Epic is currently drowning in Fortnite cash, and it’s using this opportunity to mount a challenge to Steam. For more than a decade, Steam has been the uncontested king of online game distribution, and developers have been griping about that with increasing frequency. The Epic game store offers some free titles (in addition Fortnite) to entice users, but one recent release has been crashing because it was missing some “steam” files. No, not Steam files, but files called “steam.”
The selection on the Epic Store is tiny compared with Steam, but the company is offering compelling freebies (it currently promises one free title every two weeks). Axiom Verge is a retro-inspired side-scroller that takes inspiration from the likes of Metroid and Castlevania. The game launched in 2015 on Steam and has “very positive” reviews. It usually costs around $ 20, but it’s free on Epic’s store until later this month.
Naturally, a lot of gamers took Epic up on this offer for a free game. However, the Epic version had a crashing issue that the Steam version did not. In one of the game’s first areas, there are some noisy steam pipes. That’s where the game would crash, and it’s all Steam’s fault. Well, indirectly.
Developer Thomas Happ explains on Twitter that he didn’t want to include Steam DLLs in the Epic release of Axiom Verge. So, he removed all “steam” files from the game, apparently forgetting there were important sound files for the steam pipes that included “steam” in the file name. Without those files, the game would crash.
Epic doesn’t have a community system like Steam, so players resorted to using Steam’s Axiom Verge page to work out the cause of the crash. Happ has restored the necessary files to the Epic release. Anyone who downloaded it previously can update the install by verifying and updating the necessary .xmb file via the Epic client. That’ll solve the problem. Happ also notes that his method for removing Steam files wasn’t even 100 percent effective. There are a few more (like Csteamworks.dll) still hiding in the Epic version. He plans to remove the unneeded files manually.
Hopefully, other developers with steam-based game files don’t make the same mistake. Epic’s next freebie is Thimbleweed Park, which launches on February 21st. It does not appear to feature any steam pipes.
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