Team Fortress 2 - Now with 65 billion percent more fragmentation!





  • Ok; I can't envision any reason why Steam needs to operate at this level of abstraction... it's a game download service, why is it defragging files?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Ok; I can't envision any reason why Steam needs to operate at this level of abstraction... it's a game download service, why is it defragging files?
     

    Because the people who wrote the program had the cool new thing they found out how to do?



  • @DescentJS said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    Ok; I can't envision any reason why Steam needs to operate at this level of abstraction... it's a game download service, why is it defragging files?
     

    Because the people who wrote the program had the cool new thing they found out how to do?

    They may have known about it, but they sure as hell didn't know how to implement it correctly.

    blakey, Steam stores games in some weird compressed file that encapsulates a pseudo-filesystem, which can apparently get fregmented. No, I don't understand it either, but that's how it is.



  • The compressed file can get fragmented in the ordinary way, not the filesystem inside (they're not dynamic).

    Steam added the ability to defrag game data files because it's a common performance problem for people who aren't technical enough to defrag them themselves.



  • @Thief^ said:

    The compressed file can get fragmented in the ordinary way, not the filesystem inside (they're not dynamic).

    Steam added the ability to defrag game data files because it's a common performance problem for people who aren't technical enough to defrag them themselves.

    What??  How large are these game files?  And if they're large enough for disk space allocation fragmentation to become a significant performance problem, whytf aren't they broken down into seperate files?  Swampie thinks directories are slow, so he keeps all his files in one directory.  Does Steam think files are slow, so they keep all the game data in one file?  That seems worse, not better.  Please tell me I'm completely misunderstanding this.



  • @Xyro said:

    What??  How large are these game files?  And if they're large enough for disk space allocation fragmentation to become a significant performance problem, whytf aren't they broken down into seperate files?  Swampie thinks directories are slow, so he keeps all his files in one directory.  Does Steam think files are slow, so they keep all the game data in one file?  That seems worse, not better.  Please tell me I'm completely misunderstanding this.

    They're usually several hundred megabytes long, and a few are over a gigabyte. Team Fortress 2 uses 7 of them: "source 2007 binaries" (122MB), "source 2007 shared materials" (985MB), "source 2007 shared models" (148MB), "source 2007 shared sounds" (2MB), "team fortress 2 client content" (5MB), "team fortress 2 content" (2GB), and "team fortress 2 materials" (1.2GB); the "source 2007" stuff is also used by Half Life 2 Episode 2 and Portal.



  • If done right, it is much quicker to load data from one file than several, because there won't be hard-disk seeks in between each item you're loading (~5ms for good hard-disks, it gets worse on laptops and much worse on optical media).



  • @Thief^ said:

    If done right, it is much quicker to load data from one file than several, because there won't be hard-disk seeks in between each item you're loading
    ...unless it's fragmented, bringing the problem full circle.  File allocation and layout should be the responsibility of the OS (through its filesystem), and deliberately working around the system is very questionable.  It can make sense to, say, pre-allocate a whole file during a download, but I have a hard time believing that tarring all the data files together into a few gigantic files can achieve a measurable performance gain on a filesystem worth its salt. 

    Then again, I also question 4-5GB games, so what do I know.

    Filed under: what is salt worth, anyway?

    Edit: PS, I just realized, you're able to use tags that already exist, you just can't create new ones.



  • @Xyro said:

    It can make sense to, say, pre-allocate a whole file during a download,

    If they're doing that, this is all a non-issue. And I can't imagine why they wouldn't be doing that... Steam knows exactly how much space is needed for each game.

    @Xyro said:

    but I have a hard time believing that tarring all the data files together into a few gigantic files can achieve a measurable performance gain on a filesystem worth its salt.

    Steam was made by idiots. Interns, at best. It's doubtful they even bother testing whether this was worthwhile or not.

    (Then again, it's likely they do it for DRM purposes... except I was able to simply un-zip Puzzle Quest 2 and extract artwork from it, so if it's supposed to be DRM, that doesn't work either.)

    @Xyro said:

    Then again, I also question 4-5GB games, so what do I know.

    What does that mean? You think they're imaginary?

    WOW's up to around 11 GB now, with the high-res textures. It'd blow your mind.



  • Stuffing game data in a few huge files is something that was common for ever since games started operating on anything with a FS, I'm not sure why are they doing this, but pretty much any game i see is like that.

      @blakeyrat said:

    WOW's up to around 11 GB now, with the high-res textures. It'd blow your mind.

     My current wow folder is 28GB, out of which 12GB are in Data/Cache (and no, i have no idea WTF is it caching there, it seems to be partial copies of other files in Data) and ~2.5GB are in 2 locale specific folders.



  • @bdew said:

    Stuffing game data in a few huge files is something that was common for ever since games started operating on anything with a FS, I'm not sure why are they doing this, but pretty much any game i see is like that.

