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Questions About Steam Play #1010117
04/10/15 02:07 PM
04/10/15 02:07 PM
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gatsbygirl Offline OP
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I have a Steam account and just noticed the Steam Play option. Can anyone tell me more about how that works? Where does the game get stored? I work in a library and we have Minecraft installed in out PC lab and I do a monthly Minecraft program for children. We are considering adding Steam but I tried to download and play one of the free games and the game didn't play because of the graphics card, I think. We would like to offer more gaming options to our patrons but the computers in our lab aren't brand new so I am afraid that Steam won't work properly.

Re: Questions About Steam Play [Re: gatsbygirl] #1010128
04/10/15 02:56 PM
04/10/15 02:56 PM
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Maybe this will help you: Click here.

Re: Questions About Steam Play [Re: gatsbygirl] #1010131
04/10/15 03:03 PM
04/10/15 03:03 PM
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The Country
Winfrey Offline
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One big issue I see with your situation at the library is the graphics card.. I used to be a volunteer with the friends of the library and none of the computers had a dedicated graphics card.


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Re: Questions About Steam Play [Re: gatsbygirl] #1010196
04/11/15 11:27 AM
04/11/15 11:27 AM
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southeast USA
Jenny100 Offline
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You'd be restricted to Steam games that will work with onboard graphics (or possibly low end video cards).

Even if the library were willing to pay to install new graphics cards on their computers, it's unlikely that they'd pay for cards that were able to run ALL Steam games acceptably (no "sticky cursor" or slowness). To install cards like that, they'd probably have to buy new power supplies that would provide enough power for the new cards, and maybe extra case fans too. If the library computers are those newfangled tiny skinny ones and not full size, upgrade potential is very limited.

I don't think it's worth it for a library to install new "gaming quality" video cards in all their computers. They might consider having a "special" computer that they upgrade to use for games that require it -- but they might also run into the problem where that computer was "always in use" -- and people who want to use it for "game research" won't be able to use it because people who "just want to have fun playing" have monopolized it. So use of the "special gaming computer" might have to be limited and scheduled to prevent abuse.

It's probably a better idea to get an idea of which games have low enough graphics requirements that they'll work with onboard video cards. Any of the older games from the 1980's and 1990's that Steam (and GOG) have configured to work using DOSBox should work. And more modern games made with the AGS game engine (like the Blackwell series from Wadjet Eye) also have low video card requirements. There are also some games from Big Fish that aren't on Steam (or GOG), and which will work with onboard graphics.

I'm unsure of the legal aspects of using Steam games in a public library, where multiple users will have access. Would a library need a special type of Steam account for multiple users?

Re: Questions About Steam Play [Re: Jenny100] #1010643
04/15/15 06:57 PM
04/15/15 06:57 PM
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gatsbygirl Offline OP
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Thank you for all of your responses. We have decided not to use Steam. The library purchased Minecraft edu and I have a monthly Minecraft program where the kids all play together on an assignment/theme. Today I had a Tree house Challenge where they all worked together to build a tree with a giant tree house with furniture, windows etc. Minecraft edu is different in that we have a "Teacher" computer and the teacher can set assignments and control what is going on in the game. It has been so popular that I might have to add more sessions. We are full each month and have a long waiting list of children/teens who want to come. Starting next month, we are adding a weekly "free play" Minecraft program for patrons (adult and children) who want to come to the library and play.

Minecraft isn't my thing but because it is so popular, I started thinking about other platforms that we might be able to use in the library. Unfortunately our computers in out training/program lab aren't new and so we have decided to shelve this idea for now. I am disappointed because not everyone can afford a computer or a gaming console so I thought it might be nice if people could come to the library to play games.

Re: Questions About Steam Play [Re: gatsbygirl] #1010705
04/16/15 10:21 AM
04/16/15 10:21 AM
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United Kingdom
Mad Offline
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Are there no local business owners that would sponsor you, gatsbygirl ??

The cost of a new computer system for your library would be a drop in the ocean to many business owners.


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Re: Questions About Steam Play [Re: gatsbygirl] #1010713
04/16/15 11:56 AM
04/16/15 11:56 AM
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Jenny100 Offline
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Originally Posted By: gatsbygirl
Minecraft isn't my thing but because it is so popular, I started thinking about other platforms that we might be able to use in the library. Unfortunately our computers in out training/program lab aren't new and so we have decided to shelve this idea for now. I am disappointed because not everyone can afford a computer or a gaming console so I thought it might be nice if people could come to the library to play games.

I checked YouTube, and Minecraft isn't my thing either.

