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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Steam is now selling software; GameMaker Studio is among first batch

Remember that Valve announced it would be selling computer software through its popular digital distribution service Steam way back in August of 2012? No, neither did I. While that partly has to do with the fact that Valve missed its delivery date by almost a month (September 5th was the original date), the idea of the biggest digital games distributor selling non-gaming applications was such a foreign concept it did not register in our brains. Whether or not you have digested that idea, Valve has finally delivered on its promise of selling software by today unveiling the first batch of software that Steam users can purchase.

While there are less than 10 programs currently available, with two of those titles being duplicates for slightly different computer builds, the selection listed below does hit (almost) all of the bases;
  • GameMaker Studio - The newest IDE of the popular GameMaker software. While the base program is free, Steam users can purchase several variations that entirely eliminate the limitations of the base studio and add extra functionality. Those versions range from $50 US to $200 US. (If you are looking for a free game-making tool and some opinions, you are better off using the free version of GameMaker 8.1, which has very few limitations compared to the free Studio version.) A Steam-exclusive feature is the ability to post whatever games you create in GM:S to the GM:S section of Steam Workshop.
  • 3D-Coat - A 3D modeling software that talks about so many things that I have so little knowledge about. This 3D modeling software comes in two flavors; Normal and Professional for $99.99 US and $349.99 US respectively, with the only difference being that Professional allows the purchaser to use the software for commercial use. A neat Steam-exclusive feature is that models can automatically be imported to Team Fortress 2 and posted to TF2s Steam Workshop.
  • ArtRage Studio Pro - A painting suite that supposedly emulates lots of real-life painting styles and all that jazz. The listed reviews seem to shower the suite with praise and the the barrier to entry is $59.99 US.
  • 3DMark Vantage/3DMark 11 - The computer graphics industry's standard benchmarking tool. Both retailing for $19.99 US, the only difference between the two is that 3DMark 11 uses DirectX 11 and requires the user to have Windows Vista or Windows 7.
  • CameraBag 2 -A photo-editing tool that comes with tons of features and a small price-tag of $14.99 US. The listed reviews are as glowing as they were for ArtRage Studio Pro.
  • Source Filmmaker - Although technically released months ago, SFM has been moved to the new Software section of Steam. For those unaware, Source Filmmaker is Valve's free program which allows the user to record the game world of any Source Engine game and edit the world to their liking, whether it be adding props to the scene, editing character animations, or filming new views of previously-recorded actions.
That's quite the array of software and the range of software will inevitably increase as time goes on.Of course, the question of whether or not these Steam-tied software products will fly off of the digital shelves is still waiting to be answered, so it may be best to watch the tide rather than embrace it.
Steam is now selling software; GameMaker Studio is among first batch
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