Steam and Steam id

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This article covers basics on what is steam and steam id and how it comes into play. The entire wiki will be covered in the form of a FAQ with each question adding details to the previous one
In this article we will be differentiating between "Steam" as a franchise/platform ,"Steam" as a client and "steam id" separately. So don't panic if it contradicts with your current idea about steam. Read through it. Whenever we say "steam" we are referring to steam as a platform/franchise. "Steam Client" is used to describe the client.


What is Steam ?

In it's current form, Steam is a Content Delivery platform. In simple words, they sell Original games making them game sellers and at the same time they deliver the game i.e. they make sure you get the game you purchased making them game distributors as well.
Games can be purchased over their website or through their steam client. More on steam client later in the wiki.

Who is Valve and what is their relation with steam ?

Valve is a Game Developer. They made some of the best games of this period. The famous Half-Life franchise, the Left 4 Dead franchise and Portal series. They are also the people behind steam. They own steam and have developed steam and it's by-products from scratch.

What is the steam client ?

Steam doesn't sell games on Discs. They give you a Digital Download. You buy games with your steam user account you register with them and download them with your account and play. Now after you downloaded the data you can simply pass on the data to your friends or over the internet resulting in piracy.
So how do they protect it from piracy then? They attach the games to the steam client. The steam client is a software which checks whether or not you own the game before you get to play the game.This is done by verifying that the account you are logged in with has purchased the game you are trying to play.

What makes steam different from other forms of piracy protections like SecuROM for DVD and discs?

Steam is user based authentication.So even if you have all the data for a game, the game wont start unless you sign into the account you bought the game with. Having the full data BUT NOT able to use the data unless you OWN the data is known as DRM aka Digital Rights Management. So this makes Steam also a DRM for games.
So, if you are a game developer and release your game via steam, you will not need further DRM to protect your game. As long as you implement the steam API in your development, steam takes care of it.
Currently there are a lot of similar clients in the market that provide this function. Most of them are to serve the purposes of specific Developers. Origin and Uplay are DRM and Download clients for EA and Ubisoft games respectively. Desura is a platform similar to steam for indie games(games developed by small independent developers). Capsule is a Download client provided by Green Man Gaming(Game Retailers). But, steam has evolved into more than a download client and DRM. More on this later in the wiki.

What was steam client originally developed for ?

Steam client was originally developed to provide rapid beta updates to Counter Strike 1.6, Day of Defeat and 2 other games during their betas.The update patches were automatically downloaded and applied to the game. A concept relatively new at that time.
The DRM function of steam was incorporated with the purchase of sierra and replacement of WON id system. More on this later in the wiki. Currently DRM is the primary function of the steam client.

What other functions do "Steam" and "Steam client" provide ?

Today steam provides more functions than your average download client and patcher. This lists a few of them :-

Already discussed previously.
Steamworks is an API developed by Valve for games that utilise steam client.
The API allows game developers to include features in their games which would take a lot of time to program. Some of this include
  • Achievements  :- Certain tasks to complete a badge or an "Achievement"
  • Steam cloud save  :- Saves for single player games are stored online. So that even if you lose data or uninstall the game, you can continue where you left off.
  • Matchmaking  :- Implemented in CS:GO. In multiplayer mode, players with equal skill levels are put together in a server for a fair game.
These features take a lot of effort to implement, for example a matchmaking algorithm needs to take a lot of things for consideration and process the information in real time(give results instantly). This can require additional dedicated hardware for the game developer. Steamworks API takes care of all of that. No coding and no hardware costs.
Note :- Games developed using steamworks WILL ONLY WORK WITH STEAM. So no matter where you bought the game from, you will and MUST use it only via steam client so as to use the steamworks abilities. CS:S and CS:GO utilize steamworks and are only playable through steam. CS 1.6 and CS:CZ don't utilize steamworks but are pushed to steam only release. So the same rule applies to them as well. By 2004 all Valve developed games became STEAM ONLY.This is why even if you buy from flipkart, the game activates on steam.
Steam Community
The feature of steam(steam platform NOT steam client) which adds your profile, ability to add firends and form groups, chat and forums.
Open id
Open id is emerging solution for having to remember multiple accounts. Some of you might have noticed the feature to log into and register on websites using your facebook, yahoo or gmail accounts.
Our Davaj website accepts facebook as a open id registration via facebook. Steam is also accepted as a open id provider in gaming websites. The Steam Community is responsible for the open id feature.
Steam Workshop
To provide a common ground or to group together mod developers to make user created additional content for the game.
A perfect example for this would be maps for game such as CS:GO, rooms and puzzles for portal etc.
Steam client eases the process of installing mods for games you own. For example CS is a mod for Half Life. Although now since CS is a standalone game, mods are available for CS itself.
There is a paintball mod for CS 1.6 and Minerva for CS:S.
Steam client automatically updates your games without you needing to touch the game files.
Steam Big Picture
This provides a HTPC look to your steam client. HTPC means Home Theater PC. Its basically a PC in your living room for entertainment purposes making it more like a gaming console like an XBOX or PS.
Anti Cheat
Games released under steam platform have the option of utilizing Valve Anti Cheat(VAC). It detects and bans accounts using hacks over multi-player campaigns. Besides all Valve games, Call of Duty is notable for using VAC.
Steam Wallet
Steam allows for transferring funds to your account directly or purchasing coupons to add money to you steam wallet. These funds can be used to purchase games from steam.
Steam allows purchasing games not just for you but also for your friends.You have the option of sending the purchased game via email, via steam directly to their steam account or store it in your Inventory for trading.
Steam allows exchange of games, something that most other retailers don't provide. To demonstrate it's use, i will give an example of a recent incident at the time of writing. In a recent pricing error, the game Sleeping Dogs was at 91% discount for 30 minutes bring the game's price to just $5. The game is usually worth $50. Those who missed that offer, were trading games with those who used the offer. So if you got the game in time, you can exchange it for a game worth upto $30 even though you only spent $5. On the other side they can get the game worth more even by offering a game worth less in exchange .Both sides benefit from the trade.Interested users can use for trade offers.

