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View Full Version : Skyrim's free high resolution texture pack confirmed, available



Faldrath
07-02-2012, 06:10 PM
... or so Steam tells me, since I'm at work and can't download it now. Also, the game is 33% off until Friday.

Althea
07-02-2012, 06:11 PM
It's available.

SirKicksalot
07-02-2012, 06:29 PM
This just sealed Kingdom of Amalur's fate. Epic bomb incoming.

sopabuena
07-02-2012, 06:29 PM
What's the deal with this? I'm pretty illiterate on how a PC handles graphics. I'm currently playing on Medium - High settings. Will dowloading this complety break my game? I don't suppose you can activate and deactivate the pack at will....

Kadayi
07-02-2012, 06:32 PM
3GB of extra data.


This just sealed Kingdom of Amalur's fate. Epic bomb incoming.

It's only textures dude.

eRa
07-02-2012, 06:35 PM
What's the deal with this? I'm pretty illiterate on how a PC handles graphics. I'm currently playing on Medium - High settings. Will dowloading this complety break my game? I don't suppose you can activate and deactivate the pack at will....

I don't see a reason why you shouldn't be able to turn the hi-res textures on and off in the options somewhere.

Download is excruciatingly slow though, will post back once it has finished.

Althea
07-02-2012, 06:35 PM
3GB of extra data you have locked to your copy of Skyrim once you start installing it, ergo you're pretty much stuck with it.

SirKicksalot
07-02-2012, 06:38 PM
3GB of extra data.



It's only textures dude.

And a price slash during KoA's launch window. That plus the urge to go back to the upgraded Skyrim.
I can't wait for new dungeons.

sopabuena
07-02-2012, 06:38 PM
Yeah, so this is expected to really slow down the game? Sorry for the noob questions

Also, check the Workshop, there is a Valve uploaded mod to get Space Core from Portal 2 as a companion. Should be fun and very annoying

Wizardry
07-02-2012, 06:40 PM
This thread is already longer than the Wizardry VI one.

Faldrath
07-02-2012, 06:41 PM
Yeah, so this is expected to really slow down the game? Sorry for the noob questions

It will almost certainly slow the game down a bit, but it's hard to know how much without actually installing the pack.

Kodeen
07-02-2012, 06:57 PM
This thread is already longer than the Wizardry VI one.

Surely you're not surprised.

Giaddon
07-02-2012, 07:05 PM
3GB of extra data you have locked to your copy of Skyrim once you start installing it, ergo you're pretty much stuck with it.

It's interesting, because the texture pack is treated as DLC, and, so far at least, Steam hasn't offered a way to disassociate DLC from a game. So if it acts like other DLC, if you apply it to your account, you won't be able to download Skyrim without it.

Althea
07-02-2012, 07:14 PM
It's interesting, because the texture pack is treated as DLC, and, so far at least, Steam hasn't offered a way to disassociate DLC from a game. So if it acts like other DLC, if you apply it to your account, you won't be able to download Skyrim without it.
My point entirely.

duff
07-02-2012, 09:01 PM
Anyone know if, once downloaded, this will replace modded textures placed in the Skyrim/data/textures folder or just replace all non-modded vanilla textures remaining? Kinda don't want to have to install all my mods again.

sopabuena
07-02-2012, 09:18 PM
Just checked it. In the launcher window you can press Data Files and check or uncheck the high res texture pack. By the way, I didn't notice any performance hit yet, but I'm also having a hard time seeing the diferences. Guess it's been a long time since I last played

duff
07-02-2012, 09:34 PM
sopabuena - the difference isn't huge, mainly noticeable when looking close up and food and other objects.

Snargelfargen
07-02-2012, 10:13 PM
All the textures are packaged in an archive so they won't overwrite anything that you have already installed. It also comes with a plug-in file that you need to activate in the "Data Files" menu from the launcher. So you can turn the HD pack on and off at will.

Althea
07-02-2012, 10:17 PM
Yeah, there's two .esp files to check/uncheck if you want it on or off.

So, as for how it actually works - seems alright. I've taken a performance hit, but my memory usage (RAM) only went up about 10% (was at ~64% of 4GB, with the new DLC it's ~74%), and no doubt if I had a more powerful card (GTS 450 1GB currently) and if I'd overclocked my CPU (Q... um... something at 2.4GHz), I'd be seeing better performance, but it's still not bad.

Only issues I've had are longer loading screens (but sometimes the game took that long anyway) and one texture looking a bit funny in Riften (and a pretty minor one at that).

Probably not 3GB worth of improvements, but the game does seem to look a bit better. Sharper, certainly.

duff
07-02-2012, 10:20 PM
So far, the texture mods I had installed seem much better overall. I took the ones listed as CORE from this guide and like the results:

http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/downloads/file.php?id=11#content

edit: although it still doesn't solve my main issue, which is the distance textures that look really jarring.

