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Steam Released Today


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#101 Smoke_Tetsu

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 11:18 PM

View Postteflon, on 15 May 2010 - 05:05 AM, said:

It was a big big overhaul of what previously looked like some bizarre linux/unix thing in windows... Of course, this new styling doesnt really fit in with any OS either... and as I think I said before, the app wants to behave like its Windows counterpart a lot of the time. Hopefully they'll give us the ability/option to reskin it at some point.

It originally seemed to me to be made especially to distribute Half-Life 2 and had its UI matching it as a part of that. But they've since moved away from that and especially after many more games have been released on it it no longer is appropriate to have it only matching one game. I've noticed many cross platform applications don't behave the way they should on OS that weren't their original platform. One needs look no further than Apple's applications on windows to see an example. It also seems to me the more cross platform an application is the less native it feels on any platform. Even applications like Firefox mostly don't have a fully native UI in OS X.

But I do think Steam is one of the least native when it comes to its look and feel on OS X. Even resizing the window is more like windows than OS X. I wouldn't mind an unified leopard looking skin although others point out the UI behavior is more than skin deep in Mac Steam. Hopefully Valve is working on this or is planning on to. To be honest I was dissapointed by the titlebar metrics and the window shape which to me made it seem more kludgy than it should be. It's not a total deal breaker for me though... anything that makes windows less necessary is a good thing.
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Alex Delarg, A Clockwork Orange said:

It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.

the Battle Cat said:

Slower and faster? I'm sorry to hear such good news?

Late 2012 27 inch iMac, Core i7 Quad 3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB, 3TB HDD - Mavericks

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#102 Janichsan

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 06:51 AM

I don't think you can expect many Mac specific UI changes any time soon. Steam is mainly not an application in an usual sense, but basically a website. Large parts of it (almost everything you see) are HTML and Javascript. Right click on any page in Steam and select "View Source..." to see it yourself. It's very similar to the iTunes Store in that sense. The actual Steam application isn't much more than a flimsy WebKit window.

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#103 Smoke_Tetsu

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 08:52 AM

View PostJanichsan, on 16 May 2010 - 06:51 AM, said:

The actual Steam application isn't much more than a flimsy WebKit window.

It's more than that because generally webkit windows don't provide a more windows-like feel... complete with resizing behavior do they? Other applications use webkit heavily (such as Adium) and they aren't like steam. Steam embeds webkit for its web views but that doesn't mean that's all it does. It's oversimplifying it to call it just a flimsy webkit window. It also provides in game services, app launching, p2p voice, etc. those things aren't generally in web kit's arena. You can't say "it's a webkit window so that's why it acts the same in OS X as it does on windows".

I did look in the application bundle and almost everything I saw WAS NOT HTML or javascript files. As far as I can see dashboard widgets are more like flimsy webkit windows than steam is. In all actuality steam is probably more like a browser with games services than anything... but since most other browsers have managed to be more integrated I would think that steam could too... at least eventually. I never said anytime soon though I know things like this can take time.
--Tetsuo

Alex Delarg, A Clockwork Orange said:

It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.

the Battle Cat said:

Slower and faster? I'm sorry to hear such good news?

Late 2012 27 inch iMac, Core i7 Quad 3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB, 3TB HDD - Mavericks

Late 2009 27 inch iMac, Core i5 2.6GHz, 12GB RAM, ATI Radeon 4850HD 512MB, 1TB HDD - Mavericks

Mac Mini, PowerPC G4 1.4Ghz, 1GB RAM, Radeon 9200 32MB, 256GB HDD - Leopard

Dell Inspiron 1200 Notebook: 1.2GHz Celeron, 1.2GB RAM, Intel GMA915, 75GB HDD - Ubuntu

Generic Black Tower PC, Dual Core 64-bit 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, GeForce 9600 GT 512MB - Windows 7


#104 Monster_user

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 09:27 AM

Most definitely.

I don't know when you can expect some UI changes. Valve does listen to its customers, and this is only the first release for the Mac. The webkit part was probably to make it easier to update both clients at the same time. It may even allow for STEAM skins to be cross-platform, without major coding issues.

There is a "skin" option within the STEAM app on Windows, and should be one on Mac as well. (click on the "STEAM" menu, then click "Settings" then the "Interface" tab.) In time, the community should have some skins ready for the new STEAM.
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#105 Janichsan

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 11:52 AM

View PostSmoke_Tetsu, on 16 May 2010 - 08:52 AM, said:

It's more than that because generally webkit windows don't provide a more windows-like feel... complete with resizing behavior do they? Other applications use webkit heavily (such as Adium) and they aren't like steam. Steam embeds webkit for its web views but that doesn't mean that's all it does. It's oversimplifying it to call it just a flimsy webkit window. It also provides in game services, app launching, p2p voice, etc. those things aren't generally in web kit's arena. You can't say "it's a webkit window so that's why it acts the same in OS X as it does on windows".
Okay, yes, true. I was mainly referring to the Steam window that you see. You are right that there are a couple of underpinnings that aren't Webkit-related – I forgot about that. But none of those parts are UI relevant (except for the overlay maybe). Most things rendered on-screen pass at one point or the other through WebKit, as far as I know.

