The Ideal Game Library/Launcher Program
I quite like game clients. The idea behind them--a unified place to launch all your games, communicate with other gamers, track your game progress, and so on and so forth, is pretty awesome. However, each system has its share of problems.
- Steam's offline mode is incredibly broken. Should you be unfortunate enough to encounter it at any point (internet's down, behind a firewall, Steam's down, whatever), you'll find you can't play any of your games.
- Sometimes, Steam sneezes and the games you've sorted are out of order and you have to resort them.
- You can't install games where you want.
- Chat doesn't log audio.
- Steam doesn't track the time spent in non-Steam games.
- Steam's a huge memory hog.
- Steam randomly decides to replace the entirety of your game files (destroying bandwidth) when it wants to update.
- Files randomly corrupt, occasionally hurting performance or causing bugs, and you won't know about it until you verify your game cache.
- Sometimes games refuse to launch for random, Steam-related reasons.
- Doesn't allow offline games
- Doesn't track game time
- Doesn't have a good communication system
- Has a terrible UI
- Doesn't have a good communication system
I'd like to see a new kind of game client--one that handles all the needs a gamer could want. My biggest problem is that Steam, while great in many ways, also has a lot of problems, and doesn't support non-Steam games all that well. I own Thief on GoG, but Steam's launcher doesn't treat it as well on Steam games. I want to be able to add whatever game I own and track it as well. I'd also like to be able to chat with people, find new games, and manage my backlog better.
Basically, I'd like an open source client that handles things... a bit differently:
- First, and most importantly, I'd like it to show all of the games I've got installed on my machine (or tied to my account, in case I uninstall them). I'd like it to track the time spent playing each game, and, if possible, the achievements I've gotten while playing those games.
- I'd also like it to have a built-in database for various video games. It'd be cool to be playing, say, Aliens vs Predator 2, and when you visit the game's page to launch it (think of the way Steam has a status page for each game you own), it'll pull up a "you might also enjoy..." if the game isn't in your database (sorting games by developer and genre--so you might get No One Lives Forever 2 and Aliens vs Predator). Like Pandora, you'd be able to dismiss games you're not interested in.
- Likewise, you could also add games you want to a wishlist--even games like System Shock 2, which isn't available for sale on services on Steam.
- In addition, it'd be cool if each game had a "recommended requirements" page based on the Windows Performance Index, as well as something that shows your system's current score and recommends game settings based on your score's relation to the game's.
- Backlog management stuff would be nice--you could mark games as complete, incomplete, or non-completable (like, say, multiplayer games where there is no real completion stage), and the program could occasionally recommend games to you based on the games in your backlog. It'd also be cool if it had a randomizer button that you could click to launch some random game.
- I'd really like AIM for built-in chat and logging, similar to Pidgin or Trillian. Logging is so important.
- One thing I'd really like is the ability to sort games however you want. Steam doesn't let you hide games (or maybe put games into a hidden category), and Origin doesn't have enough sorting options. Honestly, a part of me wishes it were a bit like Zune for power users.
- It'd be fun to compare your time in games and achievements earned with those of your friends.
- A sale tracker would be cool as well. If you own the game, it won't show you the price (unless you ask it to), but if you don't own it, it's set by default to show you the game's current price on various services (ebay, Amazon, digital services, etc) if you visit the game page.
What do you think? What would you want in a game client? Would you want one at all? Do you disagree with my assessment of the above services?