Splynter
07-02-2012, 11:21 PM
Ugh. Why did I have to go and choose to install this? Damn you Steam and your silly inability to launch a game without updating...

Anthile
08-02-2012, 06:27 AM
You can stop games from automatically updating. Right-click -> Properties -> Updates

baboonanza
08-02-2012, 09:12 AM
So far, the texture mods I had installed seem much better overall. I took the ones listed as CORE from this guide and like the results:

http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/downloads/file.php?id=11#content

edit: although it still doesn't solve my main issue, which is the distance textures that look really jarring.
Can't you fix that by tweaking the LOD distances in Skyrim.ini?

Althea
08-02-2012, 09:24 AM
You can stop games from automatically updating. Right-click -> Properties -> Updates
That doesn't work when you choose to add DLC and/or when you're mid-update.

alset85
08-02-2012, 09:48 AM
That doesn't work when you choose to add DLC and/or when you're mid-update.Also that setting resets whenever the steam client updates.

Althea
08-02-2012, 09:52 AM
So, Steam, huh - pretty good and isn't a pain at all, right?

Splynter
08-02-2012, 05:15 PM
Indeed. I decided to add the DLC to my game because I thought, stupidly apparently, that the base game would be detached from this and would still be playable while it installed. Silly me. How illogical I was.

vinraith
09-02-2012, 01:25 AM
You can stop games from automatically updating. Right-click -> Properties -> Updates

Until the next time the Steam client updates, which resets that and promptly updates all your games whether you want it to or not.

Giaddon
09-02-2012, 01:33 AM
Also the next time you launch the game itself. If you are connected to the internet, and you launch the game, Steam will update it to the latest version, no matter your setting.

Smashbox
09-02-2012, 04:35 AM
It only took a couple hours and it was free, so I won't complain. Some of the textures, notably ice, snow, and clothing look much better. All in all I'd say its a great little gift to purchasers.

Althea
09-02-2012, 08:38 AM
It only took a couple hours and it was free, so I won't complain. Some of the textures, notably ice, snow, and clothing look much better. All in all I'd say its a great little gift to purchasers.
Yeah, I'd agree - I think for those of us who can't be dicked with most mods and, even if we could, don't particularly relish deciding between Fred's Better Ground or John's Better World Textures (when they do the same thing), it's a pretty good idea. Hopefully Bethesda will keep on top of it and patch out any issues, too.

R-F
09-02-2012, 09:46 AM
It's interesting, because the texture pack is treated as DLC, and, so far at least, Steam hasn't offered a way to disassociate DLC from a game. So if it acts like other DLC, if you apply it to your account, you won't be able to download Skyrim without it.

Err... Yes, you can. At least, I remember having to turn DLC ON at one point, so you can surely turn it off. It's just tucked away in a menu within a menu within a menu.

Althea
09-02-2012, 09:48 AM
Err... Yes, you can. At least, I remember having to turn DLC ON at one point, so you can surely turn it off. It's just tucked away in a menu within a menu within a menu.
Uh, no you can't.

You can turn it on/off in game, but you can't turn its download on/off.

Nalano
09-02-2012, 10:16 AM
Uh, no you can't.

You can turn it on/off in game, but you can't turn its download on/off.

But that's just a bandwidth thing, and if you're so worried about being capped, don't download it in the first place.

(Of course, with ten gig games becoming commonplace nowadays, what's a three gig add-on?)

Drake Sigar
09-02-2012, 10:16 AM
This thread is already longer than the Wizardry VI one.
Never heard of it. Hey Wiz let me ask you something - how come they didn't call Skyrim 'Oblivion 2'. I mean, there's only two games in the series, right?

Althea
09-02-2012, 10:26 AM
But that's just a bandwidth thing, and if you're so worried about being capped, don't download it in the first place.

(Of course, with ten gig games becoming commonplace nowadays, what's a three gig add-on?)
A bandwidth thing? It's also a time thing (Skyrim is 6GB, roughly, the textures bump it up to 9GB) so even if you install from disc, you have to wait - possibly - hours for the textures to download. And what if you aren't bothered about the textures but decided to give them a go? Well, you're stuck with downloading them, and if you delete them and verify the cache's integrity, it'll just download them again.

Steam's method of handling DLC is utter crap. It doesn't matter if it's a 1MB file or a 10GB file, the way it handles DLC leaves a lot to be desired.

Zephro
09-02-2012, 11:24 AM
Eh it's pretty much an edge case for people to want to be able to download 3GB then not use it, for DLC. The texture pack is probably a bit daft to be included as DLC rather than a mod or something but hey ho.

EDIT: I'll qualify that a bit. Not sure exactly how the Steam system works but I know pretty well how the alternatives work.

