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Questions about PC Iron Brigade - how will GfWL work in tandem with Steam?
Posted: 06 August 2012 02:46 PM
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So with GfWL being an unavoidable horrible part of this most likely wonderful title, I want to know how GfWL will work with Steam.

Will I be able to play the game in singleplayer (it has some kind of singleplayer mode I gues?) without being dependent on Microsofts servers for GfWL? With that I mean that I can install the game from Steam and start playing it without having to activate the game with Microsofts servers, and be required to download updates from them?

If so, then I will probably buy this title despite the GfWL thorn in it´s side. smile

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Posted: 06 August 2012 02:49 PM
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I would double dip and buy the PC version, too. But not if it is under Games for Windows. I’m done with that…

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Posted: 06 August 2012 05:35 PM
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CecilRousso - 06 August 2012 02:46 PM

Will I be able to play the game in singleplayer (it has some kind of singleplayer mode I gues?) without being dependent on Microsofts servers for GfWL? With that I mean that I can install the game from Steam and start playing it without having to activate the game with Microsofts servers, and be required to download updates from them?

After you download from Steam, you’ll need to activate the game once through GFWL. After that, you’ll be able to play single player in offline mode. Multiplayer sessions start through GFWL, though, so for that you’d need to be logged in. I actually tested playing the game without a network connection at all, so you should be able to play Iron Brigade PC on a plane, boat, desert island, Mars, etc.

Any patches/updates will be delivered through Steam, not GFWL, and you can control whether to let Steam apply automatic updates or not (but I would recommend you let Steam automatically update Iron Brigade for you).

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Posted: 06 August 2012 06:18 PM
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DF David F - 06 August 2012 05:35 PM

Any patches/updates will be delivered through Steam, not GFWL, and you can control whether to let Steam apply automatic updates or not (but I would recommend you let Steam automatically update Iron Brigade for you).

So that means no annoying notices from GFWL to close the game so it can update (and then on occasion have the update fail and get nothing but a cryptic error in return)? If so, that takes away one of the major annoyances of that service.

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Posted: 06 August 2012 06:28 PM
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Syd - 06 August 2012 06:18 PM

So that means no annoying notices from GFWL to close the game so it can update (and then on occasion have the update fail and get nothing but a cryptic error in return)? If so, that takes away one of the major annoyances of that service.

I see what you mean. If Microsoft updates GFWL, then yes, it will require an update— we don’t have any control over that. :/ But at least any updates we make to Iron Brigade will go through Steam, not GFWL.

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Posted: 06 August 2012 07:22 PM
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DF David F - 06 August 2012 06:28 PM
Syd - 06 August 2012 06:18 PM

So that means no annoying notices from GFWL to close the game so it can update (and then on occasion have the update fail and get nothing but a cryptic error in return)? If so, that takes away one of the major annoyances of that service.

I see what you mean. If Microsoft updates GFWL, then yes, it will require an update— we don’t have any control over that. :/ But at least any updates we make to Iron Brigade will go through Steam, not GFWL.

My latest adventure with GFWL was trying to figure out why its update for Dead Rising 2 kept failing when I reinstalled it, after I had already spent about an hour trying to figure out why the game wouldn’t launch at all (surprise, that was also a GFWL issue).

GFWL cemented its reputation long ago and Microsoft has made no real discernible effort to improve the service. People have good reason to freak out when they see that a long-awaited game will be using it (Just check the Dark Souls PC version controversy to see how worked up people can get over GFWL). Sometimes it’ll work just fine - I actually had zero issues playing BioShock 2, which used GFWL, though I never tried playing multiplayer - but it seems to be incredibly prone to mysterious issues, either giving a cryptic error message or no error message at all.

That said, I’m still buying Iron Brigade ASAP, and I might buy a copy for a friend as well if I can afford it. I’m definitely willing to deal with GFWL if it means I get to play Iron Brigade.

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Posted: 07 August 2012 12:34 AM
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DF David F - 06 August 2012 05:35 PM
CecilRousso - 06 August 2012 02:46 PM

Will I be able to play the game in singleplayer (it has some kind of singleplayer mode I gues?) without being dependent on Microsofts servers for GfWL? With that I mean that I can install the game from Steam and start playing it without having to activate the game with Microsofts servers, and be required to download updates from them?

After you download from Steam, you’ll need to activate the game once through GFWL. After that, you’ll be able to play single player in offline mode. Multiplayer sessions start through GFWL, though, so for that you’d need to be logged in. I actually tested playing the game without a network connection at all, so you should be able to play Iron Brigade PC on a plane, boat, desert island, Mars, etc.

Any patches/updates will be delivered through Steam, not GFWL, and you can control whether to let Steam apply automatic updates or not (but I would recommend you let Steam automatically update Iron Brigade for you).

Ok. Thanks for that. The patches were about GfWL but I see that you answered that below. Right now, this solution does not feel good enough for me since GfWL is a horrible thing on PC that I´m very reluctant to support, so while it doesn´t mean a 100% no buy, it has gone from day 1 to something I will have to think about.

