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 PostPost subject: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 12:23 am 
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Hello all!

I've previously discussed that I want to start archiving Steam releases as well, and we finally got a tool to do that!

With the coding help of members gus33000 and jagotu we've managed to put together two tools, one which will be distributed here to members, and one that I will use internally to download and archive the releases.

And I think it's time to release a test version of this little tool called DepotDumper.

Download

It's based on the publically available code called Depot Downloader which is a project to reverse-engineer Steam, available on Github.

But to explain how it works I need to give a little quick n'dirty introduction to how Steam stores it's games - appid, depot and manifests.

  • AppID: Each title has it's own identification number identifying the product on Steam.

  • Depot: Each product can be split into several file sets. In some cases executables, video, data, audio etc can be divided to depots. In other cases multiple languages and platforms, such as English for Mac OS, or Italian for Linux etc. How it's split varies between the titles. Here's an example from the game System Shock 2:

    Code:
    \---System Shock 2 [#238210]
        \---media_depot
                228982 (VC 2008 Redist)
                229020 (OpenAL 2070 Redist)
                238211 (System Shock 2 - Windows English)
                238212 (System Shock 2 - Windows German)
                238213 (System Shock 2 - Mac English)
                238214 (System Shock 2 - Mac German)
                238215 (System Shock 2 - Linux English)
                238216 (System Shock 2 - Linux German)
                238217 (System Shock 2 Bonus Content)
    Each depot is protected by a depot key which is unique to the depot, but not unique to the users library. Steam authenticates the depot against the account and uses the key internally to allow download. A depot key can not be traced to a Steam user.

  • Manifest: Steam stores several versions of each depot. A manifest is basically a list of depots that belong to a certain title, and a title can have several manifests.

All these infos are public and can be found on sites such as https://steamdb.info/ where you can easily see all these numbers and trace what's what. The depot and appid numbers are by no means secret.

So what does DepotDumper do? It scans through your Steam library, saves a list of all the application IDs your account has, and the corresponding depot keys. It creates two files, one with the application IDs and title, and one with the depot number and key. I can then use these two files to download the games without the need for access to your account or credentials. Since the depot key isn't unique to your account it can also not be traced to the owner.


So how can you help BetaArchive?

If you provide me with these two files I can put them in my local database and use them to archive the titles for the future. I can also use the depot keys to download any other manifests if needed (for betas etc.) but that requires some extra help from the member.


For those of you worried about personal accounts etc:

  • The tool is based on Steam's official Depot Downloader. It uses your credentials only with Steam and they are not sent anywhere else or stored locally. If you have SteamGuard activated your credentials will also be protected by this.
  • The depot keys will be only used by me personally, and will not be shared or used by anyone else. Any requests of these files on Discord or on the forum will be considered a breach of our community rules.
  • The depot keys can not be used to play any of the titles, it's only for archiving. You will still need to have the titles purchased on Steam to play them.
  • I will not save or give out any info on who gave me any of the depot files, it all goes into an unnamed pool of files I keep in a protected and encrypted folder.
  • The games downloaded will be kept in cold storage until the day Steam either decides to pull the game, or upgrade it beyond its original generation (i.e replace an original version with a remastered edition etc). They will be added to the cold storage database I am working on.
  • I will only keep major titles, I won't bother with random indie games except for a few exceptions of well known and popular indie games. So it's not about dumping the whole Steam library, but to preserve the quality games and all its packages, only a fraction of Steam consists of quality titles.
  • I will not need your Steam username or credentials, and I will never ask for them. If anyone asks for them in my name you will not give them out, regardless of reason. I do not need them to download a title.

Please upload the appid and key file using your personal BetaArchive account, or through Discord directly. If you want to change the filenames to hide your Steam username that's fine as I don't need that info, only the contents. Do not alter the contents in any way. Any updates can be given to me at any time and my scripts will keep track of what's new and what's not.

DepotDumper requires .Net Core installed, I've included the runtime installer in the 'prereqs' folder.

