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#1 danpaul88

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 03:45 PM

So, by now you all know I am busy creating a new, unified, BHP launcher for all of our W3D games. This thread is somewhere you can ask any questions you may have about the launcher and, if you want, submit feature requests. Whilst the feature set for the initial release is pretty much set in stone at this point the launcher is self-updating and we can and will be adding more features as time goes on, so it doesn't hurt to get your suggestions in early... sensible ones will be considered for future development work.


I will be updating this first post with a set of FAQs as I think of them.


FAQs
Do it have any dependencies?
The launcher is coded using the .NET 4 client profile, which is available for Windows XP Service Pack 3 and all editions of Vista, 7 and 8. It will ship with an installer which will take care of installing this for you as required.

The executable requires administrative privileges to execute, although in future I plan to modify it to only require administrative permissions for game installations and patches.


Does it patch my BHP games?
Not only does it patch your games to the latest releases, it can also repair existing installations and even install games you don't already have from scratch. The integrated installation and patching system is one of the key features of the new launcher and it will allow us to push out small patches to our games much more quickly without worrying about getting people to download and install the latest versions, the launcher takes care of it for you.


Wait, will the launcher install updates without asking me?
No, you'll be notified when there are updates available for the launcher itself or any of your games when you first load the launcher and you can choose to install updates immediately or leave it until later. Some features of the launcher may be disabled if you refuse an update to the launcher itself.


Can I install different versions of BHP games side by side?
Yes! Possibly not in the very first public release, but the underlying support is already in place in the code to allow you to install older versions of BHP games alongside the latest version and I'll try to get hold of older copies of APB to package up for the download mirrors so you can play those old versions when you fancy a bit of nostalgia.


I'm an internal beta tester, what does the launcher mean for me?
The launcher includes the ability to login to your forum account, unlocking access to an additional set of game releases dubbed "test builds", these are the internal test builds and you'll be able to install the latest version directly through the launcher and stay up to date.


Does this mean I have to be always online to play BHP games?
No, the launcher includes support for an "offline mode" which allows you to launch your games in LAN mode, but the server browser feature and other features that require a connection to the backend servers will be disabled until you restart the launcher in online mode. You're also free to launch the games manually via their executable files too.
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#2 Sonarpulse

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 04:18 PM

  • Could we retroactively release old versions of APB with it when the launcher is in place?
  • Can/has TT make/made it so the game no longer needs to read anything from the registry? This has been done in RA1 for example.
  • Can the launcher itself also not use the registry for keeping track of installations?
  • Can the SDKs also be installed via the launcher, (ideally with LE also no reading from the registry.)
  • Can the launcher be open source?

I hope test test this in mono for you guys. Done right this will also make it easier to play the game without rebooting.


Edited by Sonarpulse, 02 April 2013 - 04:21 PM.

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#3 C0de_man

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 05:14 PM

OMG i cant run .Net stuff.

 

So like we dont really "need" it to play APB/AR/barns right?


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#4 ChopBam

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 05:21 PM

It is my understanding that the launcher won't be required to be able to play the games online.
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#5 danpaul88

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 06:10 PM

Why can't you run .net? It's pretty standard these days. Currently the launcher tracks installations using the registry folders for each game, since the games themselves cannot currently be updated to remove the requirement for the registry.
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#6 Sonarpulse

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 11:06 PM

Could we make some dynamic library to intercept all registry read/calls and redirect them into a text file?


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#7 danpaul88

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 03:25 AM

Well the launcher itself doesn't store anything (important) in the registry, it just reads the install paths of various game installs from the games own registry folders. If, in theory, the games could be made to work without the registry then the launcher could be updated to support whatever new mechanism is used, but I doubt that's going to happen anytime soon since the TT team have a lot of other things to be working on...

 

 

[*]Could we retroactively release old versions of APB with it when the launcher is in place?[/*]

 

Theoretically yes, but the launcher uses the paths.ini feature of TT to manage multiple game installs without getting their registry and appdata folders muddled up and borked, so pre-TT versions might be tricky.

 

[*]Can the SDKs also be installed via the launcher, (ideally with LE also no reading from the registry.)[/*]

 

This is something I've got planned for future work, there's actually a hidden tab for this already but it doesn't do much at the moment.

 

[*]Can the launcher be open source?[/*]

 

We would have to discuss this internally. There are actually two (technically three if you count the game packager) discrete components to the launcher, the client that users run and a web backend on our servers. The backend itself will never be open source for various reasons, but in theory the client could be... not sure it'll happen though and certainly not before the initial release. If it does become open source it'll probably be read-only, with the option to submit patches for inclusion in the source tree.

 

I hope test test this in mono for you guys. Done right this will also make it easier to play the game without rebooting.

 

Why would you reboot to play the game? Anyway, you're welcome to try it in Mono but I don't know how well that supports all the .NET 4.0 client profile features.

 

 

 

OMG i cant run .Net stuff.
 
