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The beta of the new and improved itch app is out for testing

Posted by , | Views: 3,760

Game store itch.io have a revamped desktop client coming and a beta is now available for users to test and report back.

The open source itch app was already pretty damn slick, I'm quite a fan of how easy it is to use. However, the team at itch have been working away for quite some time to improve it. 

It does look rather slick still:

Here's the highlights of what's new:

  • Starts up faster, interface is more reactive
  • Uses less RAM, less CPU, less disk
  • Compatible with more games
  • Tab-less, multi-window design
  • New installer, self-updates on Windows, macOS & Linux

Major parts of it have been rewritten, so they're going with a beta to ensure it's smooth for everyone. They say this release will also enable them to iterate on it faster in future, so hopefully major updates won't take so long in future.

As always, I love what they're doing and I do hope more developers put their games up on their store in future.

You can grab it here.

13 Likes, Who?
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13 comments
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kudlaty 10 July 2018 at 7:31 pm UTC
I'm happy they got rid of the tabs, I always found them very annoying.
Alm888 10 July 2018 at 8:03 pm UTC
Only the DEB packages. Can't install, so… Thanks, but no thanks!
Erzfeind 10 July 2018 at 8:55 pm UTC
Alm888Only the DEB packages. Can't install, so… Thanks, but no thanks!

The stable release has RPMs and even a repo. Don't know why that's not the case for the beta.
Alm888 11 July 2018 at 4:30 pm UTC
ErzfeindThe stable release has RPMs and even a repo. Don't know why that's not the case for the beta.

Hmm, maybe so, maybe… When I tried to download the "stable" version I was prompted to "itch-23.6.3-amd64.tar.xz" tarball.

On the second thought, this all "DEB/RPM" thing is totally wrong. In general a PC can have multiple users (e. g. "family PC" ) and while some of them might use itch.io, others do not so this client should be installed per-user, not system-wide (needless to say a user might not be local admin).

Tarballs are all around better (or "*.sh" scripts if one prefers automatization).


Last edited by Alm888 at 11 July 2018 at 4:31 pm UTC. Edited 2 times.
ProfessorKaos64 11 July 2018 at 6:55 pm UTC
Alm888
ErzfeindThe stable release has RPMs and even a repo. Don't know why that's not the case for the beta.

Hmm, maybe so, maybe… When I tried to download the "stable" version I was prompted to "itch-23.6.3-amd64.tar.xz" tarball.

On the second thought, this all "DEB/RPM" thing is totally wrong. In general a PC can have multiple users (e. g. "family PC" ) and while some of them might use itch.io, others do not so this client should be installed per-user, not system-wide (needless to say a user might not be local admin).

Tarballs are all around better (or "*.sh" scripts if one prefers automatization).

...wut. well if you don't want actual packages that integrate with your system libraries, you could always try those fancy snaps or flatpaks. Many package managers allow non root installs or "user" mode installs. Packages exist as they are the most logical approach for users of a distribution. Why package all the libraries for each when you can share them. It may be ages until there is a clear "winner" for a univeral approch. I actually loathe firing up other package managers instead of using apt/yum/pacman. Using manual installers / shell scripts gets oflur of hand when the number of items increases.
mylka 12 July 2018 at 12:07 am UTC
tried it with raft and valheim. works.
Alm888 12 July 2018 at 4:04 am UTC
ProfessorKaos64...wut. well if you don't want actual packages that integrate with your system libraries, you could always try those fancy snaps or flatpaks. Many package managers allow non root installs or "user" mode installs. Packages exist as they are the most logical approach for users of a distribution. Why package all the libraries for each when you can share them. It may be ages until there is a clear "winner" for a univeral(sic) approch(sic). I actually loathe firing up other package managers instead of using apt/yum/pacman. Using manual installers / shell scripts gets oflur(sic) of hand when the number of items increases.

Wut?! I seriously begin to think that there is a "Package Approach" sect.

We do not need any "winner" in the "DEB/RPM/WHATEVER wars". Ordinary user should not even know about this.