      @blakeyrat said:

    WOW's up to around 11 GB now, with the high-res textures. It'd blow your mind.

     My current wow folder is 28GB, out of which 12GB are in Data/Cache (and no, i have no idea WTF is it caching there, it seems to be partial copies of other files in Data) and ~2.5GB are in 2 locale specific folders.

    Just because something (big honkin' WAD files) made sense in DOS on a 486 doesn't mean it makes sense now. Like games always defaulting to full-screen 1024x768. In 2010. WTF? It's not even a widescreen default. Even when it's clear (from the Options menu) that the game is perfectly capable of enumerating your main monitor's max resolution. (I swear they're just changing res to screw up my icons.)

    Whenever WOW downloads a patch, it *keeps* the downloaded installer. (Possibly for the consistency check? I dunno. Seems redundant now that their patcher can download files one-by-one as-needed.) So if you don't periodically delete downloaded installers, it bloats really really huge. I'm guessing that 12 GB are all installers from the patching utility, and your localization code is the rest of the gap.



  • @bdew said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    WOW's up to around 11 GB now, with the high-res textures. It'd blow your mind.
    My current wow folder is 28GB, out of which 12GB are in Data/Cache (and no, i have no idea WTF is it caching there, it seems to be partial copies of other files in Data) and ~2.5GB are in 2 locale specific folders.
    Good lord!  Last time I was into gaming, a game that filled a DVD was considered overkill.  What happened while I was gone?  Honestly, it's impressive that we have the luxury to spend such technology on entertainment.  Can you imagine explaining this to someone even ten years ago?



  • @Xyro said:

    Good lord!  Last time I was into gaming, a game that filled a DVD was considered overkill.  What happened while I was gone?

    Times change, grandpa. BTW, bdew's right, even deleting the downloaded patching, my WOW install is now 23.7 GB... haha! The latest expansion literally doubled the (file) size of the game.

    @Xyro said:

    Honestly, it's impressive that we have the luxury to spend such technology on entertainment.

    I would bet most DVD-sized games cost about the same to produce than, say, Wing Commander III back in the mid-90s. (Then again, WC3 shipped on 4 CDs, so it was almost the size of a single-layer DVD.)

    @Xyro said:

    Can you imagine explaining this to someone even ten years ago?

    I have a recurring fantasy when I go back in time and win WWI by using a $300 netbook to calculate artillery tables. The key is to go back far enough that you look like a magic wizard, but not so far back that they can't provide you with a steady supply of 110v 60hz power. I figure the 1910-ish range would be the best. (Plus they have gasoline, so you could bring a car.)



  • @blakeyrat said:

    The key is to go back far enough that you look like a magic wizard, but not so far back that they can't provide you with a steady supply of 110v 60hz power.
     

    ...even without the electrical requirement, you also need to ensure you won't get burned at the stake for demonstrating something as trivial as a bic lighter or a yoyo.



  •  The big jump in game size came in conjuction with SATA hard disks becoming commonplace.  Getting all those models and textures into RAM is where most computers start to have issues.  My Mass Effect 2 install with all DLCs weighs in at about 16 GB.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Whenever WOW downloads a patch, it keeps the downloaded installer. (Possibly for the consistency check? I dunno. Seems redundant now that their patcher can download files one-by-one as-needed.) So if you don't periodically delete downloaded installers, it bloats really really huge. I'm guessing that 12 GB are all installers from the patching utility, and your localization code is the rest of the gap.
     

    No it doesn't, it used to store them, but went normally went to somewhere user-writable, not to wow's instalation directory.

    The current downloader updates the big data files in place, and executables/dlls/etc. are downloaded into Updates/wow-<old build #>-<new build #>-<os>-final.mpq, unpacked from there and the mpq deleted right away.

    With some investigation it seems Data/Cache is indeed some kind of a cache, i've just wiped it and started the client and i's recreating the stuff that was there (and no, it isn't downloading anything, i checked).



  • @Xyro said:

    What happened while I was gone?
     

    SATA, BlueRay, Broadband Internet, >1TB consumer-level HDs, GPUs with 2GB of dedicated memory and more GFLOPs than your average supercomputing cluster?

    Fun fact: My first PC had an HD 100 times smaller than my current video ram.

    Another fun fact: I remember pirating MechWarrior 2 on 70-something 3.5" floppies ;)



  • @bdew said:

    No it doesn't, it used to store them, but went normally went to somewhere user-writable, not to wow's instalation directory.

    The current downloader updates the big data files in place, and executables/dlls/etc. are downloaded into Updates/wow-<old build #>-<new build #>-<os>-final.mpq, unpacked from there and the mpq deleted right away.

