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CountAntonius
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(05-01-2013, 12:26 AM)
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Steampowered

General questions

Q. What’s happening?

We are upgrading TF2, DoD:S, CS:S, and HL2:MP to be delivered through SteamPipe, Steam’s new content distribution. This will change how the game is downloaded, and how it is stored on your computer. The benefits to players are:

Faster and smoother downloads

Faster game boot times and map load times

Easier distribution, installation, and management of mods

Smoother dedicated server distribution and update rollover


Q. Do I need to do anything?

Probably not. A few groups of users might need to take special action:
Authors and users of client-side mods (for example, those that require you to download a .zip and extract it into your installation folder) will want to switch to the new system for distributing and installing these mods.

Users who make custom versions of game files (custom models, custom HUDs, etc) will need to make some simple changes in order to continue using those customizations.

Gameserver operators will need to switch to the new download tool, Steamcmd, and be aware of how the changes to the filesystem affect any customizations they have made. (Please see the separate FAQ for gameserver operators.

Q. What games are being converted?

Here are the games being converted, and their current status:
Day of Defeat: Source Converted.
Half-life 2: Deathmatch Converted.
Counter-Strike: Source Converted.
Team Fortress 2. Scheduled to be converted on Tuesday, April 30.

NOTE: In the remainder of this article, we will use folder names particular to Team Fortress 2 in the examples. The same principles apply to all of the games being converted, so just replace "tf" with "dod", "cstrike", or "hl2mp"

Q. Will I have to download the entire game again?

No. A one-time conversion process will occur, which will take a bit longer than the usual download. You should expect your computer to do a lot of disk work, and you will need enough free hard drive space for about two full copies of the game. (For TF, around 15GB free is recommended.)
With SteamPipe, the shared Source engine files are no longer shared between games. So if you have multiple Source engine games installed, the size on disk will increase by a few GB.

Q. How long does the conversion take?

TF2 can take 20-30 minutes to convert, even on machines with fast hard drives. The other games take closer to 10 minutes or so.

Q. Where did the game move to?

Previously, each user had a folder that contained several game files. For example,

[steam installation directory]/steamapps/[username]/team fortress 2/.

When the game is converted to SteamPipe, the installation directory is shared between users. The directory will probably be something like

[steam installation directory]/steamapps/common/Team Fortress 2/.

Q. What happened to the .GCF files?

SteamPipe does not use .GCF files. Instead, content is packed up into VPK files, which are similar to .zip files. VPK files are used by other Valve games such as DOTA2, CS:GO, and Left4Dead 2. VPK files are also used on the dedicated server.
Customization

Q. Can I still download custom maps and other files from gameservers?

Yes, and we've improved how this works.
Files downloaded from gameservers will go into the tf/download folder. This segregates downloaded files from shipping files and your own customizations.

Q. What will happen to files I already downloaded or customized?

The conversion process can't tell which custom files you downloaded from a server, and which you intentionally customized. To be on the safe side, it will move all custom files into the tf/download folder.
If you have customized a shipping file, however, you will need to move it from the tf/download folder into a subfolder under the tf/custom folder. (This is described in the next question.)

Q. Can I still customize any game file?

Yes. Create a folder such as tf/custom/my_custom_stuff/ and put your custom files there.
For example, you might customize the scoreboard by extracting the resource/ui/scoreboard.res file from the appropriate VPK (using the VPK tool in the bin folder, or a free tool such as GCFScape) as tf/custom/my_custom_stuff/resource/ui/scoreboard.res, and then modifying it. When the game boots, it will see the subdirectory my_custom_stuff and add that folder as a search path. Then your version of resource/ui/scoreboard.res will take priority over the official shipping version of the file.
You can have more than one such subfolder under tf/custom, (for example, you might be working on two different customization projects and don’t want to get the files mixed up), but each folder is another search path added in front of the VPKs will slow down load times a little more. When you’re done tweaking your customization, you can always pack it up into a VPK and delete the subfolder.

