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This tutorial covers the basics of publishing your game / mod on Desura

Posted by lodle on Jan 1st, 2010
Basic Other.

Desura is a digital distribution system that aims at allowing the user to easily download/install and play content provided by third parties. To get content to the users the developer must publish it via the 5 step process and this tutorial will cover the basics.

Getting Started

The first thing to do is add (or update) your games or mods profile, making sure it contains up-to-date articles, images and videos. Next you need to find out if your content will work on Desura.

  • For free games this means making sure that the content is free of licensing issues (please check third party library's) and able to run from its own folder.
  • For mod teams this means checking the game your mod is based on is supported. Also mods need to be free of copy right issues with no exceptions.

When you are ready to publish your content, load the developers page and select the "Publish on Desura" button next to your contents name. Please read the terms and conditions and click accept if you agree to them.

(It must be noted that only high quality content will be allowed on Desura. Thus please make sure that the content you are trying to publish is of the best standard and as free from glitches and defects as possible. Beta versions will be allowed only if they are of decent quality.)

1: Verify your profile

The first step is basic profile information, please make sure all fields are filled in and it is up to date and correct.

2: Setup images & videos

Each profile needs some display images (minimum of 10) and a video clip (minimum of 1). This stage allows you to add and remove content and also reorder it.

3: Style your profile

As each game and mod is unique you should aim to stand out from the crowd and you can do this by having a custom profile theme. Click in the color box you want to change and a color picker will appear. It is best to make a theme that matches your content but there are also default themes you can use.

If you would like access to advanced style options (i.e. custom CSS) please contact us.

Remember: You can come back and change these settings at any time.

4: Install & play settings 

We recommend you skip this step as we will ensure the wildcards are setup correctly to run your game / mod. If however you want to know how wildcards work... read on.

Wildcard are used to find directory's to install content to. This is the hardest step but it only has to be done once. Wildcards are bits of information that get resolved at install time on the users computer. They can contain other wildcards if needed.

There are four types of wildcards. The Path wildcard will resolve to a path on the users computer. The Exe wildcard will resolve to an executable used to launch games and mods. The RegKey wildcard will resolve to the value of that registry key. The Special wildcard will be resolved by Desura it self for special things. As a user you can only make Path, Exe and RegKey wildcards. If you need a special wildcard please contact support@desura.com.

Mods have access to their parent wildcards so most of the work has been all ready done where as games will have to define most of the wildcards.

The grayed out boxes are other wildcards that the item has access to. Underneath you can add as many wildcards as you need. Wildcard names need to be unique and thus you cant have duplicates. The description is not used by the app and explains what the wildcard is used for.

The next part is where Desura checks to see if an item is installed and the install path it should use. Since mods normally only have one install path which is based on their parents path you should only have one install check. The install check should point to a file that doesnt change between release (for example gameinfo.txt for source mods) and the install path to the root install folder. Free games and indie games should install to the APPLICATION path.

The last section defines the exe to use and the command line arguments to use. Exe's must be defined as wildcards above and wildcards can be used in the command line arguments.

Some examples can be found here. If extra help is needed please contact support@desura.com.

5: Distribution & price settings

We highly recommend you release ONE version around the world, as it will make maintenance and updates a breeze. However, you can release different versions around the world, choose which members can play which versions (i.e. for private test builds), and change the price by region.

6: Release on Desura

This page displays all releases you have uploaded. Because your content is new, you will not have a release, so you need to create a MCF and upload your MCF. Once you have uploaded a MCF you will be able to view whats in it and also publish to Desura. All releases must be authorized before being public and thus there will be a small delay before it will be available.

You can also resume uploads and delete part MCF's (or non published MCF's) from this step.


Creating a MCF 

To release on Desura, you need to "zip" your mod / game install folder into a MCF file and upload that to the Desura server. Please make sure your content is cleaned up and ready with any un-needed files removed and your game/mods config files reset to default before you package it up.

Creating First MCF

Creating the first MCF is a strait forward process. In Desura right click on the item you want to create a MCF for and select "New MCF" (or click on the create mcf link in step 5 of the publishing process). Select the root folder where the content is and hit create. Depending on the size of the content and speed of the computer this process can take a couple of minutes to a hour or so.

