‘Nother Update, new “unstable” branch on steam.

So there will be a new update coming down the pipe soon, and there’s a couple of bits here that need explaining.

We’re changing the way we do releases slightly.  There will be a new “unstable” branch which you can select on steam, which will receive updates sooner than the regular branch that you get when you install starbound.  Anybody who is interested in helping us test the releases is encouraged to try it out, but please please note that unstable may destroy your saves and be generally, well, unstable.  Yes, we know this is a testing branch for our beta, which is also for testing, but we’re trying to keep the big ugly data destroying bugs to a minimum so we figure this will help.  We put some tests in your tests so you can test while you… anyway,

The next thing that needs mentioning… update sizes!  It seems every time there is a starbound update it’s 500 – 700 MB, regardless of how tiny it is.  This is due to two things:, One, our windows binaries had full debugging information because (for silly technical reasons) that was the only way we could get stacktraces from crashes.  Well, not anymore!  Windows binaries are now built at debug level 1 (as opposed to 2) which means that instead of starbound.exe being 450MB it’s more like 30MB.  So there’s that.

The OTHER thing that was causing large updates was our pak file system.  Whenever we updated pak files, we tended to completely rebuild the pak file with just a file or two changed, which was enough to make the steam binary diff system go bonkers and just basically re-download the whole file again.  This is also fixed!  We now add to the pak file in place, so minimal changes occur (and at the end of the file) that make steam deltas very small.  This is important as we want to start doing more frequent content updates (as we’ve mentioned).

That’s the good news, the BAD news is that in order to make this happen, you’re going to have to download the entire pak file again, so the first update will kinda suck (pak file format change).  But, it should get better after that.  To all those that have bandwidth caps, I’m very sorry :(

The update should include several bugfixes and updates to heck, the treasure horde, and the skyrails system at least, probably post a full changelog later.  The update will hit ‘unstable’ tonight, and probably ‘stable’ tomorrow depending on how things go.