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Dystopia update

Hey everyone! Just wanted to give a quick update as to how the Dystopia patch is coming along. I've talked to a bunch of players about this over the past weeks, but I realized I haven't posted anything about it here and wanted to fix that.

The update is coming along great. For a while (the first half of this year, really) we were sort of drifting along wondering if this thing would ever be released. We were stuck between a rock and a hard place: waiting on Valve to release a (then only rumored about) SDK update, or just doing all of the hard work ourselves to get the game releasable. The traditional way of releasing was asking Valve to do it for us and sending them a zip of the game, and this was kind of unworkable for a lot of reasons (plus, Valve probably would've just told us to wait anyway). The new method involves SteamPipe, Valve's new distribution system which gives the developer total control over their game and updates to it. This also means that once we're on this new system, we can update more frequently as well. Fortunately, the SDK update cometh! Unfortunately, it brought a lot of extra work with it, all of it required if we want to be on SteamPipe.

The SDK update requires an engine port, along the same lines as what we did in the past, first for the Episode 1 engine update and later for the Orange Box version. This means we start with a fresh SDK, compare it with the SDK code we were using previously (as modifications to Valve code are a necessary evil sometimes), make notes about what will probably be broken - I wrote about 7 pages of notes just myself - and merge the changes. After that's done, copy over the Dystopia code and see what happens. Of course, there will be tons of compiler errors which have to be fixed before the game will even run.

After the game finally runs again, there will be a ton of obvious broken stuff that needs to be fixed. That's the stage we're at right now. First the game ran, but maps didn't load. Now maps load, but you can't spawn. And so it goes.

The good news is, after we do a rough testing pass and get the game into a form that looks and smells like Dystopia again, we should be able to start proper testing right away and get it on the fast track to release.

Also, I wanted to personally thank everyone in the community who has been spreading the word and increasing the Dystopia player count again, and everyone who runs the daily pick-up games. It's awesome that we have so many people dedicated to this game who are keeping the community alive and well, and it's inspiring. Thanks everyone!

Also, have some goodies:

Updates from Twitter