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Replacing the Standalone version with a Gog version?


#1

I want to bring up the idea of a Gog version replacing the Standalone version.

I thought about bringing up this idea in Steam & Launcher Poll + Discussion back in 2014, but at that time Gog dealt with released games, so it was a moot point. Since then Gog Galaxy and “games in development” have been introduced.

Gog Galaxy is their optional client. Galaxy has patch/update facilities similar to Steam’s, though I don’t know how similar from a developer standpoint; I’m just a non-Galaxy Gog user. From a user side, from what I’ve gleaned, a developer can have beta update channels a user can opt into ala Steam’s (and the standard release channel). Galaxy also has facilities for multiplayer via a steam_api implimentation (though no crossplay with Steam). “Games in development” is rather self-explanatory.

Gog has offline installers, which one can download via their browser. I believe Gog handles all the packaging of those; you’d just get them the files, from what I’ve gleaned. Gog also has support for DLC, so adding V16 DLC and Soundtrack DLC should be easy.

Of the people who haven’t switched to Steam, if the reason is a dislike for Steam (platform or client), then a Gog version with its option for no client might be a good alternative. Personally, I would switch from the Standalone version to a Gog version. If enough other Standalone users felt the same way, you might be able to obsolete the Standalone version.


#2

The trouble with the standalone version is; the team making the game is a small one.
They don’t have time to do both.


#3

The thing is, they already update both, though the standalone version isn’t updated frequently (only two updates for the previous, LIte Campaign v1/v2 Update, if I remember correctly; compared to, I don’t know how many, for the steam standard or beta update channels).

They’ve said that updating the standalone version is difficult. I’m not sure on specifics, but it’s probably (at least partially) due to:

  • having to make a new standalone launcher executable, that checks for updates
  • hosting a server for the game files, version information (so updates can happen), and login check

A Gog version would solve both of those problems (same as Steam). The executable for the game itself might not be exactly the same due to differences in platform integration, but I don’t imagine it’d be too much work (I would guess, less than the effort to maintain the current standalone version).

Do note, I’m not suggesting they should add a Gog version and then see about discontinuing the standalone version (three versions, increased workload), rather add a Gog version as they discontinue the standalone version, if possible (e.g. with an updated launcher news post saying, “The standalone version is becoming a Gog version, click the link for details”, or so).

I say “if possible”, because the reason the standalone version still exists is enough people (me included) said they wanted the standalone version or didn’t want the Steam version (the poll linked in my first post). If enough standalone users didn’t want to switch to a Gog version, then, not possible.

As an aside, I would like to thank the devs, profusely, for keeping the standalone version updated, and for the Little Dev Updates (good feedback / interaction in general); I purchased the Turbocharged version 5 years ago now, and haven’t ever regretted it, nor questioned if the game would be completed, only when (it’s done).


#4

If Gog offers all the benefits of Steam, why not just use Steam…?

I really don’t see what the problem is with Steam, especially since it greatly simplifies adding mods to the game and it has an offline mode (so no DRM).


#5

When I wrote the initial post I had a line about how I didn’t like Steam, and didn’t want to enumerate the reasons because it would be a distraction from the point (in my opinion). I took it out because I didn’t want to come across as aggressive. I suppose it is relevant, and should be discussed.

Steam is DRM. It might be DRM one feels is un-intrusive and acceptable, but I don’t. The client constantly phones home (DRM), unless you put it in offline mode, but if I’m not mistaken you need to let it phone home occasionally or it stops working (still DRM). I recognize that the standalone version is DRM too, hence my Gog DRM-Free truly offline standalone suggestion.

Steam is spyware (in my opinion). The amount of stats / metadata it collects on you is staggering to me. The fact that it’s publicly available to anyone who wants it by default is unacceptable to me. “But you can disable public profile”: Steam still has the data. Gog without the Galaxy client doesn’t collect nearly as much data (purchasing history is all I can think of, but everyone does that, and that’s private).

Steam Workshop is vendor lock-in. Various mod sites of old and present allow anyone to download the files present without an account. Steam Workshop, by default, needs an account and the game registered or installed with Steam. So even though I am a legal owner of my copy of the game, I can’t get mods unless I switch to Steam, or the devs enable third party downloading of the mods (if that’s even possible), or the mod author uploads it somewhere else. I could further go into the issues with Steam’s implementation, but no, I’m trying to be somewhat terse.

The long-term problem with the Standalone version is, “What if the login servers go down and no one can fix them?” Exact same problem with Steam, the only difference is Steam would affect many more users, and not just Automation users (and yes it’s less likely to occur compared to Automation standalone; still an issue with no legal workaround). A Gog version wouldn’t have that problem as one can backup their collection of games, offline.

