Sometimes, you want to ship the most optimized and most secure binaries and assets for a project to your end-users.
Consider also, if you don't particularly care about cheating/security (such as in single-player games, or proof-of-concept projects), these things may unnecessarily complicate your project.
This document assumes you already have a working game in "Profile" configuration, complete with all the assets and debugging of the code already done.
- One-time setup
- Creating a Release build
Setting up cryptography keys
Open a command prompt, and make
<root>/Tools/PakEncrypt the current directory.
This should create a
In your favorite C++ IDE open the generated
key.h file, and also
<root>/Code/GameSDK/GameDll/GameStartup.cpp (or the same file in your game DLL).
Now find this line in the GameStartup file:
Make sure that
USE_RSA_KEY is set to 1.
Replace the key in
GameStartup.cpp with the key from the generated
Setting up CVar whitelist
In the file
<root>/Code/GameSDK/GameDll/GameStartup.cpp there is a function:
Here, you can add/remove CVars that may be modified by the end-user (or via system.cfg etc).
Any CVar that is not listed will be fixed in it's default value when in Release mode.
To prevent trivial cheats, it may help to keep this list as small as possible.
However, think of the target machines of end-users and don't freeze quality CVars at too high quality levels.
Creating a Release build
You should compile your code in the
[GameSDK] Release (and
[GameSDK Server] Release if you use dedicated servers in your project) configuration for your target platforms.
You will get several DLL files in a <
platform>_release folder if this succeeds, that reflect the optimized and better secured versions of their non-release counterparts.
We will not go into detail in this document on how to pack your assets, but we assume you have all the assets required by the game packaged into appropriate PAK files.
After a release build, all assets must be inside a signed or encrypted PAK files.
The first test to see if your PAK files are alright would be to run the non-release game after deleting all non-PAK files.
See also Compiling Assets for Multiple Platforms and the RCJob_Build_SDK.xml that has been shipped to you.
Collecting files into staging
Copy ONLY the following files to a new folder that will contain all the files for the final version of your project (ie, the distribution)
Files and folders marked in red should NOT be copied, but are provided in the list for completeness sake.
For the sake of example, this will only show binaries for 64-bit Windows support. For 32-bit Windows and Linux support, substitute the appropriate platform instead of "win_x64" in the folder names below, e.g. win_x86 for 32-bit Windows or linux_x64_clang for Linux using Clang as the compiler. On Linux, note that some files will be named slightly differently (e.g. libXXX.so instead of XXX.dll).
|bin\win_x64_release||CryXXX.dll||Compiled from your game code|
|GameXXX.exe||Shipped by Crytek in EaaS package|
Note: You can rename this exe if you want
Dependencies, shipped by Crytek
|bin\win_x64 and bin\win_x64_dedicated||NEVER copy these folders!|
These files are debug/profile builds and not suitable for release.
Additionally, the Editor is included in bin\win_x64, which you cannot redistribute Editor to end-users according to your EULA.
Also, Steam DRM protection is present in the Editor that would make it unusable to anyone without an EaaS license.
Compiled from your game code
|Shipped by Crytek in EaaS package|
|Shipped by Crytek in EaaS package|
PAK files, e.g.:
Your packaged assets - the exact list of PAK files will depend on how you organize your assets; the listed files represent the structure in the EaaS package by Crytek
(or relative to
|Each level folder (e.g. Singleplayer/Woodland) may have:|
<LoadingScreen>.dds (if you have defined one)
Your exported levels
|Your supported languages for which your project is localized|
|<all files and sub-folders>||These folders contain no end-user usable files, save some space by not shipping them|
The user folder should only have user-specific settings and will be regenerated automatically by the end-user
If you have settings that you expect all users to have, consider moving them to system.cfg instead of user.cfg
|<root>||system.cfg||Make sure the |
|Do not ship these files: it will make it harder to identify if a log-file was user generated or not|
Additional files specific to your project may have to be added as well, in which case it's your responsibility to ensure they are added in the correct location and are loadable.
Consider putting those files inside a custom PAK file, if you want to leverage the existing signing/encryption features.
Carefully consider legal obligations on re-distribution that may apply on software and assets as well, make sure to read license agreements etc.
Signing / Encryption of assets
Once you have your staging folder set-up, you need to either sign OR encrypt your asset PAK files.
Depending on your project, you should pick one of those:
- Signed assets can be loaded by your project from the PAK files, and can also be opened with other tools (as a ZIP file)
However, the PAK file cannot be modified after it is signed (or the engine will refuse to load the files)
- Encrypted assets can be loaded by your project from the PAK files, but cannot be opened with other tools.
Assets inside the PAK cannot easily be accessed because they are encrypted (but can be decrypted at run-time by the engine)
Once you have decided what level of security you want:
- Pick an output folder for this project build.
- Open a command prompt, and make
<root>/Tools/PakEncryptthe current directory (the same folder that has the
key.datfrom the one-time setup).
- Now run:
dist/ParseBuild/ParseBuild.exe <verb> "<full path to your staging folder>" "<full path to an output folder>"
- verb can be
encrypt, depending on the method you picked
- verb can be
Now the files from the staging folder will be copied from the staging folder to the output folder.
You can now delete the staging folder to recover some disk space.
Test and redistribute
Now you can take the contents of the output folder and test or redistribute it.
You should in general make sure your entire project works when you directly run any of the .exe that is in the output folder, without adding any additional files.
Testing this ensures that all your code and assets are present and functional for end-users.
Try to run the project on a variety of hardware configurations to find out quality settings for your minimum advertised hardware specifications.
Sometimes it's hard to debug issues with Release builds, because code is optimized and assets may not be easily accessible.
Here are some pointers to isolate problems:
My game doesn't run in Release mode
Make sure that:
- You have your PAK files signed or encrypted.
- You have the correct key set in the code.
- The profile/debug version of the game does run with the same assets (and the same key).
My CVars don't work in Release mode
Make sure that:
- The CVar in question is white-listed in your code.
My assets cannot be found in Release mode
Make sure that:
- The asset exists in a PAK file, and the PAK file is in the list of PAK files to load in the code.
- The PAK file containing the asset is signed or encrypted with the correct key.
I get a lot of warnings about "Non binary XML found"
This is not a fatal error, however you can convert your XML files to binary XML using RC, see also Binary XML conversion
The conversion is recommended for an end-user distribution
I cannot connect to a dedicated server
Please note that you should connect release clients with release servers. (And also, you should connect profile/debug clients with profile/debug servers)
I have some other problem
The default value of log_severity in release builds are quite low, so to debug an issue it might make sense to set it to 3 or 4 to get more information and messages.
Note that, unless you whitelist this CVar, setting it in system.cfg will not actually work.