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Steam - Download Better, Stronger, Faster

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Article Steam announces a new download system by PC Gamer:

One week after Steam was crushed by huge demand from ravenous, bargain-crazed PC game buyers, Valve has announced that Steam will roll out a “better, stronger, faster†download system. (Better late than never, we suppose.) The statement doesn’t go too in-depth on what’s happening behind the curtain, but it does say that data will be sent via a firewall-friendly HTTP system “and will automatically take advantage of web-caching proxies installed at ISPs.â€

More importantly, this update will make the patches you download smaller. The way the current system works, if there’s a 1MB patch to a 10MB file, you have to download the full 10MB file. The new system will reduce your download burden to just the 1MB difference. So the next time you go to launch a game and find that it needs to download a patch before it’ll start, that time may be significantly reduced.

But wait, there’s more! Further down the line, Valve says this system will allow Steam to finally implement some requested features, “like download scheduling, bandwidth throttling, and prioritizing which games get downloaded first. You’ll also be able to download an update to a game while you’re playing that game; Steam will apply the update after you exit the game.†And on that day, one of our biggest gripes with Steam will finally evaporate forever.

The announcement by Valve: Download Better, Stronger, Faster

Sounds like good news .. finally.

It should make patching arma no longer re-download the whole game/complete pbos. :bounce3:

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That's really good news.

But, some not so good news? Here comes all the hate about Steam and telling you to use Sprocket instead.

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This is good news bro, but it definately doesn't belong in the BI General forum. Mods will probably move it to OT.

With this I'm not sure there will be anything left for ArmA Steam users to complain about. It also makes me curious if BI can release public betas through Steam; that would be pretty ace.

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I put it in this sub-forum as it concerns all BI games and steam seems like a or

even the major distribution platform to BI next to their own (Sprocket).

So not really off topic, is it?

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Woot! Some really nice changes and I think this is indeed worthy of putting it here, as ArmA X was recently released on Steam :icon_twisted:

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It is steam though. I hate steam. I reluctantly use it but only for things I cannot go without.

Forced patching

Forced running of the steam client

I tried downloading something the other day and it failed three times. I forgot what I bought even because I got sick of trying. I'll get back to it one of these days

Anyway, I could go on with this list, but I personally would avoid ArmA X like the plague if it is only on Steam. I'm only missing PMC anyway.

-X

Edited by xman1

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You don't have to run Steam with any of Bohemia Interactive's games. Steam only patches the games for you. But, you can also disable automatic updates, for any game on Steam.

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You don't have to run Steam with any of Bohemia Interactive's games. Steam only patches the games for you. But, you can also disable automatic updates, for any game on Steam.

Steam is really an anti-PC service regardless that PC's are its main focus. In my opinion, you are really removing what is great about PC gaming with Steam. Some examples:

-Being able to disable your account for any reason effectively cutting you off from products you purchased for life (Think licensee vs purchasing a product, you only hold a license to use said product)

-Occasional checks of the internet to re-validate your licenses if you want to play them.

-You are trusting your hard earned cash to a company that could one day, even sooner than you think, could go out of business. All your purchases would go down the tube with it.

-Most games require the Steam client to be running BTW.

-Difficulty running mods and running sufficient # of mods may ultimately mark your account as a cheater or worse, a pirate, due to it failing authentication and getting your account cancelled with no recourse.

-A modded game that gets patched automatically (no way to turn off auto patching on some games) could make the game fail completely due to incompatibilities.

-You remove one of the great strengths of tweaking a PC game if it is all controlled by Steam.

-Steam is sort of turning into a monopoly and you are supporting that. Monopolies always bring bad things with them in more than one way.

How far do you want me to take this list? I am just scratching the surface, but at the end of the day, you are really putting all your eggs into one basket with a service such as this and hoping (note hope is not an effective strategy) that everything will be OK a month, or year, or even a few years down the road.

Just my 2 cents.

-X

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For those more advanced users, steam works ok.

For the average PC user wich wants less hassle more play with Arma2, STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM STEAM.

Disregarding the whole licence stuff, with for example sprocket, you get it cheap(cheapest or same), you get it forever, you can burn it to a disc so you have a hardcopy, or redownload at any time, how many times you want.