Essentially on "other platforms" DLC is just copied into the data directories of the base game and overwrite what ever is there. No versioning of files. If you're a sensible developer then the DLC is modular enough that you could delete the DLC files and not damage the base game, however quite often the Dev will just overwrite files from the base game in the DLC. So if you delete the DLC you potentially risk destroying base game files and breaking the installation.

Fixing it is totally possible but involves adding versioning to the patching/DLC systems, and/or back up systems. Which considering it's a fundamental system is a large(ish) quantity of developer work. Compare that amount of developer work with how many users this directly affects and you get a cost function that says it's not worth your effort to improve it anytime soon.

Althea
09-02-2012, 12:08 PM
:brainfulloffuck:

The texture DLC is distributed in the same way that previous DLC and mods have been distributed by Bethesda - i.e. .esp files that do not affect the other files of the game. If you delete the DLC then nothing happens to the game files at all...

However! Steam will register those files as missing whenever you verify the game's cache for whatever reason, ergo if you delete them the game will at some point want to redownload them. Not a particularly great system, eh?

Skalpadda
09-02-2012, 12:51 PM
If it takes you hours to download 3GB then your main problem is having a really shitty internet connection. Also why would you verify the game cache and not expect having to do a big download (potentially the whole game) in any case? I get that it would be nice if this sort of thing was completely modular, but I don't see why you'd make a big deal about it.

Althea
09-02-2012, 01:09 PM
In other words, you're saying Steam being really quite... crap is something that should be expected and accepted?

Zephro
09-02-2012, 01:26 PM
:brainfulloffuck:

The texture DLC is distributed in the same way that previous DLC and mods have been distributed by Bethesda - i.e. .esp files that do not affect the other files of the game. If you delete the DLC then nothing happens to the game files at all...

However! Steam will register those files as missing whenever you verify the game's cache for whatever reason, ergo if you delete them the game will at some point want to redownload them. Not a particularly great system, eh?

This would be because as a programmer on Steam you have to deal with the generalisation of the problem not just the 1 example. So fixing the system fully so it works with all games is a ball ache.

Steam isn't crap in this regard it's rather industry standard, more advanced delivery networks do exist but rarely cope with modularity very well.

Skalpadda
09-02-2012, 01:29 PM
No, I'm saying that claiming that a service is crap because of something that is at most a rare, mild inconvenience is silly hyperbole.

deano2099
09-02-2012, 01:29 PM
In other words, you're saying Steam being really quite... crap is something that should be expected and accepted?

No, but it is Steam's distribution model and Bethesda know that. Why not stick the thing for download on their own website as a mod? Steam's DLC system does fall apart when it comes to huge bits of DLC, it wasn't really made to handle stuff like that. I imagine they'll develop a modular system at some point.

Althea
09-02-2012, 01:41 PM
This would be because as a programmer on Steam you have to deal with the generalisation of the problem not just the 1 example. So fixing the system fully so it works with all games is a ball ache.

Steam isn't crap in this regard it's rather industry standard, more advanced delivery networks do exist but rarely cope with modularity very well.
And if anyone has the money and talent to do it right, it's Valve.


No, I'm saying that claiming that a service is crap because of something that is at most a rare, mild inconvenience is silly hyperbole.
Perhaps, but it's just one thing Steam doesn't do well out of... well, many things.


No, but it is Steam's distribution model and Bethesda know that. Why not stick the thing for download on their own website as a mod? Steam's DLC system does fall apart when it comes to huge bits of DLC, it wasn't really made to handle stuff like that. I imagine they'll develop a modular system at some point.
It's taken them long enough. It still can't even patch properly.

Zephro
09-02-2012, 01:49 PM
No Valve have less development money than Microsoft and Sony. I know that neither of their systems would do any better (let alone either of their platforms allowing a dev to give away 3GB for free). It's also not an insignificant amount of work for a minority of people's minor inconvenience.

The only gaming patching system which can do binary diff is the xbox one and that comes with a stupid amount of caveats.

El_MUERkO
09-02-2012, 01:54 PM
That might require some .ini tweaks and a substantial hit to your FPS, in particular the 'Grids to load' setting increases detail on distant objects.

duff
09-02-2012, 01:55 PM
And if anyone has the money and talent to do it right, it's Valve.




Thats the big point, especially concerning their lack of customer service and communication with account and payment issues.

Althea
09-02-2012, 02:20 PM
No Valve have less development money than Microsoft and Sony.
Uh... what? Valve have less dev money than two of the biggest corporate giants? No frigging shit, Sherlock.


I know that neither of their systems would do any better (let alone either of their platforms allowing a dev to give away 3GB for free). It's also not an insignificant amount of work for a minority of people's minor inconvenience.
How hard is it do come up with a menu that allows you to decide what to download/install? InstallShield has been doing it for years, so why can't Valve - in all of their infinite wisdom - do it for Steam?