As the game is MS published, I understand your position. I just hope that you can manage to avoid MS as a publisher for non Kinect stuff from now on, since they are not good for the PC audience.

A very important thing with Steam purchases for me, and something that has kept me on Steam for 5 years is that 95% of the games - the ones without additional DRM like Securom and GfWL - is that they are dependant only on Steams servers and free from activation limits, something that makes the purchases as future proof as digital purchases can be when they are not 100% DRM free. When a product requires additional server dependencies like with GfWL, it kunda invalidates a lot of the meaning of purchasing the game on Steam.

That said, I still hope the game is a huge success on PC for you, even if I might avoid it (not 100% sure, still thinking it over).

If I do buy it, then it will be the first GfWL that I allow on my Steam account though. That´s the DF effect I guess. raspberry

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Posted: 07 August 2012 02:58 AM
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Yeah, GFWL is disgusting. I tried to play “Gotham City Imposters” on it (which also uses Steam *and* GFWL) and it was an unbelievable nightmare. Especially for us none-US players (I can’t even chose a language setting but get one dictated!!).

As much as I’d like to support Double Fine (double dipped with a lot of games, ...all up to now I think) I won’t buy this.
I understand that this is outside of your control, but I just don’t want to support such a POS like GFWL anymore.

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Posted: 07 August 2012 10:54 AM
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CecilRousso - 07 August 2012 12:34 AM

...

That said, I still hope the game is a huge success on PC for you, even if I might avoid it (not 100% sure, still thinking it over).

If I do buy it, then it will be the first GfWL that I allow on my Steam account though. That´s the DF effect I guess. raspberry

Thanks for the thoughtful response and the well wishes. We’ve done the best we can to make sure that GfWL “just works” in IB PC, that it’s the latest version and is relatively unobtrusive and all that, but as you say there’s only so much under our control.

FWIW, I hope you do buy it and enjoy it! We did add some new features like user settable FOV, configurable controls, support for super high resolutions and SSAA, etc. that hopefully take some of the GfWL sting out.

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Posted: 07 August 2012 12:48 PM
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First of all, congrats to the team and thank you for bringing one of my all-time favorite games to a new platform! Secondly, I understand that you have no way to remove GFWL from the equation since Microsoft owns the Iron Brigade I.P. But thirdly, and mostly importantly: did you say that you’ll be able to patch the game through Steam?! As in, you can do it for free, as often as you like, and with as large of patch sizes as you like? The same as with an actual Steamworks title?! If so, I dunno how you guys pulled this off, but this is the best-possible news that could have come from this. I’m curious to know if this is the case as described, or if there will be any sort of limitations imposed (like having to submit your patches to the publishing arm of Microsoft before they can actually be sent off to Steam.) If so, that could complicate things. -_-

Then again, if this was an actual Steam title (and self-published,) you guys could add in completely new content to the game for free whenever you like. Outfits, weaponry, survival stages, whatever. I’m sure that Microsoft will have none of that, and that they’ll want this to mirror the XBLA version (in order to avoid stealing sales from their own game.) Still, if you found a way to circumvent the nightmarish patching procedures that MS institutes, this is glorious. For those who don’t know: Steam lets you patch games as often as you want, as big as you want, for free. No ludicrous $10k fees to do so. There also isn’t the weeks or months-long certification wait like with MS. The turnaround for Steam/Valve to put up the patch is typically just one day. Some games, using a new update process called SteamPipe, can actually push out their own patches instantaneously without any need to verify with Steam first. Again, though, this is speaking for games that run through the Steam client. I’m curious to see how/if this will be inhibited by Microsoft’s involvement.

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Posted: 07 August 2012 12:57 PM
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ShinUkyo - 07 August 2012 12:48 PM

First of all, congrats to the team and thank you for bringing one of my all-time favorite games to a new platform! Secondly, I understand that you have no way to remove GFWL from the equation since Microsoft owns the Iron Brigade I.P. But thirdly, and mostly importantly: did you say that you’ll be able to patch the game through Steam?! As in, you can do it for free, as often as you like, and with as large of patch sizes as you like? The same as with an actual Steamworks title?! If so, I dunno how you guys pulled this off, but this is the best-possible news that could have come from this. I’m curious to know if this is the case as described, or if there will be any sort of limitations imposed (like having to submit your patches to the publishing arm of Microsoft before they can actually be sent off to Steam.) If so, that could complicate things. -_-

Then again, if this was an actual Steam title (and self-published,) you guys could add in completely new content to the game for free whenever you like. Outfits, weaponry, survival stages, whatever. I’m sure that Microsoft will have none of that, and that they’ll want this to mirror the XBLA version (in order to avoid stealing sales from their own game.) Still, if you found a way to circumvent the nightmarish patching procedures that MS institutes, this is glorious. For those who don’t know: Steam lets you patch games as often as you want, as big as you want, for free. No ludicrous $10k fees to do so. There also isn’t the weeks or months-long certification wait like with MS. The turnaround for Steam/Valve to put up the patch is typically just one day. Some games, using a new update process called SteamPipe, can actually push out their own patches instantaneously without any need to verify with Steam first. Again, though, this is speaking for games that run through the Steam client. I’m curious to see how/if this will be inhibited by Microsoft’s involvement.