If you have any questions please get in touch with me and I'll answer them as best as I can.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 4:28 am 
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Great work! Hopefully there is quite a few members with some good games to archive.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:05 am 
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I believe the best way to ensure all of you that the software doesn't do anything malicious is releasing the source code, so I did so here:

https://github.com/jagotu/DepotDumper

Feel free to scroll though the code, compile it yourself and provide issues and/or pull requests.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 1:25 pm 
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Hello guys,

I would like to ask OP author mrpijey if he's not aware what the primary consequences of building up a public database of depotkeys / apptokens (not .manifests) would be actually, given that that this data provides everyone having access to it to violate Valve's SSA by downloading steam depot content they don't have a legit subscription for. Firstly, Valve would be forced to restructure their server authentication routines to prevent right this, and secondly the database owner would definitely get sued by the company. I honestly, with all due respect don't see any kind of advantage in such a project, as it is per se a "self-destructing" one, sorry. I really hope mrpijey will reconsider the plans he explained in the OP, mostly in his own interest.

Thank you very much for reading, cheers!


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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 1:46 pm 
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The .NET Core installer provided in the prereqs folder is an incorrect one, the one provided installs ASP.NET Core, which is for web applications, instead of .NET Core.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 2:46 pm 
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CS667 wrote:
Hello guys,

I would like to ask OP author mrpijey if he's not aware what the primary consequences of building up a public database of depotkeys / apptokens (not .manifests) would be actually, given that that this data provides everyone having access to it to violate Valve's SSA by downloading steam depot content they don't have a legit subscription for. Firstly, Valve would be forced to restructure their server authentication routines to prevent right this, and secondly the database owner would definitely get sued by the company. I honestly, with all due respect don't see any kind of advantage in such a project, as it is per se a "self-destructing" one, sorry. I really hope mrpijey will reconsider the plans he explained in the OP, mostly in his own interest.

Thank you very much for reading, cheers!

I've never said or implied that we're building a public database of depotkeys, this is why I in my initial post specifically made it clear that these keys will not be shared in any way, which also means they will not be published anywhere.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 7:24 pm 
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i remember having a few steam builds from 2014, 2015 archived, will take a look at my hard drives later


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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:07 pm 
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^^Ok, this is good news at least. And sorry, I should have used the subjunctive for more parts of my previous post. Unfortunately a DepotDownloader fork which has "depotkey-based" content downloading implemented already showed up: https://github.com/jagotu/DepotDownload ... 4e8722176a. So the exploit (because that's what this actually is) has already become publicly available for everyone. And it should be obvious that providing the methods to abuse Valve's server-sided authentication system (or rather bypass a part of it) violates applicable law just as an actual download without legit subscription would do.

This particular DepotDownloader fork is labeled "BetaArchive", so I assume the author is a member of this community. I strongly recommend to let him know about the potential consequences his fork might have, both for Valve and esp. for himself.

Thank you for reading.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 10:17 pm 
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Alphis wrote:
i remember having a few steam builds from 2014, 2015 archived, will take a look at my hard drives later

But we're not interested in any builds of the Steam client.

CS667 wrote:
^^Ok, this is good news at least. And sorry, I should have used the subjunctive for more parts of my previous post. Unfortunately a DepotDownloader fork which has "depotkey-based" content downloading implemented already showed up: https://github.com/jagotu/DepotDownload ... 4e8722176a. So the exploit (because that's what this actually is) has already become publicly available for everyone. And it should be obvious that providing the methods to abuse Valve's server-sided authentication system (or rather bypass a part of it) violates applicable law just as an actual download without legit subscription would do.

This particular DepotDownloader fork is labeled "BetaArchive", so I assume the author is a member of this community. I strongly recommend to let him know about the potential consequences his fork might have, both for Valve and esp. for himself.

Thank you for reading.

But that's the thing, the Steam network provides these depot keys to the client, so there's no server-side exploit being done here as the tool is not bypassing anything on the Steam servers. And what "applicable law" does it violate? The client will not allow you play the games as the files are still tied to Steam and requires you to own the game on Steam to play, this only allows us to download the games, nothing more. No different than making a copy using DIC or Alcohol120% of a disc that requires a valid activation code to use it. It's a download copy of a game you can not play.