Once completed it will create mcf in the items folder and give you an option to upload it (see the Upload Guide). The default name is the items short name and the current time.

Note: The process will automatically ignore svn and git files so there is no need to remove them first.

Creating a patch MCF

Creating a patch follows the exact same process above. Simply "zip" up all of your mod / game files into a MCF file and upload it. Desura will automatically only process and upload the changed files, which it will merge on the server side.

Remember! Please make sure the folder you select has all needed files (not just the changed files). Desura will work out what has changed and select accordingly.


Uploading a MCF 

Once you have created a MCF you will need to upload it to the server. This is done via the Desura application. If you have just created an mcf there will be an upload button on the form you can press to start uploading. Otherwise, right click on the item in Desura and select "Upload MCF" (or click on the upload mcf link in step 5 of the publishing process), browse to the mcf and select upload.

Because MCF files are normally quite large, Desura supports pausing and resuming of uploads. To pause an upload just click the pause button on the upload form. The blue upload bar shows how much the server has saved and you will loose the progress in red (has to be reuploaded).

To resume an upload, goto step 5 of the publishing process and on the corresponding upload click resume. If it was the same computer the upload started on Desura should be able to find the MCF and continue straight away. Otherwise a prompt will be shown and you will have to select the MCF.

The delete MCF button will remove the file once the upload is complete. The file is useless after the upload as it is missing information and should be removed.

Note: Once a MCF is published all uploaded or partial uploaded MCF's that havnt been authorized are removed.

Post comment Comments
Dr_Nick
Dr_Nick Jan 19 2010, 2:39am says:

Really shaping up, looking forward to trying this out!

+3 votes     reply to comment
DaveTheFreak
DaveTheFreak Jan 19 2010, 3:19am says:

Maybe I'm just stupid but what exactly is a MCF?

+2 votes     reply to comment
lodle
lodle Jan 19 2010, 8:38am replied:

Like a zip or rar. A file format that Desura is able to control to do what it needs.

+4 votes     reply to comment
Paulendy
Paulendy Jan 19 2010, 8:05am says:

Like Dr_Nick said, can't wait to try it!

+2 votes     reply to comment
MiniHendrix
MiniHendrix Jan 19 2010, 6:09pm says:

If only I had the skill and patience to develop games.

But playing is alright.

+4 votes     reply to comment
JuiCaZZ
JuiCaZZ Aug 24 2011, 5:06am says:

hey guys how to activate a friend invite?

+2 votes     reply to comment
microo97
microo97 Mar 21 2012, 7:21am says:

cant wait to try it too!!!!!!!!

+1 vote     reply to comment
PewdiePie24
PewdiePie24 Oct 1 2012, 7:04pm says:

i might look into it

+1 vote     reply to comment
Nyerguds
Nyerguds May 5 2013, 9:20am says:

So, um, my ModDB entry (which is meant as a permanent game patch, not a mod) apparently appears on Desura without me ever doing any of this stuff, and people are giving me odd remarks about its behaviour, since it doesn't install on their existing game as it's supposed to.

Is there any way to make it NOT appear on Desura?

+1 vote     reply to comment
MCOD1999
MCOD1999 Jul 9 2013, 11:38am says:

Can exe files become a MCF? I am making a game wich will become an exe after compiling it and also this may seem stupid but can you sell games for free? What I mean is do I have to buy a licence or do I pay Desura money? How does this work. Please answer me asap.

+1 vote     reply to comment
damvion
damvion Aug 10 2013, 3:38pm says:

anyone help me please...I need to redeem a code and not as

+1 vote     reply to comment
AngryGam3rLead
AngryGam3rLead Dec 4 2013, 12:36am says:

I don't get this f'd up system. Why is a zip not sufficient. Why MCF. How the hell do you make a MCF? Why doesn't any of the Desura staff answer any questions whether by email or other means. It's like I am talking to a brick wall. My system through gumroad.com is soooooo much easier. Upload file. Set price. Enable for purchases. Simple efficient and doesn't have the kind of headache. I am starting to wonder if I didn't make a mistake.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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