The only gaming patching system which can do binary diff is the xbox one and that comes with a stupid amount of caveats.
Regardless, Steam's patching system is absolutely piss poor on every single level. The Witcher 2's earliest patches were about 9GB of redownloads on Steam (nowhere else!) because their system is shit. Sanctum's patches have numbered 1GB before because you have to effectively re-download the game for some of them.


Thats the big point, especially concerning their lack of customer service and communication with account and payment issues.
Yup. Steam sure as sugar ain't the best thing that's happened to PC gaming.

Nalano
09-02-2012, 02:36 PM
A bandwidth thing? It's also a time thing (Skyrim is 6GB, roughly, the textures bump it up to 9GB) so even if you install from disc, you have to wait - possibly - hours for the textures to download. And what if you aren't bothered about the textures but decided to give them a go? Well, you're stuck with downloading them, and if you delete them and verify the cache's integrity, it'll just download them again.

So?

Are you still on dialup? Are you on some college campus where you're capped at 2 gigs a month? Why would you be using a digital download service in the first place if download speeds are your bottleneck?

Chevy
09-02-2012, 02:39 PM
I'm actually with Althea on this one. If I want to install Skyrim on my laptop without downloading the texture pack, I'm out of luck if I already downloaded the texture pack on my desktop. It would just be nice to have the option to NOT download unwanted dlc, is all.

PeopleLikeFrank
09-02-2012, 02:51 PM
It's pretty dumb. Regardless of your bandwidth or connection situation, it increases your download by an extra 50%, so it's pretty silly to not be able to opt-out.

Nalano
09-02-2012, 02:52 PM
I'm actually with Althea on this one. If I want to install Skyrim on my laptop without downloading the texture pack, I'm out of luck if I already downloaded the texture pack on my desktop. It would just be nice to have the option to NOT download unwanted dlc, is all.

So copy the files from your desktop to your laptop.

Althea
09-02-2012, 02:55 PM
So copy the files from your desktop to your laptop.
That's a workaround. Or, of course, the download could just be optional.

Zephro
09-02-2012, 03:08 PM
Uh... what? Valve have less dev money than two of the biggest corporate giants? No frigging shit, Sherlock.

I refer you back to the place where I pointed out neither of them can afford to make these changes on their systems either. Valve are around 250-300 people, Sony or MS have at least that many people just working on development of the network system.



How hard is it do come up with a menu that allows you to decide what to download/install? InstallShield has been doing it for years, so why can't Valve - in all of their infinite wisdom - do it for Steam?

Well clearly you don't actually understand the system then. It needs version controlling to be able to add that menu system. Adding version controlling requires changing the structure of how Steam games are distributed, changes to the servers, changes to the client internally and a new manifesting system. We have the same problem on PlayStation and it's just not worth the effort.

EDIT: As a note on the 9GB patch that was CDProject's fault for including everything in one massive file. Lots of automated patching systems would end up doing the same thing it's the developers responsibility to structure the files of their game so that this doesn't happen. Again the same thing happens on PS3 if someone is stupid enough to include all their game assets in one big zip file.

Chevy
09-02-2012, 03:25 PM
So copy the files from your desktop to your laptop.

Yes, a workaround that won't work if I'm away from my desktop, which is exactly the time where I would decide to install a game on my laptop.

I like Steam well enough, but its patching/dlc system could really use some work. Its fine, there are workarounds, it doesn't make it a shit program by any means. I just don't see why they shouldn't fix this annoying problem.

Zephro
09-02-2012, 03:28 PM
For the record I'm not saying it shouldn't be fixed. Just that it's a bigger piece of work than people seem to think and would occupy several programmers for a good while to get it working reliably. As a matter of prioritisation it's probably not that high either.

Unaco
09-02-2012, 03:34 PM
EDIT: As a note on the 9GB patch that was CDProject's fault for including everything in one massive file. Lots of automated patching systems would end up doing the same thing it's the developers responsibility to structure the files of their game so that this doesn't happen. Again the same thing happens on PS3 if someone is stupid enough to include all their game assets in one big zip file.

No. This was Steam's problem, because it did not allow difference patching.

Zephro
09-02-2012, 03:36 PM
No. This was Steam's problem, because it did not allow difference patching.
It never allowed binary diff patching, like several other systems in existence, and CDProjct knew that when they put the patch up. As a developer that's your problem to sort out.

Kaira-
09-02-2012, 04:01 PM
It never allowed binary diff patching, like several other systems in existence, and CDProjct knew that when they put the patch up. As a developer that's your problem to sort out.
Yes, I can totally see a DRM-freeness promoting developer changing their system architecture based on an archaic patching method of a DRM-monolith.

Zephro
09-02-2012, 04:06 PM
Yes, I can totally see a DRM-freeness promoting developer changing their system architecture based on an archaic patching method of a DRM-monolith.

