Dev Diary #9 - Launcher and tools
Posted on October 14, 2016
Hey guys,

what have you been up to? Hopefully like us, playing Galactic Junk League! After several game design diaries, we felt about sharing a little bit more about the technical aspect of the game with you, so today we will introduce you to the tools of the game and the improvements we have prepared for you.

Launcher

Every time you want to start your game you need to use the launcher application. Here, we would like to explain the process of installing the game in more detail.

The game installation is an automated process, driven by a simple application, that helps to configure the game. It's no secret that our game would work even if you downloaded it in the form of a simple zip archive. Advantages of using the launcher are that we are able to distribute links and a lot of other tools directly within it, which would not be available otherwise.

First builds of GJL were distributed using zip archives, but back then, the user experience was not that important for us. In the later stages of the development, we have started using the NSIS (Nullsoft Scriptable Install System) tool, and also an important process that allowed us to automatically update the game. This way we didn’t need to manually copy new files every time we needed to deploy a new version of the game.


Installer - used to install your game! :)

Game updates are processed in various steps. In the older builds, we have shown two bars – one displayed the process (downloading, patching, installing) and the other one used to show the current progress of that process. This approach did not take the overall progress into account, but we’ve had complex information about the current state. In the Patcher v. 25, we have replaced these with only one progress bar, which shows approximate overall progress through all processes. That’s why the progress bar remains at 100% for some time even after the completion of the download. It’s because the patching process is still in progress, which can take even several minutes in extreme cases. Sometimes the progress may show slightly inaccurate value, so it should be taken with reservations. This occurs because of the used library, which is not adjusted for this.


This is how you patch your game.

We have removed several debug libraries from the current build to speed up the installation process and to optimize the size of the installer application. Thanks to that, we have reduced the file size to a staggering 15MB. Now, when you decide to download the installer from our website www.galacticjunkleague.com, it will be faster than ever before. The next thing we decided to improve, was the user experience while downloading the files in the launcher. We have implemented a system of monitoring the installation process, which will alert you in case you experience problems with the download. This process is anonymous, since we request the player id only after you log in to the game. Instead, we use a random id shown in the bottom right corner next to the game version number, which will assist you while using the official support in case of a problem.


A patch with these changes has been just been released, so you can already notice them in the game. If you have any questions about this diary, please ask them on the FORUM


I’m looking forward to be playing with you,


Frantisek
Programmer