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Stardock Reveals Impulse Reactor for Developers

At last year's GDC, publisher and developer Stardock revealed GOO, or Game Object Obfuscation, which would allow gamers to resell digital game in addition to functioning as DRM. In 2009, Stardock revealed Impulse::Reactor, a toolset similar to Valve's Steamworks, for PC games, which was shown off at GDC 2010.

Impulse::Reactor uses GOO as DRM, but requires no client to operate. Games utilizing Reactor wouldn't even need to be bundled with Impulse, Stardock's digital distribution platform. Furthermore, these games could be sold at retail or even on other digital distribution platforms like Steam, Direct2Drive, etc.

The tools are free to use and the only requirement is that any game utilizing the framework also be sold on Stardock's Impulse service, though not exclusively. This is in contrast to Valve's Steam exclusivity requirement to use Steamworks for features and DRM. (Update: Games that use Steamworks can be sold through any outlet, though they require a mandatory Steam installation. Steamworks features can also be used alongside other services, such as Games for Windows Live, as seen in Dawn of War II.)

That's great, but what does Impulse::Reactor get you? Well, how about GOO for DRM, friends lists, Facebook and Twitter integration, in-game DLC, achievements, chat, matchmaking, rankings and ladders, server lists, and cloud storage for game saves.

Finally, the overlays for these features can be skinned by the developer to match the look of the game. It remains to be seen if developers will flock to this framework for features and DRM. On the other side of the coin, Valve and Epic just announced a partnership to include Steamworks in Unreal Engine 3, which would make it easier for developers to use Steamworks in UE3 games.

More information on Impulse::Reactor can be found on Stardock CEO Brad Wardell's blog.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 15, 2010 4:27 PM

    Sweet. Once again Stardock proves that they know what works for modern gamers and that they know how to treat their customers and other developers, too. Cool stuff.

    • reply
      March 15, 2010 4:49 PM

      Actually all they did was cloning a bunch of Steamworks features.

      • reply
        March 15, 2010 6:13 PM

        Competition! Is good.

      • reply
        March 15, 2010 8:33 PM

        Oh you mean the part where Impulse allows you to actually (GASP!) choose where to install your games compared to STEAM's utter inability to offer that feature? Or were you referring to how games download insanely fast off of Impulse compared to STEAM during launch days?

        Just curious.

        • reply
          March 15, 2010 8:44 PM

          Oh yeah? Can I tell Impulse to install games on my Mac?

          And Steam has real games to sell, so they're under serious strain on launch day. Impulse has never had a major game release, so it hasn't encountered this yet.... oh wait it has and it failed miserably: Demigod.

          I bet it's easy to perform well when you're selling 5 copies of "Granny's Favorite Solitaire" a day.

          • reply
            March 15, 2010 10:00 PM

            You mean like Dragon Age Origins, Mass Effect, Star Trek online, etc. etc..

            Unless the game bundled Steamworks, it's likely showing up on Impulse the same day as Steam or Direct2Drive.

            Look Gahenna, I don't know why Stardock ever did to you but creating an account on Shack today just to trash Stardock is pretty weak.

          • reply
            March 16, 2010 12:29 AM

            I don't think Steam does what you think it does quite yet.


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