From a user's viewpoint it is completely irrelevant what package system his/her distro is using. The user in question must see "xxx updates available. Update the system?" and click "Yea, sure!" That's all! Have you ever tried to install *.deb or *.rpm package manually? I have. It does not work! I mean, doudleclicking on it does not work. Best case, some dialogue window appears and asks permission to install, but if the package in question has dependencies then -- BAM -- the process fails. Because there are no mechanisms for dependency solving without repositories. "Command line" (terminal emulator) and manual downloading of required packages from some site like this are in order. This is BS.

From an administrator's viewpoint it is serious security breach to install some unsigned (or self-signed with shady keys) software in system-critical portions of the filesystem ("/usr/bin", "/usr/lib64" etc.) probably adding third-party open keys as trusted in the process. This is total BS!

User oriented entertainment software should not be installed system-wide!

And in case someone wondered, even user-level installed software can be added to auto-loading during startup and applications menu (AKA "Start Button"), see XDG specification.
tuubi 12 July 2018 at 9:59 am UTC
Alm888Wut?! I seriously begin to think that there is a "Package Approach" sect.
This might come as a shock, but for most of us, Linux is not a religion.

Alm888From a user's viewpoint it is completely irrelevant what package system his/her distro is using. The user in question must see "xxx updates available. Update the system?" and click "Yea, sure!" That's all!
Yes, exactly. This is one of the strengths of a modern Linux distro. Updates are less intrusive than in Windows and mostly just work.

Alm888Have you ever tried to install *.deb or *.rpm package manually? I have. It does not work! I mean, doudleclicking on it does not work. Best case, some dialogue window appears and asks permission to install, but if the package in question has dependencies then -- BAM -- the process fails. Because there are no mechanisms for dependency solving without repositories. "Command line" (terminal emulator) and manual downloading of required packages from some site like this are in order. This is BS.
Last time I tried, deb files were handled correctly in both Ubuntu and Mint, as their default "software stores" and (my preferred alternative) the gdebi-gtk helper application are both perfectly capable of checking and downloading dependencies. And of course they won't let you install a package with broken deps. They also check and notify if a newer package is available in the default repositories. I haven't given a proper chance to rpm-based distributions in years, so I wouldn't know if their usability is worse these days.

Alm888From an administrator's viewpoint it is serious security breach to install some unsigned (or self-signed with shady keys) software in system-critical portions of the filesystem ("/usr/bin", "/usr/lib64" etc.) probably adding third-party open keys as trusted in the process. This is total BS!
Sure, a user can mess up their system if they install third-party packages, but if you're an admin to a bunch of users you can't trust, just don't let them install software. And for the users who you're not in control of, let them do whatever the hell they want with their systems.

Package managers obviously solve more problems than they create. Giving up and making people manage their own software does not solve anything. Games are a special case of software, but this is why we have frontends like the itch.io app and Steam. Both basically only install a bare-bones setup system-wide and most of the actual client and all the games are installed in user directories.

Alm888User oriented entertainment software should not be installed system-wide!
Agreed, but in the end, in a single-user gaming system this doesn't make much of a difference.
Alm888 12 July 2018 at 1:32 pm UTC
tuubiLast time I tried, deb files were handled correctly in both Ubuntu and Mint, as their default "software stores" and (my preferred alternative) the gdebi-gtk helper application are both perfectly capable of checking and downloading dependencies. And of course they won't let you install a package with broken deps. They also check and notify if a newer package is available in the default repositories. I haven't given a proper chance to rpm-based distributions in years, so I wouldn't know if their usability is worse these days.
That would be ideal, but we are not living in the Ideal World. For the sake of research I tried to download LibreOffice from its official site which is notorious for distributing the suite in dozens of small packages (41 in the base bundle, to be precise) and unpacked it in Ubuntu 16.10 (that's what I currently have in my VM, or, to be particular, it is regular Ubuntu but with Unity removed and XFCE installed, so more akin to Xubuntu).
  • The first question is "And which of these packages shall I doubleckick?".
  • OK, I've chosen "libobasis6.0-base_6.0.5.2_amd64.deb" (it sounds as good as any).
  • Fine, some window appeared and after a minute of waiting warned me it is a 3rd party software and can contain non-free components (yeah, sure, this knowledge will come in handy ) and a button labeled "Install" (not really, it is localized).
  • I clicked the button and… nothing! Not even an "ERROR!" message or something telling me what's gone wrong.
  • At this point any regular user just reinstalls Windows, but I'm a nerd and know "magic" command sudo dpkg -i *.deb and use it in the directory with all the packages.
  • It installs, proving that without "command line" nothing can be installed.
Please note, the VM does not have Internet connection, so everything needed was in that directory but GUI application failed to notice it. So, alas, the "*.deb" distribution method is just total BS without repositories.
tuubiSure, a user can mess up their system if they install third-party packages, but if you're an admin to a bunch of users you can't trust, just don't let them install software.
Just what type of person are you? A tyrant??? No, no, no! Users should be able to install needed software (not just games, it could be engineering software like Blender, OpenFOAM or FreeCAD) locally (i.e. to their own home directory without any explicit permissions). Besides, a good app must not demand to be "installed", instead it should be usable from any directory (unpacked, of course) and contain every library it needs bundled with it (or use only common libs).