Q. Why can't I just edit files directly in the game folder like I did before?

Modifying files directly in game installation folders (tf/resource, tf/materials, etc) won't always work anymore. Here's why.
Previously, when the engine looked for a file, it would first search folders on your hard disk, and then look inside the Steam GCF files. This meant that custom files in the tf folder would take priority over the files in the GCF.
This method had two disadvantages:
It slowed down loading, because the vast majority of files were in the GCFs. Booting the game or loading a level would cause many thousands of operating system calls to attempt to open files, most of which would fail.
Files from many different sources were mixed together. (Files you intentionally customized, files downloaded from gameservers you visited, files from third party mods, and any official shipping games files that were not in the GCF.) Removing a mod was difficult because the files were scattered across several directories. This problem will be exacerbated with SteamPipe, because more game files are shipped loose on disk than was the case when GCF's were used.
The new system searches VPK files first, and then search folders on your hard disk. This reduces load times significantly. But it means that the file in the VPK's we ship will always take priority over loose files in the tf folder.
Users interested in understanding the filesystem search paths in more detail should take a look at tf/gameinfo.txt.

Q. Can custom content be put into VPK's?

Yes! And this is the recommended method.
Installing a mod distributed as a VPK is easy: just copy the VPK file to the tf/custom folder.

Q. How can I create a VPK?

The VPK tool ships with the client, in the bin folder. It's a command line tool, but there is one easy way to use it without any typing. If you drag a folder onto the executable, it will create a VPK with the same name as the folder, with the contents of the folder.

Q. I have a mod distributed as a .zip. The instructions say to unzip it directly into my game folder. Should I?

Probably not. First, check if the mod you are installing is available in VPK format. If so, then download the VPK and put it into your tf/custom folder.
If the mod you want to use is only available in a .zip format, then unzip it into a subdirectory under the game's custom folder. For example, if the .zip contains custom player models that look like (heaven forbid) ponies, and one of the files is materials/models/player/scout/scout_head.vtf, then you might make a dirctory such as tf/custom/i_love_ponies. You should unzip the mod such that the custom scout head texture ends up at tf/custom/i_love_ponies/materials/models/player/scout/scout_head.vtf.
Don't unzip the .zip directly into the custom folder! Make a subdirectory!
Create a subdirectory in the tf/custom folder. For example, tf/custom/lots_of_custom_stuff
Copy the directory structure under tf into the new directory you created. For example, the files that were in the tf/materials/ folder should end up in tf/custom/lots_of_custom_stuff/materials/.

Bugs

Q. Where do I report a bug or give feedback for these changes?

For issues particular to gameservers, please send an email to the HLDS mailing list. (You can subscribe to this mailing list here.)
Otherwise, please communicate your feedback using the github bug database.
Q. What are the known issues?

Known bugs:
The dedicated server might fail to load the Steam libraries the first time you boot it. Booting it a second time will fix the problem.
The SDK and content creation tools have several major problems. Please bear with us, we are going to get these fixed soon. We don't have any intention of abandoning our content creators!

Client beta

Q. How do I get the TF2 client beta?

In the Steam client, right click on the game in the games list, and select “properties.”
Select the “betas” tab.
Select the “steampipe” beta.
Close the properties dialog.
Click “play” to launch the game.
You will be prompted with a dialog prompting you that existing content will be converted to the new format.
The conversion process will take several minutes.
This will move all of your files to the new installation folder (see above) and delete existing .GCF files.
NOTE: In the past we have used an entirely different game for the TF2 beta. (AppID 520.) That beta app is not the same as this beta, and is currently discontinued to avoid confusion.

Q. Can I opt back out of the beta?

Yes, but it is very painful. You will need to re-download the game again, and it will not move your settings files and custom files back to their original location.

Q. Can a beta client connect to a non-beta server?

Yes.

