Thursday, March 11, 2010

Epic Integrates Steamworks into Unreal Engine 3

Steamworks is Valve Software's cloud computing solution for games.  For a big fat price of free, it allows game developers to integrate with Steam and it's many tools: anti-piracy, cloud, matchmaking/lobbies, and DLC.  Epic, developers of the Unreal games and graphical engine, have announced they will be integrating the Unreal Tournament 3 engine with Steamworks:
Epic Games and Valve Software have announced a mutually beneficial partnership to bring Steamworks to Unreal Engine 3. Valve's full suite of tools will now be offered to Unreal Engine licensees completely free of charge.

Steamworks allows developers to utilize any of the features of Valve's digital distribution platform in their own products, including Steam Cloud save importing, Achievements, user stat tracking, and DRM authentication. It's normally available for free, but its integration into the latest version of the Unreal Engine should encourage even more developers to utilize Steamworks.

"Valve has created a world-wide phenomenon with Steam and we're excited to be able to have the Steamworks suite of services available to Unreal Engine 3 licensees so they can take full advantage of all that Steam has to offer," explained Epic's Mark Rein, adding, "With Valve offering these services free of charge, the idea of providing the Steamworks SDK to all Unreal Engine licensees was a no-brainer."
I'm very curious to see where this leads. 

The number one annoying aspect of Steam is that so many games don't use its core functionality.  This forces gamers to track a dozen different game IDs and logins.  For example: Games for Windows Live games sold through Steam or games that come packaged with Gamespy for multiplayer.  Steamworks gets rid of all that and plugs a gamer's Steam right into the game, no extra managment required.  It is nice to finally see some bigger developers come on board with Steamworks.

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