For me, Steam has detriments that Gog doesn’t, and Gog has a few features Steam doesn’t. If one has read this and disagrees personally, sure, use Steam. It’s an option I have concluded isn’t for me, and rejected.


#6

I think i understand where youre coming from. Steam has quite a few problems. However, if I recall correctly, game devs have to pay a fee to put a game up on steam. I would assume that would also be the case for GOG. Considering the dev isnt very large, it might not be worth paying more money and losing some revenue to sell on GOG considering that compared with steam, not so many people buy from gog (im not using any data so correct me if im wrong).


#7

So I didn’t think about submission fees, however. according to Gog’s submission page:

What are the general requirements to get my game onto GOG?

What you need to have is a great indie title - just that. There are no special requirements for us, which means there’s no need for any submission fees, publisher, or anything else. Just please put special care and focus into filling our submission form.

(Emphasis added)
So no worries there.


#8

You must using Linux then - Windows too is spyware. And if we start here: Means you dont own a Smartphone, a modern TV or Internet or anything at all.
Which data does Steam collect? What Hardware you have and what you play. Thats it - they not sale this to advertisers or have to do shit with it because private company.
Sure it collecting stats, how much hours of a game you play, but is that really spying… And i call it hypocracy if you say that collecting purchasing history on GOG is okay because everyone is doing it, but then condemn Steam as spyware. They collect the same amount of Data, but dont admit it. Both companies do nothing with it because they dont have to - they dont sell it to advertisers, they dont sell it to the share holders. If you think like that fine, but dont shove it down peoples throats.

Steam itself is no DRM, its only an application, a vendor-store-programme, where you can buy lots of games. Those games then determine if they use Valve-DRM, 3rd-Party DRM or no DRM. And GOG is no guarantee for DRM-Free games… you praise as this would be the holy grail of gaming. And doint point to “The Witcher 3” and say “See No-DRM Policy worked for it” - not valid Argument as you compareing AAA-Title with this Indie-Title.
Some indie-developer suffer a lot from piracy, i mean its different when 50k People pirate Witcher 3, because it sold over 1 million tims, compared to when 500 people pirat Automation, this game only sold maybe 20000 times.

Can you guarantee GOG stays the way it is? No. You can’t. Why? Because people lie, always.

And having GOG and Steam means still maintenanceing of 2 versions. One version alone would decrease workload by a lot i thinking.


#9

There’s levels of what one finds acceptable (or if workarounds can make it acceptable). In my opinion, Steam is unnecessary spyware, and the fact it uninstalls itself stupidly (Windows or Linux), and due to a mistake on Linux (since corrected, I believe), destroyed data, makes it 100% unacceptable to me; I refuse to take the chance that their crap software will destroy data. The reason for data destruction on Linux was non-standard installation directory, and since I’d do that, it becomes a major risk I will not take.

And that’s more info than I care for them to have. Gog without Galaxy has no such mechanisms in place, thus less data is collected. I know security, and information collection / leaks are a security threat. How much so, is up to individual circumstances and persons; for me, I don’t feel like letting Steam have that info.

I put that “(in my opinion)” for a reason; I fully recognize that my threshold for if something is spyware or not, is lower than others (spyware not necessarily being malware). Unless you’re using cash in a shop (and even that might no longer be true with facial recognition cams), a purchasing history is inevitable when purchasing something tied to an account. Just because I have accepted that, doesn’t mean I have to accept everything else.

I condemn Steam as spyware because of all the extra info it collects (that it’s public by default is just an extra bit of “no” on top). Gog doesn’t collect that info and I’m okay with doing business with them. If Steam didn’t collect that info, and didn’t need a client (thus no phoning home and no potential data destruction), and the game itself were DRM-Free (no built-in phone home, or other clients or DRM), and they opened Workshop for people to download without Steam (ala manually putting mods into a Gog version), then I would consider doing business with Steam for DRM-Free games. Ergo, not hypocrisy.

Maybe with Galaxy they do (and maybe they say if they do somewhere)? I don’t know, I don’t use Galaxy and haven’t looked into it (which makes for consistency with my dislike of the Steam client).

Stating my opinion when asked, about why I don’t want to use Steam, and stating the multiple big points for me, that make it unacceptable, is not “shoving it down people’s throats”.