Maps loading faster would be a great thing. Especially in TF2.
Last edited by CountAntonius; 05-01-2013 at 12:29 AM.
CrunchyFrog
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(05-01-2013, 12:28 AM)
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Originally Posted by CountAntonius

Maps loading faster would be a great thing. Especially in TF2.

Hear hear. The fact that the game essentially hangs while doing so is also annoying.
antitrop
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(05-01-2013, 12:29 AM)
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This seems like a good thing.
grimshawish
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(05-01-2013, 12:29 AM)
This better not have a negative impact on CS :/
Gentleman Jack
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(05-01-2013, 12:30 AM)
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So I can finally tab out of TF2 while loading a map without the client crashing?
Kane Zakharov
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(05-01-2013, 12:32 AM)
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Originally Posted by Gentleman Jack

So I can finally tab out of TF2 while loading a map without the client crashing?

I really hope so, it can get pretty frustrating sometimes.
RoboPlato
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(05-01-2013, 12:33 AM)
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Sounds good. Probably a 10 meg pipe, too.
Stumpokapow
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(05-01-2013, 12:33 AM)
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This is actually several years old, they've just been a little slow converting their own software.
Kade
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(05-01-2013, 12:34 AM)
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So basically, they're converting their older games to the system every other developer has been using on Steam for the past couple years.
CountAntonius
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(05-01-2013, 12:34 AM)
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Originally Posted by Stumpokapow

This is actually several years old, they've just been a little slow converting their own software.

Is it?

So is anything utilizing it so far and does it improve anything?

Originally Posted by dygiT

So basically, they're converting their older games to the system every other developer has been using on Steam for the past couple years.

Ah OK. can we edit the title to reflect that?
AkuMifune
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(05-01-2013, 12:36 AM)
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Put that in your SteamPipe and smoke it.
Randdalf
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(05-01-2013, 12:36 AM)
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Originally Posted by Stumpokapow

This is actually several years old, they've just been a little slow converting their own software.

I don't believe it is several years old. There are two things at work here:
- Valve converting their games to using the VPK system which has been around since Left 4 Dead (this is the several years old bit).
- Their new download system requires the VPK format, so the old games must be converted to use it.
Sgt.Pepper
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from my leg
(05-01-2013, 12:38 AM)
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I wonder if this means the Mac version of TF2 won't take 5 mins to load a new map..
alr1ght
bish gets all the credit :)
(05-01-2013, 12:39 AM)
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It's April 30. Update my TF2.

Valve time.
jediyoshi
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(05-01-2013, 12:39 AM)
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RIP GCFs

Wish I had a heads up from steam itself, gonna have to do some hdd clearing for space I suppose
Technosteve
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(05-01-2013, 12:39 AM)
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Patch Notes: Convert Half Life Episode 2 to 3
Aguirre
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(05-01-2013, 12:40 AM)
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Oh god tf2 needs this badly. My pc hangs loading maps
Drencrom
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(05-01-2013, 12:43 AM)
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Faster game boot times and map load times

Yes please, TF2 is horrendous when it comes to load times
BlackJace
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(05-01-2013, 12:43 AM)
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Fucking yes, my computer hangs like a motherfucker loading maps in TF2.
Jaded Alyx
(05-01-2013, 12:44 AM)
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Hey Valve, how about you make it so that I can play a game while it's update is downloading? It's annoying when you go to play a game but you have to wait because there's some huge update that has to download first.
CountAntonius
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(05-01-2013, 12:44 AM)
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So do newer Source game like Dota 2 and CS:GO already use this?
thecharrr
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(05-01-2013, 12:47 AM)
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I'm about ready to put TF2's own content on my SSD so it takes less time to load.
Rapstah
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(05-01-2013, 12:50 AM)
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GCFs had a good run but if games were actually doubly checking if the file system had the file before loading it from the GCF then they were pointless all along, and the new folder system doesn't seem any more obscure than their old way.

Originally Posted by CountAntonius

So do newer Source game like Dota 2 and CS:GO already use this?