    Sorry you were right. In my defense, all of this changed only a few weeks ago, so what I said was correct for the other 6 years of WOW history. :)

    @bdew said:

    With some investigation it seems Data/Cache is indeed some kind of a cache, i've just wiped it and started the client and i's recreating the stuff that was there (and no, it isn't downloading anything, i checked).

    Mine does that too, but here's the weird part... the game's in "Program Files (x86)", and it's not running as admin-- how is it managing to write files there without triggering UAC? I think Blizzard's pulling some fishy shit here. Or is there a Microsoft-approved way to bypass UAC I don't know about?



  • @bdew said:

    SATA, BlueRay, Broadband Internet, >1TB consumer-level HDs, GPUs with 2GB of dedicated memory and more GFLOPs than your average supercomputing cluster?
    :-&nbsp; At least I have 2 out of those 6.  Although Verizon's DSL hardly qualifies as broadband.

    It's hard to justify an upgrade as long as my 8-year-old PC can compile faster than I can think of a debugging procedure.  1 GB RAM?  >2 GHz proc?  More than enough for anyone!   (PS, if anyone wants to buy me an i7 for Christmas...)



  • @Xyro said:

    Good lord!  Last time I was into gaming, a game that filled a DVD was considered overkill.  What happened while I was gone?
     

    Bigger textures. Open World. Complex models. And generally more of all of those.

    You've been gone for quite some time, haven't you?



  • @Xyro said:

    It's hard to justify an upgrade as long as my 8-year-old PC can compile faster than I can think of a debugging procedure.

    That's what WOW is for. Duh.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Mine does that too, but here's the weird part... the game's in "Program Files (x86)", and it's not running as admin-- how is it managing to write files there without triggering UAC? I think Blizzard's pulling some fishy shit here. Or is there a Microsoft-approved way to bypass UAC I don't know about?

    1. You leave UAC enabled on your home PC? WHY? UAC is the first thing I disable on any PC I have to spend large amounts of time on.
    2. If you run a Windows Installer with admin privileges, I believe the privileges propagate to the executable files in the directory you install to.



  • @Quietust said:

    @Xyro said:

    What??  How large are these game files?  And if they're large enough for disk space allocation fragmentation to become a significant performance problem, whytf aren't they broken down into seperate files?  Swampie thinks directories are slow, so he keeps all his files in one directory.  Does Steam think files are slow, so they keep all the game data in one file?  That seems worse, not better.  Please tell me I'm completely misunderstanding this.

    They're usually several hundred megabytes long, and a few are over a gigabyte. Team Fortress 2 uses 7 of them: "source 2007 binaries" (122MB), "source 2007 shared materials" (985MB), "source 2007 shared models" (148MB), "source 2007 shared sounds" (2MB), "team fortress 2 client content" (5MB), "team fortress 2 content" (2GB), and "team fortress 2 materials" (1.2GB); the "source 2007" stuff is also used by Half Life 2 Episode 2 and Portal.

     

    You forgot to mention that  "team fortress 2 client content", "team fortress 2 content" and "team fortress 2 materials" are updated quite reguarly, with the most recent update for all 3 (or at least client content + materials) being yesterday, 2010 December 21.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @bdew said:

    No it doesn't, it used to store them, but went normally went to somewhere user-writable, not to wow's instalation directory.

    The current downloader updates the big data files in place, and executables/dlls/etc. are downloaded into Updates/wow-<old build #>-<new build #>-<os>-final.mpq, unpacked from there and the mpq deleted right away.

    Sorry you were right. In my defense, all of this changed only a few weeks ago, so what I said was correct for the other 6 years of WOW history. :)

    @bdew said:

    With some investigation it seems Data/Cache is indeed some kind of a cache, i've just wiped it and started the client and i's recreating the stuff that was there (and no, it isn't downloading anything, i checked).

    Mine does that too, but here's the weird part... the game's in "Program Files (x86)", and it's not running as admin-- how is it managing to write files there without triggering UAC? I think Blizzard's pulling some fishy shit here. Or is there a Microsoft-approved way to bypass UAC I don't know about?

     

    Likely the installer changes the permissions on the World of Warcraft directory when you first install it...the one time it does prompt you for UAC.

    Steam does this too.



  • @The_Assimilator said:

    1. You leave UAC enabled on your home PC? WHY? UAC is the first thing I disable on any PC I have to spend large amounts of time on.

    Yeah, of course. Why wouldn't I?

    @The_Assimilator said:

    2. If you run a Windows Installer with admin privileges, I believe the privileges propagate to the executable files in the directory you install to.

    Interesting. Is that what the "CREATOR OWNER" permission I'm seeing is?

    Still, it would be nice if WOW and Steam used the NTFS filesystem the way it was designed to be used, instead of going out of their way to propagate Windows 98 silliness.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @The_Assimilator said:
    1. You leave UAC enabled on your home PC? WHY? UAC is the first thing I disable on any PC I have to spend large amounts of time on.

