#1 Posted by GlutenBob (143 posts) -

Hey guys, I had a couple of questions about steam.

1. A lot of people have been saying that Steam is really useful because of the auto-update feature. Will I be able to buy a retail disk copy of a game, and then use its CD key to download the game off steam. That way I can have my game auto update, right? Some games are significantly cheaper on Amazon, than on steam so I want to buy it off there, but download it off steam (for the auto updates).

2. How does VAC work with modding? I want to download graphics mods for games like The Witcher, Oblivion, STALKER etc, but I heard you can get your account permanently banned due to VAC for some mods. Do graphics mods get detected by VAC?

3. What do you guys prefer, Steam or retail? I pretty much want the auto update features of Steam, but I also want to download graphics mods for the games without being banned.

#2 Posted by crazyleaves (648 posts) -

1. Depends on the game. Not all of them transfer. A lot of them do though.

2. VAC FAQ      If a user connects to a VAC-Secured server from a computer with identifiable cheats installed, the VAC system will ban the user from playing on VAC-Secured servers in the future.

3. Steam.
#3 Edited by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

Graphics mods...if a Steam game bans you from multiplayer, the non-steam version will do the same.

But anyway, I use alternate skins in CS and have never had any issues. As far as I know, nothing but hacking will get you banned.

#4 Posted by Mesklinite (816 posts) -

3. Steam

Dunno about the rest.

#5 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

Sorry, I can actually answer this question better than I did.
VAC is only relevant in games that use it, and any game that uses VAC will be Steam-only. most games use Punkbuster or their own anti-cheat. Regardless, the conditions for banning will be the same across Steam and Non-Steam versions of the game.

#6 Posted by TheKeyboardDemon (822 posts) -
@GlutenBob: 1. Some games require Steam activation in order for them to run, even if you buy these at retail, for these games Steam will look after them for you. Other games can be included in your Steam library but Steam will not update these for you, the option to include them makes it easier for your Steam friends to see what game you are playing so they can join you if they want to.

2. Already covered above in the FAQ posted by crazyleaves.

3. Steam.
#7 Posted by demonbear (1877 posts) -
#8 Posted by ch13696 (4582 posts) -

1 - Only certain games work. Here's a list of games that allow you to activate on Steam...

2 - Yes, you can use graphic mods. As long as the game allows it you should be fine. The only thing that won't be allowed is multiplayer cheats. However, since you're talking about single player, you should be fine.

3 - Whatever you can find cheap in my opinion. One time I found Left 4 Dead 2 for $10 at Wal-Mart while Steam is still selling it for $20. Either way I got to activate it on Steam.
#9 Posted by Mesklinite (816 posts) -

I've also modified some games like neverwinter nights 2, and never had any problems with that.

#10 Edited by Kyle (2325 posts) -

Don't know about multiplayer, but of course you can use whatever mods you want in single player games. VAC is an anti-cheat system that can be implemented in multiplayer games if the developer uses it, it's not some over-arching steam security system or something.

I like steam way better than retail games. Having a big list of all my games in one place and never needing to hunt for a disc is great, not to mention all the great games that don't have retail counterparts.
#11 Posted by KaosAngel (13764 posts) -

Some CS:S graphic mods are kinda gay, I got a one week VAC ban for something stupid and I never noticed it.  One of my skin packs had a script to change how one of the gun works....and I didn't know until I got hit with it.  They understood though and I wasn't the only one who got hit.  

Just be careful with CS:S packs as some change the way weapons work be it for realism or random stuff.

#12 Posted by BUCK3TM4N (549 posts) -

you only get banned for from mulitplayer games

#13 Posted by Kyle (2325 posts) -
@KaosAngel said:
" Just be careful with CS:S packs as some change the way weapons work be it for realism or random stuff. "
Or maybe to get you banned on purpose?
#14 Posted by iam3green (14390 posts) -

you can only get banned from  VAC for pretty much using cheats or hacks. some times you won't be detected from vac. my friend used aim bot once. he got bunch of headshots and then stopped using it.

#15 Posted by ajamafalous (12159 posts) -

All the right answers are in this thread already, but:

1. Only certain games can be activated on Steam with a retail CD Key. A few people provided that link already.

2. VAC is only implemented in a few multiplayer games; it isn't a Steam-wide security system. You can do whatever you want to games like STALKER, Oblivion, Half-Life, etc, just the same as you could with a retail game (although Half-Life requires Steam either way). The state of mods conflicting with VAC will be game-specific: nobody gets banned for using graphical mods on TF2, for example.

3. I vastly prefer Steam. I end up almost never playing my non-Steam games that require a disk because it's so much easier to scroll through my Steam games list than to find a disk and put it in the drive.
#16 Posted by GlutenBob (143 posts) -

For retail games not download using steam, how would you go about updating them with dev released patches etc? 

I know Steam auto updates it for you, but right now steam is charging 20, 15, and 9 USD for the three stalker games whereas Amazon is charing 10 for each. 
#17 Posted by Cameron (607 posts) -
@GlutenBob: A lot of games have update options in the main menu, but if they don't, you would have to go to the developer's web site and download the patch there.
#18 Edited by crazyleaves (648 posts) -

This Stalker Complete, totally works with Steam. No problems VAC or otherwise. In case you were wondering....

The Amazon stuff might be "iffy", i wasn't able to do it on the one game I bought on there.
#19 Edited by Delusibeta (69 posts) -

1) If it's on this list, you can register it in Steam.
2) VAC only affects multiplayer games, so your examples listed won't have VAC. At all. Secondly, even with VAC enabled games, you can mod them as long as you don't modify the core files (the .dlls and such like). To use an example from TF2, if the mod installs in steamapps/username/team fortress 2/tf, it won't attract VAC's attention since it's not modifying core files. Your mileage may very, however (Modern Warfare 2 has a strict no-mods policy, for example). I also suspect you are misinformed about the extent of VAC bans: they're only server bans.
3) Depends, although I tend more towards retail.
4) Retail patches depends on the publisher, really. For example, more recent EA games (i.e. Spore and later) will have an automatic updater included with the game. For something like S.T.A.L.K.E.R, however, you'll just have to resort to Googling and downloading the patches from GamersHell or GameFront, or FilePlanet or similar.