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Paradox have released a new version of their game launcher, the screen that appears when you load most of their modern games to give a few little handy features.

Not to be confused with the standalone Paradox Launcher you can download from their store (Paradox need a better naming scheme…), this is the application you see when you load up Stellaris, Cities: Skylines, Prison Architect and so on. Today "2020.2 - The Palindromic Version" was released.

Pictured: Launcher example for Prison Architect (since Paradox now own it).

If your comment is about to be along the lines of "oh no, another launcher" and whatever else, don't fret. A lot of games have their own launchers, Paradox games even did before this. However, their newer launcher unifies all their game launchers into one and they say it will "enable us to provide some really cool stuff for you all, in the near future".

What's new?

  • The Manage Mods page has received more updates intended to make finding mods easier. New features include the highlighting of matching text, a count displaying the number of results, arrows for moving up and down results, and keyboard shortcuts.
  • Users can now drag-and-drop a thumbnail before uploading mods to the Paradox Mods site. Mods uploaded to the Steam Workshop still use the “thumbnail.png” next to the mod file.
  • Older PDS titles: Modders can now set suggested game versions from the Mod Tools window before uploading.

As for other changes: if they can't process a mod you've install it will tell you why (if possible), there's improved support for modding when you've got hundreds, a better warning when the launcher / user does not have access to the game directories, various connection error messages were improved, the Manage Mods section now scrolls up/down automatically while you are dragging to reorder and various other UI improvements.

On top of all that, with this new update the Linux version might be a little bit more stable. Paradox said they moved communicating with SDL 2 into its own process which "should prevent it from crashing the launcher on quirky Linux setups". Nice to see us getting some care and attention there. A bunch of other bugs were fixed across all platform.

Full changelog can be seen here. Whenever you click Play on a game with it, the launcher will want to grab the update.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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16 comments
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eldaking 18 February 2020 at 5:38 am UTC
Kimyrielle
eldakingThere doesn't seem to be a common reason, it is just something that is done badly.

There is not a single good reason for these launchers to exist in the first place. It's just lazy software engineering. Nothing they do couldn't be done just as well in the main application (and/or in Steam, which most Paradox games require anyway). Their most common use case is to adjust the configuration in some fashion, which most people do exactly once after installing a game and then never again. Even if that would require a game restart, it would still be preferable to having the deal with an useless extra step every single time you start the game. Really, what's next? A launcher to launch a launcher?

I can see some functionality, though not all games actually use them - loading mods, launching directly a save game to speed load times, changing settings or browsing game content without having to open the full screen main application, a confirmation before loading all the game files, some multiplayer options, launching different game modes/versions. Also some more contentious reasons: as a way to show ads/news to the player, or connect multiple games by same developer.

It is kind of like the main menu, which is a standard that I'd say is quite positive in general - launching directly into a new game/last save is quite bad. But main menus don't do all things well, so people created a new menu, but did a shitty one this time - more ads, breaks more often, less useful. Or maybe we could think of it as a GUI version of launch options/arguments? Instead of "game -l savefile -c --ironman" or something, it opens a new window.

I'd say the new launcher for Paradox games is generally positive, because of how the games were built - in EU4, reloading a save or even going back to the main menu requires exiting the game completely and starting it again, and the process is quite slow. Lots of mods and DLC to manage, and they want to replicate Steam functionality (like mods and multiplayer and DLC management, possibly achievements or whatever) so they can sell it on other stores as well (which I think is good). Also the previous launchers sucked, so apart from compatibility it is an improvement.
Mal 18 February 2020 at 1:29 pm UTC
eldakingAlso the previous launchers sucked, so apart from compatibility it is an improvement.

It didn't sucked. Or better, it sucked because it was a launcher, but it didn't sucked as a launcher and for sure not compared to the new launcher. Also the absolute mayhem this thing produced with existing mods configuration is nuts. Another bad pr move from pdx pushing a patch without the necessary testing. And yet another round of censorship on their forums at the expense of angry customers.

But at least this time this didn't affect me: my eu4 stopped work ever since that patch so I'm sitting on the old branch where everything works (thank you steam for the feature).
The_Aquabat 18 February 2020 at 11:42 pm UTC
14
The_Aquabathandy here means other thing, in english speaking countries is called radio handheld.
Handy does not mean radio handheld in the U.S. It means practical and convenient.

EDIT: I might have read you wrong. Did you mean that handy means radio handheld in Argentina?

yes exactly
MayeulC 19 February 2020 at 5:47 pm UTC
Kimyrielle
eldakingThere doesn't seem to be a common reason, it is just something that is done badly.

There is not a single good reason for these launchers to exist in the first place. It's just lazy software engineering. Nothing they do couldn't be done just as well in the main application (and/or in Steam, which most Paradox games require anyway). Their most common use case is to adjust the configuration in some fashion, which most people do exactly once after installing a game and then never again. Even if that would require a game restart, it would still be preferable to having the deal with an useless extra step every single time you start the game. Really, what's next? A launcher to launch a launcher?

Well, I also guess that the reason why companies put these launcher out is that the QA process for a launcher update is lighter than for the game itself (no one would have guessed...)
Mal 12 March 2020 at 11:32 pm UTC
MalBut at least this time this didn't affect me: my eu4 stopped work ever since that patch so I'm sitting on the old branch where everything works (thank you steam for the feature).

Surprise surprise!

It turned out that it was indeed that treacherous launcher fault after all. Despite disabling all mods the damn thing kept sabotaging my EU4. I had to simultaneously delete all mods files, delete all mods subscriptions on steam, deactivate mods on the launcher and convert to Norse religion to make finally Manchu work.
Purple Library Guy 13 March 2020 at 12:54 am UTC
Mal
MalBut at least this time this didn't affect me: my eu4 stopped work ever since that patch so I'm sitting on the old branch where everything works (thank you steam for the feature).

Surprise surprise!

It turned out that it was indeed that treacherous launcher fault after all. Despite disabling all mods the damn thing kept sabotaging my EU4. I had to simultaneously delete all mods files, delete all mods subscriptions on steam, deactivate mods on the launcher and convert to Norse religion to make finally Manchu work.
So at least you got something out of it. Hail Thor, Odin, and above all Freya and Frey, deities that bring you the weekend! (Tomorrow is their day)
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