    Yeah, of course. Why wouldn't I?

    So you don't get annoyed by a dialog asking you to give permission every time you want to install, or in some cases run, the executable you just double-clicked because you want to install or run it?

    @blakeyrat said:

    @The_Assimilator said:
    2. If you run a Windows Installer with admin privileges, I believe the privileges propagate to the executable files in the directory you install to.

    Interesting. Is that what the "CREATOR OWNER" permission I'm seeing is?

    Correct sir - but IIRC the installer also has to be digitally signed with a valid certificate to be allowed to do that sort of thing.

    @blakeyrat said:

    Still, it would be nice if WOW and Steam used the NTFS filesystem the way it was designed to be used, instead of going out of their way to propagate Windows 98 silliness.

    I'm pretty sure that the Windows program compatibility team wish something similar every minute of every day. (Man I'm glad I'm not one of those guys - the work is probably very interesting, but I'm also sure their WTFs-per-hour is quite high, and I don't have a high tolerance for badly-written programs.) I actually have to wonder how Valve came up with the idea of their own defragger - why don't they just ask the user to run the built-in Windows one? And since Windows 7 auto-defrags in the background, how much impact will custom (and possibly broken) Valve defrag code have?

    I would've thought Valve would place a higher priority on fixing Steam's repeated refusals to update that seemingly every one of its users has experienced, but I guess college kids don't dig that sort of thing. /rant



  •  Can a folder be defragmented seperately on Windows? Does the Windows defragmenting process line up files in the same directory, or only the contents of files?

    If only files or entire volumes can be defragmented and the process would only align file contents, but not directory contents, it's more beneficial to put it all in 1 big file.

    About the game size discussion: my entire Steam directory is about 250GB big, with not even that many games in it. My Wow folder is a little over 30GB, but that's including (BMP) screenshots.

    Games are just growing bigger and bigger, nothing new there. :) I almost can't remember the last time I installed a game that was under 10GB.

     

    PS. Turning UAC off is "The Real WTF"... on Windows 7 it isn't even so bad, and if you're running Vista you can still keep it running but disable most of the alert windows... UAC, in essence, is a Good Thing (tm).

    PPS. My Wow installed to C:\Users\Public\Games\ on both my PC and laptop (both Windows 7), I wonder what is up with that... perhaps it couldn't get proper access to Program Files?

     Edit

    @The_Assimilator said:

    I'm pretty sure that the Windows program compatibility team wish
    something similar every minute of every day. (Man I'm glad I'm not one
    of those guys - the work is probably very interesting, but I'm also sure
    their WTFs-per-hour is quite high, and I don't have a high tolerance
    for badly-written programs.) I actually have to wonder how Valve came up
    with the idea of their own defragger - why don't they just ask the user
    to run the built-in Windows one? And since Windows 7 auto-defrags in
    the background, how much impact will custom (and possibly broken) Valve
    defrag code have?

    I would've thought Valve would place a higher priority on fixing Steam's repeated refusals to update that seemingly every one of its users has experienced, but I guess college kids don't dig that sort of thing. /rant


     It wouldn't surprise me if Steam simply uses Windows API calls or whatever to defragment their game files, and not have built something of their own. And who says the Windows defragmentation process is the best anyway? There are countless defragmentation tools out there claiming to be better (I don't have any experience with any of them, so I don't know if any of them actually are better).

    PS (yes another one): what kind of problems does everyone seem to have with Steam? I think it's a wonderful platform (easy to purchase games, one place to access all my games from) and I don't think the interface nor the system really is that bad.



  • @pbean said:

     It wouldn't surprise me if Steam simply uses Windows API calls or whatever to defragment their game files, and not have built something of their own. And who says the Windows defragmentation process is the best anyway? There are countless defragmentation tools out there claiming to be better (I don't have any experience with any of them, so I don't know if any of them actually are better).

    I'm sure that's what they do. In fact, all live defragmenting tools have to go through the API to some extent.



  • @pbean said:

    PPS. My Wow installed to C:\Users\Public\Games\ on both my PC and laptop (both Windows 7), I wonder what is up with that... perhaps it couldn't get proper access to Program Files?
    On my computer (Windows 7) Google's Chrome Browser installs to  C:\Users\username\AppData\Local&nbsp; which seems really strange.  As for access permissions, there's a lot of weird randomness in Windows 7 and Vista.  Doing a clean install on multiple computers with identical hardware yields different results.  Sometimes you have to modify permissions to access certain files/folders/registry keys but other times you don't.

     



  •  TRWTF is NTFS.  EXT4 serves me well.



  • GCFs have emulated filesystems inside of them, so they can't be defragmented by defragmenting the hard drive. "team fortress 3 content.gcf" and "team fortress 2 materials.gcf" total 6.27 Gigabytes.