The fact it’s necessary to phone home for one to play the games (even occasionally if one puts it into offline mode, I believe (ala Denuvo every 2 weeks needing to phone home)), is the definition of DRM. The fact you need their software installed is also unacceptable to me; I’ve no need for their crap software that has destroyed data. Gog doesn’t need a client; one can download all the installers, dlcs, extras from a web browser (or a third party utility, like lgogdownloader if one finds that acceptable). One also doesn’t need to run the installers, but can use innoextract, if one feels like not trusting Gog’s installers.

If the specific game allows for downloading, removing Steam and then the game will still run, for very strict DRM definition, it wouldn’t apply. I don’t trust the client to do things properly, and in one case, it’s provably done things catastrophically wrong. Since I need it to download the games, I lump it in with the Steamworks DRM it has. With DRM, in general, equaling “Digital Restrictions Management” as the best, shortest definition I’ve heard.

So I’ll grant you that me calling the client DRM with no exception, has a personal standard, less mainstream standard to it. Of course, as a well reasoned personal standard, I’m not going to suddenly disagree with myself and start using it.

Except on the site it clearly says “DRM-Free Content”, and that’s a requirement to get a game on Gog. There’s certain areas where they are less than stellar on the DRM-Free front, if you start nitpicking, and they need to work on that. I’d guess in (much) greater than 90% they are DRM-Free even when nitpicking.

As for “holy grail praise”, where do you get that? I point out where I see a Gog version being better than the Standalone version. In the poll I linked, they committed to supporting the Standalone version because there were enough purchasers who didn’t want the Steam version at all. If their reasons are similar to mine, they might accept a Gog version which might be less burden on the Automation team, since ditching the Standalone version isn’t an option.

Well, at least not without a new poll to see what’s changed in 2.5 years. And not forgetting the raw numbers of people who’d be affected, not just a percentage; there’s going to be more Steam users due to that being the only version for about 2 years. That’ll decrease the percentage, though might not be a small number (e.g. 1% of one million is one hundred thousand).

Okay, how about Stardew Valley (one person, day-0 launch on Gog), or Inside (which got on Gog when they removed Denuvo), or any of the current “in dev” titles on Gog?

Everyone, with very few exceptions, has to deal with “piracy”. A DRM-Free version doesn’t suddenly make people “pirate” it more. Hell, it might reduce “piracy” numbers.

Some people care about not being treated as a probable criminal from the start, and wouldn’t purchase because of that; a lost sale due to developer or publisher decision to add DRM.

Some people might “pirate” the game when they’ve bought it, to get around the DRM; no lost sale there.

DRM-Free is not equal to “piracy”, nor does it increase the risk.

This is non sequitur, but I believe they’ve sold many more than 20k copies of Automation. Actually, the number of forum members is 38000 (rounded down) as I write this. The only way to buy/play the game for a few years was via Standalone (which used/uses your old forum account and the old forum was ported to this new discourse software). Assuming only half of the accounts correspond to Standalone sales, that’s 19000 (I’d bet more than that are actually sales). I’d bet they’ve made many more than 1000 sales on Steam in 2 years.

That is such a stupid argument.

Can you guarantee the Automation devs will do a good job finishing their game? No. You can’t. Why? Because people lie, always.

Except they’ve been doing a good job for more than 5 years. It’s safe to say they’ve proven, through consistent action and results, they’re going to do a good job. (Baring outlandish hypotheticals, of course)

Can you guarantee the Automation devs will keep updating the Standalone version? No. You can’t. Why? Because people lie, always.

Except they’ve said they would 2.5 years ago in the poll I linked in the first post. They’ve also been doing it for 2 years, and when the launcher download broke due to their web host change, they fixed it within a few hours. Again, consistent action and results.

Can you guarantee GOG stays the way it is? No. You can’t. Why? Because people lie, always.

Except for the past 9 years they’ve stayed DRM-Free.

There was an issue where they started using passwords on the installers as a workaround for stupid web browsers. Gog users made a big fuss about it being DRM (and it definitely was an unintended consequence) and it got reversed.

There was an issue of them ditching their “one world one price” policy. Gog users made a big fuss about it, and Gog implemented a price guarantee; if it costs more than the US price, you get the difference as store credit.

I could list more examples, but this is getting massive as is. Point is, in some respects they’ve changed away from their stated tenets, except they are still DRM-Free and their client is optional (I don’t use it and still get my games and updates). If at some point they do change on either of those, I’ll have to reevaluate my being a customer of theirs (and highly likely will stop being one). Until then, they’ve proven through action to keep DRM-Free as a core, unwavering tenet (DRM is a boolean, so they can’t compromise like “one world one price”).

