Steam WTF: "You have to wait, but WE WON'T TELL YOU!"



  • So, I've been buying a lot of games lately. Because the Indie Humble Bundle is so cheap, I've bought 12 of it since the 3rd edition, about 1 year ago. (Also a few Royale Bundle and Indie Gala bundles). There's more than 100 games.



    They all come with Steam keys so you can add the games to your steam account. As I'm really lazy I had activated just a few keys until very recently. Then I started activating a lot of keys. In the first day I probably activated more than 10 keys, maybe 20. No problem (besides the fact Steam seems to hang for 30 to 60 seconds when I insert the keys). But all keys worked fine.



    Yesterday I decided to activate the remaining keys and I start getting "Invalid product code" errors for all keys. As those are rather old keys (I've started buying those bundles 1 year ago) my first thought is "damn, they've expired". No reply from Steam support. Humble Bundle support says they're 100% sure the keys are valid and recommend logging out and logging in again, updating the steam client, rebooting... Had done all those already.



    So today I try again using a key it just rejected yesterday... And Steam accepts it. Guess what? It seems there is some sort of limit on how many keys a person can activate per day / hour / time frame. Remember I said a couple weeks ago I activated about 20 keys? Yesterday I activated around 5. Today I activated around five, started getting errors, waited for 2 hours, activated a few more, about 4 or 5, then started getting errors again...



    The WTF here is less of having a limit on activations (I can understand Steam wants to avoid frauds and stuff), but FOR GOD'S SAKE WHY THEY SHOW THE WRONG ERROR MESSAGE? A completely innacurate, fake, misleading message that is telling a complete lie. The certainly know they are ensuing an activationg limit. How hard is it to implement a new screen saying so and asking to "please wait x amount of time"?



    Unless it is some sort of key activation bug that magically goes away in a few hours. Still a WTF.



    (This WTF is not as near as huge as one I faced early this year where I basically couldn't start the Steam client if I was offline. I'm online, start steam, change to offline mode? Fine. Close it, it would try to restart in offline mode and say "sorry, you have to be online to perform this action". OH RLY?!)



  • @atipico said:

    Yesterday I decided to activate the
    @atipico said:
    No reply from Steam support.

    You forgot to factor in Valve time. They answered you three months ago, which, in Valve time, is next Tuesday.



  • @Ben L. said:

    You forgot to factor in Valve time. They answered you three months ago, which, in Valve time, is next Tuesday.

    In the past I've dealt with tech support calls, both as a customer and as a tech support operator. I've probably developed time-bending hability by osmosis (and countless hours waiting on the phone). And probably lost my mind to elder unspoken horrors in the process, too.





  • I would like to say you should bow down and thank Christ every day that it's not PSN Store.



  • Steam does this with other things, too, like purchases.  If you buy too many things within a short while, it starts telling you every credit card you try is "invalid".  You have to wait out some hidden timer before you can buy again.

    Found that out last Christmas when I tried shopping for about 15 people on Steam.  Of course, a more sane shopping system might also let me do crazy things, like add all the stuff to my cart at once and gasp gift them to different people on my friends list, rather than make me do one transaction per person.



  • Steam is full of WTF. I bought Sonic Generations a few weeks ago, and after several days downloading on my dodgy-as-fuck wifi it was finally installed. I went to open it and it immediately crashed. I could load the config screen but not the actual game.

    I tried all of the usual Steam troubleshooting - clearing the game cache etc. and finally resorted to dfeleting and re downloading. Two days later it was installed again and crashed again. A fair bit of googling revealed that this was relatively common with this game, and hidden halfway down a thread in an obscure forum was the advice to exit steam and try again. This worked first time.

    Why would a game be that closely tied to the client? And why was there no advice in the troubleshooting that it may be worth turning it off and on again?



  • @jaloopa said:

    Filed under: does anyone actually use tags to classify their post?

    You seem to be new here...

    @jaloopa said:

    Posts: 1

    Ah.