They are releasing on PS3 and Xbox now right? If they do then they are going to have to restructure their file system. Every different platform requires files to be in a different structure. Steam is a software platform.... so still the developers responsibility. You look at the systems you're releasing on BEFORE you structure the files not after.

Also minor point. File structure != system architecture. Usually part of the system architecture for a game is a file handler which can translate the paths used in code to real paths used by the system so that you can modularise where the files actually are and save lots of time on porting. Well you would if you were competent.

Unaco
09-02-2012, 04:26 PM
It never allowed binary diff patching, like several other systems in existence, and CDProjct knew that when they put the patch up. As a developer that's your problem to sort out.

No. It was a problem with the delivery system that CDPR would have to had put up with. Changing their entire file and game structure to make it play nicer with a single DD channel would have been a pretty big piece of work, and wouldn't have been that high a priority I wouldn't think.

Steam have now realised this was a ridiculous thing, and have changed their system.

Althea
09-02-2012, 04:30 PM
They are releasing on PS3 and Xbox now right? If they do then they are going to have to restructure their file system. Every different platform requires files to be in a different structure. Steam is a software platform.... so still the developers responsibility. You look at the systems you're releasing on BEFORE you structure the files not after.

Also minor point. File structure != system architecture. Usually part of the system architecture for a game is a file handler which can translate the paths used in code to real paths used by the system so that you can modularise where the files actually are and save lots of time on porting. Well you would if you were competent.
Xbox, yes. PS3? Not yet.

The point is this - Every version of The Witcher 2, bar Steam, was patched with a 70MB file. The Steam version required a 9GB redownload - AND - has the added problem of not being able to be rolled back, so if there's a problem (as there is with the latest version for SOME people) then you're screwed.

In other words, Steam is a grossly inefficient and featureless programme and whilst many of such issues are mild at best, they can in fact render games unplayable and/or massively inconvenience customers.

As for Unaco's above point - not quite. From what I understand, said patching changes are in "testing".

Unaco
09-02-2012, 04:49 PM
As for Unaco's above point - not quite. From what I understand, said patching changes are in "testing".

I thought they'd started to roll it out already... along with a new distribution model or something. I know they were rolling it out for Media downloads. Anyways, I think CDPR did do something to get round this... They told people to turn off auto updating and allowed them to download the patches as separate exes, which could be run on the Steam install.

Althea
09-02-2012, 05:26 PM
I thought they'd started to roll it out already... along with a new distribution model or something. I know they were rolling it out for Media downloads.
Hmm... Well, it's still taking a long time. Oh, yeah. Valve Time.


Anyways, I think CDPR did do something to get round this... They told people to turn off auto updating and allowed them to download the patches as separate exes, which could be run on the Steam install.
That's possible - some games can be patched that way.

deano2099
09-02-2012, 05:29 PM
It's taken them long enough. It still can't even patch properly.

It still does the whole thing better than pretty much any other system though. God knows I prefer Steam's inflexibility to Bioware's is it/ isn't it installed DLC lottery.


The point is this - Every version of The Witcher 2, bar Steam, was patched with a 70MB file. The Steam version required a 9GB redownload - AND - has the added problem of not being able to be rolled back, so if there's a problem (as there is with the latest version for SOME people) then you're screwed.

In other words, Steam is a grossly inefficient and featureless programme and whilst many of such issues are mild at best, they can in fact render games unplayable and/or massively inconvenience customers.

Out of interest, would you rather go back to a system where every publisher puts patches on their website and you do them manually? Because I appreciate Steam is a pain in the arse on rare occasions but I'll happily take that extra couple of hours downloading Skyrim DLC if I ever re-install over the days of my life that Steam has saved me rooting around develop sites, trying to find the latest patch, ensuring it's the right version then manually installing it. Not to mention what happens when developers go bust and the patches are no longer officially available. It's not a perfect system but it's so much better than what we used to have (though I appreciate in this instance, Steamworks games don't give you the option to use another system if you don't like it).

JayTee
09-02-2012, 05:35 PM
Yes, a workaround that won't work if I'm away from my desktop, which is exactly the time where I would decide to install a game on my laptop.Well in fairness this is a fairly rare DLC-type-problem. Even without it you'd have to download the ~6GB of the game itself regardless so it's really only because this is a 3GB DLC that this is a problem, if it was a 300MB DLC you'd (barely) notice.

That said I still have Section 8 on paused updating because the latest patch required me to redownload the entire bloody game again and I frankly can't be arsed. So yes, it's a bitch. But I don't buy the 'I need to redownload it on another machine' argument because the workaround works, and even you choose not to/can't do the workaround, you'd still have to download the game anyway.

nayon
09-02-2012, 05:50 PM
Xbox, yes. PS3? Not yet.