Quote

I did look in the application bundle and almost everything I saw WAS NOT HTML or javascript files.
But almost everything in the bundle is a platform independent plain text file, when you take a closer look.

Anyway, there are certainly things that could be done more Mac-like. The weird menus, that don't conform any interface guidelines, are among them, the odd non-implementation of clipboard functions are another. The weird resizing behaviour of Steam's windows is not necessarily a sign of sloppy porting, but more of choice – implementing a similar resizing function in any other Mac application would only take a few lines of code. But no decent Mac programmer would do that, since it's just un-Mac-like.

Last of all, I would not put too much hope in the skinning option: when this turn out to be similar to what it was in previous versions of Steam, it's mainly for recolouring the window.

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#106 Smoke_Tetsu

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 09:13 PM

View PostJanichsan, on 16 May 2010 - 11:52 AM, said:

Last of all, I would not put too much hope in the skinning option: when this turn out to be similar to what it was in previous versions of Steam, it's mainly for recolouring the window.

I had an itunes clone skin for the previous steam and mostly the only things it was missing was the titlebar buttons. It wasn't a simple color change (hue, saturation, etc) of the old steam interface either. It was an actual skin that made it look more like itunes. It even made the top corners rounded.

BTW, cross platform plain text files doesn't mean much when it comes to how it's rendered or written. Many games use that but as well. The window handling is more than just how it resizes too.. it also doesn't scroll as well as other apps. No smooth scrolling.. unlike how a standard web browser would act.
--Tetsuo

Alex Delarg, A Clockwork Orange said:

It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.

the Battle Cat said:

Slower and faster? I'm sorry to hear such good news?

Late 2012 27 inch iMac, Core i7 Quad 3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB, 3TB HDD - Mavericks

Late 2009 27 inch iMac, Core i5 2.6GHz, 12GB RAM, ATI Radeon 4850HD 512MB, 1TB HDD - Mavericks

Mac Mini, PowerPC G4 1.4Ghz, 1GB RAM, Radeon 9200 32MB, 256GB HDD - Leopard

Dell Inspiron 1200 Notebook: 1.2GHz Celeron, 1.2GB RAM, Intel GMA915, 75GB HDD - Ubuntu

Generic Black Tower PC, Dual Core 64-bit 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, GeForce 9600 GT 512MB - Windows 7


#107 Janichsan

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 03:32 AM

View PostSmoke_Tetsu, on 16 May 2010 - 09:13 PM, said:

BTW, cross platform plain text files doesn't mean much when it comes to how it's rendered or written. Many games use that but as well. The window handling is more than just how it resizes too.. it also doesn't scroll as well as other apps. No smooth scrolling.. unlike how a standard web browser would act.
Okay, let me try to explain how the Steam window appears to work, which explains why I don't expect to see much actual Macification of the GUI. I admit this is somewhat puzzled together and in parts conjectural, but from different clues it appears to make sense.

Basically, the only thing from the Steam windows that you see which stems from the OS is the rectangular area: that's a borderless window filled with – as it seems – a WebKit renderer. A borderless window has no controls at all, neither resizing controls, nor close button, nor scroll bars. Everything that resembles these has been written from the scratch by the guys at Valve – which is an odd design decision, but it is a decision. That explains why these things in some cases don't work as you would expect (and why there have been resources for the Mac OS X style close and resize window buttons in the Windows Steam beta). All this of course also applies to the Windows version. Scrollbars won't also work smoother there.

Secondly, while many parts of the UI describing text files are not actual HTML/CSS/Javascript, I guess that they are translated into these before rendering (when you take a closer look at the layout files, you'll see that many of the style descriptors are basically identical to the corresponding CSS descriptors) by means of some kind of interpreter built in Steam. Why exactly they took this route (create the layouts in their own format, then translating them into a more standard format) I have no idea. Possibly they wanted to create a completely rendering engine independent layer, maybe even simplify things even more from HTML/CSS.

Anyway, all this means that even when there will be a skin that makes Steam look more Mac-like, it will only look like this, but still not behave like any other proper Mac application.

I guess, the rationalisation behind this "reinventing the wheel" approach is to reduce the effort of platform independent development. Valve is in good company with that (Cinema 4D did this a long time (I think they still do but I'm not sure), Adobe has begun to do this since CS4, Firefox did it to a large extent up to FF2 and still does it in parts now, Opera does this, many open source applications do it). Do I think that this is good from a user experience point of view? Certainly not. It's the scourge of cross-platform development.

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