Sprocket install also works just like a hardcopy of the game, you get updates when everyone else does, no additional crap needs to run when you play the game etc..

There is a reason why there is a dedicated thread to steam issues..

Edit:

Here comes all the hate about Steam and telling you to use Sprocket instead.

It is not hate, its simply the facts that steam have so much issues for those not mega geeks or IT educated VS Sprocket.

Dont want hassle? buy hardcopy or from Sprocket, simple.

Edited by Demonized

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It is not hate, its simply the facts that steam have so much issues for those not mega geeks or IT educated VS Sprocket.

No, it is not fact. Steam is quite userfriendly; but with any software some people will have issues and will not take the effort to troubleshoot them. If Steam had as many issues as some people swore it did it wouldn't be nearly as popular as it is.

In fact, while I consider myself to be a proficient PC user, I have had more issues lately trying to install games from hardcopy (one of which I could never even get to install) than with Steam (with which I had none).

Edited by Big Dawg KS

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yes its a fact, count the amount of issues with steam related to arma, then count same for hardcopy and sprocket(digital hardcopy).

and will not take the effort to troubleshoot

one should not have to troubleshoot.

looking at ratio hardcopy/sprocket issues VS steam issues, there is a clear bigger percentage in the steam camp.

maybe average steam users are just generally daft? that is only other explanation exept for the obvious fact.

I have had more issues lately trying to install games from hardcopy (one of which I could never even get to install) than with Steam (with which I had none).
the topic is steam and arma, at least what my comment was directed at, i know for a fact that many are very satisfied with steam on other games, even those "daft" ones i know.

On the other hand, have you considered that steam may be the reason why you have had these "problems" lately... just saying :D

I do not use steam, i like to have my birds in the hand so to speak, it is a personal choise, the licence, forced program running and forced connection is also something i loathe very much.

Edited by Demonized

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...I do not use steam, i like to have my birds in the hand so to speak, it is a personal choise, the licence, forced program running and forced connection is also something i loathe very much.

True that. People that think Steam is a good thing are either lazy, like to be controlled, or just plain ignorant in my opinion.

-X

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yes its a fact, count the amount of issues with steam related to arma, then count same for hardcopy and sprocket(digital hardcopy).

one should not have to troubleshoot.

looking at ratio hardcopy/sprocket issues VS steam issues, there is a clear bigger percentage in the steam camp.

maybe average steam users are just generally daft? that is only other explanation exept for the obvious fact.

And where is the data that you are using to support your "facts?" Sorry but unless you have collected formal statistics that clearly show the difference among the majority of ArmA users then you cannot seriously present this opinion of yours as fact. Even if most of the troubleshooting questions asked on these forums are directly related to Steam that does not mean the majority of problems for all users are Steam related, or even less so that all Steam users have a high frequency of issues compared to non-Steam users. So go find me more conclusive results from a practical sample of users and maybe I will consider believing what you are presenting as fact. But based on what I've seen from the Steam users I have spoken to, it is my impression that issues with ArmA aren't any more frequent with Steam than hardcopy or other digital distribution.

It would have been fine to say that ArmA is not as optimized for Steam compatability and there may be a few extra steps for Steam users, but I wouldn't call these issues as none of them prevent me from using the product as it is intended.

Edited by Big Dawg KS

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True that. People that think Steam is a good thing are either lazy, like to be controlled, or just plain ignorant in my opinion.

-X

I am lazy, I will give you that, but I am not ignorant. I fully understand both the negatives and benefits of using Steam and understand the difference between what could theoretically happen and what realistically will happen. There is also the fact that I have my own experienes where Steam has proven to be a better option than hardcopy or other digital distribution platforms. And ironically I also happen to think that people who openly critcize things (and moreso the people who use them) based on false information and myth are quite ignorant.

There's also no reason to fear or hate Steam. I don't see why there is so much hostility against it. It's an optional service available to customers and developers, and it's quite credible at that. Maybe you believe many Steam users are screwed over by Valve, but I have never seen it happen. I have however seen that Valve does provide some decent customer support (even if slow at times).

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@Big Dawg KS

Im not going to try and convince you with hard numbers, nor will i petition steam and sprocket to run a user survey for their arma users.

You have been around alot longer than me here on BI forums, ive seen you frequent pretty much all kinds of threads.

