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CPUFreak91

[web] What do you *not* like about Bungie.net or Steam?

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I'm working on a Bungie.net/Steam-like site for our games (only on a much smaller scale ;), and I was wondering what you don't like about those services. Is it the way they display medals, achievements, games, friend statuses, videos, or pictures, etc? Is there a funky piece of interface that ruins your day? Do you wish there were more permalinks?

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I don't have a bunch of time to visit my Bungie.net profile page, and I don't have a Steam account, but here's something that frustrated me:

Every once in a while Bungie.net picks some of their favorite screen shots, videos, or maps to put on public display for the whole Halo 3 community. This is pretty cool, plus there is an added incentive with earning community rep and (AFAIK) receiving special, locked armor. All that is awesome. But how do they get submissions for these entries? Through third party Halo 3 communities. That's pretty lame, in my opinion. Why? Because 1) it took forever just to find out that's how you submit things, 2) it's hard knowing just which third party Halo 3 community to submit your screenshot/map/video to, 3) you don't know if that third party Halo 3 community actually got what you submitted or if they still forward those submission to Bungie, or 4) you have to create yet another account for some online community you know you'll never go to again just to submit a pretty picture.

If you're going to do something where you pick some user's work to highlight it within the gaming community, please, please don't do it like Bungie.net has.

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Steam:
I like that their interface is super light and doesn't waste all my Hardware.
But, Seeing achievement call their browser or IE, and it is slow and buggy.
I like their in game interface, very simple and light.


---- Personal thought:
But If you want to sell your game, I would say sell it on steam. Because most players (like me) will not install yet another steam-like app. I have just too many of them: Gamespy, steam, Live!, xfire. And that would give me a good reason enough to not buy the game. Know what I mean? We thought doing the same for our game, and finally decided to go with steam. More visibility, everybody already has it.

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Thanks for the comments!

Quote:
But If you want to sell your game, I would say sell it on steam. Because most players (like me) will not install yet another steam-like app.

We probably won't use the system to sell anything. It's a community-oriented site (more like Bungie than Steam in this respect) and we're only planning to deploy it on the web browser (I hate services like iTunes and Steam that require you to install their program to access the goodies).

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I absolutely adore Steam. Didn't used to be the case, with the release of Half-Life 2 it gave me such a headache. It's improved a lot in recent years.

Things I like:

- Play your games anywhere. I can login to Steam on any computer, download and run any of the games I've purchased. Absolutely beautiful.
- The store. Nice wide selection of games, smooth transactions, PayPal support.
- Pre-downloading. I can pay for and download a game before the release date, and it'll suddenly be activated for play at 1:00am on the release day.
- Fast downloading speed. The Steam content servers are top notch, and almost always saturate my 24MB connection. If you offer a service like this, don't cut costs on top quality servers and connections.
- The friends service. It's easy to chat to other gamers, invite them to an already-running game, check up on their achievements, etc.
- The in-game Steam popup. This is one of my favourite features. allows me to chat to friends who aren't in-game, check up on achievemnts whilst I'm playing, and even browse the internet.
- Transparent DRM. Yes, most Valve games use DRM, but you wouldn't know its there. I'm all against the "EA strategy" and SecuROM bulls**t, but yes I do see a need for some form of anti-copy protection to combat "casual friend-copy piracy". Valve got it right.
- Free content updates. Offer games as a "service", not as a "product". Valve 101, again.

Things I don't like:

- The 'faulty by design' offline mode. This is one thing that annoyed me to the point my knuckles went white, back when I bought Half-Life 2. I didn't have the internet at home at the time, and it meant dragging my desktop PC into work to set offline mode on my games, then drag it home again only to find out it's failed and I'd have to wait until work the next day to try again.
- Slow startup time. It's a very small program, I have no idea what it's doing when it starts up, but the time it takes to do it is unforgivable.

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Steam is great. I love most of it, expecially their new seamless "shift-tab" ingame overlay.

The faults?
1) their friends stuff is 99.99% useless when applied to real life. Why? you need the steam LOGIN name(and there is no way to see the login name of another person) to add a friend. So i have friend X, and friend Y and I wanted to share friend X with Y. The process is a pain because there is no simple way to just grab the name friend Y needs to add to their list. Yes there are tonnes of ways to add friends, and those are great to use. BUT it lacks a simple way to just share a friend (or get at your account's login name to IM your steam ID to someone).

2) Their offline mode sucks big. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. If I bought a REAL CD (deadstar i feel your HL2 pain) for a SINGLEPLAYER game I shouldn't need the internet. If i go offline, the offline mode should just work (50% of the time it requires selecting "don't keep up to date" so that it doesn't think the game needs patching. Cause if for some reason it things it might have a patch to download it makes the game unavailable for offline play.)

3) Really needs a compatabaility checker (or a way to report incompatability). I've downloaded a few demos (and atleast 1 game) that had issues running. For all the "steam hardware survey" stuff, they should be collecting incompatability lists to go along with their minimum requirements list. I only stress this because of how much information they gather, and how hard it is to determine game compatability (expecially when steam pushes "PREORDER NOW!" on so many games). If they didn't push preordering as much, and if they had a way to legitimatly report a game not working and get store credit it would be less of an issue. Many stores have had the "well, it's broke, store credit" for ever, it insures they still make money, AND you are a happier customer.

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I like that Steam provides me with advantages, whereas traditional DRM does not. Those advantages roughly in order of how important to me are:

1) No CD necessary! I like this a lot.
2) in-game chat
3) Recovery of all games even if my house burns down with all my CDs in it
4) Automatic updating
5) One-click join-a-friend's-game feature - reserve your server spot before the program even launches

The only thing I don't really like about it is the slow start-up time.

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Thank you all for your replies. We'll make sure we don't make the same mistakes with user-submitted content, friends, and offline games, as Steam and Bungie have done. [wink]

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