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Thank you, this is very helpfull for some games that I got for free on Steam (.
the problem is that the only one I really was interested to get "Drm- not totally free" was.... Bioshock Infinite... that use CEG... that unfortunate.
Does anyone know if Tales of Zestiria will work with this? I've heard it has traces of Securom in it, so I guess it's a no?
This method mostly only works with "DRM-free'ish" Steam games, as in mostly indy and some few others. (often available DRM-free on GoG or other shops).

It's very unlikely it will work on a recent non-indy game especially one coming from Bandai Namco. (the same B.N. that just put an extra layer of DRM/anti-tamper on the just recently released 10+ years old Tales of Symphonia)
Post edited February 05, 2016 by Gersen
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LiefLayer: Thank you, this is very helpfull for some games that I got for free on Steam (.
the problem is that the only one I really was interested to get "Drm- not totally free" was.... Bioshock Infinite... that use CEG... that unfortunate.
For what it's worth, this is just as easy to do in Linux, and no Linux Steam games use CEG. I waited to buy BioShock Infinite, XCOM, and Spec Ops: The Line until the Linux versions came out, and I couldn't be happier.

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Gersen: This method mostly only works with "DRM-free'ish" Steam games, as in mostly indy and some few others. (often available DRM-free on GoG or other shops).

It's very unlikely it will work on a recent non-indy game especially one coming from Bandai Namco. (the same B.N. that just put an extra layer of DRM/anti-tamper on the just recently released 10+ years old Tales of Symphonia)
This method works with ANY games that only use the Steam client as the DRM. I have dozens of triple-A games like that, and they all work; all three Dark Souls titles, The Evil Within, The Witness, Rocket League, and a bunch of others are all fine. Heck, Street Fighter V works, and that's BRAND new.

EDIT: Tested with Dark Souls III, a Bandai Namco game, and it works perfectly.
Post edited May 09, 2016 by pedrovay2003
Hey, thank you for having done this tutorial!

I've found a post that should be relevant to this discussion :
https://steamcommunity.com/discussions/forum/10/626329186734280459/#c626329186744697589

There's multiple layers. A game on Steam can:

(a) Not employ any measures at all, and be able to run with Steam not running
(b) Ask the Steamworks API if the account it's running under has the right to play
(c) Call Steamworks to restart the game running under Steam if it isn't already
(d) Only allow itself to be used if the Steam client has a connection to the Steam backend.

A game which is doing (b) & (c) (and potentially (d)) can use CEG, which is intended to attempt to protect the game and the protection mechanisms from reverse engineering and subversion, by using encryption and obfuscation. Now what you class as DRM is a bit of a matter of opinion, but CEG itself is relatively transparent from a user perspective. Certainly it's not much different from c above.

What perhaps you're really asking for is information about which games are have (a) behaviour, which is fair enough. Interestingly, it is possible for a game to support being launched without Steam being available and still use Steamworks features on the condition that Steam is available.
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BlueTemplar: Hey, thank you for having done this tutorial!

I've found a post that should be relevant to this discussion :
Ha, holy crap, that reply is from a Steam discussion thread that I started! :-D
Thank you for posting this. I'm trying this out right now.
This doesn't work "forever". Eventually, maybe after a month but usually 3-6 months (possibly longer) of being offline without any kind of internet connection, Steam will want you to sign in online and/or renew your password. Happens everytime. I learned this from moving my account from my old Voodoo Firebird to my Alienware M17 a couple years back. Steam has some kind of built in feature where it either "times-out" after a long time of being off-line or it secretly connects in the background from time to time to let Steam know how many computers your account is being used on, probably both. To truly play offline FOREVER you have to know about this feature of Steam and find some way around it, which I have not.
Post edited September 02, 2016 by Snarkyfork
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Snarkyfork: This doesn't work "forever".
Pretty close, though. I've had one laptop in offline mode for over four years now. It's an older, slower laptop, and doesn't have any of the nice new games on it, but it's adequate for Windows XP and a bunch of good, old games ( >.> ). Steam prompts me to log on and install client updates every time the laptop boots, but all I have to do is close that window and Steam keeps on doing its thing. Your problem was migrating things to a new computer, which totally changes the problem. Of course Steam has to go online for the games which are DRMed to a single account. That should be obvious. If you keep your stuff on one computer (physical or virtual...) it should be good for a long time.

Close enough to forever. Ain't nobody going four years without an internet connection these days ^_^
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Snarkyfork: This doesn't work "forever". Eventually, maybe after a month but usually 3-6 months (possibly longer) of being offline without any kind of internet connection, Steam will want you to sign in online and/or renew your password. Happens everytime. I learned this from moving my account from my old Voodoo Firebird to my Alienware M17 a couple years back. Steam has some kind of built in feature where it either "times-out" after a long time of being off-line or it secretly connects in the background from time to time to let Steam know how many computers your account is being used on, probably both. To truly play offline FOREVER you have to know about this feature of Steam and find some way around it, which I have not.
Steam's Offline Mode works indefinitely. It used to have a bug that required revalidation online, but that was indeed a bug, and it was fixed a while back.
Sorry for the necro, but thanks for the info, VERY APPRECIATED. I always asked myself if there was a way to check if a game has CEG or not.

