SteamOS - Just The Facts

On Monday Valve announced SteamOS, a free Linux-based operating system dedicated to Steam. Whether it ultimately proves to be a success or failure, the push to make SteamOS a viable platform will impact the industry in all sorts of ways over the years to come. Here's everything you need to know.

SteamOS will likely fail due to a complete absence of the pack-in game Minesweeper.

Gabe Newell has personally promised that if you speak his name into a microphone, it will scroll across the screen in cool flaming text.

Since the operating system is built upon a foundation of Linux, all SteamOS games must feature a penguin as a protagonist. Also, they must be thoroughly terrible.

You can install it on any computer. You can download the OS and then keep it somewhere without installing it at all. You can download it partially and then cancel the download. You can spend years trying to memorize all the 1s and 0s in its code. All things are possible.

With a trimmed down operating system hogging less of your hardware's resources, games should theoretically run faster on cheaper components. This means that someone might actually run Rome II with its maximum settings at a steady framerate.

SteamOS will be free, but it will be adopted at a far greater rate when it goes on a daily sale for 75% off.

Valve has been in tense negotiations with the creators of Half-Life 3 and hopes to have the game available on SteamOS.

At first the selection of new compatible games will be rather limited. To ease this transition, SteamOS can stream video games running on a nearby Windows machine. It is Valve's hope that people will misinterpret this functionality as the primary purpose of the OS, and that tens of thousands of people online will ask, "Why should I buy a Steambox just to stream games from my real PC?"

To encourage users to move away from Windows and into SteamOS, Valve will likely offer exclusive virtual hats and trading cards to people who play games on the platform. This move will be the subject of many snide jokes and will also get approximately everyone on Earth to use SteamOS.

There will be a text-to-speech program built into the operating system. Users can choose the voice to be provided by either Gordon Freeman or Chell.

SteamOS is designed for use on a television. If users want to install it on a desktop PC, they must replace their office chair with a couch.

Everyone knows for a FACT that this is going to succeed or fail. After all, this is a free dedicated gaming OS from this industry's Willy Wonka, introduced as a platform for a handful of games and gradually grown over a period of years while outside factors impact its adoption rate. We can all see exactly what's coming based on whether we personally think we'll want to use it or not right at this very moment.

About That Grand Theft Auto V Game

The world of GTA V has more detail than it knows what to do with. Every spot on the map seems to have its own set of unique props and textures. This environment is so impressive that it imparts a contact high. Good parts of the game start to feel revolutionary. Flaws are dismissed because did you see that mountain and Franklin's neighborhood and that stuff underwater? Eventually the buzz begins to wear off.

It might take a few hours, or ten, or thirty. And the fun that you have while soaking up the setting can't be dismissed. It's a huge plus in the game's favor. For some people it will be worth the price of admission alone. When all that detail starts to fade into the background, however, you might catch yourself thinking about the game with a critical eye.

Shooting from a vehicle requires you to start blasting away before aiming, a feat that's awkward at best. While the dialog is mostly good there are still way too many repulsive people and concepts handled with clumsy humor, and there aren't enough ways for players to subvert, ignore, or oppose what's plopped in front of them. Tapping a button repeatedly to run faster doesn't seem like a concept that should still exist in 2013. In-world navigation markers show up in races, but aren't an option for the GPS. Hunting is a miserable side mission, with constantly shifting wind, a ridiculous score threshold, a time limit, and instadeath cougar attacks that are only funny while you're free roaming. Buying property is a money sink rather than an investment, as you'll probably finish the campaign and get tired of each building's annoying side quests long before you make your initial investment back.

Even with those flaws and many more, the game is worth playing for one reason. It's not the environment that I gushed over. It's not even the heists, which are the most inspired gameplay concepts in the series since San Andreas.

The reason you should buy this game is because you can walk forward and jump into people or objects, bouncing off them as you turn into a sad ragdoll that just sort of flops to the ground.

I don't think this game is the crowning achievement of the current console generation, but it does represent a huge step forward for Asshole Physics. Since there is an emphasis on momentum and weight, your character's stumbles are pathetic and hypnotically slow. It's great. Bounce off a light pole. Jump on a stranger's back and do a weird shrug as the two of you fall over. Get into a fist fight, then turn around as if running away, only to leap headfirst into a cement wall, collapsing on a pile of cardboard boxes.

This represents around 80% of my time with Grand Theft Auto V.

By the way, you know what would be a genuinely huge step forward for this series? The ability to say no to any character you dislike at any time. Not every character in a crime game has to be the absolute worst human. Take the crew selection from the heist missions and apply the concept to an entire game. The people you decline can turn into your enemies and running with the relatively nice/professional guys can give you less of a material payoff. This has been my armchair developer paragraph. Thank you.

 Grand Theft Auto V
The scale of this game and the effort that went into its world have left every other aspect in the dust, even if the basic mechanics of walking around and shooting took a few welcome steps forward. 9/10

– Dennis "Corin Tucker's Stalker" Farrell (@DennisFarrell)

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