Jump to content

Steam Operating System


Mr March
 Share

Recommended Posts

I don't think the SteamOS, the Steam Machine and the other form factor PCs are aiming to be "consoles" or competing with Sony or Microsoft. Valve and co. are clearly aiming to bring PC gaming to the living room. Now, if in so doing that changes the definition of what "console" and "PC" actually mean for living room entertainment...all the better! I'd like nothing better than to get away from this console-style gaming and PC-style gaming nonsense that dominates the video game landscape and have them both available on one box. I'm so sick of buying so many damned boxes just to play all the games I want. There's no reason I should own an X-Box 360, a PS3 and a PC to play all the games I want...and yet I own them all.

But this is getting ahead of everything. For now, I love the idea of being able to keep my enthusiast PC in my bedroom but have a small box that enables me to PC game in the living room.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think the SteamOS, the Steam Machine and the other form factor PCs are aiming to be "consoles" or competing with Sony or Microsoft. Valve and co. are clearly aiming to bring PC gaming to the living room. Now, if in so doing that changes the definition of what "console" and "PC" actually mean for living room entertainment...all the better! I'd like nothing better than to get away from this console-style gaming and PC-style gaming nonsense that dominates the video game landscape and have them both available on one box. I'm so sick of buying so many damned boxes just to play all the games I want. There's no reason I should own an X-Box 360, a PS3 and a PC to play all the games I want...and yet I own them all.

But this is getting ahead of everything. For now, I love the idea of being able to keep my enthusiast PC in my bedroom but have a small box that enables me to PC game in the living room.

Which couldn't possibly bring the same power as an enthusiast PC. And why have an enthusiast PC if you aren't going to game with it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hm. The term enthusiast PC has become ambiguous.

As a DIY enthusiast, I think those of my ilk build PCs to a particular need. Not necessarily to eek out every last bit or byte of gaming performance, but to complete whatever project or task is at hand. That task could be gaming, but it could also be silence or streaming media, it could be arcade or console emulation,it may be ripping and playing back hi-def movies, or it might simply be to build an efficient number cruncher or e-mail box for friends and family.

Enthusiasts build PCs because it is fun to build PCs. People who prefer convenience turn to other things. I don't think one way is better than the other, mind you. However, both roads do eventually lead to the same destination. If Valve creates a common denominator in PC Land that allows developers to create more content in the entertainment space because new reliable configuration data comes out of this exercise--data that allows developers to start coding proper PC games efficiently then that is good for everyone.

At least, that's what I think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Which couldn't possibly bring the same power as an enthusiast PC. And why have an enthusiast PC if you aren't going to game with it?

Because I don't need my enthusiast class PC to play 90% of the games I own on Steam. Left 4 Dead 1&2, Half-Life 1&2, Portal 1&2, Fez, Mark of the Ninja, Dust: An Elysian Tale, Limbo, Doom 3, Fallout 3, Bioshock 1&2, Starcraft 1&2, etc. I only need my enthusiast class PC for Battlefield 3&4 or Far Cry 3 or Bioshock: Infinite...basically the high end First-Person Shooters. That's the only reason I had to buy one, aside from my high end Photoshop work and the fact that I build my own custom systems.

Besides, a guy like me wouldn't buy the low end Steam Machine anyway. I'd likely get the top tier version :)

Hm. The term enthusiast PC has become ambiguous.

As a DIY enthusiast, I think those of my ilk build PCs to a particular need. Not necessarily to eek out every last bit or byte of gaming performance, but to complete whatever project or task is at hand. That task could be gaming, but it could also be silence or streaming media, it could be arcade or console emulation,it may be ripping and playing back hi-def movies, or it might simply be to build an efficient number cruncher or e-mail box for friends and family.

Enthusiasts build PCs because it is fun to build PCs. People who prefer convenience turn to other things. I don't think one way is better than the other, mind you. However, both roads do eventually lead to the same destination. If Valve creates a common denominator in PC Land that allows developers to create more content in the entertainment space because new reliable configuration data comes out of this exercise--data that allows developers to start coding proper PC games efficiently then that is good for everyone.

At least, that's what I think.

I suppose. But to 90% of the people I meet, I'm one of those crazy tech heads that actually builds their own PC and still uses one of those "quaint" non-portable machines in a big black box. To the enthusiast PC owners, I'm a barely acceptable computer fan who only gets respect for building his own machine but clearly isn't "serious" enough to do water cooling, custom-painted/illuminated cases or SLI :)

Anyway, getting back to the point - enthusiast or not - there is an average level of PC power for the majority of Steam users that falls far below the high end enthusiast users. That average PC power level is precisely what Valve is going to go for and will sell accordingly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At the end of the day and enthusiasts PC is only as good as that individuals wallet is deep.

