Tag Archives: Steam

How to play Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved in 1920×1080 (Steam)

I’ve just picked up a copy of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved on Steam. I used to love this twin-stick arcade shooter since I first discovered it in Project Gotham Racing. I had the Xbox 360 version too, and haven’t thought about it for many years. I didn’t even know it was available on Steam until today, and picked up a copy for $1.99 – happy memories!

I browsed through the resolution options pretty much immediately, since the game comes up with a default of 640×480, which is a tad low for today’s screens. By default though, the highest I could set it to was something along the lines of 1280×720 (or derivatives thereof), and truth be told, that’s troublesome for streaming. Was that as high as it went? Did I need a dodgy patch to go any higher?

Thankfully no, a 1920×1080 option is built in, but it’s not exactly obvious how to obtain it. Here’s how to do it:

  • head over to Help and Options
  • select Video
  • set Keep Aspect Ratio to YES
  • now select 1920×1080

The Aspect Ratio is the crucial part. Setting this to YES will unlock other resolutions that were not available with the default option of NO. Much easier than I thought.

How do Humble Bundle refunds work for Steam Keys?

I’ve recently seen what I thought could be an interesting game called Filament. It had just been released, and I thought I’d buy it. They had it on offer through Humble Bundle. They had it on sale, I was hyped, and I bought it. I even went via a friend’s referral code to support him. All was well.

Humble don’t make software available for download though. They give you a redemption key for another place, or a software key that makes whatever you buy operational. It’s a really clever system. In my case, I got a Steam Key that I duly redeemed, so now the game was in my Steam Library.

I played it later that day (in fact, I even streamed it so I could play it with friends and solve puzzles together), but it turned out the game wasn’t really what I had expected. Although a great effort by the team that made it, it was not for me. Thoughts of a refund came to mind. But since I bought it through Humble, the refund wouldn’t go through Steam… how would this work, I wondered?

It worked great actually, let me share my experiences with you here.

Different Refund Policies

I remember back in the day of physical discs, you could bring your overpriced Playstation games (and DVDs in fact) back to the shop within 30 days, sometimes 60. Those days are long gone of course, unless the product is defective. Since the dawn of the online game distribution marketplaces, things have changed. But still, most places have a refund policy.

Steam for example state that you can get a refund for your purchase within 14 days if you haven’t played more than 2 hours. EPIC have the same refund policy. They review this case by case though, so they may give you a refund outside these criteria. Which is nice!

Humble on the other hand, selling a lot more than just games, state that they’re happy to give you a refund within 60 days of your purchase in principle, evaluating requests on a case by case basis. Between the two of them I was covered: I had played the game for less than 2 hours, and I had only bought it earlier in the day.

So if Humble would give me the refund, what would happen to the game?

The Humble/Steam Refund

Here’s what happened: a lovely lady named Becca looked at my case and refunded the money right back into my PayPal account, no questions asked. Only a few hours after I had asked and explained my situation, I had my money back and the case was closed.

To my surprise, the game itself though was still in my library. Would they let me keep it? Could it be somehow removed from my account, as it would with regular Steam refunds? Nothing seemed to have happened immediately, nor did I see anything on days 2 or 3. Filament remained in my account.

Then came day 4 (today) and I see this notice popping up in my Steam client:

That answered my question: the refunded game was indeed removed from my account, and now I no longer have it available. So that’s how they do it:

  • Humble give you the refund
  • Steam remove the game a few days later

Another puzzle solved! Given the complex nature of such a case, I’m super happy to tell you that it all worked flawlessly, and thought I’d share the “how” with you.

Running Stardew Valley without Steam (and the caveats it brings)

I’ve been playing Stardew Valley for a few days, and I’m enjoying it a lot. I have the Steam version, and as I often do, I’ve asked Steam to not create a Desktop shortcut for my game. Shortly after I thought that might have been a good idea and created one by myself and pinned to to my Start Menu. All works well: Stardew Valley starts and I can play.

However, I’ve just LOST two days worth of progress because the Steam Client wasn’t running in the background. I have it disabled, because I genuinely dislike the idea of daily updates to a service I barely use, and because I’d like to run as little “background crap” on my system as possible (yes Adobe, I’m looking at you).

The Steam Client not running does not stop Stardew Valley from starting, or from running, or from saving. It all works rather swimmingly… until I started the Steam Client, at which point the automated cloud save implementation wiped out my Stardew Save – and hence I lost two seasons worth of progress. YIKES!

Continue reading Running Stardew Valley without Steam (and the caveats it brings)

Prevent Steam on Mac from starting automatically

I’ve recently installed Steam on my Mac for the first time. I made sure to disable the auto startup option from the menu as I hardly use it on this underpowered machine (under Steam – Preferences – Interface). There’s no tick box there!

Imagine my surprise when I restarted my Mac a couple of days later, only to be greeted by the familiar window showing “Updating Steam”. Bad software design at its best: do the opposite of what the user has selected. Good job, Steam!

This being a Mac issue, there’s about 0 threads on the web on how to tackle this issue. It took me a moment to remember that there’s built-in Mac option under Preferences – Users – Login Items. That’s where Steam was hiding, and as such, it is started no matter what. Untick that box, and Steam will no longer start on your Mac when you boot the system.