  • Another steam-related WTF:

    You have no official way of knowing beforehand how much space you need in order to install your entire steam library. Okay, probably no-one installs his entire steam library, but let's say I'm gonna buy a new PC and I want to know how much storage space I need. The only way is opening steam client, clicking properties on each game, noting their (claimed) storage space and summing up each entry.

    Or using a javascript applet

    (Both methods are non-accurate, as total sizes are only declared by the games and sometimes are completely wrong).

    Another WTF, there's no way to see your product code activation history.... unless you are using the steam android app, then you can see it just fine.



  • @atipico said:

    Another steam-related WTF:

    You have no official way of knowing beforehand how much space you need in order to install your entire steam library. Okay, probably no-one installs his entire steam library, but let's say I'm gonna buy a new PC and I want to know how much storage space I need. The only way is opening steam client, clicking properties on each game, noting their (claimed) storage space and summing up each entry.

    Or using a javascript applet

    (Both methods are non-accurate, as total sizes are only declared by the games and sometimes are completely wrong).

    Another WTF, there's no way to see your product code activation history.... unless you are using the steam android app, then you can see it just fine.

    Maybe that's because Steam doesn't have installations of every possible configuration of every game on their servers? They could probably give you the starting size of Valve games, but that wouldn't give you cache sizes or user content, since that changes per-installation.

    Not defending the lack of a "how much space would this take up", just sayin'.



  • I am not making excuses for Steam (there are plety of WTF's), but one of the key tenets of security is to avoid giving out information that can help be used to defeat the security. One accepted method is to give the SAME error meesage regardles of the underlying reason. Return "FILE NOT FOUND" if the file does not exist, but also if the dile DOES exist and upon ithe file being "found" it was determined that you do not have permissions is the single most common one I know of.



  • @TheCPUWizard said:

    one of the key tenets of security is to avoid giving out information that can help be used to defeat the security.
     

    I believe it was Benjamin Franklin that once said "those that desire security and flexibility in equal measures shall receive - and deserve - neither".

    Giving out an unhelpful error message solely because the real reason must be concealed for security purposes is incredibly user-hostile, and it smacks of laziness.  Someone hasn't properly analysed the associated risks with information disclosure, so has instead categorised revealing any and all information as a high-level risk and opted to reveal very little as a response... and used "security" as a justification for their laziness. It's wank.

    Yes, I understand the points you make ("login incorrect" rather than "account locked"/"password expired"/"username unknown" in the *nix world) and I think - from your first statement - we both agree it seems nonsensical for those principles to apply, at least to the level they've implemented. 



  • @atipico said:

    The WTF here is less of having a limit on activations (I can understand Steam wants to avoid frauds and stuff) . . . . . . How hard is it to implement a new screen saying so and asking to "please wait x amount of time"?
    If Steam is deliberately limiting the number of activations -- by varying the allowable number and frequency -- to prevent fraud/piracy/whatever, then it makes sense that they don't advertise what they are doing.  It's annoying if you're not doing anything wrong, but it is entirely understandable. 

    Or, since it is Steam, it could just be a big WTF.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I would like to say you should bow down and thank Christ every day that it's not PSN Store.


    on that note sony screws over it's customers, again

    why do people keep throwing money at sony ?



  • @TheCPUWizard said:

    I am not making excuses for Steam (there are plety of WTF's), but one of the key tenets of security is to avoid giving out information that can help be used to defeat the security.
    Ah, security through obscurity. Never worked, never will.

    As for the sizes, Steam reported that Skyrim needed 14 GB. Fourteen! So I started clearing out disc space, only for it to turn out that it needs "only" about 4 GB.

     Anyone tried the new "TV-interface", by the way? I'm not sure what to think of it.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    If Steam is deliberately limiting the number of activations -- by varying the allowable number and frequency -- to prevent fraud/piracy/whatever, then it makes sense that they don't advertise what they are doing. It's annoying if you're not doing anything wrong, but it is entirely understandable.
    Even if they really are trying to obfuscate the reason for the rejection because of some weird security considerations (and the programmers were not just a bunch of slackers too lazy to come up with a more user-friendly error handling/reporting), they could still make the message a bit more informative without giving too much sensitive information away.