There might be a purpose in allowing children access to other game genres besides the "action" type, but it's not necessary to have a new "gaming" computer for that. Old DOS games that run in DOSBox won't need anything special in the way of a video card.

There are also new (and newish) games that not only run natively on current versions of Windows, but which don't require new video cards. Some of these games are free, such as the ones at ***Crystal Shard***. The only thing the free games would require from you is your time -- time to install, play, and make sure they are age-appropriate. And there wouldn't be any licensing issues to worry about if you used free games.

There are some games that are now free but which used to be retail games, such as Beneath a Steel Sky and Flight of the Amazon Queen. These are downloads for free games at ScummVM http://scummvm.org/games

In other words, I wouldn't start out by suggesting that a library invest in a new computer. I'd go for free (or low cost) games that introduce children to non-Minecraft-style games. If offering different genres is popular, and is considered a success, you can consider broadening the variety of games offered (and investing in a new computer to play them).

Re: Questions About Steam Play [Re: Mad] #1011168
04/20/15 02:13 PM
04/20/15 02:13 PM
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gatsbygirl Offline OP
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Mad, thanks for the suggestion and we are looking into that. When Wiis were popular, Best Buy donated one to us for our teen room. They used to have a business contact rep but now all requests have to go through their corporate office. They have a time period when you can request donations and I think it has passed. I have discovered that some libraries are using Steam. I am going to try and figure out how we can get a computer/computers for our teen room that will run games. I am looking into grant opportunities and a few other things. Some libraries have Alienware laptop computers in their library for games. I don't know much about the Alienware computers. How are they different from regular computers? Would they be good for my purposes?

Re: Questions About Steam Play [Re: gatsbygirl] #1011175
04/20/15 02:55 PM
04/20/15 02:55 PM
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southeast USA
Jenny100 Offline
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There is nothing special about Alienware computers.
Maybe there was back in the late 1990's and early 2000's, long before Alienware was purchased by Dell. But now they are just a subsidiary of Dell, with concessions made to hold down costs.

Some Alienware models only cover the bare minimum requirements for gaming, though if you pay enough you can certainly get one with high end specs.

They may "look" fancy, but they are not particularly well made, and you would certainly want an on-site service contract along with the computer unless you have someone on staff with knowledge to diagnose and fix computers.

The Alienware desktop I am using has needed attention several times a year, for problems varying from fans not coming on to needing the entire coolant system replaced because Dell used low end coolant that completely plugged up the system, resulting in a computer that would only run a few seconds before it would shut down due to overheating. This was on an Alienware computer less than 6 months old. The coolant issue was a well known problem with Alienware R4 computers.

Alienware uses some high end parts and some low end parts.
You can get an equivalent computer for less money.

Although I don't hate my Alienware computer, and my brother and I can keep it working, I wouldn't recommend it for a library or to anyone who doesn't have technical expertise.

Alienware has been coasting on their reputation for years.

If you want to buy a gaming computer, you might consider having a local computer store build one for you. Not only would you be supporting a local business, but if the computer needed service, you wouldn't be hanging on the phone all day waiting for some low level overseas "tech" to answer and read questions off a list -- which is what you'd get from Dell (unless you paid extra for "business" level support).

Re: Questions About Steam Play [Re: gatsbygirl] #1011180
04/20/15 03:47 PM
04/20/15 03:47 PM
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I couldn't agree with Jenny more - have a local computer business build one for you with gaming specs for all the reasons she mentioned.

Alienware took a nosedive when Dell purchased the company. They do have some good high-end ones, but they "dumbed down" the rest for the consumer market and as Jenny said, coasted on the old reputation.


109 tomatoes in the ground. When are the BLT's?!
Re: Questions About Steam Play [Re: Jenny100] #1011181
04/20/15 03:49 PM
04/20/15 03:49 PM
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United Kingdom
Mad Offline
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Some libraries here in the UK are "gifted" computers for their juvenile section by local business owners - and then the machines are serviced by local computer engineers on a voluntary basis.
So for the youngsters at such libraries it's a "win, win" situation.

But obviously every community doesn't include such generous people.


Time : The Most Precious Commodity
Re: Questions About Steam Play [Re: Jenny100] #1011325
04/21/15 01:02 PM
04/21/15 01:02 PM
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Midwest
gatsbygirl Offline OP
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Thanks everyone for your comments. Great information! We do have a small IT staff here at the library but they are busy going back and forth between our two libraries and we do contract our for some of our services. Not sure if I will be able to get this going but I will keep trying!

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