Is there a Steam 101 for Newbies?


New Member
Hi all,

I'm an old fart living in Mexico, my health is really bad, my finances suck and I don't have a bank account so I can't pay for stuff w/debit cards anymore. Life sometimes deals you some bad cards...

My journey started because I heard about this thing called Garry's Mod, a physics Sandbox.

Since I can't pay the 10 bucks that it costs to buy it, I'm trying to find a free version. And from what I've read, I don't want the newest one because the toybox is gone; not that I even know what that is, but there's a bunch of people that are pissed off about it.

I found one version that was HUGE (1.5 GB) w/thousands of files and supposedly most of the mods, whatever they are but there was no "setup" or installation, just a huge folder structure.

It had startup issues (failed to lock some vertex buffer...) and never came up.

The next one I found had a setup file and after the install it went and did an update.

The first time I ran it I got the screen where you can pick options and Quit. I changed the display to higher res and this caused it to die on startup w/the same vertex error the first one had. Garry's mod should have an independent setup utility.

So, reinstalled it, did the update, ran it for the first time (skipping the options) and got into the game.

I got into the game walked around this city or location. Upper right hand corner had 157 in it and the running process is:

Overwhelmed, I decided to get some instruction. I had to kill the game because I couldn't get to the Quit option.

The next time I opened the program I get the menu that you seen in the image I inserted:

The initial menu comes up with Options available but quickly reverts to what you see and the Quit option is gone.

Skipping a bunch of details, I went to Steam and downloaded a free version of that and set up an account thinking that might help and I still don't know WTF is going on.

So, this is what I'm hoping to find out.

First off, what is this Free Steam site all about?

I'm confused.

I went to a site called Steam and got something free from them and even created an account for whatever that's worth.

Am I missing something? Does this site have a different Steam?

What is Steam? Is steam a graphics engine like CryEngine used in Far Cry? Or the IW Engine used in Call of duty or Unreal Engine used in Unreal Tournament 2004? Games I'm familiar with.

What's hl2.exe, that runs when I try to open Garrys Mod? Is it an engine? A game?

I'm looking for a BIG picture understanding of the environment here, the end result (if possible) is me understanding what the heck's going on and a version of Garry's mod that has the toybox running on my barely capable machine.

I think that once someone is willing to help with that and can't paint a clear picture I might be able to figure this out.

Thanks very much for any help that comes my way!