    For example, in the scenario described by the OP, they could make the message say something along the lines of "Server is busy, please try again later". That would let the user know that the problem is only temporary and that the keys are not actually invalid, unlike the original message suggests - but the real reason for rejecting the request would still be obscured.



  • @Severity One said:

    @TheCPUWizard said:

    I am not making excuses for Steam (there are plety of WTF's), but one of the key tenets of security is to avoid giving out information that can help be used to defeat the security.
    Ah, security through obscurity. Never worked, never will.

    ...

    As proven by the OP with him figuring it out.



  • @Severity One said:

    As for the sizes, Steam reported that Skyrim needed 14 GB. Fourteen! So I started clearing out disc space, only for it to turn out that it needs "only" about 4 GB.

    My Skyrim's 13.2 GB. Remember to add in the HD textures DLC (which is free; it's basically the higher texture resolutions they couldn't fit on the DVD for Xbox 360), and it might account for Dawnguard as well. Although probably 2-ish of the GB on mine are mods. Either way, 14's a better estimate than 4.

    @Severity One said:

    Anyone tried the new "TV-interface", by the way? I'm not sure what to think of it.

    I think they should fix their normal interface before writing a new one. Their IM feature is godawful. Categories don't work: even ignoring that the UI for setting Categories is awful, once set they slowly disappear over time for no reason I could determine. Unlocking of pre-loaded games doesn't happen automatically when the game unlocks, but you have to try running it first. The "remote download" feature where in theory you can download a Steam game on your home computer using any web browser worked exactly once for me, and has never worked since. The Downloads window never regained its "max bandwidth" control, and Steam also doesn't use BITS, so it's incapable of downloading files in an intelligent way. If they're going to put things like Workshop inside the Steam interface, they badly need a way of opening multiple windows or tabs because fuck that shit's hard to browse. It's impossible to clear your Steam Cloud data, so if you have an SSD, downloading a game with big saves like Oblivion could wipe out your free space. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    Steam is built using the CADT model but instead of going back and rewriting features from scratch, they just literally forget the feature exists.



  • We could always live in hope that some other company makes a better tool than Steam.  Gamefly has a tool similar to Steam that manages their PC games, maybe they might make that into something that can take down Steam.  I am just hoping whatever defeats Steam is not made by any of the big three (Microsoft, Apple, Google).



  • I was hoping with the Windows 8 app store coming they'd double-down on their PC software and make it great. But instead they're working on this set-top box shit nobody cares about.



  • After only reading the title, I thought this would be about the experience I had installing Black Mesa Source.

    Got the torrent, downloaded, installed, restarted Steam, boom!  Now I have a Black Mesa game listed in my library.

    Click it and click Play.  Nothing.

    sigh

    restart the machine.  Try again.  Same thing.

    Couple days later, I check the download screen and figure out that it had to download the SDK that BMS uses but never told me.  I'm not sure where the blame lies here, but my bet is with the Steam client app for never putting up a message and a completion bar saying "Installing blah blah blah."

    With regards to Big Picture, I think it could work great but it really shouldn't be all that revolutionary.  I'll explain.

    Steam has tons of sidescrollers and probaby a good number of driving games.  IMO these are better experienced with a controller.  Personally, I think Zombie Driver would be a great (small) party game to pass a controller around.  

    Now, one of the things that Steam did with Big Picture is encourage developers to make sure their games work well with a controller.  For that, I commend them.  Obviously, there's no way they can force developers to do that but now with Big Picture, developers might feel it's worth their time to do it.  Now, once you have developers doing that, all you've done is slapped a new UI on your product.  Nothing special there.

    However, my experience was still sub-optimal as Windows never recognized my 360 controller when I plugged it in.  I used my HTPC which has onboard ati graphics.  Good enough for HTPC but not gaming quality.  Even the main Big Picture screen stuttered quite a bit.

     



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Severity One said:
    As for the sizes, Steam reported that Skyrim needed 14 GB. Fourteen! So I started clearing out disc space, only for it to turn out that it needs "only" about 4 GB.