I build my machines to do specific tasks so if it only needs a single core and bear minimum OS (read XP) that's what it gets. on the other hand my more powerful system is way more powerful than any of the games i play on it would ever need, but it is good at video editing and image manipulation.

I work in IT so you'd think I would have the latest stuff, but yet my stable still has a PII with an overclocked Slocket a couple of Athalons and Quad Core P4 775 with SLI, among newer machines,each has its place.

I am just building a Quad Xeon for use as a desktop, just because I can, and have the parts in my stash box at work.

The fact that they are not what most may call enthusiast PC's I don't care. As Mr March said I barely feature on the Radar of most of the L33T enthusiasts out there, but how many of them would break out the soldering iron to fix the board they use when it pops a Capacitor ?

How many people water-cool the PC they use in the Garage to look up parts and play music while doing spanner time on their car........ I did just because I could :ph34r:

I am lucky as I get so many cast offs via work it keeps me happy in my PC modding enthusiast world.

I do hope that Steam do allow for the true enthusiast builder to build whatever they want and full support for the various graphics cards Mobo combos etc out there to cater for everyone. both no holes bared to the just enough to get it to work user.

We could well end up with the seeds for the successor of Media PC / XBMC and games consoles mess most of us now have under the TV.

Edited by big F
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Heh. Well put. That's more or less what I was trying to write. The definition of enthusiast is so skewed toward this notion of expensive materials, cut windows, LED bling, or whathaveyou. Most of the enthusiasts I know try to build something useful with spare parts, a little bit of time, and elbow greese. I think if the Steam Box can leverage that it would be a good thing by helping to produce real data for what a gaming PC is. At least, the idea of PC ambiguity will be less of a talking point in the press when real numbers are available for system configurations. And I think this might help to get that kind of data. Whether software developers use it to make better PC games is another thing altogether.

Edited by technoblue
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Valve has released it's last of the three major announcements TODAY. And that announcement is...the controller. One look at this thing and I can see why Valve left this one piece of hardware to be announced on it's own. Take a look:

http://www.giantbomb.com/articles/the-steam-controller-is-valve-s-third-announcement/1100-4751/

Oh boy, is this controller gonna create a storm of controversy in the gaming world. I can't wait to read all the hate :)

post-114-0-28566600-1380304978_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What the f*cking asscrackers is that supposed to be? I can't even figure out how you're supposed to HOLD the damn thing let alone play PC games on it.

Are those speaker looking things supposed to be touch pads? So they expect people to replace the precision of keyboard and mouse or the compact comfort of analog sticks with something that's inferior in practice to both? because wildly inaccurate controls with zero feedback so you can never actually tell where the hell your pointing or moving is exactly what every gamer in the world has been clamoring for. As is the requirement that you have to take BOTH thumbs off your movement controls any time you need to press a face button. :rolleyes:

Is that a sufficiently entertaining amount of hate?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read on Rock Paper Shotgun that the controller's unique construction is supposed to somehow allow players to use older mouse/keyboard only games. That would be something that I would like to see demonstrated, especially for a PC in the family room connected to an HDTV.

Edited by technoblue
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, I can't handle this reasonableness :)

While I'm very eager to try the Steam Machine controller, I do have my reservations about it. I've no doubt the controller is a novel solution that may alleviate some of the problems consoles have when trying to master high definition interfaces. However, I can't see this controller - as good as it may turn out to be - supplanting the mouse and keyboard in any way. The responsiveness of the controller is likely to still be a compromise. Now having said that, how much compromise is the big question for me. It may turn out to be "good enough" but I'd be really surprised if it's really THAT good. Though to be fair, it's not like Valve is talking this controller up as the best thing ever. So maybe they are happy with good enough if it gets the PC gaming market into the living room.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, I can't handle this reasonableness :)

I know, it's so very un-MacrossWorld. :D

While I'm very eager to try the Steam Machine controller, I do have my reservations about it. I've no doubt the controller is a novel solution that may alleviate some of the problems consoles have when trying to master high definition interfaces. However, I can't see this controller - as good as it may turn out to be - supplanting the mouse and keyboard in any way. The responsiveness of the controller is likely to still be a compromise. Now having said that, how much compromise is the big question for me. It may turn out to be "good enough" but I'd be really surprised if it's really THAT good. Though to be fair, it's not like Valve is talking this controller up as the best thing ever. So maybe they are happy with good enough if it gets the PC gaming market into the living room.