The point is this - Every version of The Witcher 2, bar Steam, was patched with a 70MB file. The Steam version required a 9GB redownload - AND - has the added problem of not being able to be rolled back, so if there's a problem (as there is with the latest version for SOME people) then you're screwed.

In other words, Steam is a grossly inefficient and featureless programme and whilst many of such issues are mild at best, they can in fact render games unplayable and/or massively inconvenience customers.

As for Unaco's above point - not quite. From what I understand, said patching changes are in "testing".

Some cases of anectodal evidence doesn't make it grossly inefficient, and it is not featureless. Bias detected.

Chevy
09-02-2012, 07:07 PM
Out of interest, would you rather go back to a system where every publisher puts patches on their website and you do them manually?

Why would anybody want to do that? The current system may be inefficient and annoying at times, but it shouldn't just be removed from the picture. It should be fixed and improved upon.

Steam keeping our games up to date is (usually) a good thing. But why not improve on it and add some patch/dlc management in there?

Grizzly
09-02-2012, 08:07 PM
Some cases of anectodal evidence doesn't make it grossly inefficient, and it is not featureless. Bias detected.

I'll happily add "arma 2" to that list as well.

Nalano
09-02-2012, 08:19 PM
I'm downloading Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning as we speak. It's 9.8 gigs.

I think y'all protest too much.

Althea
09-02-2012, 08:29 PM
Why would anybody want to do that? The current system may be inefficient and annoying at times, but it shouldn't just be removed from the picture. It should be fixed and improved upon.

Steam keeping our games up to date is (usually) a good thing. But why not improve on it and add some patch/dlc management in there?
This, deano.

The thing is - Steam could be great. Absolutely brilliant. But it's not, and Valve/the Steam team show very little in the way of actually improving it. We don't really hear about new features, and it seems like they're more interested in making apps so you can buy Saints Row the Third whilst on the crapper than they are in actually getting the programme to a state where it truly benefits the user.

Some games have issues with it, some games with big modding communities (see Grizzly's point about ARMA 2) have big issues with it and so on. If an update fraks up a game on Steam, the users are stuck because you can't roll back, which I think is a major problem.

With the patches from websites - sure, why not? I won't deny I've had problems patching in the past from .exes, but who hasn't? If it's done properly and the developer supports said patching (unlike the absolutely ridiculous affair with Sacred 2) then I don't see how it's a problem. Sites like FileFront and GamersHell provide repositories for many patches, and if used correctly then it'd be little different to Steam just doing it for you. At least it offers you a degree of control over which version of the game you run.

R.E. Mass Effect 2 - ME2 handled DLC poorly, don't get me wrong, but we're talking a different kettle of fish. Mass Effect 2 is one game, Steam is a platform used by millions of users worldwide and sells thousands of games, as well as managing said purchases. ME2's crapness with DLC is not as much of an issue as it is with Steam.


I'm downloading Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning as we speak. It's 9.8 gigs.

I think y'all protest too much.
Whoop-de-frakking-do, do you want a medal for that?

We're not talking about downloading games. We're talking about the enforced and non-optional download of DLC files. If you choose to buy your games digital, then bully for you, but some of us still quite enjoy buying retail.

deano2099
09-02-2012, 09:15 PM
This, deano.

The thing is - Steam could be great. Absolutely brilliant. But it's not, and Valve/the Steam team show very little in the way of actually improving it. We don't really hear about new features, and it seems like they're more interested in making apps so you can buy Saints Row the Third whilst on the crapper than they are in actually getting the programme to a state where it truly benefits the user.

Some games have issues with it, some games with big modding communities (see Grizzly's point about ARMA 2) have big issues with it and so on. If an update fraks up a game on Steam, the users are stuck because you can't roll back, which I think is a major problem.

With the patches from websites - sure, why not? I won't deny I've had problems patching in the past from .exes, but who hasn't? If it's done properly and the developer supports said patching (unlike the absolutely ridiculous affair with Sacred 2) then I don't see how it's a problem. Sites like FileFront and GamersHell provide repositories for many patches, and if used correctly then it'd be little different to Steam just doing it for you. At least it offers you a degree of control over which version of the game you run.

R.E. Mass Effect 2 - ME2 handled DLC poorly, don't get me wrong, but we're talking a different kettle of fish. Mass Effect 2 is one game, Steam is a platform used by millions of users worldwide and sells thousands of games, as well as managing said purchases. ME2's crapness with DLC is not as much of an issue as it is with Steam.


My point was it's by far and away the best system anyone's invented for doing this. It's not perfect but it's as close as we have. Nothing wrong with suggesting improvements but the way some people talk it's like it's the devil incarnate rather than just minor inconveniences.

Likewise, yes I could use FileFront and GamersHell but that uses up MY time. At least big Steam downloads only use my computer's time.

And while ME2 is just one game, as you say, Steam sells 1000s of games and the only place this is a problem is:
a) games with massive DLC where the disk space/ download requirement becomes significant and
b) games where the developer pushes a patch that breaks the game, which I have some issues on blaming Steam for...

