrupting CODBLOPS with my bros.

vinraith
25-01-2012, 08:30 PM
Not that I know of.

Regardless, looks like something that would do what I want, thanks for the recommendation.

Kaira-
25-01-2012, 09:13 PM
How is Xfire these days? I'd actually like a system that tracked my time played in games, independent of which distribution platform the game is from.

I'd say it's pretty darn nice. It takes some time from the devs to patch in support for the newest releases (week to two weeks), though, and sometimes it doesn't find all your installed games, and recently it has simply refused to acknowledge that I should be able to manually point it to minecraft.exe.

Otherwise, it's perfectly usable, though you might want to change the default keybindings, ScrollLock + X has never been the most intuitive one for me.

Speaking of Desura, it's easy as pies to use on Linux (so far tested on Arch, Xubuntu and Crunchbang), and I actually prefer it to using packages via dpkg. Installation is simple, it keeps itself up-to-date and games also. Though it would kinda be nice to be able to update the games via apt-get (or pacman), but you can't always win.

ColOfNature
25-01-2012, 09:30 PM
\o/ Crunchbang FTW!

Heliocentric
25-01-2012, 10:03 PM
How is Xfire these days? I'd actually like a system that tracked my time played in games, independent of which distribution platform the game is from.

It got really memory leaky and i abandoned it shortly after viacom bought it, but it seems that it runs better now, but really I want less clients running on my pc, not more.

JaminBob
25-01-2012, 10:47 PM
Didn't know Desura existed! I miss Linux since forced windows repatriation due to wanting games so much... might dual boot.

I like Steam because you know what you're getting and the DRM is inoffensive. I would like to avoid Origin forever, but that might be hard if there is ever a SimCity 5.

SirKicksalot
25-01-2012, 10:51 PM
I only use Xfire for the messenger function now. I used to refuse to play a game until Xfire supported it...
I'm fond of it in a way and to be fair, Steam's hour tracking feature is still broken. Also it seems they patched it a lot in the last few weeks.

ColOfNature
25-01-2012, 11:20 PM
Desura's pretty cool. Most of its games are available elsewhere, many of them through Steam, and not all of the games work with Linux. But as a cross-platform distribution service it's a nice little system, and it's new so it'll only get better. Also, as Megagun pointed out, it recently went open source, which is nice.

Someone said recently that Xfire has banned discussion of Evolve in their forums. Don't know how true that is, and I'm not going to put in the minimal effort it would take to find out, but it amused me nonetheless.

trjp
26-01-2012, 12:55 AM
If you want gameplay tracking and a social thing built around your *cross-platform* games, the biggest player I've tried is Raptr...

I used it and liked it BUT then I realised I was getting obsessive about time played and achievements and stuff instead of just enjoying my games so I dumped it :)

www.raptr.com

trjp
02-02-2012, 01:56 AM
On the basis of this thread I gave Evolve a whirl - and my experience was not amazing...

First-up is that it demands a restart to install properly - it's 2012, no-one does that anymore (even ATI and Microsoft install most updates without a restart).

Second - and the showstopper for me - is that it's database of games isn't fantastic and whilst it has a submission system for games, they appear to be "fucking lazy" about doing anything with them (the last time they accepted a game was over a month ago).

That killed it for me - if you're going to use a system like this, it must support ALL my games, not just a cherry-picked handful of classics or popular titles.

Looking at the play stats, I'm not sure Evolve is really that popular either - played times are a fraction of what Raptr has - and Raptr's top played list is more realistic (Evolves is League of Legends - yeah, RIGHT!!)

DigitalSignalX
02-02-2012, 02:23 AM
On the basis of this thread I gave Evolve a whirl - and my experience was not amazing...

Second - and the showstopper for me - is that it's database of games isn't fantastic and whilst it has a submission system for games, they appear to be "fucking lazy" about doing anything with them (the last time they accepted a game was over a month ago) ....

Interesting, after reading this thread I tried evolve too, and it's been on for 3 or 4 days. It's auto-detected all the titles on my rig so far when I launch them, and kept accurate (AFAIK) time played. The community I saw while checking out the lobby of their general chat seemed congenial and welcoming. I don't have any friends on it yet, but my primary purpose was keeping track of game times anyway. My only complaint would be the inability to bind print screen key to the capture app, it only allows F keys and other primary keys. That would have been handy and let me turn lose of FRAPS, but I don't want to give up an F key for screencaps when many games use them.

trjp
02-02-2012, 03:30 AM
It's games library contains all the big releases, MMOs, F2Ps, DOTAs and a lot of 'classic' titles - but it's woefully poor when it comes to Indie stuff. Even those super-popular Indie games, the ones which sell a tonne in every Steam Sale/Bundle, are missing in many cases (in fact more than half the games I launched in the 3-4 days I had it went unrecognised).

I can add games to my own local DB (as well as submitting them) but it won't 'track' them until they accept the submission which defeats the point of me doing it somewhat (esp as they clearly don't intend to do much work accepting submissions).

I didn't really get far beyond that tbh - if I'm going to have to hack-in half my games and not have them tracked, there's little point in me using it.

That said, Raptr aren't a lot better at the 'adding new games' thing. It boggles my mind tbh, surely the trick is to support every possible game (allowing users to add their own, even)??