I was sort of coming at it from the opposite direction. Sure, I like some games (shooters, RPGs) with a mouse and keyboard, but I have a lot of games (racing, action, platforming) that I prefer to use a controller for. And when I first saw the Steambox controller, I was thinking "WTF? You can't play with buttons like that!"

But after reading some of the developers input on the controller, I'm reserving judgement until I try it for myself. It sounds like an interesting compromise that's really trying to let you play both controller-friendly and mouse/keyboard only games on a console in the living room. And that's really Valve's goal, here. Enthusiasts like us who built PCs for gaming are already sold on PC and Steam as a gaming platform. Now Valve's trying to win over all our friends who we've been trying to get on Steam but keep insisting they prefer the "ease" of a console.

It's worth highlighting two things from the developer comments I read. The dual trackpads seem very advanced, especially with haptic feedback. Ichiro Lambe of Dejobaan games say they feel like "weighted trackballs", so the responsiveness could be better than you think. He did say it's more precise and better for FPS games than traditional controllers.

Second, Team Meat's Tommy Refenes played Super Meat Boy and Spelunky with it. For Super Meat Boy, he used the entire right trackpad as a jump button, and for Spelunky he mapped all four Xbox 360 face buttons to the right trackpad. He goes on to say that the Steambox controller in that setup worked great and was able to handle the "twitch movements" needed for Spelunky. His summary:"Great Start, needs some improvements, but I could play any game I wanted with it just fine."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

mikeszekely

I must say, reading all that is encouraging. I'm somewhat like you in terms of control preference. I do like my X-Box 360 controller for the PC when it comes to playing games like Dust: An Elysian Tail, Fez, and Mark of the Ninja, But whenever I can I use mouse and keyboard for every FPS, RPG or strategy game I play.

Valve had to come up with something gamepad-ish for a living room setup. They couldn't sell keyboards and mice for the console, or even some lap-based platform. The HMI for the Steam Machine had to be something small, portable and easy to use whether you're seated upright, squat on the floor or lying on your elbows and belly because as console gamers that's what we all demand. I understand that and while the console gamer in me demands a small, portable controller of some kind I'm also willing to give a little and meet Valve half way on the responsiveness/applicability of the controller for PC games.

Thinking a little about it, it shouldn't be THAT hard to improve on a traditional console gamepad for FPS games since the gamepad is utter crap for those game types. I mean, there's been damn few reinventions in the basic gamepad for decades. Necessity being the mother of invention, I can see why it took something like this Steam Machine to spur ANY kind of creative thought into the gamepad again.

I have no doubt Valve struggled long and hard with this controller and put far more thought into it than most others. This is Valve we're talking about and though they aren't infalliable, I have a hard time thinking they'd put this controller to market if it was as crap as the knee-jerk reactions of the naysayers would have us believe. I'm tickled by the positive reactions thus far, but honestly I have to play with this thing before I make any kind of judgement. If it's crap, I can handle that. But I'm really hoping once I get over the learning curve, this controller might actually work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I can see how it is a compromise. And there are genres (like flight/space simulation) where it might still fall short. I also play more PC games on the big screen thanks to the XBox 360 controller. If this new gadget allows me to play even more PC games in a comfy chair in front of the TV, then that would be pretty neat.

Edited by technoblue
Link to comment
Share on other sites

An "Enthusiast-Level" PC has nothing at all to do with case windows, lights, or bling, and everything to do with a careful selection of quality componentry, configuration, and software.

I question the need for a SteamBox or SteamOS. Using my existing "enthusiast level" PC, I can already "sofa game" using Windows. I can run in triplehead via my dedicated displays, I can port to my projector with a 100" screen, or I can port to a TV, all at the click of a button. The same machine also functions as a TV and stereo tuner, media server, online streaming server, etc, etc. How would a second piece of hardware make any sense at all in this context? I'm scratching my head here.