  • @The_Assimilator said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    @The_Assimilator said:
    1. You leave UAC enabled on your home PC? WHY? UAC is the first thing I disable on any PC I have to spend large amounts of time on.

    Yeah, of course. Why wouldn't I?

    So you don't get annoyed by a dialog asking you to give permission every time you want to install, or in some cases run, the executable you just double-clicked because you want to install or run it?

    No.

    And I definitely like getting the UAC dialog when I'm *not* expecting an application to ask permission-- it's saved my ass more than once. Besides, it's a hell of a lot less onerous than entering your password, like in OS X. (Although you can set UAC to ask for a password, I believe.)

    But you have to remember, I'm not a crotchety luddite who hates all change.



  • @pbean said:

    PS (yes another one): what kind of problems does everyone seem to have with Steam? I think it's a wonderful platform (easy to purchase games, one place to access all my games from) and I don't think the interface nor the system really is that bad.

    Do you really want a list?

    *) It started with -1000 points, since when it was new Steam did nothing but prevent people from playing their long-delayed Half-Life 2 purchase for 3 days due to bugs
    *) The app's usability, and most of its coding is abyssimal. Until the last year or so, I'd call it borderline broken. Even now you can't use shift-up arrow to select text in a Steam textbox. (God forbid they use the OS-standard textbox widget! Then it might fucking work!!)
    *) The customer service is entirely un-contact-able. Good luck trying to get the correct price if there's a pricing error in Steam's database! (And there often is-- I'm a casual user and I see pricing errors all the time)
    *) Any game that ships on CD/DVD and claims to be able to install itself into your Steam library utterly fails. Fails in a way where your computer uses 100% CPU time and thrashes your poor disk for 24 hours, and the progress bar never advances past 1% (fortunately, you can usually have Steam download these)
    *) About a third of the games on Steam don't work in Vista or Windows 7... some (Quake 1-based games) don't work at all. Valve doesn't care. They also don't offer refunds if your game doesn't work
    *) About once every three months or so, Steam will manage to corrupt either itself, or one of its games, and require a long re-download and re-install. If you're lucky, you don't lose save games when this happens

    I think that Steam has *grown* to become something decent, but it's been digging itself out of a hole since launch day, and there's still too many things that Valve simply doesn't feel like fixing. That said, it's still the best of a bad bunch.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    About a third of the games on Steam don't work in Vista or Windows 7... some (Quake 1-based games) don't work at all. Valve doesn't care. They also don't offer refunds if your game doesn't work
     

     

    Do they seriously just try to give you the actual DOS executables? I've just gone with the assumption that they actually had a god damned clue and wouldn't try to sell DOS games exactly as they were. It's not like there aren't a bajillion source ports that work fine or anything. I guess they're too busy tweaking their defragmentation code to care.



  • @BC_Programmer said:

    Do they seriously just try to give you the actual DOS executables?

    I dunno; but whatever executables they give you don't work. I was able to get Quake I working by using a third-party Quake engine, but I never got the expansions working right.

    @BC_Programmer said:

    It's not like there aren't a bajillion source ports that work fine or anything. I guess they're too busy tweaking their defragmentation code to care.

    That what drives me nuts. While they're re-inventing wheels, like defragging files or writing textboxes that don't fucking work right, they could have been spending that time fixing actual problems.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    *) It started with -1000 points, since when it was new Steam did nothing but prevent people from playing their long-delayed Half-Life 2 purchase for 3 days due to bugs

    ...

    I think that Steam has *grown* to become something decent, but it's been digging itself out of a hole since launch day, and there's still too many things that Valve simply doesn't feel like fixing. That said, it's still the best of a bad bunch.

     

    Steam launched over a year before Half-Life 2 came out.  I know, because [url=http://steamcommunity.com/id/powerlord/]my Steam account[/url] is from mid-2003, while Half-Life 2 launched in late 2004.

    Having said that, Steam definitely sucked when it launched.  I really only got it to automate HL1 updates... which also netted me all of HL1's mods (Opposing Force, Blue Shift, Counter-Strike, etc...) as an early Steam bonus.

    @blakeyrat said:

    *) The app's usability, and most of its coding is abyssimal. Until the last year or so, I'd call it borderline broken. Even now you can't use shift-up arrow to select text in a Steam textbox. (God forbid they use the OS-standard textbox widget! Then it might fucking work!!)

    The new version uses Webkit for rendering, so you can blame Apple for that.

    @blakeyrat said:

    *) About a third of the games on Steam don't work in Vista or Windows 7... some (Quake 1-based games) don't work at all. Valve doesn't care. They also don't offer refunds if your game doesn't work

    Don't they?  I just assumed Quake 1-based games ran through DOSBox, just like Doom does.  I know Doom worked, albeit with a stupid control scheme that I'm not sure how to change.  I'm really spoiled by mouse-look, which didn't really become common until Quake launched... or was it Half-Life that made Mouselook common?

