Hello everyone,

Apologies to all our players on Windows XP and 2003 that have been unable to play Sven Co-op or run their SvenDS since Sunday. We have been working hard throughout the week to find the exact cause of this (which is more complicated than just blaming Visual Studio 2015), but have come up with a temporary solution.

In order to let those of you that want to test this update over the weekend, you can switch your game to a branch called "release_candidate_public". Steam will then download this update for you. You will not be able to play on any public servers while on this branch unless they have also opted in to this branch.

The update primarily consists of:

  • Unable to start client or server on Windows XP and 2003
  • Crash with CreateNamedEntity (maps using custom entity names)
  • Crash with materials handling under certain conditions
  • Unable to move allied scientists with +use

If this update is successful we'll migrate it to the public branch with a full change log.

Updating your game

Follow these steps to switch your Sven Co-op or Sven Co-op dedicated server installation in Steam to the public release candidate:

  1. Right click Sven Co-op or Sven Co-op Dedicated Server in your game/tools library.
  2. Select Properties then select the branch called release_candidate_public in the drop-down list.
  3. You should then see a notice that you've now switched branch, so you can click Close.
  4. Next time you launch your game (or soon enough automatically) Steam will download the update for you.

To switch back to the public branch follow the same steps, but choose NONE from the drop-down list instead.

Updating your server

If you wish to put your server onto the release candidate you need to add this to your SteamCmd statement:

Replace: +"app_update 276060 validate" for +"app_update 276060 validate -beta release_candidate_public".

Simply remove the beta instruction if you wish to revert your server back to the public branch.

Remember: You can receive email notifications about upcoming updates with some timely warning to prepare by subscribing to our server announcements mailing list.

Version details

Steam build ID numbers: Game 997953, dedicated server tool 997955, SDK tool 997957.

Statement about Windows XP/2003 support

Windows XP and 2003 no longer working was entirely a mistake. Unfortunately only 1 person on our team still uses Windows XP, which is why we didn't notice the issue until it slipped into the public.

However the fact is we're going to have to stop supporting Windows XP and 2003 indefinitely at some point. We've already dropped support for Windows 2000. While we recognise that not everyone has a computer capable of running Windows Vista or later (or you just don't want to), we cannot delay progression forever because of this. We are very lucky that the issue this time could be worked around, but this won't always be the case.

You should also know that it is not our choice to discontinue Windows XP/2003 support and that may ultimately rule, because other libraries from upon parties that we depend upon (and have no control over) may move to no longer offer this support. This could simply be in the form of using a feature from the Windows kernel only present from Windows Vista or later.

Windows XP and 2003 have been dropped from official support for 2 years now, and other big names are starting to stop supporting it (and Windows Vista) too. The specific reason for the crash is that the Windows XP/2003 kernel does not support initialising thread-local static variables. This is a huge problem for a multi-threaded application, of which there weren't many in the XP days to notice it. The only work-around is to disable thread safety in the game libraries, which is also a huge trade-off.

An official statement from Microsoft states that while they recognise this as a bug and provided an unsafe workaround, they simply won't degrade the performance of their current products in order to keep unsupported products working with modern applications.

So long story short, you're going to have to update at some point if you wish to continue to play Sven Co-op indefinitely.