Steam breaks my game(s)

This is a discussion on Steam breaks my game(s) within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; Steam is an awesome service however I finally got around to purchasing Empire: Total War and Steam is my worst ...

  1. #1
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Steam breaks my game(s)

    Steam is an awesome service however I finally got around to purchasing Empire: Total War and Steam is my worst enemy for that game. The game is nearly unplayable b/c I cannot read the fonts - they are blurry and out of focus. I've tried every resolution, every graphic setting, etc., and nothing fixes it. The forums for the game give stupid answers like selecting your native resolution and so forth - obviously which do nothing to fix the problem. The problem started after patch 1.3 according to most so I thought I'll just install it, set Steam so it does not auto-update the game, and problem solved. Problem is Steam's auto-update option seems to be broken and/or games can override it which means your games will auto-update regardless of the setting.

    This is a huge problem. I will not patch a game unless I know for sure it doesn't break existing functionality...and often times they do. Patches and the QA behind them are normally less than satisfactory so I'm very leery of applying any of them. Some companies do a very good job and some act as if they are just trying to put out a possible fire without really testing the changes well and thus break other parts of the game. I do find that companies that release buggy patches often then will not make good on their errors and before you know it the game is totally hosed and they won't fix it and instead offer up excuses and blame it on the user. Game companies, in general, must change their customer support policies because quite honestly they are terrible. Most involve blaming the customer for the problem which is completely unacceptable.

    But the core problem is that Steam won't allow me to turn auto-update off and ETW requires Steam for installation (a very dumb idea that I hope no other studios latch onto). I don't mind Steam for games I downloaded but forcing me to use Steam to install is laziness on the side of the publisher or developers or whoever is responsible for the installation process. Also if you know that your customer is going to be forced to auto-update the game then by all means run your patches through rigorous QA before releasing them. As it stands now I cannot play this game without going blind and I seriously doubt I will ever by another Total War series. Too bad b/c I have every one of them up to this point (save Napolean: Total War) and have been a loyal fan of the series.

    The devs also tried to blame NVidia for the problem (a sure sign they messed up somewhere and won't admit it) and NVidia says nothing about it in their release notes. Telling customers to revert drivers back to some ancient version is ignorant. No one is going to do that and I'm certainly not going to do that to get 1 game out of 300 to run on my system.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 08-29-2010 at 09:08 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    But the core problem is that Steam won't allow me to turn auto-update off and ETW requires Steam for installation (a very dumb idea that I hope no other studios latch onto). I don't mind Steam for games I downloaded but forcing me to use Steam to install is laziness on the side of the publisher or developers or whoever is responsible for the installation process.

    My understanding is that Valve requires all games distributed on Steam to require Steam to run.

    This is to ensure that teh game can not be distributed on other digital D/L services (ie remains exclusive to Steam).
    "Man alone suffers so excruciatingly in the world that he was compelled to invent laughter."
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  3. #3
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    Not so. For example, DOSBox-based games for sale (X-COM: Enemy Unknown is a fave of mine) have no Steam integration and can be run independently.

  4. #4
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    There is really no dependency on Steam that hasn't been agreed by both publisher/developer and Valve. Technologically, the platform can definitely work as an opt-out, as SMurf suggests. But it rarely does and it never does for the user. And therein lies the rub.

    I hardly use Valve except for my back catalog and where I can't get a reasonable price elsewhere, exactly because I personally have a problem with all this. For that reason, I have a grand total of 5 games on Steam, 7 years after, being that I don't count the Orange Box since I was actually duped into thinking I wasn't buying a Steam game when I purchased it from a shelf on a mall.

    The only way I can think of to avoid automatic upgrades is to open Steam in offline mode.Wait for reviews on patches and then go online if justified. I personally don't do this because I don't expect patches for games >5 years old. Of course, if the whole point is playing games online, this paragraph is useless. But, because Steam forces you to occasionally go online in order to validate your game as part of their DRM, this paragraph was always useless.

    Solution? Don't use Steam, obviously. I will never know why you folks do. If the reason is the bread crumbs Valve often throws like their "deals", there's consequences obviously. The least of them being the fact one is forever forced into their platform and their rules (sweet cottages and bad witches). If the reason is the commodity of buying DD, that's something that I know today I will never understand (*), but in any case there's other DD channels out there that are a far cry from Valve's imposed Jail/DRM on users. And there's also online distribution channels that don't do DD. If the reason is because the game isn't being distributed anywhere else, personally that's when I make a point of not buying.

    EDIT:
    (*) because enough time has passed, the market has matured enough, and I was able to evaluate what are the pros and cons for myself of this distribution method.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 08-30-2010 at 05:41 AM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    My understanding is that Valve requires all games distributed on Steam to require Steam to run.
    Solution? Don't use Steam, obviously. I will never know why you folks do.
    I think you guys missed a key point here. I bought the game at Best Buy and it still required Steam to install. Steam then insisted on updating my game which broke it. It's not like I chose Steam or didn't choose Steam. Creative Assembly literally required Steam to set the game up even if you have the DVDs.

    This is a key reason why Direct2Drive and other DD sites refused to distribute Empire Total War. It requires a Steam account simply to install the game. After that you can go in offline mode and all is well.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 08-30-2010 at 04:47 PM.

  6. #6
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Ugh! That's just so lame.
    I feel for you Bubba.

    Can you install the game in offline mode? Maybe try that. And then on the properties for the game check the option to disable automatic updates.

    Another option is to try to exploit steam. Something like waiting for it to start updating your game after installation and disconnect your cable. Then move to offline mode. Dunno... just trying different stuff here.

    Finally trying to install the game without steam. This probably involves cracks and all sorts of illegal software. But more than justified in your case. Still illegal though
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  7. #7
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    O_o

    This is such a bizarre concept, and I can almost guarantee that it is going to get worse. Look at how many distributing companies are talking about "one use keys".

    I second the suggestion to find a community patch to work around the requirements. If you live in the United States, recent court cases and a few changes to the "DMCA" exemptions and exceptions may allow you to do this legally because the requirements are actually breaking the game. (And of course, you could make the argument the running "Steam" isn't an effective anti-circumvention measure.)

    This is also why I'm moving to GNU/Linux completely. If computer games aren't going to run because I refuse to accept the ridiculous software requirements, I don't need to keep Windows just to play games.

    o_O

    Yay!?

    [Edit]
    The only thing I really miss are good "Point-and-Click Adventures". I miss ridiculous stories revolving around complex puzzles.

    Thank Yog Sothoth for "Professor Layton".
    [/Edit]

    Soma
    Last edited by phantomotap; 08-30-2010 at 05:45 PM.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Can you install the game in offline mode?
    Hehe. Nope. Tried that. Steam fought me on it. I just want to play the game OEM as it is on the DVDs and I can't. I rarely patch my games up to the most recent. Most patches fix stuff I don't notice and break stuff I do notice. The really irritating part is I imagine the game is quite good but I can't play it b/c I cannot read the text that well and I end up getting a massive headache. The excuses on the dev forum for the game are just ridiculous. I don't want excuses, I want it fixed. I don't want treated like someone who is a gamer noob and doesn't know something as fundamental as selecting the native resolution for your monitor. Any idiot knows that if you don't it will scale. But I'm running in 1600x900 which is the native res and it still doesn't fix anything. I've ran in it every resolution and at every graphic level and nothing fixes the fonts. In lower resolutions you just have larger but equally blurry fonts.

    Even more irritating is that I work in graphics every day and I know half the 'tricks' people are trying to fix it have nothing to do with the problem and won't fix it.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 08-30-2010 at 06:58 PM.

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