    @blakeyrat said:

    *) About once every three months or so, Steam will manage to corrupt either itself, or one of its games, and require a long re-download and re-install. If you're lucky, you don't lose save games when this happens

    I've only had that happen once in three years.




  • @blakeyrat said:

    @pbean said:
    PS (yes another one): what kind of problems does everyone seem to have with Steam? I think it's a wonderful platform (easy to purchase games, one place to access all my games from) and I don't think the interface nor the system really is that bad.

    Do you really want a list?

    *) It started with -1000 points, since when it was new Steam did nothing but prevent people from playing their long-delayed Half-Life 2 purchase for 3 days due to bugs
    *) The app's usability, and most of its coding is abyssimal. Until the last year or so, I'd call it borderline broken. Even now you can't use shift-up arrow to select text in a Steam textbox. (God forbid they use the OS-standard textbox widget! Then it might fucking work!!)
    *) The customer service is entirely un-contact-able. Good luck trying to get the correct price if there's a pricing error in Steam's database! (And there often is-- I'm a casual user and I see pricing errors all the time)
    *) Any game that ships on CD/DVD and claims to be able to install itself into your Steam library utterly fails. Fails in a way where your computer uses 100% CPU time and thrashes your poor disk for 24 hours, and the progress bar never advances past 1% (fortunately, you can usually have Steam download these)
    *) About a third of the games on Steam don't work in Vista or Windows 7... some (Quake 1-based games) don't work at all. Valve doesn't care. They also don't offer refunds if your game doesn't work
    *) About once every three months or so, Steam will manage to corrupt either itself, or one of its games, and require a long re-download and re-install. If you're lucky, you don't lose save games when this happens

    I think that Steam has *grown* to become something decent, but it's been digging itself out of a hole since launch day, and there's still too many things that Valve simply doesn't feel like fixing. That said, it's still the best of a bad bunch.

     

    I'm very sorry that you've been experiencing all these problems, but are you sure you're not actively seeking them out just so you can bash Steam? :P (Just joking, please don't flame me XD). I've had some minor problems with Steam in the past, but nothing major. Never had any problems installing games, luckily haven't had to contact the customer service (also never seen a pricing error), and especially have never seen Steam corrupt itself (but that must be me being lucky, because I'm the kind of person who can work with a single Windows installation for 4 years without having to reinstall -- the same with Steam).

    They do indeed sell games that don't work in Vista or Windows 7, but does it list as supporting them? I bought some old DOS games (for example Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis -- great game, btw!) and didn't expect it to work it all. To my surprise they bundled it with a fully configured DOSBox and it worked great.

    Point is, one user's experience doesn't make a product crap. I guess you've had bad luck, and I've had some better luck. I do agree however that the UI has some bugs which can be annoying (yes, they should use standard widgets!) and at the start it was a bit problematic at times. But right now, I feel happier using Steam than not using such a platform in the days before Steam.



  • @pbean said:

    They do indeed sell games that don't work in Vista or Windows 7, but does it list as supporting them? I bought some old DOS games (for example Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis -- great game, btw!) and didn't expect it to work it all. To my surprise they bundled it with a fully configured DOSBox and it worked great.
     

    If you try buying one that doesn't through the Steam app, it will actually warn you when you try to add it to your cart.  Or at least it did before they rolled the new version out.  Try it with the King's Quest Collection if you don't believe me.



  • @powerlord said:

    I've only had that happen once in three years.
     

    That's still one time too often. ^^ I would hate if I had to download all my Steam games again.



  • @powerlord said:

    Steam launched over a year before Half-Life 2 came out.  I know, because my Steam account is from mid-2003, while Half-Life 2 launched in late 2004.

    Well, ok. Steam launched at 0, then lost 1000 points when Half-Life 2 came out and nobody could fucking play it because it relied on Steam and Steam was broken. After already waiting a fucking year after Half-Life 2's release date. Which Valve only changed because hackers revealed how buggy the source was and forced them to admit it. HL2's a good game, but everything about its development and launch is a huge WTF.

    @powerlord said:

    The new version uses Webkit for rendering, so you can blame Apple for that.

    I would assume (read: hope against hope) that Webkit, being cross-platform, doesn't draw undoubtedly-broken widgets itself, but instead allows the browser implementor to draw OS-standard widgets. In any case:

    1) This bug happens in the IM windows, which I assume aren't rendered by Webkit. (Although I could be wrong...)
    2) Every other Webkit application, including Safari and Chrome, correctly handle the shift-up arrow shortcut

    @powerlord said:

    Don't they?

    They didn't about a year ago when I tried. Maybe they do now; I dunno. Does Quake even run in DOSBox?

    @powerlord said:

    I've only had that happen once in three years.