I do think that the Steam controller looks promising. I have dedicated wheel, HOTAS and TIR setups, arcade sticks/buttons, and of course good keyboard/mouse for the relevant titles, but a good controller with finer-grained input for lightweight gaming would be welcome. This looks like it could be a big improvement on the gamepad front, and I'm looking forward to trying it out. Instead of sprung joysticks, it uses touchpads for the analog input; this should be a god-send.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I question the need for a SteamBox or SteamOS. Using my existing "enthusiast level" PC, I can already "sofa game" using Windows. I can run in triplehead via my dedicated displays, I can port to my projector with a 100" screen, or I can port to a TV, all at the click of a button. The same machine also functions as a TV and stereo tuner, media server, online streaming server, etc, etc. How would a second piece of hardware make any sense at all in this context? I'm scratching my head here.

You don't get it because Valve isn't designing it for you (or people like you), and you're not their target audience. If you game on your PC, you're probably already in the Steam ecosystem.

Let me put it like this... I have a friend who I have been trying to get into PC gaming for years. I mean, at least since the first Crysis came out. Some of the arguments he makes, which I've heard time and again from more people than just him, include not being used to gaming with a keyboard and mouse, not wanting to wait for his computer to boot up, not wanting to deal with Windows and its issues to play games, a gaming PC is too expensive, it's more comfortable to game on the TV in the living room, and it's so much easier to just pop in a console game and play.

My buddy is the target audience. Steambox and SteamOS are being designed to address every one of my buddy's arguments for not getting into PC gaming. Steamboxes running SteamOS will be more console than PC, priced in line with the next-gen consoles that will be on the market when the first Steamboxes hit, designed to easily connect to a TV and setup like a console. SteamOS will provide a (nearly) instant-on OS, not to surf the net or make spreadsheets but to run the Steam launcher and provide access to the Steam store.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^Agreed.

I'd love to sit and build a dedicated gaming PC, but I get maybe a few hours a week or two to actually sit down and play games. With that kind of schedule, a pure console is just a MUCH easier and simpler couch experience, something a lot of people, not just myself, value.

Also, I agree that gaming with a keyboard and mouse feels very foreign to me, so the added controller support is greatly appreciated as well. If valve can pull this off, I'm very excited.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^^ Yeah, Well said. The Steambox/Steamachine will draw in those people who are looking for another convenient way to game. The controller is a cool bonus. For those of us who already have PCs in the living/family room it certainly adds value, which is why I am anxious to see it in action. I'm not expecting miracles this early, but if that controller can allow my to play a game like X-Com: Enemy Unknown then that would be really neat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You don't get it because Valve isn't designing it for you (or people like you), and you're not their target audience. If you game on your PC, you're probably already in the Steam ecosystem.

That all makes very good sense, thanks. The only marketing materials I had seen indeed came directly from Valve via Steam :). Valve didn't do nearly as good a job in addressing my blind spot as you have.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You don't get it because Valve isn't designing it for you (or people like you), and you're not their target audience. If you game on your PC, you're probably already in the Steam ecosystem.

That and the target audience probably don't have 2-3k to spend on the living room entertainments.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let me put it like this... I have a friend who I have been trying to get into PC gaming for years. I mean, at least since the first Crysis came out. Some of the arguments he makes, which I've heard time and again from more people than just him, include not being used to gaming with a keyboard and mouse, not wanting to wait for his computer to boot up, not wanting to deal with Windows and its issues to play games, a gaming PC is too expensive, it's more comfortable to game on the TV in the living room, and it's so much easier to just pop in a console game and play.

This is exactly what Valve has in mind. PC gamers (particularly, older PC gamers) forget themselves and their own gaming history far too often when looking at new video game products like the Steam Machine. The older PC gamers grew up in an era when not everyone had a computer or knew how to use them and video gaming was niche - console and PC alike - so DIY was the what it meant to be a gamer. Now for almost two decades computers and consoles are mainstream and are in virtually every home...but does that mean everyone is an advanced power user? No, in fact few are. PC gaming has grown, but it's inaccessibility has meant it's still niche while console gaming has been easy and simple for years. Valve wants to use Big Picture, SteamOS and the SteamMachine to change all that.

If all this works, Gabe Newell is going to be the Carl Sagan of PC gaming. It's clear he loves PC gaming and doesn't want it relegated to some second class hobby. He wants everyone in on it and I can't be any happier that this is a real possibility.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest davidwhangchoi

i'm not sure what it means if steam is entering the console wars or just bringing PC to the living rooms. (it looks like a hybrid of both)

But one thing is for sure Consoles are the lead platform for the majority of videogame publishers = games are graphically programmed dumbed down for under powered consoles then ported over to PC. (PC getting crappy ports and left overs)

but the fact is the market is: the majority of publishers profits are from console copies.

