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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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Mal 15 March 2019 at 12:57 pm UTC
Steam stream service over the Internet. It might be that my next rig is actually an aws instance or something of the likes.
Mohandevir 15 March 2019 at 1:02 pm UTC
MalSteam stream service over the Internet. It might be that my next rig is actually an aws instance or something of the likes.

Why not an android TV box with an optimized version of Steam Link? Oh! It could be called Nvidia Shield! Lol!
Mal 15 March 2019 at 1:09 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.

Well. Look at the bright side. It could be worse. They could be scanning you hard drive looking for words like China, Xi Jinping or Winnie the Pooh.
tonR 15 March 2019 at 1:20 pm UTC
subBut not really surprising if this SteamSpy guy is now in charge at Epic.
Can you or anyone explained to me..
Why some PC gamers dislike Sergey? (the SteamSpy guy). Even before he got a job at Epic, some people in community are not fan of him. Why?
Mohandevir 15 March 2019 at 1:43 pm UTC
Mal
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.

Well. Look at the bright side. It could be worse. They could be scanning you hard drive looking for words like China, Xi Jinping or Winnie the Pooh.

Who said they don't?
Shmerl 15 March 2019 at 3:56 pm UTC
F.UltraWell 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).

If they are paid for the service by developers, it shouldn't matter.
F.Ultra 15 March 2019 at 5:18 pm UTC
Shmerl
F.UltraWell 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).

If they are paid for the service by developers, it shouldn't matter.

I 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.
Shmerl 15 March 2019 at 5:43 pm UTC
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.


Last edited by Shmerl at 15 March 2019 at 6:03 pm UTC
F.Ultra 16 March 2019 at 7:12 pm UTC
Shmerl
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.
edenist 18 March 2019 at 5:11 am UTC
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!
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