The Steam Review

Comment and discussion on Valve Software’s digital communications platform.

Peer-to-Peer files released

Clues to future applications :: August 19th, 2007 :: Steam updates :: 25 Responses
Steam P2P settings (beta)
The Community beta’s Downloads page, with the P2P controls enabled.

It seems like this gets at least one mention every month. It’s a bit of relief to see that it still exists! The Steam Community’s voice chat is carried over Steam’s new BitTorrent-based P2P network, and the separation of the binaries that work that little bit of magic (into bin/p2pcore.dll and bin/p2pvoice.dll) strongly suggests that we’ll be seeing more applications of the technology at a later date.

Some further findings from Steam’s new files:

  • Use the VGUI Editor (Ctrl+Alt+B) on the Downloads page in Settings and you’ll CSubPanelOptionsP2P. Use the ‘Select Control’ combo box to select and make visible the P2P controls it contains.
  • A #Steam_P2P_SharingColumnLabel_hidden label for the current Media tab is to be found in config/dialogconfig.vdf. For sharing mod trailers, right?
  • The public/P2PDetailPage.res dialogue includes a tracker field. Could refer either to community trackers for mod content, or official regional trackers that can be switched between.
  • VST” appears in public\P2PMetaDataPage.res‘s CP2PVstKeyValuesListPanel. Sitting alongside VMT, VDF, VCD and other keyvalue-based Valve file formats, it somehow seems unlikely that this three-letter acronym starting with V has anything to do with Virtual Studio Technology. “Valve Sharing Tracker” perhaps? (Better suggestion from the comments: Valve Steam Torrent.)

25 Responses to this post:


  1. Ulf Jälmbrant Says:

    p2pvoice.dll couldn’t this just clarify that the community voice communication happens p2p i.e. without a server. If you talk to someone your machine transfers the information straight to the recipient. The fact that steam community has no voice servers can easily be seen by the trouble of connecting two NAT’ed clients. If one computer steps outside nat with open firewall port he can talk with anyone and anyone can talk to him.

    For a slightly more robust p2p voice client see, feel free to connect to ip: “Flugan” if you want to try it out. Uses UPnP but as far as I know it doesn’t STUN through NAT.

    I suppose you’re aware of skype that are using relay servers from a p2p network to help the connections that can’t be STUN’ed.

  2. Andy Simpson Says:

    I came to the conclusion too that they’ve built some sort of generic P2P platform that both file transfer and voice are built upon.

    Nice sluthing, that stuff is a bit less obvious than the straight localisation strings.

    Also that it was weird that the Downloads tab would be so ambiguously named, and so very empty! Good find.

    I’ve noticed when I was poking through the registry for no good reason, they’ve registered .vst as a filetype to be launched by Steam. I was going to go with “Valve Steam Torrent” myself.

    All in all the P2P stuff looks a heck of a lot further along than it was. Wonder when it’ll actually see the light of day?

  3. Andy Simpson Says:

    Hey, using the VGUI Build mode on the downloads tab of settings, there’s a select controls combobox. All the P2P controls are there, they’re just not visible. If you set visible to 1, they all show up. And what’s more, they seem to work. Like, the advanced options button actually does open an advanced options window.

  4. Andy Simpson Says:

    Looks a little something like this.

  5. Tom Edwards Says:

    Thanks Andy. I’ll keep that selection tool in mind. 🙂

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