This is the reason we are differentiating "Steam" as a franchise/brand. Because it has evolved into much more than JUST a client.

Steam id

So now what is steam ID and where does it come into picture ?

Each steam user account has a unique steam id LINKED to it. It is used to identify a user uniquely. Consider this as an "extra username". Just like your username, you MUST have one and it MUST BE UNIQUE.

How and when did steam id come into use?

Steam id is a successor of the WON id system. The World Opponent Network system was started by the company Sierra. It gave each Genuinely purchased original copy of the game a UNIQUE id.
When you start your game, it is checked whether or not you have a Valid id. The check was made by connecting to online servers.
Server then checks if the id is valid. Games even those developed by Valve, started using WON id including Half-Life.

Ok but whats the purpose of having a unique id ?

The id helped in reducing piracy because pirate versions dont have a valid UNIQUE id, made tracking the player for stats easier and made banning hackers easier. Banning the id means that your multiplayer capability is DEAD. Another use is Adminship. Previously adminship powers were provided by using In game names and a password file. But this had serious security drawback. IF password was leaked, adminship would be provided to all. So when you use a steam id or won id, since it is unique, only the player entitled for adminship will get the powers.
Note :- Valve bought Sierra and replaced Won id with Steam id.

Why have a id linked to a user account at all. Why not simply use the user accounts directly ?

A lot of reasons. One, being the that the predecessor system WON id used ids NOT user accounts. When Valve purchased Sierra for WON id, it had to upgrade thousands of purchased game copies to steam id. There was already a well established system and mods and plugins which used ids NOT accounts.
So instead of replacing each id with an user account and changing how the system worked altogether, it was more economical to let the id system be as it is and simply attach those ids to accounts. Other reason would be ease of computation and security loopholes in using user accounts.

Hence, steam id's have taken a more important role than steam accounts themselves.

Davaj Client

Ok so does this mean i have to buy the game on steam to get the steam id?

NO. The Davaj client helps you get a fake but static steam id which is NOT LINKED to any steam user account.(static=doesn't keep changing). SO instead of buying the game to have a steam id, the davaj client takes care of it by giving you one. So now u can be tracked easier for stats and points without having to buy the game.

Can i some how link the Davaj client's steam id to the ORGINAL steam id?

NO. As u can see in the previous answer, the client gives you a workaround. It is not the same as buying the game.Both of them are independent.

So can i join servers which only accept steam players?

NO. Although, u give the server a steamid, the server WILL check with steam auth servers to see if the user account linked with the steam id u supplied actually owns the game. Which in this case is a obvious NO.

Why are there servers that accept only steam players in the first place ?

Because thats how it ACTUALLY WORKS. The servers are for players who BOUGHT the game genuinely and own an original copy. And since games such as CS must be activated on steam no matter where you BOUGHT the game from, it ensures that you own a genuine copy of the game. Also if the player hacks, banning will be much easier, making the server almost hack free.

Then how am i able to connect to Davaj ?

The Davaj server implements extra features and plugins so that non-steam players like some of you are able to play. How this is implemented will not be covered here for obvious reasons.