As has been said, all their games since Left 4 Dead have used it. It was sort of weird, really, they had all these systems set up for sharing content between games and then stopped using it.
Rickenslacker
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(05-01-2013, 12:52 AM)
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TF2 boots up instantaneously now, it's kind of amazing.

Originally Posted by Gentleman Jack

So I can finally tab out of TF2 while loading a map without the client crashing?

Play in borderless window mode, add -noborder to your launch options and select windowed mode in-game and play at your native resolution. Gives you instantaneous alt-tab goodness with no downside.
Delusibeta
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(05-01-2013, 12:53 AM)
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Originally Posted by CountAntonius

So do newer Source game like Dota 2 and CS:GO already use this?

Yes. Basically, TF2 is the last Source engine game to be ported to VPKs & SteamPipe, period.
SalsaShark
Trust no one!
Keep your laser handy!
(05-01-2013, 12:53 AM)
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this is kinda old it just apparently took them a long while

still, give it to me
alf717
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(05-01-2013, 12:55 AM)
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Originally Posted by grimshawish

This better not have a negative impact on CS :/

They removed EAX and D3D in GoldScr so it is having a minor impact if you use these features.
spindoctor
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(05-01-2013, 12:57 AM)
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Originally Posted by Jaded Alyx

Hey Valve, how about you make it so that I can play a game while it's update is downloading? It's annoying when you go to play a game but you have to wait because there's some huge update that has to download first.

How could that possibly work for a game like TF2 (or any multiplayer game for that matter). You want them to run servers for different versions of the game?

Originally Posted by Rickenslacker

Play in borderless window mode, add -noborder to your launch options and select windowed mode in-game and play at your native resolution. Gives you instantaneous alt-tab goodness with no downside.

Yea I recommend borderless window too, but some folks can have performance dips with it.
tjohn86
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(05-01-2013, 12:58 AM)
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Originally Posted by RoboPlato

Sounds good. Probably a 10 meg pipe, too.

Steam's distribution network is much faster than that. They can max almost any home connection easy.
dragonlife
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(05-01-2013, 12:59 AM)
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I'm excited for this to help with TF2's ridiculous launch time.
Persona7
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(05-01-2013, 12:59 AM)
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Originally Posted by tjohn86

Steam's distribution network is much faster than that. They can max almost any home connection easy.

it was a joke from CSI
GavinGT
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(05-01-2013, 12:59 AM)
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I heard that the internet is just a series of these pipes or "tubes".
Stumpokapow
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(05-01-2013, 01:00 AM)
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Originally Posted by Randdalf

I don't believe it is several years old. There are two things at work here:
- Valve converting their games to using the VPK system which has been around since Left 4 Dead (this is the several years old bit).
- Their new download system requires the VPK format, so the old games must be converted to use it.

July 15, 2011 was the first public release of games on the new content distribution system
jediyoshi
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(05-01-2013, 01:01 AM)
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Originally Posted by Jaded Alyx

Hey Valve, how about you make it so that I can play a game while it's update is downloading? It's annoying when you go to play a game but you have to wait because there's some huge update that has to download first.

Not very practical considering how their delta patching works, it's not like PC games of yore where every affected file could be delivered as a whole.
Metal-Geo
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(05-01-2013, 01:03 AM)
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Originally Posted by Gentleman Jack

So I can finally tab out of TF2 while loading a map without the client crashing?

Pffff... I've been doing that since 2007. ;)
-windowed -noborder for the mother flippin' win!
Jaded Alyx
(05-01-2013, 01:05 AM)
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Originally Posted by spindoctor

How could that possibly work for a game like TF2 (or any multiplayer game for that matter). You want them to run servers for different versions of the game?

There would obviously be exceptions where an update would be mandatory before playing, but I was mainly talking about single player games. When there's an update for a Wii U game, you get the option of downloading the update first, or playing the game with the update downloading in the background.

Originally Posted by jediyoshi

Not very practical considering how their delta patching works, it's not like PC games of yore where every affected file could be delivered as a whole.