Wich tells me you look into all/many different main threads and their sub sections or you use the new posts feature as i do.

I myself have been pretty active all weeks on forums this last year.

Looking at new posts history last 12 months, the number of game issues with any version of the game:

What have you seen more?

my game wont work with this and that, need help

or

my game wont work with this and that on steam, need help

Using common sense and memory, will tell you that steam has been related to many more game issues than any other digital or hardcopy version.

This is in many cases related to "and there may be a few extra steps for Steam users", but those extra steps often create headaches for the average PC user, wich is the base of the players.

Trying to count up and verify each issue thread related to steam/non steam issues will take you more than a year to check this observation against actual hard numbers.

And the only conclusion you can add up in the end if done, is that BIS forum users using steam have more problems than the others, or BIS forum steam users are just the small but daft population of the arma steam community, or non steam users are ashamed that they dont get it and dont post their issue.

or, or, or...

I dislike Steam personally, so yes im biased.

I dislike it based on actual observations mainly, how it works secondary.

I recomend based on facts.

( this is long term observations disregarding bias or not )

I recomend based on user ability.

( advanced PC users or geeks VS average happy go lucky gamer )

For Arma users:

* Are you a advanced PC user with no issues being forced to research how to start a game?

You just need to put in some extra effort and research to get it all right, once youre good and in you probably wont have any notable issues, though odds are against you.

Steam might work just fine for you.

* Are you the average PC user? want shit to work without having to research how to run the game?

STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM STEAM!

On a secondary related note:

using Sprocket (digital non steam "hardcopy"):

You actually pay same or less for the game.

The game is yours forever, no license or obligations needed to keep the game.

You give a bigger amount of your spent money directly to BI company wich in turn use that to provide you with better and more games, or just well deserved cigars and booze for all the developers.

And again, you dont need to do extra steps or research to make the game work.

Anyway, im realizing that this is ending up to look like any other fanboy discussion. :argue:

I dont really care what others use or have issues with if they do, i´m out.

:at647:

Edited by Demonized

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Demonized, I'd agree with you if I read your post at the time OA was released. It had it's additional hoops to jump trough related to CO, but now, it's a whole different story.

I've owned ArmA2 on Steam and Sprocket since it was available there, so I'm not sure what extra level of expertise was needed when there was only A2.

On both versions mods were installed the same way, betas were run the same way and launchers worked for both versions. Differences were that the Steam version had a different patching process, patches were late, and they were huge (Which was a problem for me at the time because I had capped internet). You could also easily tell Steam not to auto-update your game for you. Sprocket had a few issues with users not knowing where it downloaded the game and breaking if the installer was launched directly from the browser.

Have I missed something so far?

When OA was initially released, that's when I can agree with you, the problems with Steam and CO started, you did have to jump trough extra hoops to run CO compared to other versions. And you needed some extra PC-fu to make it run as you want, compared to Sprockets "install-in-the-same-directory-and-done".

Eventually, BIS added the "Run Combined Operations" properly to Steam, and all the issues disappeared again for me. I can again launch betas easily, use mods the same way I used to with A2, patches shouldn't be huge anymore, and the only thing that stays is a delay on the official patches.

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You can't really claim a FACT based on same people posting over and over about their issues unless you also have a comparable figure of the people who have no issues (and who rarely post about not having any issues). The only FACT to claim is that people with issues have issues.

I do agree that when you have issues - it sux (and that is in general no matter if it's STEAM or getting money out of an ATM).

Oh and yes I do agree with the concernes around STEAM being able to cut you off you're whole game catalog.

Edited by =WFL= Sgt Bilko

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Have I missed something so far?

Pretty much nailed it IMO. The only thing I will add is that the more recent manual patches have also been compatable with Steam versions (and one can only assume the rest from here on will be too); thus eliminating the need to rely on Steam's automated updating if that were an issue.

---------- Post added at 10:23 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:22 AM ----------

You can't really claim a FACT based on same people posting over and over about their issues unless you also have a comparable figure of the people who have no issues (and who rarely post about not having any issues). The only FACT to claim is that people with issues have issues.

This. Thanks for putting my remaining thoughts from my above posts into words.

