Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Steam is now a fully armed and operational battle distribution service!

Well, at least something like that...

Let's see if you can figure out why... Check here first.

Do you see it?

Added backup game files feature (right click on game)

That's the one feature that, I felt, Steam was missing to really be something I could use comfortably.

Yes, I'm one of "those people" that has been waiting while I've had an encrypted copy of Half-Life 2 on my hard drive to play it. But there's always been that little voice in the back of my head going "but what if something blows up?". Well you can just re-install steam and re-download it.

Unlike iTunes, Steam doesn't limit how many machines you can install it on to gain access to your games. So I've got it at work and at home. It works well.

But now, I can make physical backups of the games... whereas before I couldn't. That way I don't have to worry about spending all the downloading time if anything blows up.

It's a fairly nice process, too. Right click on any of the installed and fully updated games and choose the "Backup Game files..." option. It doesn't matter which game you choose to do this as you are soon presented with a list of all of the games that you can backup.

Choose which game(s) you wish to backup and it'll tell you the disk space required to back them up. Next option is where you want to back them up too. By default steam has a backup directory already in its structure, and since the mini-app lets you open that folder directly when you're done, no reason not to use it.

You then get to choose a name for the backupfile and then you pick your file size. I think this is really clever. You can pick CD [640 MB] or DVD [4.7 GB] as your options. Yeah they only give you the default base CD and DVD options (I mean come on.. who only uses 640 MB CD's anymore?) but it's still nice. If you choose the CD option and backup more then about a gig it'll show 2+ CD's (As it compresses the data while creating the backup).

Once it starts it'll give you an ETA of how long it takes. Doing a full backup of all my current files takes about 5 minutes.

Once the backup is completed, you can click on a button to open the backup directory where you will find a main .exe file (and extra .dat files if it needed to span CD's) that's named whatever you chose. Running this .exe file will bring up a dialog showing you which Steam games are backed up, and allows you to re-install them effectively.

Very, very cool. One of the first things I'm going to do when HL2 is "released" is backup that sucker... Of course that's probably after I play it for a few hours first. =)



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