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Valve announces new networking APIs for developers and Steam Link Anywhere

Posted by , | Views: 10,078

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".

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62 comments
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Mohandevir 14 March 2019 at 7:11 pm UTC
Shmerl
LeopardTell that to GOG before bashing Steam fam ?

Never saw such kind of issue with GOG, so leave your irrelevant comments out of the thread please.

I get your point... So, to compete with Epic, instead of lowering the 30% cut they take, Valve is betting on better infrastructure and services for developpers... Could it be that?


Last edited by Mohandevir at 14 March 2019 at 7:42 pm UTC
kuhpunkt 14 March 2019 at 7:17 pm UTC
ShmerlSounds like another lock-in. I've seen at least one developer saying they'll stop updating their game on itch.io, because they want to add multiplayer, and since it needs NAT traversal, they decided to rely on Steam's service for it. Which means they can't use it with versions released in other stores... (It's also a clear example how the lack of IPv6 is causing harm).

So I don't see this as a good thing at all. Proper network services should not be tied to stores and developers should be able to use them no matter where they release. I suppose those don't need to be free, but tying them to a specific store is simply wrong.
,

I'm not sure if I'm totally off, but Valve works on "platform-independent account identity."

https://www.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/am1stl/looks_like_steams_getting_dedicated_servers_for/

Doesn't that mean that it's NOT locked in?
liamdawe 14 March 2019 at 7:21 pm UTC
MohandevirDo you smell it? Could this be the scent of a Steam streaming service?
You mean like the one I said Valve would do
NeptNutz 14 March 2019 at 7:31 pm UTC
This is clearly a push into edge computing, IoT and the dawn of 5G.

It makes perfect sense considering Steam users comprise the most powerful distributed-computing platform the world over.
Mohandevir 14 March 2019 at 7:32 pm UTC
liamdawe
MohandevirDo you smell it? Could this be the scent of a Steam streaming service?
You mean like the one I said Valve would do

Never said it was a new idea! I'm just highlighting it.


Last edited by Mohandevir at 14 March 2019 at 7:33 pm UTC
Shmerl 14 March 2019 at 7:55 pm UTC
kuhpunktI'm not sure if I'm totally off, but Valve works on "platform-independent account identity."

https://www.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/am1stl/looks_like_steams_getting_dedicated_servers_for/

Doesn't that mean that it's NOT locked in?

That's good if true. According to the developer in question though, NAT traversal was tied to Steam store.
Leopard 14 March 2019 at 7:58 pm UTC
Shmerl
LeopardTell that to GOG before bashing Steam fam ?

Never saw such kind of issue with GOG, so leave your irrelevant comments out of the thread please.

Oh , Sudden Strike 4 on GOG doesn't have mp support for Linux because they rely on GOG's Galaxy client which doesn't exist on Linux.
Shmerl 14 March 2019 at 8:00 pm UTC
LeopardOh , Sudden Strike 4 on GOG doesn't have mp support for Linux because they rely on GOG's Galaxy client which doesn't exist on Linux.

Which only highlights, that Steam multiplayer backend is not untied from Steam, so developers have to duplicate efforts setting another backend or cut out functionality, or not release outside of Steam at all. Q.E.D.


Last edited by Shmerl at 14 March 2019 at 8:01 pm UTC
Ananace 14 March 2019 at 8:06 pm UTC
I imagine that their "100% reliable NAT traversal" is just them hosting a series of TURN servers on their impressive infrastructure.
Since it also provides DDoS protection, and hiding of IP addresses, that would make a whole lot of sense actually.

It would also easily explain why the service in question would be limited to Steam's services.

For the people who are less aware, TURN servers are basically just echo nodes, to which you and the other part both connect and which then just echo the traffic between your connections. This is a 100% reliable way to bypass every single NAT, as it is just like any other connection to a server, which then facilitates peer-to-peer data transfer through it.
kuhpunkt 14 March 2019 at 8:12 pm UTC
Shmerl
LeopardOh , Sudden Strike 4 on GOG doesn't have mp support for Linux because they rely on GOG's Galaxy client which doesn't exist on Linux.

Which only highlights, that Steam multiplayer backend is not untied from Steam, so developers have to duplicate efforts setting another backend or cut out functionality, or not release outside of Steam at all. Q.E.D.

Not YET untied.
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