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Some game’s installation feels like it’s hold together by duct tape and hot glue.

Content of the article: "Some game’s installation feels like it’s hold together by duct tape and hot glue."

I apologize for the rant in advance but…

Last week I decided to play a few free games. Lately I've wanted more self-contained experiences that I can pick-up and drop at any moment. A game of DOTA2 or LOL is too long of a time commitment for me. But maybe something card based would be nice. I left Magic The Gathering decades ago but have always loved collecting cards, so I decided to give Arena, the current video game version, a go.

After some googling I went with the Epic Game-store version. Apparently, it is impossible to install the game to a secondary hard-drive because the developers are too stubborn to make it an option, first red flag. On Epic I can install it in my D: drive without issue, it's a eight hundred and some mega bytes install, so it says.

Now, I don't have the fastest internet connection. Third world country connection means I have to be conscious about what I do with my bandwidth. I let Epic do its thing and install the game overnight. I start it and go through the login/register form. Immediately afterwards, a download screen begins, 1.7 GB. Ok, fine, I get it. I go to watch a movie to let it install.

When the movie is done I go back to the game. Awesome, I'm greeted by the tutorial. I finish really fast since I already know how to play and it's a nice way of familiarizing with the meta after years of not really following it. And then, a second download screen. This time, another 1.5 GB.

I went to play another game since I'm also re-playing old adventure classics. I play Dragonsphere, it's a really short and sweet game with lots of weird charisma in the voice acting. In about four hours I'm done with the game and remember that Magic was installing. When I change over to that window, “the connection has been lost. Help, reconnect, log out.” After I hit reconnect the game pauses for a second and resumes back the download, from zero.

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I was so livid that I uninstalled it immediately. It has no way to throttle the bandwidth, so I can't use my internet while it installs. No YouTube videos, nor anything. There's no menu, it can't be sent to the background, it doesn't handle network failures, you can't download it any other way. A lost connection means manual restart of the download from scratch. This is the stupidest thing I have seen in product design in a while.

I get it, developing software is hard. I've only gotten to develop a simple webpage with Django and can appreciate how complex a project can become really fast. But if you'll insist to have your own launcher and your own download management, at least implement the bare minimum features. Don't assume everyone has perfect gigabit connections. And why have it go in a game-store, which already has a download management system in place, without taking advantage of it. With a decent, non-lying, download management I could just let it install and then go and have my games. Why have this motley of different launchers, disconnected installers that make the game experience so bad?

I say this because I went through the same thing with EVE. Steam “installs” almost a gigabyte, but then the EVE launcher has to do another two GB install before even letting you login. And then while inside the game I had my experience cut to a halt because the game streams the content install and my connection is too slow to keep up. In the end I had to let it running for a day, so Steam said I had dozens of hours of play, but most of it was just letting it install properly in the background. Not actual game-play. At least EVE has an option to force it to install the full game.

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I understand that with MS Flight simulator 2020, the next gen of consoles and many other games, content streaming is probably going to be more and more frequent. But is it really too hard to have the option that just installs the game? Or at least a management option so you can do other stuff with your internet while installing. What about actually doing some engineering and take into account that not everyone's connection is perfect infallible optical fiber.

Did anyone learn anything from Google Stadia?


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