So like we dont really "need" it to play APB/AR/barns right?

 

You won't *need* it, but our new stat tracking system will be integrated into the launcher and anyone not using the launcher to login to their forum account won't get any stats. There shouldn't be any reason you can't run .NET, the 4.0 Client Profile is supported on XP SP3 and up and can be installed via Windows Update,


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#8 C0de_man

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 03:48 AM

Why can't you run .net? It's pretty standard these days. Currently the launcher tracks installations using the registry folders for each game, since the games themselves cannot currently be updated to remove the requirement for the registry.

Linux

 

Tried mono runtime but it wouldnt install and besides i dont have any other .net software so i dont really see why i would have to put up with it.

Well i probably can live without stats.


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#9 danpaul88

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 04:16 AM

You run BHP games on Linux? .NET is technically platform neutral, just like Java, Microsoft just didn't bother releasing runtimes for other platforms... Mono is a third party attempt to do that.
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#10 C0de_man

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 04:25 AM

You run BHP games on Linux? .NET is technically platform neutral, just like Java, Microsoft just didn't bother releasing runtimes for other platforms... Mono is a third party attempt to do that.

You mean didnt want to have it be ran on other platforms.

 

EDIT: What the hell happened to writing shit in C or C++? Worked for years ... somewhat.


Edited by C0de_man, 03 April 2013 - 04:27 AM.

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#11 Sonarpulse

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 04:52 AM

danpaul, thanks for your point-per-point responses, especially the potential for open source. Yeah, I care much more a bout the client (and game packager) than the server, so that would be great. I mean reboot because I am on Linux, and dealing with lot's of windows installers + registry stuff + wine is pain.

Also: http://www.mono-proj...m/Compatibility

Code man: Oh, You are on Linux too? Yay! I either didn't know or forgot that. Yeah, I'd prefer Qt which is the only toolkit I know that looks great on all platforms. But I also realize that nobody wants to do manual memory management for programs that absolutely don't need it. While windows 8 "codez ur apps in HTML" is bull, I think C is still way to overused. If we get source I'll make sure things work OK.
 
Mono runs stuff like this a lot more prettily than wine, and appdata gets redirected to ~/.config which is super nice and part of the reason why I want to get rid of registry stuff.

Edited by Sonarpulse, 03 April 2013 - 04:56 AM.

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#12 danpaul88

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 09:50 AM


You run BHP games on Linux? .NET is technically platform neutral, just like Java, Microsoft just didn't bother releasing runtimes for other platforms... Mono is a third party attempt to do that.

You mean didnt want to have it be ran on other platforms.
 
EDIT: What the hell happened to writing shit in C or C++? Worked for years ... somewhat.


GUI development is MUCH faster and easier with WPF. I've always preferred c++ for functional code and the launcher embeds several C++ DLL libraries within itself to perform some of the heavy lifting, but the core functionality is done with .NET and WPF because it simply makes sense for this sort of application.

Also: http://www.mono-proj...m/Compatibility

Uhh... you might have a problem there then... the GUI is exclusively written in WPF, which is apparently not supported?

You have to remember the reason .NET was chosen was to make use of the new technologies such as (easy to use) asynchronous networking and whatnot and data binding for WPF.



Of course, there's no reason an alternative WinForms based GUI couldn't be added in parallel as a side project in future, since WPF inherently allows the functional code to be separated from the interface code (another reason why it was chosen)
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#13 Sonarpulse

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 04:58 PM

OK, well then I will definitely have something to do if you can open source it :)


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#14 Dukat863

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 05:21 AM

Looks like, i'll have to recall how to write GUI applications using GTK+. Or find out how to do this using Qt.


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Edited by Dukat863, 07 April 2013 - 05:23 AM.

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#15 danpaul88

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 05:55 AM

WIP installation process being tested, note the GUI shown here is just for development purposes and it probably won't look anything like this in the final iteration

Attached File  downloading.jpg   28.65KB   8 downloads
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#16 madrox8

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 12:43 AM

look forword to this :D


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#17 danpaul88

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:19 PM

Attached File  update_1.jpg   43.27KB   0 downloads
Attached File  update_2.jpg   55.33KB   0 downloads
Attached File  update_3.jpg   56.97KB   0 downloads
Attached File  update_4.jpg   54.26KB   1 downloads
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#18 danpaul88

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 05:25 AM

Made a few UI tweaks;

Attached File  update_w7.jpg   62.16KB   3 downloads

Note: This screenshot is on Windows 7, hence why some of the controls (progress bar etc) look a bit different. Those are not changes in the application, the specific changes here are making the progress bars for pending items invisible and (re)adding the file size above the progress bar
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#19 NSpgexp2012

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 08:53 PM

would it be possible to have a launcher that has all the different versions of APB on it?  So people would be able to see the progression of APB?


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#20 TruYuri

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 10:57 PM

Probably not. That's hard to maintain and in the end it may cause confusion. We want to keep as many people playing the most recent release as possible.


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