State of the Game #66: Installers, Updaters, and Snapshots

Well this week, M.A.V. grew up a little bit. I officially moved away from the old .zip files and now have a full and proper installer.

So, with that said, go grab version 0.5.7 from your user page!

So along with the new installer, I implemented a new release system as well. I would like to explain how the releases going forward will work.

Stable builds, snapshot builds, and you

Through the development process I have discovered a funny paradox. Weekly releases are both not enough time for me to develop features and weekly releases are way too long between bug fixes.

Because of this, I created an opt-in snapshot build system. What is a snapshot build? It is a very rough untested build, hot of the press, used for finding issues in newly added features. Snapshot builds are very small changes, allowing testing of a very specific problem or feature.

So why would you want snapshot builds? You will get the latest features, as soon as they are available, and your feedback will help shape the way the feature turns out. Don’t like the balance of a new weapon in the snapshot build? That is the perfect time to talk about it and see the changes progress.

So what happens if you DON’T opt in to the snapshot builds? You continue to receive updates, they will just be larger, farther apart, but also more bug free. The snapshot builds and tests will be used to help polish out a Stable build. If you didn’t opt in to the snapshots, you will only receive stable updates. These updates will not be bug free, but they will be ‘less bugs’ ­čÖé

Snapshot opt-in

Ok, so you want to opt-in to the snapshots and start helping report bugs and being awesome? Great! There is now a dedicated snapshot bug section on the message board. Posting bugs in this section will help ensure the updates come super fast and resolve as many issues as possible. There are some posting rules, so please be sure to read them and follow them.

Cool Techy stuff

So, the new updater uses a much more efficient system for delivering updates. It’s called a binary patch, and it ensures the updates can be VERY small (as small as 30KB!) instead of having to re-download the entire game (350 MB and growing). The update process is also 100% automated, meaning you just press the update button in game. The updater will launch, close the game, download the files, apply the patch, and re-launch the game. All in about 20 seconds!

That wraps it up for this week! Next week should see tons of bugs squashed and more work on the new deployment parts and system. PLEASE post any issues you have with the installer or updater to the message board!

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