If it’s the Standalone version they ditch, true. They can’t ditch the Standalone version, too many customers refused the Steam version. If a Gog version could replace the Standalone however, they could (I believe) reduce their workload by some, which should be better than not reducing it at all.


#10

I am here just to chime in and get these numbers straight.
Currently Automation is owned by 65000 People on Steam (according to Steamspy - helpful data collection right there). A lot of people bought it on Steam and never registered on these forums.

At the point of the Poll back in 2014 ownership was around… 20k at best. At this Poll 7% voted for only having only the Standalone version which would convert to 1400 People not wanting to switch to Steam at all. I will assume from now on these are the People that still use the Standalone today, especially since the game could no longer be bought on the Website since the Release on Steam.

In todays numbers thats around 2% (or less) of the current Playerbase - and this number can be corrected down by a lot, since still tons of people switched over from this “I dont want to switch”-Group to “I went to Steam”.

Anyways… [quote=“jedi5002, post:9, topic:20687”]
due to a mistake on Linux (since corrected, I believe), destroyed data, makes it 100% unacceptable to me;
[/quote]

This was on the beta client and only happend when you moved the whole Steam-folder, not when you choosed a non-standard location. Please use 100% facts of the beta-reports (i used the client myself on my Ubuntu Laptop to test around and had that only happend when i moved it) not 50%.

You can have a Steam Account but no Profile, thus no data-mining.

You did tell him that DRM is that something manages your rights, he said that Steam is only a vendor.
Both are valid - Steam is only the platfrom where you sell on - the seller is free to do whatever he wants. There are ton of games on Steam that are infact DRM-free. You can download them and start the executable without Steam, no worries.

I also want to ask you not to bad mouth @trollercoaster by Quoting things he did not say (I mean the “Can you guarantee” Thing).

You are the first guy in the forums i met that still uses the Standalone - most people switched to Steam now. Workshop is a big thing you know, having the same version as everyone else for competitions is an even bigger one. ATM there is version parity again, but there was a time where the Standalone got its update 3-4 Weeks later…

Calm down guys, wait for the UE4 Release, then we see what happens. And then we wait for the fullrelease.


#11

Ah, I wasn’t sure of the details (something about a missing env variable), still the fact it was even possible has me wary, and refusing to trust it.

That I didn’t know; I don’t use Steam. Still doesn’t negate my other complaints (and reasons for not using it).

Yeah but you still need the client, which I don’t like; I don’t use Gog Galaxy either.

Look again, I quoted him properly (with his name; “Can you guarantee GOG…”), then used block quotes (those don’t have his name) to make my own points based on his flawed argument. No badmouthing (except perhaps to the argument itself).


#12

You dont, you can uninstall the Client and still use it. You just need it for buying and downloading - my brother uses that “feature” quite often. Steam Family Sharing - he just needs to download it and can start some games without Steam running.


#13

Yeah, you need to install the client at some point. You don’t need a client on Gog at all.


#14

Damn… I thought I was prone to wearing a tin-foil cap. This is some next-level stuff here… depleted uranium cap level.

I used to be wary of Steam in the early days, but I quickly realized that there’s really nothing you can do if you want to continue playing newer games. The early days of Steam had some root-kit-esque actions going on… but really it does no harm.

Yeah, Steam may call home about what kind of computer you’re running… though I don’t think they do it without your permission anymore; since I remember Steam sending me a survey about that a few times, which I could and did decline.

Steam’s never given my any issues. Originally I thought of it as bloatware in the early days because it seemed to be “just another thing to install”. Steam is so much bigger than that now. It has become the platform for gaming as we know it; and honestly… it’s good progress. I don’t miss having to go out to buy a hard copy of a game at all. Steam made it easier, more convenient, and a lot of times less expensive.

I used to be very concious and pro-active about security… but then I grew up and realized how futile it is. “They” know everything. They will always know. The Government knows where you are, what you’re doing, and when you’re doing it. Period. So why bother trying to hide it from the little guys?. Okay, by not installing Steam, Valve might not know what CPU and GPU combination you’re running. So what? I couldn’t care less if they know that I’m on an overclocked Intel X6800 with an overclocked 260GTX by MSI. Giving them that ultra-sensitive, top secret information doesn’t hurt me in the least.

Now, I’m not saying that security isn’t a real concern. It is. I still don’t have a smartphone, and likely won’t for a while if I can avoid it because I’m not a fan of the always-on microphones. I’m prone to say very offensive things for amusement purposes; and I can see some potential situations where I could be at the wrong place at the wrong time and could incriminate myself by doing that. Paranoia is real with me… but Steam can do no harm.