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I recently switched from DVD & Sprocket versions of CO and the DLCs to Steam ones. Though perhaps not as simple to run mods with them now on Steam, and get betas working too, they aren't exactly impossible. Since I have a SSD and HDD I created bat files like the following (this one launches the beta patch with other mods enabled, C is my SSD and D is my HDD):

SETLOCAL ENABLEEXTENSIONS

set _EXE=C:\Steam\steamapps\common\arma 2 operation arrowhead\Expansion\beta\arma2oa.exe
set _A2=C:\Steam\steamapps\common\arma 2
set _PROFILES=C:\Steam\steamapps\common\arma 2 operation arrowhead\Profiles
set _MODS=D:\ARMA 2\

call "%_EXE%" -noSplash -showScriptErrors "-profiles=%_PROFILES%" "-name=Zipper5" "-world=Desert_E" "-mod=%_A2%;Expansion;CA;Expansion\beta;Expansion\beta\expansion;%_MODS%@CBA;%_MODS%@ACEX_SM;%_MODS%@Blastcore_Visuals_R1.2;%_MODS%@PROPER;%_MODS%@TrueUser;%_MODS%@VFTCAS"

ENDLOCAL

And, to be honest, now that I have it working I can see it might actually make things easier than without the Steam version as I can easily change the values of the set extensions depending on where I move files.

But on topic, I've been having some weird issues with Steam downloading games recently as it seems to be leaving out huge chunks of them and claiming they're finished. Most recently it was when I downloaded BC2, tried to play, had tons of crashes and obviously missing stuff, then I validated its cache and had to download 245mb of extra files that were missing, which fixed my problems. Could such screw-ups be related to these changes to Steam's download methods?

Edited by Zipper5

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I recently switched from DVD & Sprocket versions of CO and the DLCs to Steam ones. Though perhaps not as simple to run mods with them now on Steam, and get betas working too, they aren't exactly impossible. Since I have a SSD and HDD I created bat files like the following (this one launches the beta patch with other mods enabled, C is my SSD and D is my HDD):

SETLOCAL ENABLEEXTENSIONS

set _EXE=C:\Steam\steamapps\common\arma 2 operation arrowhead\Expansion\beta\arma2oa.exe
set _A2=C:\Steam\steamapps\common\arma 2
set _PROFILES=C:\Steam\steamapps\common\arma 2 operation arrowhead\Profiles
set _MODS=D:\ARMA 2\

call "%_EXE%" -noSplash -showScriptErrors "-profiles=%_PROFILES%" "-name=Zipper5" "-world=Desert_E" "-mod=%_A2%;Expansion;CA;Expansion\beta;Expansion\beta\expansion;%_MODS%@CBA;%_MODS%@ACEX_SM;%_MODS%@Blastcore_Visuals_R1.2;%_MODS%@PROPER;%_MODS%@TrueUser;%_MODS%@VFTCAS"

ENDLOCAL

And, to be honest, now that I have it working I can see it might actually make things easier than without the Steam version as I can easily change the values of the set extensions depending on where I move files.

But on topic, I've been having some weird issues with Steam downloading games recently as it seems to be leaving out huge chunks of them and claiming they're finished. Most recently it was when I downloaded BC2, tried to play, had tons of crashes and obviously missing stuff, then I validated its cache and had to download 245mb of extra files that were missing, which fixed my problems. Could such screw-ups be related to these changes to Steam's download methods?

Possibly, Though, Valve have been pretty good at wiping out bugs quickly with Steam so far, with encountering few and then hardly seeing them again.

So my bet is after a week or so this problem would be non-existent again.

Overall, I like steam more than owning a DVD copy of games, it seems cheaper (with sales most times), automatic updates, ability to reinstall games, and no worries about lost, snapped or scratched DVD/CD's

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Overall, I like steam more than owning a DVD copy of games, it seems cheaper (with sales most times), automatic updates, ability to reinstall games, and no worries about lost, snapped or scratched DVD/CD's

I wouldn't say cheaper, most digital download services have higher prices (excluding sales) compared to having a physical copy delivered by mail.

It's the one thing that makes me mad about digital download in general, the prices should be lower, not higher. You can still see games which you can get for a very low price perched at 49.99€/59.99€ on Steam.

I'm not even gonna start ranting about how European countries outside EU still have to pay high-income EU targeted prices.

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Local price/price conversion are a publisher decision. Not STEAM/Valve.

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