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Has anyone successfully obtained the Steamworks tools?

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Hey there. I've been working on a game for a while, and I'm considering using Steamworks when the time comes. I'm just a guy with a computer, so there's pretty much not a single feature they offer I'm not interested in (well-managed beta testing, distribution, copy protection, etc). What I'm worried about though, is that I sent Mr. Holtman from Valve an e-mail a couple of weeks ago, and still haven't received even an automated reply. So I did a little google-vestigation, and apparently I'm not the only one being "ignored." I haven't been able to find any evidence of people actually getting Steamworks unless they had something to show for themselves. Right now I think all they have that uses Steamworks is Audiosurf, that Ninja-whatever thing from Xbox Live Arcade (which is also being released by EA on the Nintendo DS), and Epic's Unreal packages. The service launched 3 months ago, and all we have is 2 heavily-mediatized indie developers and Epic, which is, you know, epic. Is it just me, or is there something wrong with this picture? Looking at the interviews, the Steamworks tools seem to be this universally available system that will help anyone and everyone publish games on Steam for the good of humanity and Valve's userbase... And yet there is all this silence. This e-mail/phone barrier. Have I been filtered out because I didn't have anything to show for myself besides "Hi, I'm an independent developer"? I'm really curious to know more about the whole Steamworks experience... So far, I'm having a lot of trouble finding any peers! I was wondering if anyone here had attempted to get their hands on Steamworks, and whether they could share their experience -- positive or negative... Thanks for your time. - ben

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First off, using the Steamworks platform does not mean that your game will be published via Steam. That is a whole separate process which includes various contracts to be signed, deals worked up, etc. Steamworks is a developers tool that will only let you use the Steam community to track users purchases and let your users communicate amongst themselves. They can't just purchase your game on Steam Marketplace if you use Steamworks, that was one of the things that Jason was talking about at GDC, he wants to start really selling the idea of the Steam concept of 2 distinct areas: the Steam Community and the Steam Marketplace.

Second off, I can guarantee you right now that everyone and their grandmother are emailing Jason asking for information right now. So much so that I bet that the only people they are even willing to talk to are sending their requests via snail mail (on corporate letterhead) or dropping by for a face-to-face meeting. Either way, I believe that until this platform really "rolls out" they are only going to be doing business with several major developers and some indie houses with previous published titles under their belts.

I'd say give it a little bit of time. Get together a prototype, and then try again. It'd only build your credibility to have something to show when you ask for the tools, and it will take some time to build taking your mind off the waiting.

Cheers.

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Quote:
Original post by neonic
First off, using the Steamworks platform does not mean that your game will be published via Steam. That is a whole separate process which includes various contracts to be signed, deals worked up, etc. Steamworks is a developers tool that will only let you use the Steam community to track users purchases and let your users communicate amongst themselves. They can't just purchase your game on Steam Marketplace if you use Steamworks, that was one of the things that Jason was talking about at GDC, he wants to start really selling the idea of the Steam concept of 2 distinct areas: the Steam Community and the Steam Marketplace.


Yeah, I'm aware of that, I meant Steam as a platform, not Steam as a publisher.

Quote:
Second off, I can guarantee you right now that everyone and their grandmother are emailing Jason asking for information right now. So much so that I bet that the only people they are even willing to talk to are sending their requests via snail mail (on corporate letterhead) or dropping by for a face-to-face meeting. Either way, I believe that until this platform really "rolls out" they are only going to be doing business with several major developers and some indie houses with previous published titles under their belts.

I'd say give it a little bit of time. Get together a prototype, and then try again. It'd only build your credibility to have something to show when you ask for the tools, and it will take some time to build taking your mind off the waiting.

Cheers.


Yeah, I'm sure having a playable demo and contacting the guy directly would probably get the tools in my hands relatively fast...

I'm just puzzled as to why they would knowingly let just one person (who actually has more than just Steamworks to worry about) handle thousands of inquiries and make no noticeable effort to streamline the processing of requests or let people who have been waiting 3 weeks or more for a reply know that they're, you know, sorry for the delays!

I don't know, I just find the whole thing pretty odd, that's why I'm asking around, hoping my email wasn't just thrown away :P

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I am in the same boat, I have sent two emails with no reply, and left one voice mail. For me I really want to see the SDK and what type of integration is required to make steamworks work, as part of an investigation as I'mconsidering several options including just doing my own lobby server. This is a pretty fundamental design question, so having no response is basically making me give up on it.

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It'll be a free service, right? You get what you pay for in this case. What will probably happen is they will at some point release a public SDK for it (I guess, I haven't listened to the GDC talk or anything). Individual support does not seem feasible at this point unless a significant relationship is involved.

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Free is relative... They have something developers need, and developers have something they need. We "paid" them with interest, they didn't even give a little courtesy back :P

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Maybe Valve is just continuing their usual practice of announcing products a year before they're actually ready for public use?

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