The Eve Online Launcher: T-minus not that much
Greetings fellow EVE enthusiasts, we are Team Special Circumstances and the topic of today will be the _EVE Online Launche_r.
The EVE Online Launcher is a new little program that makes sure your EVE client is up to date and is always ready for flying into space. You might think that the Launcher is just supposed to launch EVE Online, but that's just one piece of the puzzle. Its primary function (not counting launching the game) is to update EVE Online on your computer whenever we put out a release, patch or fix. It’s the first step in a big overhaul of our updating and patching process which enables us to get smaller updates out to you faster. The Launcher also gives you something to read over while your client is being updated by showing you the latest news and dev blogs. CCP Topknot wrote a blog about the Launcher explaining this point some time ago and you can read it here.
Ah! So when is it coming?
The release date of the EVE Online Launcher is moving ever closer. We are hoping to move completely over to using the new Launcher as the update mechanism for the EVE Online around the middle of March.
Being careful is the primary concern when we do the release of the Launcher, which is why you don't have it already, as it changes some fundamental and ancient things that have not been touched in quite some time, such as the update mechanism of the EVE client. After all, we don't want players to end up with a broken client (in which case, not that it ever happens at all ever :), you can run the repair tool).
To sum up what the EVE Online Launcher does: The EVE Online Launcher uses sophisticated lines of computer code crafted from the bones of Pterodactyls and varnished with the tears of a three-legged octopus to update EVE Online on your computer ... and to launch it. If you are into sophisticated things like opera and hamburgers and want to try the Launcher out ASAP, you can try it out on Singularity right now. We welcome your feedback with open arms.
This is the current version of The Launcher on Singularity
This is closer to the complete look of The Launcher when it goes live for Tranquility
What about the future, man?
The Launcher also allows us to create a platform for us to build upon; we’re currently investigating options such as a staged installation process, allowing new users to get into the game faster, as well as integrating peer-to-peer technology for downloads, rather than relying solely upon our content delivery network.
In addition to the above, another idea we’ve been tossing around,is to allow you to log-in with your character in the Launcher itself, perhaps giving you limited gameplay (such as corporate forum access, chat channel interfaces and similar) within the Launcher while it is running upates. Nothing concrete yet but it gives you an idea of the potential for the launcher.
All of this really just hides the primary goal of the Launcher; to overhaul the patching and update mechanism to allow us to deliver smaller updates, more often, reducing the burden and impact of major releases. With an easier deployment pipeline for us and a simpler update process for you, updates can be rolled out in much more granularity than is possible at present, allowing important fixes to propagate to the client in a much more timely fashion.
First thing's first, though. For now, the dreams can wait. In this initial release of the EVE Online Launcher, the intent is to keep things simple. No flashy stuff, thank you very much. Just a Launcher that updates and launches EVE Online and does that well.
Improving quality. How’d it get burned? How’d it get burned? HOW’D IT GET BURNED?
Another thing we are introducing in the Launcher is the automatic detection and reporting of errors. You might have seen CCP Redundancy’s blog where he describes a system for automatic crash reporting. We have a similar thing in the Launcher, where we catch errors happening inside the Launcher code and report those back to our office. This is so that we can be quicker to detect and resolve issues that come up. You of course have the option to opt out of this by unticking the checkbox under settings in the Launcher. But why would you not want to help out by improving the Launcher together with us?
Those interested can see what is being sent by reviewing the contents of launcher.log in the launcher\cache\ folder.
More explanations, but with dots:
Earlier versions of the EVE Online Launcher did not download data into a neat, compartmentalized patch file. This made players who wanted to be able to download a patch once, then use that same patch on multiple clients very unhappy. These same players have absolutely no reason at all to not be happy! They can now easily download and then move patches between EVE client folders or even between computers using a USB stick or by other more sophisticated means, like via a locally hosted FTP file server.
If you want to connect to a different server you just use your /server:220.127.116.11 (for Singularity). Double click the icon and you will get patched up to Singularity! It is however highly recommended that you don’t do this to your Tranquility install and that you only do this to a copy of your EVE directory.
You can chose to only show the Launcher if there is an update to the game.
One reason for using a Launcher for doing updates is we can get away from having to start EVE Online client up, then shut it down while the update is being applied and then starting EVE Online back up. It's wasteful, and a little bit confusing, to have to spend time on starting up the game, in order to detect we need a patch and to download it, then to shut it down immediately afterwards so that the patch can be applied. With the Launcher, updates are applied to the EVE Online client before it is ever started up, thus reducing the overall time spend patching by just a little bit.
It has a built-in download manager, ie. downloads using multiple connections to the internet in order to maximize bandwidth usage and resumes previously incomplete downloads automatically without giving you lip.
Is incredibly fashionable, enough so to be graced with the ability to run on Mac OS X. Yes, that's right, Mac users!
Give us your feedback
As always, we very much appreciate your feedback, so please log on Singularity and try it out. Tell us what you think, what you want improved, what future features you’d like to see and how we can make it better than it is! Any bugs or issues you find, please submit bug reports or write about them in this thread.