Steam either wants to: change that trend or join in the graphically dumbed down console games by making a dumbed down pc marketed as a console to get in on some of the profits.)

it's funny bc though consoles are the so called hurting pc gaming... slowly consoles are becoming like pc's. the next gen console hardware is going towards a PC type structure with the ps4 and xbone both on x86 architecture making games Console to PC port an easier transition...

this steam box is really a great opportunity for Valve.

i really think this is going to succeed if it is marketed correctly by the PR dept.. Console differs from PC bc it's a box under the tv for 300-400 bucks no more. no mouse no keyboard. (even if the hardware is PC inside) the hardware specs are locked. forcing programmer to adjust to the hardware not the other way around. (ie crysis 1 made powerful = built with the idea pc hardware will catch up) This is really the issue with Steam having multiple up-gradable boxes which may confuse the public. i can't see this working...

if it is going console route: i see this thing going similar to the xbox original. while xbox didn't win the market share vs. Sony's ps2, microsoft got themselves established for the next gen. I'm looking at steam doing something similar...

It really looks like Steam is not just doing something half-baked but is very serious with the Os as well as the controller design.

steam may be able to get their foot not only in the door but firmly establish themselves as player in the console market to eventually shape both console and pc gaming's future.

sidenote:

in terms of PC, i have an alienware m18x with 7970m dual cards. which had more punch hardware than the ps4 and xbone, i basically hook it up to my hdtv and use a ps3 controller to play all my games using steam big picture mode.

it really feels like a console. and with these dirt cheap steam sales i buy all multi platform games on the pc and only use my ps3 for exclusives.

Edited by davidwhangchoi
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can certainly understand the confusion people have about these announcements. Many people have described the SteamOS/Machine as Valve entering the console wars. Others have - like you said - interpreted this move as a grab for the mass market. I don't think it's that simple and I believe Valve has very good reasons for making the SteamOS and the Steam Machine.

While money is no doubt a factor - and lets not fool ourselves that isn't important - I don't believe it's Valve's primary motivator. Valve simply do not like Windows and rightly feel their current business model can be threatened by the control Microsoft has over the OS platform upon which Steam needs to distribute. Valve would be much happier and feel far more secure with a world using an open OS model where any number of companies can support their products (or not) and it doesn't jeopardize their entire business. Knowing what Gabe Newell has said publicly, he and Valve are also critical of developing on the two major consoles and they also love making things easily accessible for everyone. It shouldn't be a surprise Valve is making a PC console; it's the logical progression of their existing business model and the necessary move to ensure the company has a future that isn't at the whim of Microsoft.

You're right that Valve is taking this seriously. Nothing in these announcements shows anything but a 100% effort. But this isn't Valve entering the console wars or selling out to the mainstream. This is a company that is both serious about it's own future and is going to bring PC gaming to the living room. If that means their efforts actually change the definition of console and PC video game entertainment, that's a byproduct of the direction of their business. While I have doubts and hopes for the Steam Machine, I agree that the built-in consumer base of Steam customers and the demand layman have for PC gaming will make the Steam Machine successful. And I can't imagine a more killer line up of video games in demand than to sell the Steam Machine to would-be PC gamers by releasing Half-Life 3, Left 4 Dead 3 and Portal 3. Most consoles makers search far and wide for the "one" game to be their killer app. After years being mocked, it appears Valve does in fact think in "threes" :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest davidwhangchoi

Valve released specs their steam machine protoype: pretty powerful

The 300 prototype units will ship with the following components:
GPU: some units with NVidia Titan, some GTX780, some GTX760, and some GTX660
CPU: some boxes with Intel : i7-4770, some i5-4570, and some i3
RAM: 16GB DDR3-1600 (CPU), 3GB DDR5 (GPU)
Storage: 1TB/8GB Hybrid SSHD
Power Supply: Internal 450w 80Plus Gold
Dimensions: approx. 12 x 12.4 x 2.9 in high

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/steamuniverse#announcements/detail/2145128928746175450

Edited by davidwhangchoi
Link to comment
Share on other sites

food-smiley-024.gif

The CPU+GPU alone cost more than some consoles already.

On the flip side, guess it's time to upgrade my box...

My old gaming rig was a GTX 465, and I skipped the 500 series. My current box is a GTX 660ti, so I think I'm going to skip the 700 series and upgrade when the 800 series is a thing.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...