    My Skyrim's 13.2 GB. Remember to add in the HD textures DLC (which is free; it's basically the higher texture resolutions they couldn't fit on the DVD for Xbox 360), and it might account for Dawnguard as well. Although probably 2-ish of the GB on mine are mods. Either way, 14's a better estimate than 4.

    Ah, I'd have to try that, then. Although already the airco is working overtime trying to get some cool air towards my graphics card when playing Skyrim, so maybe I shouldn't push it any further.

     



  • @belgariontheking said:

    However, my experience was still sub-optimal as Windows never recognized my 360 controller when I plugged it in.  I used my HTPC which has onboard ati graphics.  Good enough for HTPC but not gaming quality.  Even the main Big Picture screen stuttered quite a bit.
    Odd. It works perfectly well for me. I actually got a 360 controller because of the many console ports, and drving in games like GTA or Saints Row is practically impossible without a controller.

    In fact, because I have a 360 controller, Skyrim, refuses to work with the keyboard and/or mouse. Which makes shooting an arrow or fireball at somebody a bit of a challenge.

     



  • @belgariontheking said:

    However, my experience was still sub-optimal as Windows never recognized my 360 controller when I plugged it in.

    Wireless Xbox 360 controllers don't send any signal over USB, even if you have the USB charger cord plugged-in. You need a dongle for a wireless controller, or just buy a wired one. I can't imagine any other reason your computer wouldn't recognize an Xbox 360 controller. Unless you done fucked up your Windows good.



  • @Severity One said:

    In fact, because I have a 360 controller, Skyrim, refuses to work with the keyboard and/or mouse. Which makes shooting an arrow or fireball at somebody a bit of a challenge.

    Lies. Skyrim will switch into "mouse mode" the instant you touch the mouse, and back into "controller mode" the instant you touch the controller. I wager it can't do both simultaneously but that's because it's designed for human beings who have only two hands.

    And if you can't shoot an arrow or fireball with a Xbox controller, what the hell's wrong with you? You know everybody else on Earth is using that controller to play Battlefield 3, right?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    You know everybody else on Earth is using that controller to play Battlefield 3, right?

    Uhm... Actually, I, for one, do not use that controller to play Battlefield 3. I would have my own controller, if I played that game at all, which I do not, because I do not own it.

    Bam, QED. Xyro: 1, blakeyrat: 0.



  • @Xyro said:

    Bam

    That "bam" was the sound of your killing yourself, right?



  • Also are forgetting to factor in projectile speed.  Arrows and fireballs take a moment to get to their target so have to lead the target and generally need better aim than shooting guns with near instant projectiles.

    Personally I have no problem shooting things in Fallout NV (without VATS) but in Skyrim I cant hit anything at distance with a bow and arrow unless it is a dragon that is charging towards me.



  • @Anketam said:

    I cant hit anything at distance
     

    Practice!



  • @Anketam said:

    Also are forgetting to factor in projectile speed. Arrows and fireballs take a moment to get to their target so have to lead the target and generally need better aim than shooting guns with near instant projectiles.

    ... and using a mouse you don't? Like if I'm playing Skyrim and I touch my mouse suddenly arrows turn into laser beams?

    What the fuck is your point here exactly?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @belgariontheking said:
    However, my experience was still sub-optimal as Windows never recognized my 360 controller when I plugged it in.

    Wireless Xbox 360 controllers don't send any signal over USB, even if you have the USB charger cord plugged-in. You need a dongle for a wireless controller, or just buy a wired one. I can't imagine any other reason your computer wouldn't recognize an Xbox 360 controller. Unless you done fucked up your Windows good.

     

    On a side note, I've heard that a lot of the dongles you see online that claim to be official Microsoft dongles are actually third-party dongles with mixed success rates.

    The only way to make sure you get an official one is to buy it with the controller as Microsoft only sells them as a set. On Amazon, that's [url=http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Xbox-Wireless-Controller-Windows/dp/B004QRKWKQ/ref=pd_cp_e_1]ASIN B004QRKWKQ[/url]... not sure about the UPC code.



