Informatat e Protokollit
Informatat e Protokollit
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Steam’s primary service is to allow its users to download games and other software that they have in their virtual software libraries to their local computers as game cache files (GCFs). Initially, Valve was required to be the publisher for these titles since they had sole access to the Steam’s database and engine, but with the introduction of the Steamworks software development kit (SDK) in May 2008, anyone could potentially become a publisher to Steam, outside of Valve’s involvement to curate titles on the service.
Prior to 2009, most games released on Steam had traditional anti-piracy measures, including the assignment and distribution of product keys and support for digital rights management software tools such as SecuROM or non-malicious rootkits. With an update to the Steamworks SDK in March 2009, Valve added its “Custom Executable Generation” (CEG) approach into the Steamworks SDK that removed the need for these other measures. The CEG technology creates a unique, encrypted copy of the game’s executable files for the given user which allows them to install it multiple times and on multiple devices, and make backup copies of their software. Once the software is downloaded and installed, the user must then authenticate through Steam to de-encrypt the executable files to play the game. Normally this is done while connected to the Internet following the user’s credential validation, but once they have logged into Steam once, a user can instruct Steam to launch in a special offline mode to be able to play their games without a network connection. Developers are not limited to Steam’s CEG and may include other forms of DRM and other authentication services than Steam; for example, some titles from publisher Ubisoft require the use of their UPlay gaming service, and prior to its shutdown in 2014, some other titles required Games for Windows – Live, though many of these titles have since transitioned to using the Steamworks CEG approach.
In September 2008, Valve added support for Steam Cloud, a service that can automatically store saved game and related custom files on Valve’s servers; users can access this data from any machine running the Steam client. Games must use the appropriate features of Steamworks for Steam Cloud to work. Users can disable this feature on a per-game and per-account basis. In May 2012, the service added the ability for users to manage their game libraries from remote clients, including computers and mobile devices; users can instruct Steam to download and install games they own through this service if their Steam client is currently active and running. Some games sold through retail channels can be redeemed as titles for users’ libraries within Steam by entering a product code within the software. For games that incorporate Steamworks, users can buy redemption codes from other vendors and redeem these in the Steam client to add the title to their libraries. Steam also offers a framework for selling and distributing downloadable content (DLC) for games.
In September 2013, Steam introduced the ability to share most games with family members and close friends by authorizing machines to access one’s library. Authorized players can install the game locally and play it separately from the owning account. Users can access their saved games and achievements providing the main owner is not playing. When the main player initiates a game while a shared account is using it, the shared account user is allowed a few minutes to either save their progress and close the game or purchase the game for his or her own account. Within Family View, introduced in January 2014, parents can adjust settings for their children’s tied accounts, limiting the functionality and accessibility to the Steam client and purchased titles.
In accordance with its Acceptable Use Policy, Valve retains the right to block and unblock customers’ access to their games and Steam services when Valve’s Anti-Cheat (VAC) software determines that the user is cheating in multiplayer games, selling accounts to others or trading games to exploit regional price differences. Blocking such users initially removed access to his or her other games, leading to some users with high-value accounts losing access because of minor infractions of the AUP. Valve later changed its policy to be similar to that of Electronic Arts’ Origin platform, in which blocked users can still access their games but are heavily restricted, limited to playing in offline mode and unable to participate in Steam Community features. Customers also lose access to their games and Steam account if they refuse to accept changes to Steam’s end user license agreements; this occurred in August 2012. In April 2015, Valve began allowing developers to set bans on players for their games, but enacted and enforced at the Steam level, which allowed them to police their own gaming communities in customizab