Very important for me, when I end up buying games on steam which are unlikely to get released here (devil may cry, dark souls and so on).
I just tried this myself. I can't believe it works. This blows my mind!
*necrovivify*

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Gnostic: One two months ago I tried migrating my entire steam folder into an external hard drive and tried to run steam games offline from there. It requires me to verify again. I check some youtuber on running steam offline and it seems that he have to verify it again when connecting the hard disk to another PC.

Has you been successful in running your steam games offline in a new PC without having to do the first time verification?
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pedrovay2003: Sorry, I've been having trouble with GOG telling me someone quoted me in a forum post :/

Yes, I've been able to keep Steam 100% offline on an external device and launch the client and all of my games on a freshly-built, also-offline desktop. The OS was the same version, and it gave me no issues at all, no online requirements in the slightest.
If you are still around, OP, can you confirm how long your new offline computer was not connected?
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Snarkyfork: This doesn't work "forever". Eventually, maybe after a month but usually 3-6 months (possibly longer) of being offline without any kind of internet connection, Steam will want you to sign in online and/or renew your password. Happens everytime. I learned this from moving my account from my old Voodoo Firebird to my Alienware M17 a couple years back. Steam has some kind of built in feature where it either "times-out" after a long time of being off-line or it secretly connects in the background from time to time to let Steam know how many computers your account is being used on, probably both. To truly play offline FOREVER you have to know about this feature of Steam and find some way around it, which I have not.
Can a third-party confirm this?
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Snarkyfork: This doesn't work "forever".
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OneFiercePuppy: Pretty close, though. I've had one laptop in offline mode for over four years now. It's an older, slower laptop, and doesn't have any of the nice new games on it, but it's adequate for Windows XP and a bunch of good, old games ( >.> ). Steam prompts me to log on and install client updates every time the laptop boots, but all I have to do is close that window and Steam keeps on doing its thing. Your problem was migrating things to a new computer, which totally changes the problem. Of course Steam has to go online for the games which are DRMed to a single account. That should be obvious. If you keep your stuff on one computer (physical or virtual...) it should be good for a long time.
Which means that when (with built-in obsolescence) the hardware dies, the games must be re-verified by Steam.
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OneFiercePuppy: Close enough to forever. Ain't nobody going four years without an internet connection these days ^_^
Try me. :P
It does work forever. Sure, there is no absolute guarantee that the client doesn't have a builtin expiration date of several years, but it seems very unlikely.

I've just tested an old steam client backup with some game backups of the same date from November 2019 (nearly 2 years ago) on another offline non-steam pc. To make the situation more diffcult, the backup is from a windows 7 machine while the test pc has windows 10.
Result: It works perfectly.

I've also tested a recent client backup with old game backups and they work perfectly too. So the client obviously doesn't check the game's "age". Though I would definitely advise to backup the client often, since you never know if Valve will change sth. in the future.

Btw. here are some important tips, that are not covered in the initial post:
-to disable the client's check for updates on start, which can prevent offline mode from working, create a "steam.cfg" in the Steam folder and add the following lines

BootStrapperInhibitAll=enable
BootStrapperForceSelfUpdate=disable
-to start in offline mode automatically and skip the annoying offline mode warning, add/change the following lines in your "config/loginusers.vdf"

"WantsOfflineMode" = "1"
"SkipOfflineModeWarning" = "1"
-the client backup should not only include the Steam folder but also the registry entries steam creates:

HKCU\Software\Valve
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Valve
-> those contain login information and info about the redistributables (directx etc) needed for some games
-> restoring these allows the automatic login into offline mode and skips the redistributables installation (off course make sure that everything is installed beforehand)

-if you (accidently) change the activation of a dlc or the game language for a game in the client, it wants to update the game online. You can revert this if you restore the game's appmanifest*.acf from backup and/or make sure that "StateFlags" is set to "4" in the appmanifest file. This tells the client that the game is fully downloaded and doesn't need to be updated.

PS: If there is interest I will also post my client blackup and start scripts that automates these things.

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edit: corrected some info in the tips section
edit: as requested:

So here are the (simplified) batch scripts I'm using. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.
(for additional info, see the comments in the scripts)


SteamBackup.cmd:
-uses 7z to zip the client without game data and exports Steam registry keys
-paths to Steam, Backupfolder and 7z must be set correctly in the configuration section

SteamStart.cmd:
-paths to Steam must be set correctly in the configuration section
-place steam.cfg_offline, your own modified loginusers.vdf_offline and loginusers.vdf_online into the folder where the script resides
-make a shortcut to SteamStart.cmd with "offline" and/or "offline" as argument to start steam
accordingly
Post edited September 25, 2021 by russellskanne
Btw, even some games WITH a ceg entry on steamdb.info work fine with this method. For example you can play the single player of Left 4 Dead 2 without problem. Also Dishonored or The Talos Principle should work, but since I rebought these games here, I have no backups anymore to try it again.