  •  By the way, am I the only one for which Steam is working like crap today?



  • @Severity One said:

    By the way, am I the only one for which Steam is working like crap today?

    I have a JOB. Go to work you unemployed loser.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Anketam said:
    Also are forgetting to factor in projectile speed. Arrows and fireballs take a moment to get to their target so have to lead the target and generally need better aim than shooting guns with near instant projectiles.
    ... and using a mouse you don't? Like if I'm playing Skyrim and I touch my mouse suddenly arrows turn into laser beams?

    What the fuck is your point here exactly?

    If a target is moving you have to lead the target if the projectile is not instant it takes longer to aim (at least for me).  Holding a joy stick in a stationary angle so that the motion matches the moving target is easier than moving a mouse at a constant speed (and there is the issue of running out of mouse pad when trying to target).



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Severity One said:
    By the way, am I the only one for which Steam is working like crap today?
    I have a JOB. Go to work you unemployed loser.
    Or you could note his location and that it is Malta, aka he is likely in Europe which easily puts his post in the evening.  Or he might work third shift and so would have free time during the day.  Or you could stop assuming that you know everything about people by reading a one line post.



  • @Anketam said:

    If a target is moving you have to lead the target if the projectile is not instant it takes longer to aim (at least for me).

    Then you're an idiot.

    @Anketam said:

    Holding a joy stick in a stationary angle so that the motion matches the moving target is easier than moving a mouse at a constant speed (and there is the issue of running out of mouse pad when trying to target).

    That seems to support using a analog stick instead of a mouse.

    @Anketam said:

    Or you could note his location and that it is Malta, aka he is likely in Europe which easily puts his post in the evening. Or he might work third shift and so would have free time during the day.

    Then you're an easily-trolled idiot.

    Besides, nobody lives in Malta. Joe Don Baker ate them all in the 80s after he was finished filming Final Justice. Think you can take him? Go ahead on!



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Severity One said:
    By the way, am I the only one for which Steam is working like crap today?

    I have a JOB. Go to work you unemployed loser.

    It's 8:30 pm in Malta



  • @El_Heffe said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    @Severity One said:
    By the way, am I the only one for which Steam is working like crap today?

    I have a JOB. Go to work you unemployed loser.

    It's 8:30 pm in Malta

    Do you know where Joe Don Baker is?



  • @boomzilla said:

    @El_Heffe said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    @Severity One said:
    By the way, am I the only one for which Steam is working like crap today?

    I have a JOB. Go to work you unemployed loser.

    It's 8:30 pm in Malta

    Do you know where Joe Don Baker is?

    If you do, then go ahead on.



  • @powerlord said:

    On a side note, I've heard that a lot of the dongles you see online that claim to be official Microsoft dongles are actually third-party dongles with mixed success rates.

    The only way to make sure you get an official one is to buy it with the controller as Microsoft only sells them as a set. On Amazon, that's ASIN B004QRKWKQ... not sure about the UPC code.

    Thanks.  That explains it.

    I was using a Nyko charge and play cord that apparently only charges, doesn't connect.

     



  • @belgariontheking said:

    Thanks. That explains it.

    I was using a Nyko charge and play cord that apparently only charges, doesn't connect.

    Wireless Xbox 360 controllers do not have USB data connections, they only use USB for power. I just explained that like 10 posts up. No "play-and-charge" cable, whether it be Microsoft, Nyko, or Weyland-Yutani, will be able to make your wireless Xbox 360 controller magically talk to a USB port.

    Why did Microsoft design them like that? That's a pretty big WTF. You'd think it'd be quicker and easier to just build the cordless controllers almost identically to the corded ones, but with an added battery case. But no.

    I just bought a corded one. Batteries bug me more than cords.



  • In other news, this is a terrible mug.



  • @boomzilla said:

    @El_Heffe said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    @Severity One said:
    By the way, am I the only one for which Steam is working like crap today?

    I have a JOB. Go to work you unemployed loser.