I don't fully understand what you mean, but it's ok. I'll take your word for it.
spootime
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(05-01-2013, 01:22 AM)
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Every time I try to convert TF2 my steam crashes. What the fuck?
Randdalf
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(05-01-2013, 01:26 AM)
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Originally Posted by Stumpokapow

July 15, 2011 was the first public release of games on the new content distribution system

Ah I thought it was more recent than that. Still, that's less than 2 years ago, so I wouldn't really consider it "several years" :P
GreatCharleston
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(05-01-2013, 01:26 AM)
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About to play some TF2 and it's updating now. Didn't even know this was happening.
EmCeeGramr
i must be the devil. why else would god be trying to kill me right now
(05-01-2013, 01:27 AM)
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You could upgrade TF2 early about a week ago. It did seem to help boot and map loads.

A word of warning: it breaks your .cfg files and whatnot. You have to reinstall them in the custom folder, in a new folder named whatever and then in another folder like "sounds" or "cfg."


So basically what was once: steamapps/username/Team Fortress 2/tf/cfg/your cfg files.cfg

Is now: steamapps/common/Team Fortress 2/tf/custom/new folder named whatever/cfg/your cfg files.cfg
RibbedHero
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(05-01-2013, 02:01 AM)
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This should also allow us to install those Valve games in our alternate install directories rather than being forced to install TF2 on my SSD when I rarely play it nowadays.
TheD
The Detective
(05-01-2013, 03:30 AM)
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I updated and now the water in 2fort is now a huge distorted wireframe that jumps around the center of the map.
Randdalf
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(05-01-2013, 03:34 AM)
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Originally Posted by EmCeeGramr

You could upgrade TF2 early about a week ago. It did seem to help boot and map loads.

A word of warning: it breaks your .cfg files and whatnot. You have to reinstall them in the custom folder, in a new folder named whatever and then in another folder like "sounds" or "cfg."


So basically what was once: steamapps/username/Team Fortress 2/tf/cfg/your cfg files.cfg

Is now: steamapps/common/Team Fortress 2/tf/custom/new folder named whatever/cfg/your cfg files.cfg

I'm surprised that that Steam Cloud doesn't sync them. I don't think I could ever re-produce my current cfg, which was built up over years of playtime.
CrunchyFrog
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(05-01-2013, 03:57 AM)
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I keep trying to manually update and it just makes steam hang indefinitely.
Sajjaja
(05-01-2013, 08:51 AM)
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Wow..... I had probably 16gb (as of yesterday?) before I converted TF2 and now I have 6gb left on my hard drive O_O. At least I'm pretty sure it's TF2 that did that. I don't remember downloading anything big recently and I only have a handful of games installed.


Can we delete these GCF files now? At least the TF2 ones.
RiverBed
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(05-01-2013, 08:56 AM)
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I don't get it. Are they making another download channel?
MrTroubleMaker
(05-01-2013, 09:05 AM)
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Originally Posted by EmCeeGramr

You could upgrade TF2 early about a week ago. It did seem to help boot and map loads.

A word of warning: it breaks your .cfg files and whatnot. You have to reinstall them in the custom folder, in a new folder named whatever and then in another folder like "sounds" or "cfg."


So basically what was once: steamapps/username/Team Fortress 2/tf/cfg/your cfg files.cfg

Is now: steamapps/common/Team Fortress 2/tf/custom/new folder named whatever/cfg/your cfg files.cfg

thanks
les papillons sexuels
Banned
(05-01-2013, 09:08 AM)
Will this stop steam from randomly downloading shit in the background when I never asked it to? The more i use steam the more i hate it.
jediyoshi
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(05-01-2013, 09:09 AM)
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Originally Posted by RiverBed

I don't get it. Are they making another download channel?

It'll be transparent to you outside of being prompted to convert your files. Otherwise nothing will change aside from how some files will be structured for modding.
Jake Tower
Banned
(05-07-2013, 06:08 PM)
So this is why my custom hit sound stopped working.

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