In short; Steam isn’t going to find your kiddypron collection and phone home about it. Besides, if you have one; “they” already know about it anyway.

As for the standalone version… originally it was kept because the developers could not risk a potential refund situation before the Steam release because they might have not been able to afford that monetary hit. Now it may be a different story.

To me, dropping the Standalone version completely seems like the most rational idea because as @pyrlix mentioned; less than 2% of users are not using the Steam version. Maybe they don’t want to risk a tiny PR hit of about 25 people because they’re so caring about the community. That is their choice… but to me, the opinion of less than 2% of users is irrelevant.


#15

Regarding Steam’s offline mode, I used it for the better part of 6 months with no internet and had no problems. If it was a game that didn’t already require the internet to play, I could play it.

I know it won’t shake your opinions, but, it’s my experience with Steam’s offline mode.


#16

I read most of your post as “I’m wrong” in your opinion, and should just conform to what you accept, on the “spyware” front (i.e. accept Steam as most others, not just this forum, have). @pyrlix at least addressed some misconceptions I had on that front; actual facts. And while writing this, @Madrias too (on offline mode).

I don’t have Steam, and little idea where to go about finding accurate info about my particular interests in the operation of Steam, so I think I can be forgiven for being a bit misinformed. Thank you to those who have provided info and set me straight.

That doesn’t change the fact I’m anti-DRM and, for me currently, that means anti-client as well. Gog allows me that, Steam doesn’t. And I know the current Standalone client is like that, hence the whole point of this suggestion. Whether or not the devs or enough people feel that way, well I won’t know unless I bring up the topic. Apparently I’m a minority of one with respect to Automation.


#17

No hard feelings. I just remember being fervently against Steam myself in the early days of it’s inception, so I may have been a bit too blunt about it. Times have changed though. Globally changed; not just in relation to Steam. Once I saw how bad things were getting in the grand scheme of things… I saw how futile it all was.

On the bright side though, I’ve learned to accept some things; Steam being one of them, and it ended up alright. I guess back then there were a lot more valid arguments against Steam than there are now. Back when Steam was new. Now that the “good, old way” is basically gone; Steam is a pretty decent alternative that provides good functionality and actually isn’t intrusive. Yes, in order to play most games; you need the Steam client to be running… but other than that there’s really nothing else. I believe on default, it may display a game suggestion after you exit a game, but I disabled that in their options so many years ago. It isn’t hidden from you or anything. There are no ads plastered anywhere in the client; unless you go to the Store section, obviously.

Personally… I’m a lot more worried about being eventually forced to use Windows 10, than I worry about what Steam is doing behind my back. I’ve actually never seen any indication that it does anything. No CPU usage spikes, or unusual bandwidth utilization. I can’t say the same for a lot of other widely-accepted software…

I’m seriously worried that they will stop anything pre-Windows 10 with a heavy-hand. They’ve already outlawed it on newer processors… but that’s for another discussion.


#18

I might have taken your previous post a bit in the wrong way (and certainly negatively), and if I came across as… I’m not sure how to describe; I apologize. I’ve since been able to chill; no hard feelings.


#19

No need to apologize… we are just having a discussion.

I was indeed using a tone that was negative… no getting around that. The uranium cap bit was a border-line insult if anything, lol.

Anyway, no harm intended. :slight_smile:


#20

Just some data for you guys so you don’t have to guess as much.

Before Steam Early Access we had ~16k sales in total. Out of those ~10k have converted to Steam and ~6k have not. Considering the poll we think that even at this stage most of those who have not converted yet just have not attempted to play the game again since our Steam release. On Steam itself we had ~45k sales since Early Access.

Like @pyrlix pointed out, looking at the data and the poll from back then, which we think is reasonably representative a sample of our player base, 7% out of 16k are 1120 people not wanting to convert to Steam at all, for various reasons. That might have changed since then, but it might in either direction, so I won’t start guessing.

The conclusion of this is that currently, roughly rounded up, 1200 out of 61000 players (or less than 2%) are affected by this discussion. I’m not making any value judgement here, but I would like you to consider the following: the percentage of Mac users is roughly 10-15% in the gaming market. Considering we’re pretty US heavy we’re probably talking about more rather than less. Let’s say with the time it would take to make and maintain the GoG version instead we made a Mac port, we’d reach 5-7 times as many people.

Yes, not quite the same thing, comparing apples to oranges and all that, but the point I want to highlight here is the effect / effort ratio and that we’re dealing with limited resources, of course.

Cheers!