    It's 8:30 pm in Malta

    Do you know where Joe Don Baker is?

    Google seems to be broken.  "What time is it in Malta" works, but, "Where is Joe Don Baker" does not.

     

     



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Severity One said:
    By the way, am I the only one for which Steam is working like crap today?

    I have a JOB. Go to work you unemployed loser.

    Now you're just being a troll. I think I ran through some of your buddies with my Ebony Greatsword (Exquisite). Or were those orcs?

    Anyway, yes, Steam worked like crap. It improved later on in the evening (probably, around the time that the janitor walked into Valve's server room and switched on their servers) and I managed to download the high resolution pack.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    "What time is it in Malta" works, but, "Where is Joe Don Baker" does not.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087258/

    MST3K riffed this movie once.  Not sure anyone here would know what it was otherwise.  I certainly wouldn't.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @El_Heffe said:
    "What time is it in Malta" works, but, "Where is Joe Don Baker" does not.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087258/

    MST3K riffed this movie once.  Not sure anyone here would know what it was otherwise.  I certainly wouldn't.

    I'm reading the Wikipedia page about this film (for want of a better word):

    Joe Don Baker plays Texas
    "lawman" Thomas Jefferson Geronimo III, a beefy sheriff and avid milk
    drinker. His partner, the former sheriff, is killed by an Italian
    mobster. He finds the criminal, a man named Joseph Palermo, and escorts
    him back to Europe, only to lose him in the capital city of Valletta in Malta.
    He then thumbs his nose at local law enforcement and uses all the
    tactics of Texas justice to pursue Palermo. A cat-and-mouse game
    follows, rife with car chases, gunfights, fistfights and boat chases.
    How the hell can you lose somebody in Valletta? The place is smaller than the average Emirate mall. OK, you can lose a cat in the smallest of appartments, so theoretically you could lose someone in Valletta. But a car chase? Malta combines one of the highest population densities in the world with one of the highest car ownership rates, which means that having a car chase in Malta (especially so Valletta) is about as likely as successfully landing a 747 in your front yard. Whilst being blindfolded. Things were perhaps a bit different in the mid eighties, but still.

     



  • @atipico said:

    @jaloopa said:
    Filed under: does anyone actually use tags to classify their post?

    You seem to be new here...

    @jaloopa said:

    Posts: 1

    Ah.

    yeah, been lurking for a while but I decided to take the plunge and actually sign up.

    Wait, that was a sensible reply. I'll get banned for that won't I? Fuck Micro$oft, fuck Apple, fuck CS.

    Am I safe?



  • @jaloopa said:

    Fuck Micro$oft, fuck Apple, fuck CS.

    Am I safe?

     

    Add a pinch of pedantic dickweedery, a handful of moronic replies, stir well with moving goalposts and serve with a side-dish of strawman.

    Quick, before it's too late.



  • @jaloopa said:

    Fuck Micro$oft, fuck Apple, fuck CS.

    Am I safe?

    No, no...tell us about your favorite video games. Or pony.



  • @Anketam said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    @Anketam said:
    Also are forgetting to factor in projectile speed. Arrows and fireballs take a moment to get to their target so have to lead the target and generally need better aim than shooting guns with near instant projectiles.
    ... and using a mouse you don't? Like if I'm playing Skyrim and I touch my mouse suddenly arrows turn into laser beams?

    What the fuck is your point here exactly?

    If a target is moving you have to lead the target if the projectile is not instant it takes longer to aim (at least for me).  Holding a joy stick in a stationary angle so that the motion matches the moving target is easier than moving a mouse at a constant speed (and there is the issue of running out of mouse pad when trying to target).

     

    Except that you don't need to move it at a constant speed... you need to move it to the angle they're going to be at and then fire.  Which is a whole lot easier to do with a mouse because it's more precise; for a given mouse sensitivity, moving it X inches will always make your character turn Y degrees.  Unless you leave mouse acceleration on while gaming, which is just stupid.

    Actually, moving a mouse at a consistent speed is quite easy, so I'm not sure why you even mentioned it.

     


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