It’s a Steam game, so that allows us to patch as much as we want. The exact process, cost, etc for IB PC patch cert w/ MS is something we’re still working out. We’ll keep you posted, but our goal is to update the game quickly and as often as we need to. More news as it develops!

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Posted: 07 August 2012 01:51 PM
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DF Nathan - 07 August 2012 10:54 AM

FWIW, I hope you do buy it and enjoy it! We did add some new features like user settable FOV, configurable controls, support for super high resolutions and SSAA, etc. that hopefully take some of the GfWL sting out.

It does help. I´m difficult, but not impossible. smile

What I want from developers is an understanding for the customers situation, and your acknowledgment of the problem with this combination of platforms, your efforts with optimizing the PC version and the fact that it was out of your hands is something that goes a long way to making this acceptable for me. It is a lot different from ridiculous situations as WB and the Batman games, with combinations of Steam, GfWL and Securom that they seem to neither understand or care about.

But I hope that you take things like this in consideration in the future, if you´re to keep porting games to PC. Double Fine fans like me might make an exception in one case, but don´t ask us to accept two required login credentials and two server dependencies for one game too many times.  And if you have to decide between Steam and GfWL later on, I do hope you don´t trust MS too much regarding their latest GfWL reboot with Win8.

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Posted: 07 August 2012 01:55 PM
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CecilRousso - 07 August 2012 01:51 PM
DF Nathan - 07 August 2012 10:54 AM

FWIW, I hope you do buy it and enjoy it! We did add some new features like user settable FOV, configurable controls, support for super high resolutions and SSAA, etc. that hopefully take some of the GfWL sting out.

It does help. I´m difficult, but not impossible. smile

What I want from developers is an understanding for the customers situation, and your acknowledgment of the problem with this combination of platforms, your efforts with optimizing the PC version and the fact that it was out of your hands is something that goes a long way to making this acceptable for me.

 

Glad to hear you appreciate our efforts. I totally agree w/ you about understanding our customer’s situations. I’m the head of the tech team here and do much of the front line customer support (like this here forum post) because I think it’s super critical that we understand our customers needs and build our plans around them. That doesn’t mean we can always meet all of our customers hopes and expectations, but we do our best wherever possible.

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Posted: 07 August 2012 02:32 PM
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Ya they do the same thing with Age of Empires Online. It’s very easy to do and doesn’t cause to many problems. Everyone will be fine.

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Posted: 07 August 2012 02:35 PM
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DF Nathan - 07 August 2012 01:55 PM

Glad to hear you appreciate our efforts. I totally agree w/ you about understanding our customer’s situations. I’m the head of the tech team here and do much of the front line customer support (like this here forum post) because I think it’s super critical that we understand our customers needs and build our plans around them. That doesn’t mean we can always meet all of our customers hopes and expectations, but we do our best wherever possible.

Sounds good. smile

Dr.ROBOTUSSIN - 07 August 2012 02:32 PM

Ya they do the same thing with Age of Empires Online. It’s very easy to do and doesn’t cause to many problems. Everyone will be fine.

I´m satisfied when the game is not just fine at the beginning, but also fine alongside other games, is future proof and has the right available support when problems do arise.

All different kind of platform and DRM schemes available today are much more difficult to navigate through today then what should be accepted, so when you add something extra like GfWL to a platform like Steam that already has an established way of behaving and handling DRM and login credentials, you are stepping over the line of what you should be allowed to ask of a customer, and need to tread very carefully. Luckily, DF seem to acknowledge this in a way that many developers and publishers do not.

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Posted: 08 August 2012 05:48 PM
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CecilRousso - 07 August 2012 02:35 PM

All different kind of platform and DRM schemes available today are much more difficult to navigate through today then what should be accepted, so when you add something extra like GfWL to a platform like Steam that already has an established way of behaving and handling DRM and login credentials, you are stepping over the line of what you should be allowed to ask of a customer, and need to tread very carefully. Luckily, DF seem to acknowledge this in a way that many developers and publishers do not.

Exactly. And keep in mind, if they had the choice, this would be available as a purely Steam release. Just like their other digital games that were originally released on XBLA. Since they own the rights to those titles, like Costume Quest and Stacking, they were able to make it happen. Since Microsoft owns the rights to the Iron Brigade I.P., however, a full Steam release just wasn’t possible. As far as I can see, they’ve worked this out in the best way possible. They have done an excellent job so far of providing us the most customer-centric experience, even despite the extremely tight and unfair limitations that Microsoft imposes. And for that, I applaud them. I have no doubt they will continue to do so, with regards to the patching, maintenance, and feedback for this game.

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