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News & Dev
May 23, 2013

0008b Released on Desura

Hey everyone! Just a quick post to let everyone know that the new PZ build is finally available to auto-update on Desura. There are a few important points worth making about this.

Firstly, there are some issues with people using old versions of Desura where the cache has become invalid due to the sheer time and scale of the changes between 0.1.5d and 2.9.8. If you have trouble running the game after a Desura update, uninstall and reinstall, and it will work just fine from now on. Future updates included.

Next, as everyone should know, we’ve had great trouble with hosting of late. Due to the cost of hosting, the size of the download, and the planned frequency of updates, we simply cannot afford to host the game on Amazon S3 servers due to the cost. This means we will be relying more and more on Desura to host our game, as well as Steam once the time comes.

As well as the auto-updater, we’ll add standalone downloads to the PZ game page on Desura too (this will be required for Mac anyway, since there is no Mac Desura client as of yet), which can be downloaded here: but this is slow and cumbersome by comparison to maintaining the auto updater, and so may be updated afterwards with a delay as it involves countless complete uploads and an approval process. So if you want to stay up to date, we strongly advice you to install Desura to get the latest builds as quickly as possible. Although you may complain about having ‘another distribution service’ installed, this means if we make a patch you will be downloading 10kb or similar instead of 200 meg each and every time, since it only downloads the bits of data that have changed.

Why Desura Client?

Desura is also a treasure trove of alpha-funded games and obscure indie and commercial titles that are nowhere near well known enough to break into Steam, so you may find some wonderful new indie games to play while you’re there (seriously, have a browse).

And don’t forget we, and therefore you all, owe Desura a great deal in their support over the past couple of years as it’s helped the game out tremendously. And in this day where Steam is getting into the alpha-funded arena, there’s never been a better time to show support and give Desura and the games there some love, for the sake of one little icon in your task bar. You’ll also get auto-updated with the latest PZ version the moment it goes live, just like Steam.

That all said, we WILL continue to provide standalone versions, but they will require at least a desura user/pass to access.

If you’re a PZ user/pass person who bought pre-desura, you can convert the game by typing your PZ log-in details at the following page:

The advantage being that now we release on Desura, there will be no login / pass to worry about (more below), and your desura user / pass will be changeable finally. Also it will much ease the process of distributing Steam keys when the time comes. If you’re interested in getting a Steam key, we strongly recommend you do this now to save massive delays when we hit Steam since there will likely be a rush of forgotten PZ or Desura account details to deal with when the time comes.

Once we’re on Desura and everything’s hunky dory, we’re going to begin to implement the Steam SDK. At this point, we’ll go on Steam. Not on the store or on Early Access just yet. Just redeemed keys, getting the update service, start work on achievements, implementing steam workshop maybe? and all the rest of it in preparation for a proper launch, which at quickest will happen once Kate and Bob are in, but more likely once the NPCs have gone in fully.

NPCs and bugfixes will obviously remain our primary focus despite this goal.

DRM Free

Since it’s not possible to download versions of the game from Desura without having bought it, and since the login system has provided no end of problems and support and account emails over the past couple of years that we’d very much like to be free of, and since it’s so fundamentally easy to crack our game given java decompilers and our lack in time or motivation to complicate it, and given how fast pirated versions appear anyway, and given our own views on piracy, (and given it didn’t seem to hurt Prison Architect!), versions of the game on Desura do not require logging on in the same way as previous versions.

This means that while we appreciate the support of people mirroring the Desura versions of the game for those few who for whatever reason (parental filters / work firewalls etc) cannot access, would be distributing DRM free versions of the game to everyone. So please refrain from doing this and we’ll look into a solution for those remaining people ASAP. Probably involving maintaining a separate version that we put up with a torrent as soon after updates are deemed stable as possible. This is far from ideal for us but if it’s necessary we are willing to do it.

Hosting offers

Since our bandwidth issues came to light, we have had countless wonderful offers from kind people offering their bandwidth and server space to us. While we appreciate this massively, as well as the DRM issue stated above, if you rent or have access to a dedicated server with advertised ‘unlimited bandwidth’, so do we.

You’re reading a webpage hosted on one right now. Like fair use policies in your supposed ‘unlimited’ broadband contract to cater for more extraordinary usage, the reality of the sheer bandwidth requirements these updates have required (many many thousands of gigs within a few days, to sometimes hundreds of concurrent return users each and every update) would cripple most servers and probably anger the hosting company rather quickly, or at best offer 0.1kb download speeds to people on update day and cripple any other services on that server. This is why Amazon S3 exists, as it provides raw bandwidth power and massive through-put unparalleled by any fixed cost server, and is the reason it is pay per gig and at such a premium.

So while we much appreciate your generosity, unless you’re in a unique position of owning or running extremely powerful and massively expensive server clusters not available to most general people, if it were possible to host the game adequately using such servers, we would be using one ourselves. But thank you, we love you for your offering to help us.

Post Steam

Since all three platforms will then be covered, we won’t have direct downloads any more. It’s just too much hassle to maintain, potentially costly, massively increases the number of account support emails we have to deal with per day, and impedes our ability to fix stuff and update quickly. Please note to those who are skeptical of installing distribution services, we’re not doing this to be awkward it’s just something we feel will help us focus on development going forward.

Hope this doesn’t disappoint anyone, but really with our bandwidth issues and the hoops we have to jump through to update the game, it’s required for us to provide as efficient updating of the game as possible and provide you the best game we can as quickly as possible.


The Joys of 008

News & Dev | 20 May 2013
Stable Build: 41.78.16 | IWBUMS Beta: 41.78.16 | Version history | Wiki
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