    Then you're one of the lucky ones. Then again, I had a launch-day Xbox 360 that lasted almost 5 years, and when it finally busted it wasn't due to RRoD. So maybe I'm just lucky in Xbox-related areas and unlucky in PC-related areas.

    Actually, thinking strategically from Valve's point of view, I can kind of understand where they're coming from. They're selling games to an audience so uncaring about buggy, broken software that (most of them) still regularly buy EA products... I mean, shit, if you're buying an EA/DICE game and can tolerate that level of bugginess, why would you care about the relatively minor bugs in the software you used to purchase it? The key to successful software: have low expectations, but only *sell* to people who have low expectations.



  • @pbean said:

    I'm very sorry that you've been experiencing all these problems, but are you sure you're not actively seeking them out just so you can bash Steam? :P (Just joking, please don't flame me XD).

    I bash pretty much everything. I have high standards when it comes to software, and I consider that a good thing. If people didn't tolerate buggy software, there wouldn't be buggy software.

    @pbean said:

    They do indeed sell games that don't work in Vista or Windows 7, but does it list as supporting them?

    In very small, hard-to-miss text, yes. The other half of this problem is you never know whether that text is because the game actually is broken in Vista/7, or just because it's not tested in Vista/7. (Just because Tribes says "Windows 98" on the box doesn't mean it's incompatible with Windows 7. To give one example.) It would be nice if Valve introduced a more helpful system, or hired some people to actively test software when new versions of Windows comes out-- yes it's a lot of work, but their catalog isn't that big, and they could hire interns.

    @pbean said:

    I bought some old DOS games (for example Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis -- great game, btw!) and didn't expect it to work it all. To my surprise they bundled it with a fully configured DOSBox and it worked great.

    It would be nice if they had a window size somewhere in-between "postage stamp" and "fill your ginormous monitor with inch-tall pixels". But, yah, I tried The Dig and it works fine, which is nice.

    @pbean said:

    But right now, I feel happier using Steam than not using such a platform in the days before Steam.

    You might have missed the part where I said that Steam, with all its warts, is still better than pretty much all of its competition. Better prices and selection than GOG. (Plus they don't pull retarded publicity stunts like GOG does!) Better software, prices, and selection than Impulse. (Unless you're one of those freaks who really wants to play Elemental: War of Whatever.)



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Mine does that too, but here's the weird part... the game's in "Program Files (x86)", and it's not running as admin-- how is it managing to write files there without triggering UAC? I think Blizzard's pulling some fishy shit here. Or is there a Microsoft-approved way to bypass UAC I don't know about?
    There's two ways of doing this: write a service that does updates for you, or use the latest Windows Installer, which allows limited users to install updates for already installed programs (only when the original installer and the update are signed; I'm pretty sure that recent versions of Adobe Reader use this).@blakeyrat said:
    I would assume (read: hope against hope) that Webkit, being cross-platform, doesn't draw undoubtedly-broken widgets itself, but instead allows the browser implementor to draw OS-standard widgets.
    Your assumption is wrong - no (Windows) browser uses system widgets (this includes Internet Explorer), apparently because of the GDI object limits.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @The_Assimilator said:
    @blakeyrat said:
    @The_Assimilator said:
    1. You leave UAC enabled on your home PC? WHY? UAC is the first thing I disable on any PC I have to spend large amounts of time on.

    Yeah, of course. Why wouldn't I?

    So you don't get annoyed by a dialog asking you to give permission every time you want to install, or in some cases run, the executable you just double-clicked because you want to install or run it?

    No.

    ...

    But you have to remember, I'm not a crotchety luddite who hates all change.

    Oh snap. :)

    I've been using PCs for over a decade now and have never had a virus (if only my immune system was as careful...). I've always been very careful about what I install (a habit from Win98 days I guess :p) and I always make sure I have firewall and antivirus installed, enabled and up-to-date. Hence I essentially do "my own" UAC in my head.

    My view of UAC is that it was designed as a safety net for people like grandmas who double-click every EXE they get sent in emails and end up with their computer as part of a botnet. I honestly don't see it as necessary if you're a careful power user.



  • @powerlord said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    *) About a third of the games on Steam don't work in Vista or Windows
    7... some (Quake 1-based games) don't work at all. Valve doesn't care.
    They also don't offer refunds if your game doesn't work

    Don't they?  I just assumed Quake 1-based games ran through DOSBox, just like Doom does.

    Quake had a native Windows version, maybe they package that.



  • @The_Assimilator said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    @The_Assimilator said:
    @blakeyrat said:
    @The_Assimilator said:
    1. You leave UAC enabled on your home PC? WHY? UAC is the first thing I disable on any PC I have to spend large amounts of time on.

    Yeah, of course. Why wouldn't I?

    So you don't get annoyed by a dialog asking you to give permission every time you want to install, or in some cases run, the executable you just double-clicked because you want to install or run it?