Skalpadda
09-02-2012, 09:15 PM
][/U]We're not talking about downloading games. We're talking about the enforced and non-optional download of DLC files. If you choose to buy your games digital, then bully for you, but some of us still quite enjoy buying retail.

But attaching the DLC to the game in the first place is entirely optional. If you don't want to use the internet, why would you buy a game or download a piece of DLC that requires using the internet in the first place?

Althea
09-02-2012, 09:25 PM
But attaching the DLC to the game in the first place is entirely optional. If you don't want to use the internet, why would you buy a game or download a piece of DLC that requires using the internet in the first place?
Yes, attaching it is optional, but what if you don't like it? You cannot remove it - that's the whole point! It's nothing to do with the internet. Nothing at all.

It's to do with Steam forcing the DLC on you (once you choose to even start downloading it) and being unable to decide whether you want to download/install it.

Zephro
09-02-2012, 09:32 PM
Right, Steam has improvements that could be made. However they aren't bugs or flaws. It is a designed system with a set of requirements known to devs ahead of time.

So CDProject and Bohemia knew about this before they designed their games in a particular way, especially as both had prior experience with Steam. Hence when they designed their games they should have taken these things into account.

As for Steam having the resources to easily improve. PlayStation have over 1000 staff just in London, plus the US lot, Liverpool, studios all sorts of places and big HQ in Japan. Valve have 250, including marketing, game devs etc. The actual resources they have on developing Steam will be quite low and this isn't a small job*. So it won't change overnight and the developers all know this. 9GB patches are the exception because most developers know not to structure their game that way.

So I suspect rather than reasoned criticism lots of this is just anti-steam bile. These are exceptions to the rule and Valve's ability to react quickly isn't that good due to resources. So there's only a certain amount of improvement that can be expected.

* To do this in a general case, which as a platform you are expected to do, you would need to change client code, requirements for devs, server code. Then test all those changes to make sure there are almost 0 bugs as it would be rolled out and need to be reverse compatible with old games. Then you'd have to manage an orderly server rollout which can be a total pain in the arse on its own.

Althea
09-02-2012, 09:48 PM
So CDProject and Bohemia knew about this before they designed their games in a particular way, especially as both had prior experience with Steam. Hence when they designed their games they should have taken these things into account.
So, in other words, developers should create their games in a way to work around the failings of Steam? Considering The Witcher 2 only did about 200k sales out of a near 1m, that means they have to change things for 20% of the market (at most). Don't you think that's a little stupid?


As for Steam having the resources to easily improve. PlayStation have over 1000 staff just in London, plus the US lot, Liverpool, studios all sorts of places and big HQ in Japan. Valve have 250, including marketing, game devs etc. The actual resources they have on developing Steam will be quite low and this isn't a small job*. So it won't change overnight and the developers all know this. 9GB patches are the exception because most developers know not to structure their game that way.

So I suspect rather than reasoned criticism lots of this is just anti-steam bile. These are exceptions to the rule and Valve's ability to react quickly isn't that good due to resources. So there's only a certain amount of improvement that can be expected.

* To do this in a general case, which as a platform you are expected to do, you would need to change client code, requirements for devs, server code. Then test all those changes to make sure there are almost 0 bugs as it would be rolled out and need to be reverse compatible with old games. Then you'd have to manage an orderly server rollout which can be a total pain in the arse on its own.

[/quote]
Sorry, but I'm calling utter bullshit on this. Valve have the resources - Steam wouldn't be like it was if it didn't. It has millions of users, makes millions of dollars in sales per year.

If Valve can't react quickly or turn things around in good time - which, funnily enough, they can't - perhaps they should take a minute drop in profits and hire more staff.

orcane
09-02-2012, 09:50 PM
So I suspect rather than reasoned criticism lots of this is just anti-steam bile.
Yes that's totally it.

What the fuck?

Zephro
09-02-2012, 10:09 PM
So, in other words, developers should create their games in a way to work around the failings of Steam? Considering The Witcher 2 only did about 200k sales out of a near 1m, that means they have to change things for 20% of the market (at most). Don't you think that's a little stupid?

They have to work around the "failings" or "design" of any system they release on. That's industry standard. Every other developer has to do this and do manage to do it.

And yes Valve don't have many resources. Some game studios have more staff than valve and they aren't managing worldwide distribution channels. That's just facts I have no idea what else would convince you.

Zephro
09-02-2012, 10:22 PM
Maybe a source?
For staff numbers? They're publicly available. Valve's staff numbers are on Wikipedia. I know PlayStation's as I work there. Pretty sure Bioware alone have more staff than Valve.

As for engine coding obviously can't post code. But if you look at something like Game Coding Complete, fairly standard primer on game programming, then that outlines how to wrap up most functionality to make you engine platform independent.

