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Valve is getting ahead of the game with GDC fast approaching, with two bits of Steam news coming in hot today.

Firstly, Steam Link Anywhere actually sounds very interesting. It's now officially in beta and it allows you to essentially connect to your computer and play games from anywhere. Since it's just an extension of the Steam Link functionality, it's free for all Steam users. It works with both the Steam Link App and the Steam Link hardware.

To access it, you do need to opt into the Steam Client beta version. Valve say it requires "A high upload speed from your computer and strong network connection to your Steam Link device are required to use Steam Link Anywhere". More on that here.

On top of that, for developers they've announced the Steam Networking Sockets APIs, available to all Steam approved developers to access the technologies and infrastructure built to support CS:GO and Dota 2. The gist of it is this:

  • Access to our network, giving your players protection from attack, 100% reliable NAT traversal, and improved connectivity.
  • Tools for instantly estimating the ping between two arbitrary hosts without sending any packets.
  • A high quality end-to-end encrypted reliable-over-UDP protocol.

A bunch of it is open source too, available to look over on GitHub on Valve's GameNetworkingSockets repository.

For a lot more info on the networking stuff, see this post from Valve. They do say that this is only the first of a "series" of updates aimed at "improving the networked gaming experience for Steam partners". An additional bit mentions stuff for dedicated servers also coming soon, which will be interesting.

Also, Valve are doing a talk at GDC on Thursday next week, to talk about this plus what else is to come. For anyone attending, it's happening at "12:45 pmin Moscone West Hall 2011".

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Steam, Valve
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F.Ultra 19 Mar, 2019
Quoting: Klaus
Quoting: F.Ultra
Quoting: Shmerl
Quoting: F.UltraI assume here that it's part of the 30% cut so if they would open this to any one then a dev who only publishes on GOG or the Epic store would utilize these nodes for free. Not that this would be a bad thing but I understand if Valve is not interested in it.

I'd rather guess, if they open it to everyone, developers will pay them some fee for it, to be able to use however they want. Like it's with any cloud service like OpenShift, GCP, AWS and what not.

Of course, but now Valve have decided many moons ago that they cover all such things with their 30% cut. Then again, any one could in theory create a version of these Steam Networking API:s that added the NAT traversal bits and charge a small fee for it. I don't honestly think that it would be a viable business model, but it's feasible.

Main issue is probably, that Valve have no reason to provide such a service. Their source of income is their store, so they build services, that make using the store attractive to developers. Why would they invest into a service, that effectively strengthens competitors?

Such a service would need to come from a third party. But then the developers would have to pay for it -- and keep paying for it indefinitely. In the end it would be GameSpy all over again. The Steam-tied solution has the advantage, that the services are likely to remain available just as long, as access to (downloading) the game remains available, as Valve either (a) has no relevant costs, because barely anybody is playing anymore or (b) they still get revenue from occasional sales, by keeping the online services up.

Idealism aside, given limited developer resources, I can't imagine a better outcome.

Yes, however as I wrote earlier, GOG (or any other store) could just as easily create a similar service and even use the vary same API to do it so games compiled for Steam would work without a change or even a recompile. The only stopping block there would then be a store like GOG promoting the use of the Steam API which they kinda might not be that much into.
MayeulC 27 Mar, 2019
Quoting: edenist
Quoting: ShmerlIt's also a clear example how the lack of IPv6 is causing harm

Sigh, I wish more people understood more about networking and why this statement is so very very true. I keep hearing lots of apathy about IPv4 exhaustion with comments like "why bother, NAT just works and has fixed things. The internet isn't broken".
What I read from this is "I [believe I] understand networking with IPv4 and IPv6 is scary... ooooo so many characters to memorise!".

NAT absolutely IS breaking the fundamental structure of the internet, and is contributing to consolidation of power in more ways than one. Vote with your wallets, either select ISPs and providers which support native IPv6, or get in touch with your ISPs and tell them it's a feature you want! We're over a decade past the point where we should still be worrying about NAT-traversal issues.

It's something the gaming industry is really falling behind in. The only popular[ish] game I know of which supports IPv6 is Elite Dangerous, and even then it was added to help out some people in Germany who have ISPs giving their customers NAT IPv4 over their IPv6 network [seriously WTF]. I've got native dual-stack on my network from my ISP, I'd love to be able to use it for games. I think it's something one of the console companies could help. It's disapointing that PS4 doesn't have IPv6 enabled when it's built on a network stack which supports it, and instead I have to add port forwards and UPnP whitelist entries to let it punch a hole into my network. [Oh yeah, so IPv4 NAT supporters, how many of you just leave UPnP set to open for any 'ol device or service to help themselves to?]

Sorry, triggered, haha..... So, ummm, yeah... we need more IPv6 already!
No, you're right, that's what I do as well. Unfortunately commercials often have no idea. I ask nevertheless, so they usually go around asking questions, which somewhat gives feedback to the ISP that there is demand for ipv6, and makes commercials more aware of it.

However, a couple points: you'd still need to open ports in your firewall with ipv6 if you have one, as firewalls act as symmetrical NATs. Most people do have firewalls (since most use windows, anyway). I believe ipv6 firewalls can be punched trough upnp?

Now, NAT64 is a nice technology for transitioning to an ipv6-only world, and I've been considering to implement this at home for some time. Basically, you take a chunk of the ipv6 address space to represent the ipv4 address space, and use your own DNS server to answer correctly-mapped addresses when a website is ipv4-only. You effectively get a ipv6-only network, with carrier-grade NAT happening at some point (and forwards the addresses to the right destinations). I see it as a Good Thing (tm), though it might break a few services (the ones that hardcode ipv4 IPs). This breakage would have happened in an ipv6-only world anyway, and forces service providers to adopt good practices.

This message was sent from my ipv4-only network at work *sigh* Unfortunately, workplaces are even slower to make the switch.

Quoting: Klaus
Quoting: F.Ultra
Quoting: Shmerl
Quoting: F.UltraI assume here that it's part of the 30% cut so if they would open this to any one then a dev who only publishes on GOG or the Epic store would utilize these nodes for free. Not that this would be a bad thing but I understand if Valve is not interested in it.

I'd rather guess, if they open it to everyone, developers will pay them some fee for it, to be able to use however they want. Like it's with any cloud service like OpenShift, GCP, AWS and what not.

Of course, but now Valve have decided many moons ago that they cover all such things with their 30% cut. Then again, any one could in theory create a version of these Steam Networking API:s that added the NAT traversal bits and charge a small fee for it. I don't honestly think that it would be a viable business model, but it's feasible.

Main issue is probably, that Valve have no reason to provide such a service. Their source of income is their store, so they build services, that make using the store attractive to developers. Why would they invest into a service, that effectively strengthens competitors?

Such a service would need to come from a third party. But then the developers would have to pay for it -- and keep paying for it indefinitely. In the end it would be GameSpy all over again. The Steam-tied solution has the advantage, that the services are likely to remain available just as long, as access to (downloading) the game remains available, as Valve either (a) has no relevant costs, because barely anybody is playing anymore or (b) they still get revenue from occasional sales, by keeping the online services up.

Idealism aside, given limited developer resources, I can't imagine a better outcome.

Diversification is key to securing income, growth, and cometitiveness. Amazon does that with everything they do (see AWS, for instance): open a service designed for internal use to the competition. If it dies out, then it's a clear sign it's inferior to the public offering, so you might as well use that. Improve it until it's better, or let it die :)

That's not a conventional approach, but an interesting one for sure, and it could work.


Last edited by MayeulC on 27 March 2019 at 11:05 am UTC
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