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    TF2 on SteamPipe: Everything* you need to know!


    *Disclaimer: Varying definitions of "everything" may apply.


    What is SteamPipe?


    SteamPipe is Valve's new content distribution system for Steam. Advantages of using SteamPipe, as claimed by Valve:

    • 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

    The bolded text is good news for everyone who can't play AsiaFortress PuGs because they load slowly and never get +1's.


    Great! When will TF2 be on SteamPipe?


    The TF2 game files will officially be converted on the 30th of April 2013. There is, however a way to get the beta release of TF2 on SteamPipe right now.


    Tell me how!


    Before I tell you how, be warned of a number of things:

    • Your GCF files will be deleted, along with the possibility of some of your custom content(HUDs, configs, maps, addons, model skins, sounds, etc) being deleted.
    • You WILL NOT be able to join a game server that is not running the TF2 SteamPipe Dedicated Server. So, pretty much any server that you can access now will be inaccessible(Till the server owner converts on the 30th, or before) if you opt into the SteamPipe beta for TF2. This includes AsiaFortress, StarHub, LowYAT, OneAsiaGamer, and GamersUN servers.
    • You CAN opt back out of the beta(go back to GCFs) before the 30th, but it's very likely you won't get your game customisation back.
    • Most plugins will work(where to place them will be discussed later) excluding our great and wonderful P-REC :'(
    • If you're going to try this out, I would recommend trying it on an alternate account on a different PC.

    Before you opt in, you should backup all your custom content and your demos. Go into your "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\[username]\team fortress 2\tf" folder and backup any folders that contain custom content(addons, cfg, maps, models, particles, resource, scripts)

    Also remember, that you need enough space on disk for two copies of TF2. Once it's converted, it will go back to standard disk space usage.

    Now, to opt into the SteamPipe beta, right click on TF2 in your Steam library, go to properties, click on the "Betas" tab and select "steampipe - "

    Your game files should then be converted, and your GCFs will be deleted.


    If you've opted into the beta, there are still some things you need to do, which will be described in the next section.


    I don't want to opt into the beta; is there anything I need to do?


    Whether or not you opt into the beta, once your game files are converted, there are some things you need to know about the workings of the new filesystem.

    • The path of your game files will be changed from "[steam installation directory]/steamapps/[username]/team fortress 2/" to "[steam installation directory]/steamapps/common/Team Fortress 2/"
    • All the GCF files in your steamapps folder will be deleted.
    • Dowloaded files will not go to their respective folders based on type as they currently do. For example, a custom map you would currently download from a server will go to your "maps" folder. Once you're using SteamPipe, it will go to your "tf/download" folder. This has been done so you can distinguish between server-downloaded files(that you may want to remove) and files that you've downloaded yourself.
    • Files that you've previously downloaded/replaced(if they don't get deleted during conversion) will be moved to "tf/download" during the conversion. I would recommend deleting everything in the "tf/download" folder after conversion. Explanation on that in the next point.
    • Custom content you manually download should now go into "tf/custom", but to make it simpler to distinguish between different custom files, make a subfolder under the custom folder, such as "tf/custom/mystuff". Say you have a NoHats mod and you want to keep those custom files separate from other custom files, you can make another subfolder in 'custom', and put the NoHats files in there. So your file paths would be "tf/custom/NoHats/models" and "tf/custom/NoHats/particles". The game will still read those folders, and the NoHats files in 'models' and 'particles' will not mix with other 'models' and 'particles' files in the event that you want to remove them.
    • Basically, Valve says do not extract any custom content directly into "tf/custom". Always extract it into a subfolder(create one if there's nothing in there). All your addons, cfg, maps, models, particles, resource, scripts, sound folders should go into a subfolder(can be named anything) under "tf/custom".
    • Only .vpk files should go directly into the "tf/custom" folder. .vpk files basically contain everything a mod needs in a compressed format, including folder structure and varying files. However, at this point in time, no custom content I've heard about is distributed in .vpk format.

    That's about it for now. The most important thing at the moment is to backup all your custom content, and your demos.

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    This is true.


    Beware, though. SourceMod Anti-Cheat is erroneously detecting steampipe clients as cheaters and banning them.

    Tell all the server admins you know to update to the latest version of SourceMod.


    Also, remember that if you opt in now, your P-REC will not work. The later your game files are converted(30th is the latest), the more P-REC usage you get.


    Edited the main post.

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    Changelog from a recent update from Valve.


    * Significantly reduced memory usage. (I believe that this was causing a lot of instability)

    * Added kludge so you won't get banned if you join a serve with an out-of-date SMAC plugin

    * Fixed custom hit sounds being blocked by sv_pure

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    Going to attest to the tremendous improvements in speed, game starts up (from Play Game to main menu) in less than 5 seconds, map changes in less than 10. I'm not even on an SSD.

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