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Valve announces new networking APIs for developers and Steam Link Anywhere

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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".

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62 comments
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Boldos 14 March 2019 at 11:30 pm UTC
bingus
sub
Whitewolfe80

EPIC store does not support Linux.

The other day on Twitter someone asked them about Proton on the Epic store, they said they couldn't because of the tech they used. But then went on to say they were hiring Linux people... I guess that doesn't necessarily mean they will be working on a client but its something.
Here it goes:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2019/03/14/epic-games-store-linux/#44d9bcd95b3b
WJMazepas 15 March 2019 at 1:27 am UTC
bingus
sub
Whitewolfe80

EPIC store does not support Linux.

The other day on Twitter someone asked them about Proton on the Epic store, they said they couldn't because of the tech they used. But then went on to say they were hiring Linux people... I guess that doesn't necessarily mean they will be working on a client but its something.

I mean, after all the news envolving Epic Store recently about data, games and etc, do we really want that on Linux?
Xaero_Vincent 15 March 2019 at 2:50 am UTC
WJMazepas
bingus
sub
Whitewolfe80

EPIC store does not support Linux.

The other day on Twitter someone asked them about Proton on the Epic store, they said they couldn't because of the tech they used. But then went on to say they were hiring Linux people... I guess that doesn't necessarily mean they will be working on a client but its something.

I mean, after all the news involving Epic Store recently about data, games and etc, do we really want that on Linux?

I imagine we'll want Epic Store Launcher to work well in Wine if enough decent games land on there and developers and publishers increasingly decide to shun Steam for it's more favorable revenue splitting model.

As such, I discovered an obscure workaround to force the Epic Games Launcher to behave properly in Wine, without the constant annoying flickering.

https://www.gamingonlinux.com/forum/topic/3786
MayeulC 15 March 2019 at 7:41 am 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.
Hey, NAT traversal is a commodity these days, and setting up a STUN server is simple enough (plus, multiple implementations already exist).

TURN servers are more complicated (need more bandwidth, as it's essentially a proxy), but shouldn't be needed in the vast majority of cases (again, ready-to-self-host solutions do exist).

As for the last part, most ipv6 boxes implement a firewall (mine does), so you still need a TURN server, unfortunately.
And lastly, I don't see why this developer couldn't check if the user already opened their ports on the router (or use UPnP to do so)


Last edited by MayeulC at 15 March 2019 at 7:46 am UTC
Purple Library Guy 15 March 2019 at 9:07 am UTC
Boldos
bingus
sub
Whitewolfe80

EPIC store does not support Linux.

The other day on Twitter someone asked them about Proton on the Epic store, they said they couldn't because of the tech they used. But then went on to say they were hiring Linux people... I guess that doesn't necessarily mean they will be working on a client but its something.
Here it goes:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2019/03/14/epic-games-store-linux/#44d9bcd95b3b
Pretty vague. Seems less like "they're hiring Linux people" than like "They're open in theory to the concept of hiring Linux people".
F.Ultra 15 March 2019 at 9:22 am UTC
ShmerlSure, developers decide, but if they do want NAT traversal, they can't use Steam one without being tied to Steam. At least now.

Well the problem is that some one have to pony up the servers/nodes necessary and apparently Valve have no interest in providing free such machines for their competition (wonder why).

I agree with you that this adds to the Steam lock-in but I find it hard to criticise when #1 the libraries themself are open source, #2 the service is not forced upon you as a developer and #3 any other store/service provider could step up and provide an equal service at any time.

Now other stores might not want to provide this since it would be following Valve but since these networks libs are open source and the NAT traversal functionality happens automatically as soon as your application links with the SteamWorks version any one should be able to add similar functionality. However as I said I don't think that say GOG would want to provide a steamxx.lib for their users, nor tell them to use this SteamNetwork library.
mao_dze_dun 15 March 2019 at 9:32 am UTC
Great!!! Now add effing h265 support for the desktop client as well. It is one of the stupidest things ever, that there is HEVC encoding/decoding support when streaming to a an Android device, but laptops and desktops - "Nobody need that, right? ...Right?" And it's not like I'm simply b*tching about a feature nobody would ever use. Anybody on the go with a laptop would definitely benefit from the lower bandwidth requirements of h265 encoding. Just saying.
sub 15 March 2019 at 12:00 pm UTC
Haha.

https://www.reddit.com/r/pcgaming/comments/b15k8g/epic_games_launcher_appears_to_collect_your_steam/

No.

But not really surprising if this SteamSpy guy is now in charge at Epic.
tonR 15 March 2019 at 12:43 pm UTC
BOYSSSSS
Whitewolfe80
BOYSSSSSFirst Metro Exodus now Phoenix Point
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tRWWSkg1Xc

Thats okay because they cancelled the phonix point native port

True, but now you can't play it with wine or Steam Play. And it's disgusting how the Studio gave the middle finger to the fans who crowdfunded the game.
Read on Twitter saying that Epic paying Snapshot Games exclusive deal + possible refunding cost from backers, which about $2.7 Million++. So, basically they can flip "middle finger" to backers and still making money, for now...

However, I'm pity for other honest crowdfundee games in the future, backers will be extremely cautious to "invest" their money which may affecting on funding target.

ps: Is 'crowdfundee' a word?
Mohandevir 15 March 2019 at 12:51 pm UTC
subHaha.

https://www.reddit.com/r/pcgaming/comments/b15k8g/epic_games_launcher_appears_to_collect_your_steam/

No.

But not really surprising if this SteamSpy guy is now in charge at Epic.

#Facepalm

This, the exclusives stuff and all the legal issues surronding Fortnite as proven to me that Epic Games doesn't deserve any kind of trust. Not gonna buy anything from that store, even if it comes to Linux. It reminds me too much of the bad days of Microsoft.
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