As discussed in other threads, Steam has already been identified as a viable authentication & digital delivery platform. With this in mind, we're pretty excited to take exploratory steps with the Steamworks SDK by integrating it into Project CARS. Now as pCARS is within the WMD platform we won't be performing this work behind closed doors - we work openly which means you will be along for the ride and have the opportunity to test, suggest and feedback your experiences with these developments!
For those unaware, here are some of the benefits of the Steamworks platform:
- Friends system
- Invitation system
- Ranking system
- Ghost storage for all players
- DLC packages
- Community portal
- Digital delivery and automatic updates
You'll notice that a good few of the above we don't have yet within the WMD platform, notibly: Authentication (our current forum system is not viable for the final product), Friends, Invitations, Achievements, Matchmaking, Ranking, Ghost storage for all players, VOIP, DLC, DRM, and production-ready digital delivery of the game. The cost-savings for SMS to avoid reinventing these well-oiled wheels is significant. Additionally, Steamworks is a mature platform used successfully in thousands of games and has become to be widely accepted by the PC community.
How it will work:
In the beginning you will be need to install Steam and we will provide each member with a digital key. Within Steam, you will notice (when the structure is created) a number of download options available (configured as Steam "branches") from which you will select the one that matches your membership tier. The game will then download and furthermore will auto-update when new packages are uploaded.
Authentication will be the first feature to be ported over after which you will need to run Steam to launch the game. The standard WMD builds will cease and it will no longer be possible to authenticate via any other method.
Going forward, we will then migrate our existing features over such as leaderboards and ghost storage before touching on more advanced options such as friends, invitations, matchmaking and ranking (it is still TBD if advanced matchmaking/ranking is in scope for Project CARS).
We hope this direction is well received by you all. In summary, it is very good for the success and profitability of Project CARS, so it's good for us and good for you too.
There are bound to be many questions, so we will try to answer as many of them as possible (and an FAQ is already being prepared). For those of you wondering whether this will affect our title's multiplayer ambitions... it will not. We've examined Steamworks' capabilities very carefully and we strongly believe we can deliver large multiplayer fields via a Steamworks-integrated dedicated server app. "