ColOfNature
02-02-2012, 03:56 AM
You're right that they don't track a huge number of games, but they are still in beta and they're only a 3 or 4 (or thereabouts) man dev team. And while they haven't added any games for a while, they've recently streamlined the submission system so it should pick up.

Odeon
02-02-2012, 04:51 PM
I tried XFire a while back too and like the potential of the features it provides, but it doesn't work for the game I play nearly exclusively, AfterWorld (http://www.afterworld.ru). It's an MMO, but it's a lesser-known indie one produced by a handful of devs, so I'm not surprised that it's not supported yet, but I gave up waiting for that to happen.

I thought about looking it up on Evolve, Raptr, and the others, but with its size and the near total lack of advertisement, I'm all but 100% sure that it's not supported by any of them. Once its out of beta testing, I'll try again though because the devs are supposed to be putting more effort into marketing at that point.

Bobtree
02-02-2012, 05:06 PM
Xfire's best feature is the persistent chatrooms with hosted voice servers (player voice hosting works ok too, and it can optionally auto select the host). The voice quality and volume detection thresholding are great (Steam needs this badly), and players can leave and rejoin without resending invites. You get to see who's on, who's in the chat, who's on voice, and whether they've launched an Xfire supported game (for some games it supports joining on servers that friends are connected to). I like having my game-time tracked, but they don't reliably add new games fast enough, so the stats often under-report.

The very big downside is that Xfire development has apparently been on life support since the big buyout.

I recently had trouble with the repeating UAC prompts when setting Xfire up on Win7-64, so now I have it running via the task scheduler with admin permissions on login. Typical users are not going to figure this stuff out.

I wrote the following in the last RPS Evolve article comments: Xfire has had some bad snafu’s lately. It now prevents some GFWL games from logging in (see http://www.xfire.com/forums/182686/topic/1402288/), and the Xfire in-game overlay does not stay globally disabled when it is restarted (the option is ignored until you re&un-toggle it again), so I have to manually disable in-game for every game to prevent it from running (because I use D3Doverrider to force triple-buffering and a conflict with the Xfire overlay will crash games).

The next big screwup may be what sends us to an alternative like Evolve.

I'd love to be able to import play-time stats from Xfire and Steam. That stuff is hard to leave behind, even though you don't need/use it for anything. Like old saved games for titles you completed, it represents a time investment.

Dashiva
03-02-2012, 01:11 AM
I'd love to be able to import play-time stats from Xfire and Steam. That stuff is hard to leave behind, even though you don't need/use it for anything. Like old saved games for titles you completed, it represents a time investment.

Raptr does allow you to import your steam play time stats. Xfire unfortunately you cannot import tho.

DigitalSignalX
03-02-2012, 07:29 AM
Raptr does allow you to import your steam play time stats. Xfire unfortunately you cannot import tho.

When evolve installed it asked for my steam credentials, it might import times as well as library - I couldn't say for sure as I use steam mostly for free stuff and shopping.

ColOfNature
03-02-2012, 06:19 PM
Evolve imports your play time and achievements from Steam if you link accounts.

trjp
04-02-2012, 03:06 AM
One thing worth nothing on the 'time played' thing in Steam is that it's utter nonsense and bears no relation to reality in any way :)

When I had Raptr installed alongside Steam they would vary ENORMOUSLY in terms of how long I'd played some games - and games's own timers are often vastly different to Steam's times too.

What Evolve did track, it seemed to do quite accurately tho - it's actually quite a hard thing to do well (do you include pause time, menu time, loadout choosing time etc. - a game can be selective but Steam/Evolve etc. cannot).

mamu
17-02-2012, 03:13 AM
It's games library contains all the big releases, MMOs, F2Ps, DOTAs and a lot of 'classic' titles - but it's woefully poor when it comes to Indie stuff. Even those super-popular Indie games, the ones which sell a tonne in every Steam Sale/Bundle, are missing in many cases (in fact more than half the games I launched in the 3-4 days I had it went unrecognised).

So colR could confirm this at some point, but I'm one of the developers of Evolve (just realized there was a forum thread over this way when checking our referrer logs) and I'd like to address some of your concerns. We're definitely less popular than Raptr, Xfire, and Overwolf--we're also a sort of three dudes in a garage type operation interested in building the gaming service and tool we've always wanted.

I'd like to say we do a pretty good job tracking indie games--we have several hundred supported currently, but if there are any big ones we're missing, please let us know! As is noted above, we've streamlined submissions a bunch lately. We're able to add 10-20 games a day now instead of 10-20 a month. And unlike before, it's now 99% powered by users rather than hamstringed by our lack of time as we develop features. As an example, Dear Esther's remake just hit Steam and we had support for it a bit less than 24 hours afterward.

The restart you experienced when installing Evolve usually only happens if you happen to be on a laptop or use PS/2 input devices on a desktop. It has to do with how we capture input for our overlay--we use filter drivers, which tend to be quite a bit more robust and rarely suffer from bleedthrough issues that have plagued overlays like Xfire's for a long time. We're aware it's not ideal, although it doesn't impact the majority of our users as far as we know. We're always trying to think of better ways to streamline the install process to make it easier.

Regarding play time importing-- we don't currently import from Steam although we'd like to (we keep imported hours separate), and we have imported from Xfire in the past although they seem to like to play games with data lock in.

One of the advantages of being tiny is that we do still try directly respond to complaints and factor in changes based on them as much as possible. It obviously is getting a bit harder as we add more users, but we hope to continue doing so for a long time to come.