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Old 17th November 2004, 10:19   #1
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Default Half Life 2 offline install

How To Make Steam Offline Mode Work
last edited 09/03/2004 02:05:09 PM by qUiCkSiLvEr

Special Note:
If a game says "100%" but "Not Ready" for offline play, it may be because the purchase process for that game (cd-key or cc purchase transaction) has not yet completed. You need to wait for that to complete before playing offline.

Two Scenarios:
1. My friend has no Internet connection, how can he set things up so he can play offline?

2. I want to be able to play at a LAN party and they won't have an internet connection there, how can we all play offline?

There are several ways to do this that will work for players without Internet access as well as for LAN Parties where there won't be internet access.

You have to be online somewhere at least once to perform all of the following steps.

The first step here is to perform the latest update and capture it. This is very important to make sure you get the latest content and bug fixes. Everyone that will be participating at the LAN event must have the latest update!

Easiest way
Bring the computer that will be playing offline to an available internet connection at a friend's house, school or perhaps business. Log into the account and do all the updates, make sure it all works.

Then "exit" (do not log out!) from Steam, go to the Steam folder and make a copy of the clientregistry.blob file (just in case). Write-protect the copy (mark it Read/Only).

Physically unplug the computer from the internet, start up Steam and let it fall back into offline mode. Make sure the computer will play both Listenserver (LAN), client and the single player ok, then exit from Steam again.

If this is a WIN98 computer, it will act like it's stuck updating and not logging in, JUST WAIT! It will take about 90 seconds for it to finally figure out that there isn't an active internet connection then it will prompt you to retry or go into offline mode.

The computer is now ready to play offline at home unless he accidentally logs out ...

If he does this he won't be able to play unless he verifies online again >> or << exits from Steam, then copies the copy of the clientregistry.blob file back which will restore his offline play.


It certainly wouldn't hurt to burn a CD of the working offline installation for him.

Next Easiest way
Do all the above on a different computer, IE: install Steam, log into his account, do all the updates, exit from Steam, make the copy of the Clientregistry.blob file, start up and let it fall back into offline mode, make sure it all works, then exit again.

Then burn a CD of the install and take the CD to the remote computer and copy the install there.

Very Important! Make sure the files are placed on the exact same Disk and Path!

LAN Party Setup:
All clients that are going to play on the LAN should have unique Steam Accounts. You might also have to assign unique clientports to each computer if they are going to play online as well as offline. Please refer to this FAQ for help in configuring multiple clients behind a router.

Most home DLS and cable connections will only be able to support 6 or 8 players on a 128K uplink and 12 to 16 players on a 256K uplink, assuming that they are using a reasonable rate (7500) and cl_cmdrate (30) settings. You might have to lower the cl_cmdrate to 20.

The Server
The first step is to decide if the server is going to be a Listen Server or a Dedicated Server.

If this is a small party (4 players or less) just for fun, then a Listen server will probably be the easiest way to host a quick party, but it's important to remember that the player who's computer is running the Server has an advantage over all the other players.

If there are going to be more players, or if the players are more serious players and want a level playing field, then a Dedicated Server is the best way to go, and assigning a computer to run only the Dedicated Server (no clients) is the very best.

If this is for a Stand-Alone Dedicated Server, be sure to get the latest Server update.

If family and friends want to watch, then it is a good idea to set up a couple of extra computers for spectators and run the HLTV spectator proxy.

The first requirement is that you need a 10/100 switch or router for setting up the core network. This can be part of a router, and you can daisy-chain several switches to connect everyone else if you need more ports.

The key here is to use that one switch or router (we'll call it switch #1) to join up to 4 additional switches (assuming it's a 4-port switch) which then can support up to 16 players (at 4 ports each). This way, there is one central switch/router and up to four other switches.

If there is internet access available, then the central router can connect everyone on the network for authentication and web browsing if they need to.

For best performance, plug the Game Server into the central router or switch, that way it will have 1/2 the delay to everyone (you'll only have 3 ports then to connect additional switches to). It's a good idea to make sure the Server has a 100mbit Ethernet adapter.

NOTE: Do not use mixed ethernet speeds with "dumb hubs" they can't handle it. If you have a hub and not a switch, you'll have to make sure that all ethernet connections on the network are all 10MBit only.

Speeding up Fallback into Offline Play:
It's actually quite easy to make Steam fall back into offline mode with almost no delay.

1. go to network properties
2. right-click on your internet connection "local area connection"
3. disable it
4. start Steam - it only takes about 2 seconds to pop up to the start in offline mode.
5. then re-enable your connection and you can play on LAN.

One warning, XP might get upset if you disable your NIC and think that you are changing the hardware in your computer (happens when you re-boot, so enable the NIC before rebooting!).

XP identifies 7 devices on the system when it is installed and if the identity of those devices changes too much then XP will complain and may require you to re-activate.
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