Valve overhauls Steam publishing tech

Valve overhauls Steam publishing tech

By Rob Crossley

July 18th 2011 at 11:53AM

PC kingpin hopes to upsurge download speeds; New developer tools inbound

Valve has revamped its Steam platform to optimise content delivery, the company has said.

With the help of new server and client codes, the overhauled Steam is said will offer better download rates for customers around the world.
 
"The maximum aggregate bandwidth of the system will be greater than the current system; this will help us satisfy spikes in demand when there's a big release," the company said in a statement.

"We will also be able to send content from more places, to better serve people all around the globe. All the content on the new system is sent via HTTP; this is more firewall-friendly than the current system, and will automatically take advantage of web-caching proxies installed at ISPs."

Valve said that its game updates would now require less data to download.

“With the Steam content system that’s been in place for a few years now, if an individual file on disk were modified by a game update, your client had to download the whole file,” the company said.

“That can be painful when the file in question is really large. The new system supports delivering only the differences between the old and new files, meaning game updates will be much smaller overall.”

In turn, these changes have forced Valve to write new tools for developers to simplify the Steam publishing process.

“In addition, the new content system will allow us to build several new features that we’ve often heard requested. Upcoming client releases will include things like download scheduling, bandwidth throttling, and prioritising which games get downloaded first,” Valve added.

Valve plans to gradually roll out the new content delivery system, with its upcoming release Dota 2 being one of the first using the new tech.

Steam is the most used digital PC platform, with more than 30 million customers.

Develop’s recent interview Valve on the future of Steam can be found here.