Valve

Guess What’s Coming to OSX Tomorrow?

Limiting Steam for Mac to Specific (Free) Content Servers

I have had iiNet ADSL for a very long time, and as a result of one of their acquisitions, the 3FL game servers now count as "freezone" for all iiNet customers. Whats really great about this, is that 3FL has official steam content servers; so steam downloads from 3FL are "freezone" too! This is great, if like me you are a die-hard valve/steam fan boi.

The problem is that Steam uses a "BitTorrentesque" download technique and despite any settings you make inside Steam, it will not guarantee that it will limit its downloading from that server. Windows users for a while now have had an app called SteamWatch which monitors Steam, and when it trys to download from another server, forcibly closes the connection on Steam. Sadly, mac users dont have anything so easy, yet. However, here is a shell script which adds a number of rules to the OSX firewall to stop steam from downloading from non-free servers:

  1. /sbin/IPFW -f flush
  2. /sbin/IPFW -f add 3000 allow tcp from any to 203.59.140.194 27030 out
  3. /sbin/IPFW -f add 3001 allow tcp from any to 202.173.128.178 27030 out
  4. /sbin/IPFW -f add 3020 deny tcp from any to any 27030 out

Just save these lines into a text file (mine is called 'rules.sh') and then in the terminal (and from the directory you saved the file) execute:

  1. sudo bash rules.sh

In this case, I have setup the rules for 2 servers, 203.59.140.194 and 202.173.128.178 which are the 2 servers which correspond to free content servers for iiNet. If you are not iiNet, and can find out the IPs of your free Steam servers, just remove those lines and add/edit accordingly.

Now, this is not a silver bullet. When these rules are on, it may restrict or otherwise affect online gaming and some Steam games may not download at all (because not every Steam content server has 100% of the steam catalogue on it!). However, when you reboot, its reset, or you can run this command at a terminal prompt:

  1. sudo /sbin/IPFW -f flush

...and the rules will be reset.  Happy free downloading!

Only 11 More Sleeps…

Words cannot describe how much this excites me.  Only in my wildest dreams did I think Steam (my absolute favorite gaming platform) would ever come to Mac OSX.  Then I saw this news, which made me giddier than a school-girl.

I watched April come and go, and still no Steam for Mac.

But then my patience was rewarded when Valve gave a hard date of May 12, 2010 as the official release date.  Now obviously we Mac peeps wont get the entire Steam catalog, but Valve has more-or-less promised their library and any future games to be simultaneously released on PC, Mac and XBox360.

Valve also has a nasty habit of pushing back release dates again, and again - but I am hopeful that this time, they'll do us proud.

High-Res Versions of Steam for Mac Teaser Images

Someone over at the Steam forums, made some wicked high-resolution (high-definition) versions of the new Steam for Mac teaser image Valve released a few weeks ago.  I thought I would post them here in case the root link goes missing for whatever reason.  "...and I'm a PC" and "iSandwich".

Woot! Valve Confirms Steam for Mac OSX

Its been speculated for some time now, but it turns out that sometimes rumours that seem too good to be true, do materialize after all.  Steam is coming to the Mac.

And not just im some crappy pseudo lameness through a dodgy emulation or some-such, but real honest to god native application which is, according to Valve to be considered a tier-1 level platform with simultaneous releases for PC, Mac and XBox 360 from now on.  Also, Mac and PC builds will be concurrent, patches will be released to both simultaneously as well.  The source engine, also gets the native treatment, now that Valve has incorporated OpenGL into its award winning, modular engine.

Portal 2 will be Valve's first simultaneous release for Mac and Windows. "Checking in code produces a PC build and Mac build at the same time, automatically, so the two platforms are perfectly in lock-step," said Josh Weier, Portal 2 Project Lead. "We're always playing a native version on the Mac right alongside the PC. This makes it very easy for us and for anyone using Source to do game development for the Mac."

This means that all steam games will be theoretically available to Mac users. Steam and Valve's own library of games including Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal, and the Half-Life series will be available as soon as April (next month).

But looking at the bigger picture, I think this is a huge industry changing announcement from Valve.  I think this will be the event all Linux and Mac users had been hoping for to finally bust the lid off the "Windows is best for games".  This is a great idea from valve because it means that they're going to have access toa  huge market of new potential gamers.  I suspect that many OSX users will flock to Steam as their de facto games delivery platform, since historically only very large titles were ever ported to MAc, and generally years after the PC launch.

What's more, if Valve is to be beleived, it may be more than just Source games coming, Gabe Newell, President of Valve said:

"As we transition from entertainment as a product to entertainment as a service, customers and developers need open, high-quality Internet clients, the Mac is a great platform for entertainment services."

"Our Steam partners, who are delivering over a thousand games to 25 million Steam clients, are very excited about adding support for the Mac," said Jason Holtman, Director of Business Development at Valve. "Steamworks for the Mac supports all of the Steamworks APIs, and we have added a new feature, called Steam Play, which allows customers who purchase the product for the Mac or Windows to play on the other platform free of charge. For example, Steam Play, in combination with the Steam Cloud, allows a gamer playing on their work PC to go home and pick up playing the same game at the same point on their home Mac. We expect most developers and publishers to take advantage of Steam Play."

Given the lack of enthusiasm for Windows Vista, and given he number of people I know to be making the move from Windows to Mac, I think this will only lessen the ties people have with Windows.  Especially that source game licenses are granted for either platform.  Blizzard has done this too, for the record.  Its not quite as elegant as steam, but battle.net was (to my knowledge) the first way to get dual platform licences which could be downloaded from the web.

In summary, this is such exciting news for me, I am positively elated.  And I think that this will cause quite a stir in the games industry, in that games that support only one platform may finally be a thing of the past.