DMCA takedown removes River City Random Underground from Steam

River City Ransom Underground was removed from Steam late last week, part of an unfolding legal drama surrounding a composer who has been directing DMCA copyright-infringement takedowns at games she says don’t have the rights to her music.

Conatus’ Andrew Russell, one of the developers of River City Ransom Underground, said in a short statement that “we are aware that RCRU is down on Steam. We have contacted Valve’s copyright department, and will let you know when access is restored.” But composer Alex Mauer confirmed to Destructoid that the removal was the result of a Digital Millenium Copyright Act request she made against the title.

“Conatus never got my written permission to use my music in the game,” Mauer told the site. “As far as I know, they have Disasterpeace’s [one of the game’s composers] signature and are trying to act like that alone is enough to have secured rights.”

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First Person Shooter ‘Shadow Warrior Classic’ is a Free Download for Mac

Classic first person shooter Shadow Warrior is available as a free download for Mac over on GOG and Steam this morning. The 1997 PC game garnered fans for its wacky humor, multi-function weaponry, and destructible environment, being based on the Build platform that powered Duke Nukem 3D.

Shadow Warrior was an ambitious game for its time, containing many features not seen until later first-person shooter games, such as drivable vehicles, climbable ladders, and multiple firing modes for various weapons. The game was rebuilt in 2014 with OS X support and published by 3D Realms.

The full game (including two expansion packs) is being offered on Steam as a free download, but picking it up from GOG also gets gamers the original soundtrack in MP3 and FLAC format as an additional freebie. The remastered “Redux” version of the game is also available on Steam for $0.99 as part of a 2017 Summer Sale.

Shadow Warrior Classic has the following minimum requirements: OS X 10.6.8 or later, an Intel Core Duo 2GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 64MB of video memory, and 1GB of hard disk space.

(Via MacObserver.)

Tag: Steam

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Valve tries to one-up Oculus Touch with five-finger “Knuckles” VR controller

Valve / SteamVR

We first heard about Valve’s plans for a new SteamVR controller back in October when a few pictures and basic impressions started leaking out of the press-free Steam Dev Days conference. Now we’re getting more details about the upcoming VR hardware—code-named Knuckles—thanks to documents posted on SteamVR’s Knuckles Dev Kit group page.

The most important confirmation in the new documents is that the Knuckles controllers allow for full, independent tracking of all five fingers. Embedded, capacitive sensors in the handle of the unit track the position of the middle, ring, and pinky fingers, while similar sensors in the trigger and face buttons track the index finger and thumb. A ring of sensors around the thumbpad and the back of the hand helps track the unit in space through the standard Lighthouse system.

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The Steam Summer Sale begins June 22

Has it been a year already? That’s right folks, it’s time to fire up your gaming PC, pull out the credit card, and stock up your Steam library with dozens of games that will remain in your unplayed pile of shame. The annual Steam Summer Sale begins June 22 at 6pm UK time (1pm EDT, 10am PDT).

Plus, UK users can get an additional £5 off a £20 spend until July 5 by paying with PayPal.

The 2016 Steam Summer Sale was the first without any daily or flash deals, which reduced the price of a game by as much as 75 percent for a short period of time. Given that the 2016 sale made even more money than previous years—and that, as Ars discovered, larger discounts didn’t always correlate with larger sales increases—it’s likely this year will see Valve sticking to consistent deals throughout.

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Want to get a game on Steam? $100 is all you need

Valve announced today that anyone will be able to publish games on Steam through its previously announced Steam Direct program for “a $100 recoupable publishing fee per game.”

In announcing the direct publishing fee, Valve says it “wanted it to be as small as possible to ensure it wasn’t a barrier to beginning game developers, while also not being so small as to invite easy abuse by people looking to exploit our systems.” The company’s “initial thinking” hovered around a $500 fee, the post notes, but eventually that number came down as “the community conversation really challenged us to justify why the fee wasn’t as low as possible, and to think about what we could do to make a low fee work.”

Valve’s announcement doesn’t go into details on how exactly developers will “recoup” the $100 fee Valve is asking for, outside of the usual 70 percent cut of Steam sales they already receive. The fee may end up being used as a sort of advance payment on Valve’s usual 30 percent cut of revenues, but it’s unclear how that would work for completely free titles listed on Steam.

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Steam tries to shut down “fake” games that abuse Trading Card system

Following its recently announced updates to Steam store curation and game discovery, Valve announced today that it would be taking steps against “bad actors exploiting the store algorithm for financial gain.” Specifically, Valve says it will start targeting game makers that use phony accounts and the addictive collectability of Steam Trading Cards to try to cash in on content-free titles.

After Steam Trading Cards launched in 2013, Valve says “demand for cards became significant enough that there was an economic opportunity worth taking advantage of.” Once that happened, developers started creating “fake” games with little to no content and forcing them onto Steam by exploiting the Steam Greenlight process.

At that point, the “bad actors” could generate and give away thousands of free codes for their fake game to bot accounts. Those bots would then earn Trading Cards in the fake games and sell them on the Steam Marketplace for an easy profit.

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Pirates upset that popular graphics mod won’t work for them

Game pirates have been rejoicing of late over the quick cracking and re-cracking of games protected with Denuvo, which was once considered the unbreakable best-in-class piracy protection on the market. Now, some of those pirates are angry that a popular mod re-enables piracy checks for one of those cracked games.

The FAR mod (for Fix Automata Resolution) smooths out Nier Automata‘s wonky resolution upscaling on HD monitors and also unlocks and improves frame rates via graphical optimizations. It also adds “a license that requires a simple SteamAPI validity check,” as mod author Kaldaien writes on NeoGAF. “Nothing malicious happens if you fail this check, you’re just presented with an infinite license screen that you can click Accept on but since you don’t respect licenses the license doesn’t respect your click.”

Though Kaldaien writes that he “[doesn’t] condone the practice” of piracy and has implemented similar checks in previous mods, he writes that the ownership check is more personal protection for himself than some sort of moral judgment or punishment.

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Prey developer: Go ahead, use Steam refunds to demo our game

Almost two years ago, Valve introduced the ability to request refunds on practically any Steam game within the first two hours of play. Some developers worried about the impact this would have on the way games were designed and played on the service. Today, though, at least one developer sees the Steam refund system as an easy way to provide a “free” demo for their PC releases.

Speaking to AusGamers recently, Arkane Studios Co-creative Director Raphael Colantonio explained that the absence of a demo for the PC edition of Prey—unlike the console versions—was not a big deal:

It’s just a resource assignment thing. We couldn’t do a demo on both the console and on the PC, we had to choose. And besides, PC has Steam. Steam players can just return the game [prior to playing] 2 hours so it’s like a demo already.

It’s an interesting admission and a recognition of the reality surrounding the way many people use Steam refunds these days. While Steam says it reserves the right to block refunds from people who are “abusing the system,” for the most part, refunds within that “two hours of play” window are approved without much hassle. And digital storefronts like Microsoft’s Xbox Live are following along.

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