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How to patch a mobile game

We're making a game for iOS and Android. The demo is up for Android at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.deviousgamers.ihatemyjobdemo&hl=en

The thing is, our plan for the game is to constantly add and adjust content over the course of its store lifetime. It's a 3D game, so the total package size is not small. We need to be able to patch it rather than make the user redownload the entire thing for each update.

How does this work, for both iOS and Android? Keep in mind that we use Blueprints. I imagine that shouldn't really make a difference though.

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asked Mar 08 '15 at 03:48 PM in Packaging & Deployment

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DG Gage
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avatar image DG Gage Mar 09 '15 at 02:22 PM


avatar image piXelicidio Mar 09 '15 at 02:35 PM

I don't think it would be easy to "patch" an android game, less probability if it is made with ue4. The easy way is the "redownload" option. Hope someone answer you with better news.

avatar image DG Gage Mar 09 '15 at 03:57 PM

I guess you'd have to package an additional .obb with very specific files that would override the older duplicates present in the existing .obb. It doesn't really seem like that'd be possible without some serious C++ tinkering with the engine itself.

This probably would require some staff assistance, but I doubt anyone at Epic has done anything like that, considering they haven't put up an app like that with UE4.

They have Epic Citadel from UE3 on Google Play and I think that's it.

avatar image piXelicidio Mar 09 '15 at 04:12 PM

First I have to say I'm just a beginner in android develpment... I trying to keep my game under 50mb and use the easy way that is more friendly with develper console: replace .dpk to update, then re-download whole app. When my game was bigger than 50mb I tried .obb thing unsuccessfully. Now current 4.7 version doesn't support .obb until next update to 4.8 thay say.

I think you need a server to connect from you app and download additional content to your game without making a full app update. Seems scary..

I'm not helping but maybe this good chat bring some staff attention :P

Good luck

avatar image DG Gage Mar 09 '15 at 04:21 PM

We actually managed to get .obb support working with 4.6.1. Our file in the Play store (demo for the game, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.deviousgamers.ihatemyjobdemo&hl=en) is still pretty big though. I'm working on methods to reduce it, even though we've already done a ton of file shrinkage via compression n stuff.

What kind of game are you making? I'm curious how you have managed to keep it below 50mb. It seems utterly impossible with a 3D game that has any kind of non-minimalist visuals.

We're both noobs here, but learning :) gotta be a noob to be a pro

avatar image piXelicidio Mar 09 '15 at 04:49 PM

Mine's here ;) is 2D https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.denysalmaral.CrabbyBall&hl=en

I just tried yours but the FPS is low in a Samsumg S2, and can't manage well to play it well.

Check this forum thread for some notes about my development and and the latest screenshot: https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?55662-Crabby-Ball-beta-2D-Android-game

For reducing size I followed this answer: https://answers.unrealengine.com/questions/70842/why-are-android-file-sizes-so-big.html

avatar image DG Gage Mar 09 '15 at 04:56 PM

Yeah it's targeted to phones from the last 3 years, so yours just barely didn't make the cut for optimization :(

We also are still working on some performance problems with Android

And that makes sense, with it being 2D, as far as filesize.

AND... I was JUST looking at that post and found it removed 20mb from the filesize!

alt text

avatar image piXelicidio Mar 09 '15 at 05:19 PM

Also check that guy's game is 3D with only 35MB https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.scgames.TappyFootball

avatar image DG Gage Mar 09 '15 at 06:16 PM

Looks like ridiculously low resolution textures, and only a very small amount of them

avatar image DG Gage Mar 13 '15 at 09:58 PM

Bumping again. Any tips appreciated. Hopefully staff can provide some input. It's awesome that the staff here personally helps so much. UE4 is my boi

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New 4.8 release includes patching!!! Wooooo you guys just keep giving more reasons to love making games with UE4

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answered Jun 10 '15 at 11:29 PM

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DG Gage
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So for iOS, if you modify the executable in any way, you have to post to the App Store again as an updated version. For content changes only, we were just discussing this yesterday. It will almost work right now if you were to have the application download the new content and save it to the disk (which would be the Documents directory for iOS). It would then look there for any content it doesn't find in the normal application directory. However, any content you just updated (i.e. is the same file name) would not be found correctly. I have a task to fix this for the next release, but that won't be by the end of the month.


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answered Mar 19 '15 at 04:08 PM

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Ravlek STAFF
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avatar image DG Gage Mar 19 '15 at 04:31 PM

I suppose it won't be too bad if the updates are large. We can always just make our weekly updates comprehensive so it never has to update more frequently than that.

Thanks for the response!

Any idea for Android? Like if that's possible or now or may be possible in the future?

We plan on adding significant content to the game for at least 6 months, so any point along that will still allow us to fix the large updates problem.

avatar image Ravlek STAFF Mar 20 '15 at 02:31 PM

There is one more complication which I had forgotten about. Typically, content is stored in a pak file and those files are added to the file search path in a random order. So, while you could save a pak file to the SD Card on Android or the Documents directory on iOS, it would probably get mounted after the main application pak file which means it wouldn't properly find updated content (so similar to the iOS location search path from above).

The long and short of it, right now if you were to save loose files to the Android SD Card, it would find them and use them, but like iOS, the file named the same in both locations would probably prefer the main installed application file over the downloaded one.

This is all scheduled to be fixed in the next release for both mobile platforms, but I don't have an eta on that at this time. It won't be 6 months though. I am pretty sure of that.


avatar image DG Gage May 13 '15 at 07:45 PM

Hey Pete!

Any update on a game patch method? Is it making it into 4.8?

avatar image piXelicidio Jun 10 '15 at 11:11 PM

Hi DG, I guess you are reading the 4.8 release notes righ know ;) DLC support and android OGG better support... https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Support/Builds/ReleaseNotes/2015/4_8/index.html

avatar image DG Gage Jun 10 '15 at 11:28 PM

I did so many jumping jacks when I read that

avatar image so2gamemake Jul 05 '16 at 02:25 AM

Were you able to add new content to Crabby Ball?

avatar image piXelicidio Jul 05 '16 at 04:39 PM

Hi @so2gamemake , for Crabby Ball I have just updated the whole app, not patching or DLC intended or planned. Regards.

avatar image so2gamemake Jul 11 '16 at 05:33 AM

Thank you for sharing your steps.

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