    No.

    ...

    But you have to remember, I'm not a crotchety luddite who hates all change.

    Oh snap. :)

    I've been using PCs for over a decade now and have never had a virus (if only my immune system was as careful...). I've always been very careful about what I install (a habit from Win98 days I guess :p) and I always make sure I have firewall and antivirus installed, enabled and up-to-date. Hence I essentially do "my own" UAC in my head.

    My view of UAC is that it was designed as a safety net for people like grandmas who double-click every EXE they get sent in emails and end up with their computer as part of a botnet. I honestly don't see it as necessary if you're a careful power user.

    Sometimes when feeling adventurous (mostly while being drunk) I would click on an executable I don't fully trust. For kicks :-)

    From my own experience, UAC is only annoying when you are setting up a new computer, installing all your tools, applications and games. Once everything is configured as you want it, it doesn't show up that often anymore



  • @ender said:

    Your assumption is wrong - no (Windows) browser uses system widgets (this includes Internet Explorer), apparently because of the GDI object limits.

    If you say so. That doesn't change the fact that to correctly write a browser, you should be using system widgets (even if you're limited to only gasp! 16,386 at once!!) And it sure as fuck doesn't change the fact that a textbox in Windows where the shift-up arrow shortcut doesn't work is completely fucking broken.

    Look, I don't mind a program writing their own widgets if they can get it right. The problem is: they never do. NEVER. Firefox's are the closest I've seen, they're pretty much spot-on on Windows. (But completely broken on OS X.) If you can't do it right, then don't fucking do it.

    @The_Assimilator said:

    Oh snap. :)

    I've been using PCs for over a decade now and have never had a virus (if only my immune system was as careful...). I've always been very careful about what I install (a habit from Win98 days I guess :p) and I always make sure I have firewall and antivirus installed, enabled and up-to-date. Hence I essentially do "my own" UAC in my head.

    My view of UAC is that it was designed as a safety net for people like grandmas who double-click every EXE they get sent in emails and end up with their computer as part of a botnet. I honestly don't see it as necessary if you're a careful power user.

    If I live for a million years, I'll never understand the bitching about UAC. Windows users spend decades bitching and moaning about Microsoft software having bad security, so Microsoft adds a security feature that's simultaneously more secure than all competing OSes, and more usable, and what happens? Those same users start bitching about it! What. The. Fuck.

    UAC was designed as a safety net for *everybody*. Maybe it's not necessary if you're a "careful power user" (whatever that means), but since it also doesn't hurt anything, you'd be an idiot to turn it off-- wouldn't a *careful* power user want as many layers of security as possible?



  • @Ben L. said:

    TRWTF is using Steam to defrag GCF's. its a Known Fact that Nem's GCFScape does a MUCH better job.

    To those wondering, Steam uses a thing which it calls a "GCF" or "Game Cache File" -- they're essentially virtual file systems that can be mounted alongside each other, each have a tag name, each are cryptographically signed, and only Steam can actually ADD to them without breaking things. The point is that its a lot easier to compress a bunch of HUGE FILES with SIMILAR content than a bunch of LITTLE files with DIFFERENT content.

    the problem with the defragmentation is that the internal FS has its own /cluster/ system. Yes kids, independent of the OS FS cluster, GCFs have their OWN FS cluster system, which is generally around 1M however it can be as small as 8K, and which Steam can't always figure out right. Steam will report 0% when the real number is somewhere around 10% or more.

    HOWEVER the biggest problem is that Windows really likes breaking up Steam's clusters. Its defragmentation TOTALLY fucks up Steam's. Why? Because GCFs are written out of order. Windows doesn't like that.

    Average WINDOWS clusters: [0][1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]
    same clusters as GCF: [3][4][7][8][2][1][0][5][6]

    Spot the problem? Steam organizes by "Most Used" in the GCF, creating artificial fragmentation. if one section is used WAY more than another, it will reorganize the CGF so that seek times are less (bullshit) and "increase performance" (Bulllshit). GCFScape reorganizes the GCF so that it matches Windows' expectations. Steam hates this, but it improves performance.

    ALSO, Community Server Blows Goats: 3 posts!



  • @blakeyrat said:

    so Microsoft adds a security feature
     

    Except that Microsoft says it's not a security feature

     

     



  •  UAC is just another bit in a disturbing trend, where we are using technology to address people's general lack of knowledge and intelligence, thereby encouraging people to learn less, and therefore not be as competent.

    Also, UAC =/= security of any kind.  If grandma wants to run an exe, UAC will pop up, and she, without second thought, and without reading it, click "Allow."  It addresses nothing if you don't know what it is, and most people don't know what it is.  The answer to this, and many other tech issues regarding users, is that the user has to take responsibility to learn how to use a computer, and if they don't, it will bite them in the ass.


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