Download methods

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Adrian Lopez, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. Adrian Lopez

    Original Member

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    What's your favorite download method? I've been thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of several methods. Here are my thoughts so far:
    • Installer / archive: The entire program is downloaded as a single package. This is the most straightforward method, but large downloads can be a problem without the use of a download manager, most of which are crap or else cost money.
    • Web install: The user downloads a small install package which in turn downloads the program's files one at a time from a web server instead of downloading the entire package all at once. It may be possible to retry broken downloads. I've yet to find one that can resume broken downloads, but it's technically possible. The biggest disadvantage I see here is that users may expect the installer to continue to work in the future, when in fact the files being served might not be available in the future (e.g., your company goes bankrupt).
    • Content delivery platform: Services such as Steam and Impulse can potentially provide an excellent user experience, but having your game distributed through these services requires you to go through a review and approval process for your game. Players who are new to a particular delivery platform have to download and install additional software.

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Installer.

    How large *is* a large download anyway? I don't consider anything up to about 100MB to be excessively large these days.
     
  3. Adrian Lopez

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    Although beyond the capabilities of indie developers, something like the Crysis demo weighs in at 1.8 GB. I think I'd rather lick a red-hot stove than deal with such a large download.

    Of course, "large" is relative to your target market. What's large for people on dialup is not the same as what's large for people on cable.
     
  4. cliffski

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    yup installer. I am capable of downloading and installing games fine with an exe. I don't need anyone to 'manage' this except me. If I need to install some huge piece of portal bloatware before I can install your game, that's a big turn-off for me, and in fact, usually encourages me to google for a different site offering the game without that junk.
    Unless your downloader has ALL the functionality of the best free download managers oin the market, you are actually causing me inconvenience, not convenience.
    Any possible extra step between me looking at a screenshot and installing the demo, is a big opportunity for me to get bored and go elsewhere. I'd *love* to collect download stats from a custom download manager, I just don't think the hassle for my customers is worth it.
     
  5. cliffski

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    Demos this size are retarded. Many people are on download caps. And for people who try a demo rather than pre-order, it's normally an impulse install. It amazes me how little effort they put into making compact demos for retail games.

    I'm sure all the developers mates have uncapped 8MB broadband. But if thats all you want to sell to, good luck paying back your huge dev costs.
     
  6. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    It goes with the general attitude. All AAA dev's think their game is such a must-have that people will do anything to get even a sneak peak.
     
  7. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Yep, and its a shame that so many people prove them right.
     
  8. Bad Sector

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    I downloaded the Crysis demo just to see the effects :). Wasn't hard, just wget with limited download speed at work and in a couple of days it was mine -- and the rest of the company of course :).
     
  9. Nexic

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    Unless your game is over 300mb I don't think any kind of manager is necessary, and as Cliffski says, it can turn people off. I like Steam, and don't mind having that permantly installed because they sell lots of games I want and I like the other benefits of using it. However, if you've only got a couple of games then a download/game manager will just be seen as an annoyance.
     
  10. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Not that many else big studios wouldn't keep going bust on a bi-weekly basis.

    All power to our elbows!....
     
  11. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I forgot I was going to answer the question as well....

    Right click->save as->double click. Don't see how you can streamline that tbh. I would recommend you concentrate on what happens after the double-click part...
     
  12. Adrian Lopez

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    What exactly happens after the double-click depends on whether you've downloaded the full installer (first bullet point in original post) or the web installer (second bullet point).

    So far, my favorite option is the full package download, except for the problem of failed downloads. It wouldn't be much of a problem if resuming HTTP downloads were widely supported, but it's often not possible unless you have a download manager such as GetRight, which isn't free. The free download managers I've found so far have failed to impress me. I suppose if it really became necessary I could make my own free, generic download manager for clients that really need one, as a separate install.
     
  13. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    A more suitable answer then....

    Yeah, I think you should write a really good download manager.
     
  14. Adrian Lopez

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    Definitely. However, my main concern is what do others think about the various options I've outlined. So far, full installer is the consensus.
     

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