tuubiGiving up and making people manage their own software does not solve anything.
As I said, a user should not "manage" anything. Only 3 simple steps: 1) download; 2) doublelick, Next, Next, Next, OK (fewer "Next" steps => better); 3) Play. That's all. If a developer truly wants to be sure the game is up to date, it must build-in the update function in the game.

Yes, it is a Windows-like approach, but it works and it is well known to all ex-Windows users. No matter how repository approach can be "ideologically and conceptually superior", this must not stand in the way of ease of use.

tuubiGames are a special case of software, but this is why we have frontends like the itch.io app and Steam.
And, judging by the Windows™ practice, soon we will have frontends managing frontends (with all those 15 or so different "clients", like "Battle.net", "Origin", "Uplay", "Paradox Launcher" etc. trying to update everything what was and was not asked for and constantly hogging RAM).

tuubiBoth basically only install a bare-bones setup system-wide and most of the actual client and all the games are installed in user directories.
Yeah, we all know about fabulous "Steam Runtime" dedicated to free us from "DLL-Hell"… eew… "Dependency Nightmare" while have not been updated since 2013.

But whether to use clients or not is entirely different topic.
tuubi 12 July 2018 at 4:06 pm UTC
Alm888
tuubiLast time I tried, deb files were handled correctly in both Ubuntu and Mint, as their default "software stores" and (my preferred alternative) the gdebi-gtk helper application are both perfectly capable of checking and downloading dependencies. And of course they won't let you install a package with broken deps. They also check and notify if a newer package is available in the default repositories. I haven't given a proper chance to rpm-based distributions in years, so I wouldn't know if their usability is worse these days.
That would be ideal, but we are not living in the Ideal World.
I wasn't talking about ideals. I was telling you about my experience with installing third party debs. But of course third party packages might be all sorts of broken, which is why they should be avoided.

Alm888For the sake of research I tried to download LibreOffice.
And immediately you do something silly. Why would you not use the distro provided packages instead? You're just looking for trouble here, even going for a huge piece of software that's bound to get complicated, then failing to follow the install guide provided by the developer. Sure, the install process is needlessly user-hostile (if you consider going to the terminal a big no-no), but that's entirely up to them, not the package management system.

Alm888
tuubiSure, a user can mess up their system if they install third-party packages, but if you're an admin to a bunch of users you can't trust, just don't let them install software.
Just what type of person are you? A tyrant???
No, just pointing out that you either trust your users to do the right thing, or stop them from doing the wrong thing. And of course I meant "stop them from installing system-wide", not that you should by some magical means stop them from installing stuff in their home directories. Nothing stops developers from creating installers or tarballs of course, but the benefits rarely justify the support hell, especially for FOSS software. It's easier to maintain packages in official repositories usually.

Alm888Besides, a good app must not demand to be "installed", instead it should be usable from any directory (unpacked, of course) and contain every library it needs bundled with it (or use only common libs).
Alm888Yeah, we all know about fabulous "Steam Runtime" dedicated to free us from "DLL-Hell"… eew… "Dependency Nightmare" while have not been updated since 2013.

Can't decide, huh? You imagine games would keep updating their libs if they provided their own? The runtime was a semi-successful attempt at providing a stable target "standard library" for games to rely on. The implementation is far from perfect, but game devs are not forced to make use of it so why not.

Alm888But whether to use clients or not is entirely different topic.
Yes it is. And I remember very well how much you love Steam from previous comment threads.
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