I can do a dead simple pseudo C example.

#ifdef PLATFORM_STEAM
#define openFile(string uid) steamOpenFile(uid);
#ifdef SOME_OTHER_PLATFORM
#define openFile(string uid) otherPlatformOpenFile(uid);
#endif

Will take 1 game developer about 2-3 days to get their game running with the files in different places. You just add a static look up table to convert uid to actual filePaths or different openFile functions on each platform. Then the engine code can just use platform agnostic uids for all its files at no extra runtime cost as the #define code would all be calculated at compile time. We have to do it all the time to make the same code run on PS3/PSP/Vita and sometimes PC. Converting from PC platform to a slightly different PC platform is a total piece of piss.

Rejigging all of Steam would take ages.

deano2099
09-02-2012, 10:31 PM
So, in other words, developers should create their games in a way to work around the failings of Steam? Considering The Witcher 2 only did about 200k sales out of a near 1m, that means they have to change things for 20% of the market (at most). Don't you think that's a little stupid?

Yet if this thread is indicative, the number of people bothered by this Steam issue you're talking about is less than 20% so wouldn't fixing that be stupid too?

Althea
09-02-2012, 10:50 PM
Yet if this thread is indicative, the number of people bothered by this Steam issue you're talking about is less than 20% so wouldn't fixing that be stupid too?
You can't be serious about that comparison.

Skalpadda
10-02-2012, 01:47 AM
Yes, attaching it is optional, but what if you don't like it? You cannot remove it - that's the whole point! It's nothing to do with the internet. Nothing at all.

It's to do with Steam forcing the DLC on you (once you choose to even start downloading it) and being unable to decide whether you want to download/install it.

But in this case, and many others, you can simply turn it off and in the cases where you can't you may as well say the developers should be responsible for that functionality. So again it turns into a question of bandwidth and time and I'm still wondering what you're doing using a digital delivery service in the first place if downloading a few gigs is a problem for you.

I'm not saying it wouldn't be nice to have a more modular functionality available for those who want it, but there's an ease-of-use argument for the way Steam handles updates and DLC. If the alternative is having a bunch of logins, keeping track of each individual patch/DLC for every game and/or using awful services like FileFront to distribute patches I have a hard time seeing how Steam's system isn't an overall advantage for the vast majority of customers.

Althea
10-02-2012, 09:22 AM
It is NOT a problem for ME. It is a mild inconvenience at best. Does that mean I'm not allowed to criticise Steam for how it handles DLC? No, of course it doesn't.

The alternative doesn't have to be a return to how we used to patch. Instead, Valve could just, y'know, frakking add the feature to Steam. They added, created and developed Steamworks as well as support it, they have a store that deals with millions of customers, it's got a bunch of other features that other clients have - Why it can't handle DLC and/or optional things well is beyond me.

deano2099
10-02-2012, 12:22 PM
The alternative doesn't have to be a return to how we used to patch. Instead, Valve could just, y'know, frakking add the feature to Steam.

Agreed. I think everyone agrees. It's confusing that you're so angry about it :)

Althea
10-02-2012, 12:24 PM
Agreed. I think everyone agrees. It's confusing that you're so angry about it :)
Because I have to be angry about something, and what better than Gaben & Co? They get a free pass from everyone else, can't hurt to criticise them a bit.

deano2099
10-02-2012, 12:52 PM
Because I have to be angry about something.

Best reply ever :)

I hate how Valve get an easy ride of it too, as you may have noticed. Just had trouble getting angry about this one.

Althea
10-02-2012, 12:58 PM
I hate how Valve get an easy ride of it too, as you may have noticed. Just had trouble getting angry about this one.
Well, I see it as looking out for those of us who aren't as vocal or technically minded as us. Steam is lacking a lot of features that add gigabytes of data to certain downloads, and that costs them money and affects the end user.

Did a mini-rant here in the Less Conventional topic (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?466-Your-Less-Conventional-Views-on-Games-and-Gaming&p=83369&viewfull=1#post83369)

Skalpadda
10-02-2012, 04:23 PM
@Althea

Like deano2099, I'm not disagreeing with your basic premise (it would be nice to have a more modular functionality for patches and DLC) but with your conclusions from it. I've said twice that it would be a nice functionality to have, but I don't see how you get from that to the entire service being crap. If you just want to be angry at Valve there seems to be far better reasons for it.

Althea
10-02-2012, 05:12 PM
Oh, pretty much everything about Valve seems to piss me off these days.

I'll admit I went a bit OTT with my damning of Steam (that's what the red mist does to you), though.

Nalano
10-02-2012, 09:27 PM
(that's what the red mist does to you)

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4066/4582293079_2dbaedea75.jpg (http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4066/4582293079_2dbaedea75.jpg)

Incredulous cat is incredulous.