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    Launcher v2.1.1

    Discussion in 'Game News' started by calani, Nov 26, 2016.

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    1. calani

      calani Lady of the Web

      Joined:
      Dec 17, 2015
      Messages:
      37
      Greetings, Citizens ~

      Terra here. There’s a new Launcher update live (v2.1.1!) and as it’s fairly notable, I’d like to take a few minutes to discuss its features. I’ll go into a bit more detail than what’s listed in the…

      Changelog
      First, I’ve added a changelog that will give a quick rundown of everything new with this (and all future) releases. As you’d expect, this will display once per version, and you may view it again within the options window.


      [​IMG]



      Backup Dialog
      While restating the changelog entries (especially in order) seems redundant, one feature in particular deserves specific mention: the backup dialogue. It’s always prudent to have a backup of your settings and data prior to updates, and this makes doing so simple and painless.

      Clicking the [UPDATE] button presents the dialogue, which allows you to pick which sections to include in the backup, and its archive format. Alternatively, you can choose to skip the backup and simply continue with the update or cancel altogether.

      The backup format defaults to .zip on Windows and .tar.gz on Linux and OSX. (From my testing, the latter seems to have a better compression ratio.)


      [​IMG]


      After completion, the dialogue will tell you the location of the saved backup. To support concurrent installs in the future, this location is in a backups folder within your StarMade game directory, e.g. S:\Steam\SteamApps\common\StarMade\StarMade\backups or X:\games\StarMade\backups or ~/games/StarMade/backups

      The backup’s filename is designed for easy reading at-a-glance, and includes the backup’s date, time, and from/to versions. It’s also ordered so the backups folder is automatically displayed chronologically when sorted by filename. The filename format does, however, make it slightly harder to interact with the archives via the command line. (Sorry about that.)


      [​IMG]

      There is currently no pruning of excessive backups, though I will likely add this in the future.



      Version Tracking
      The launcher now reads the installed game version from the game’s version.txt file. This allows the launcher to detect Steam updates, as well as lays some groundwork for concurrent installs in the future. The launcher should support them as-is, but I will be adding official support in future updates.



      Java Settings
      A commonly-requested feature has been for greater control over settings passed to Java. Within the launcher options window, you will find a field that allows you to specify custom args to pass to Java. This field, of course, does not include memory settings, nor those passed to the game itself.


      [​IMG]
      This version also fixes the inability to browse for custom Java installs.



      Memory Validation
      Despite its apparent simplicity, this was one of the more time-consuming features to add, requiring a rewrite of a decent amount of code. The memory settings window will no longer allow you to specify invalid settings or combinations, and will now alert you to what’s wrong. And perhaps more excitingly: it’s much more colourful!


      [​IMG]



      Other Changes

      This version also includes multiple backend improvements and significant updates to logging. It also fixes news post scrubbing, meaning there will no longer be swaths of text missing from the news feed.



      Moving Forward
      There are several large features I’ve been planning for a while, and now that the backup feature and most of the bugfixes are out of the way, I can begin working on them.

      These include:
      1. Consolidating the various options dialogues into a single dialogue listing different sections, thereby giving much-needed additional screen estate for more controls (e.g. backup and logging settings). This will also make the launcher cleaner and more intuitive by creating a central location for these settings and useful information (the installed game build, the launcher version, the user’s account name, etc.). As a secondary benefit, this will fix (or simply avoid) a few of the long-standing bugs, such as stacking dialogues.

      2. Offline support, as the launcher currently requires a connection to the Registry to function. The recent DNS attacks highlighted why this feature is so important. Coupled with this feature will be status indicators for the Registry and star-made.org.

      3. Official support for concurrent game installs. While useful primarily for development testing, the community has shown interest in this as well.

      4. Allowing the launcher to resize, and possibly breathing new life and style into its rather cramped (if pretty) design. I won’t list specifics as I’d hate to ruin the surprise.

      5. And at last: Translations. As many languages’ translations will require more space than their English counterparts, this feature must come after the size and design changes.


      The launcher has come a long way since its inception, and it still has a long way to go. Stay tuned for more updates!

      And as always, thank you for playing StarMade
      ~ Terra and the Schine Team
       
      #1 calani, Nov 26, 2016
      Last edited by a moderator: Nov 29, 2016
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    2. DukeofRealms

      DukeofRealms Magic Man

      Joined:
      Sep 4, 2013
      Messages:
      1,104
      Awesome! :)
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    3. SchnellBier

      Joined:
      Sep 10, 2014
      Messages:
      170
      Good stuff! Supporting mutliple installs will get useful once modding is a thing and you need different mods for various servers.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
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    4. alterintel

      alterintel Moderator

      Joined:
      May 24, 2015
      Messages:
      658
      May I suggest for when you get around to the settings menu, that you allow for the option to sort the setting in alphabetical order?
      Some times it's hard to find the right setting.

      Thanks for all the hard work. It's really appreciated :D
       
    5. calani

      calani Lady of the Web

      Joined:
      Dec 17, 2015
      Messages:
      37
      I may or may not add that; depends on how easy it is to implement.

      However, my current design idea is to have the window broken in half vertically with the sections ('categories' may be a better word) on the left (with icons), and all of that category's settings on the right. This would allow me to add as many categories as I please, and the design would still be very intuitive and very easy to find specific settings. I believe this approach is fairly typical (e.g. PuTTy, ConEmu, Firefox, Slack).

      For example, memory settings would have a typical RAM chip icon next to "Memory settings", and when that category is selected, the right half would be the same as the current "Client Memory Settings" dialog.


      As for alphabetizing / re-ordering the categories?
      I'll mark it down as a "maybe."
       
      • Like Like x 3
    6. FlyingDebris

      FlyingDebris The Altmeister

      Joined:
      Sep 6, 2013
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      2,261
      deb liek
       
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    7. Calhoun

      Calhoun Guardian of the Time Stream

      Joined:
      May 26, 2015
      Messages:
      411
      Yay Calamari!
       
      #7 Calhoun, Nov 26, 2016
      Last edited: Dec 6, 2016
      • Informative Informative x 1
    8. Anthros1984

      Joined:
      Jan 4, 2015
      Messages:
      100
      Love eveeything about it :)
       
      • Like Like x 4
      • Agree Agree x 1
    9. Drakkart

      Joined:
      Nov 3, 2014
      Messages:
      531
      Wow very nice! Great update on the launcher GJ
       
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