None of the keys or downloaded titles are distributed either, and only saved for the time being until Steam gets the order to pull a title from their network (like they did with for example Fable Fortunes which is no longer available on Steam). This is what we do, we preserve things.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:38 pm 
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CS667 wrote:
^^Ok, this is good news at least. And sorry, I should have used the subjunctive for more parts of my previous post. Unfortunately a DepotDownloader fork which has "depotkey-based" content downloading implemented already showed up: https://github.com/jagotu/DepotDownload ... 4e8722176a. So the exploit (because that's what this actually is) has already become publicly available for everyone. And it should be obvious that providing the methods to abuse Valve's server-sided authentication system (or rather bypass a part of it) violates applicable law just as an actual download without legit subscription would do.

This particular DepotDownloader fork is labeled "BetaArchive", so I assume the author is a member of this community. I strongly recommend to let him know about the potential consequences his fork might have, both for Valve and esp. for himself.

Thank you for reading.


I wrote the tool. The way you use it is up to you. I intend to use it to backup my own games that I bought with my money.

I will even provide you with another exploit that can provide access to game files to people without licenses. To run it, you just need a flash drive (here as letter F):

Code:
xcopy "c:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\" F:\


Microsoft should realise that coding support for copying files will have consequences for them.
The only difference between this DepotDumper+DepotDownload fork and the original DepotDownloader is that the key stays for more than 2 seconds.

Obviously I recommend nobody share his depot keys, but then I also recommend nobody shares his steam folder content or CDs or floppies.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:56 pm 
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^^Then let's not talk about your database, but about the DepotDownloader fork I mentioned. It gives any individual the possibility to download files from depots THEY don't have a legit subscription for as long as they got the resp. depotkey from wherever. Does the legit steam client console allows this when using the "download_depot" command? Of course not, it will error out with a "missing license for depot 123" message if the depot you try to download the content isn't part of a package / sub you don't have a legit subscription for. So Valve doesn't seem to share your opinion about depot content being basically "free for everyone". Also, it's not like making a copy of an optical disc YOU own, but you can freely make copies of discs you DON'T own, to stay with your analogy. Was this ever allowed in Europe or in the USA? Obviously not. And your argument about steam games requiring the client to run isn't valid in thousands of cases in which games neither have actual DRM like CEG or steamstub, nor use / call steam_api(64).dll (or Steam.dll for older games) at all, making the resp. game de facto DRM-free - all you need to play it are the FILES, so downloading the depot content of such a game definitely fulfills the definition of plain "theft" both in European and US law. That's what I meant when talking about violating applicable laws.

Thus being said, a non-public database might be not illegal per se, but this modified DepotDownloader build definitely is for the reasons explained before. It provides you with all needed methods to commit a crime you weren't able to do without it, as e.g., to stay in the digital world, a sophistically coded trojan provides you with the ability to create a botnet - and due to this possibility (among other things) coding and putting such a trojan in circulation would be considered a crime as well.

The DepotDownloader branch in question directly references this forum in its name, so I strongly recommend to take the best and quickest measures to let it vanish and become forgotten instead of getting spotted by Valve, because in the latter case things wouldn't turn out good for your community as I fear.

Thank you for reading.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:49 am 
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CS667 wrote:
It gives any individual the possibility to download files from depots THEY don't have a legit subscription for as long as they got the resp. depotkey from wherever. Does the legit steam client console allows this when using the "download_depot" command? Of course not, it will error out with a "missing license for depot 123" message if the depot you try to download the content isn't part of a package / sub you don't have a legit subscription for.


Oh dude. You just played yourself. It absolutely does. If you take a depot key and copy it to depotkeys.vdf it will download the depot for you. :)

Just check this thread from 2013: https://steamcommunity.com/app/33910/di ... 142113238/

Or is that thread also illegal...?

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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 1:15 am 
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I am sorry, but with your logic owning a gun, sword, pitchfork or a combine harvester would be a crime to own because you can use it to commit a crime even when it has other uses which are perfectly legal. What is your reason for arguing all this? What do you want to achieve here? The tool can be used to take an easy backup of your own Steam library. And if someone else shares their keys you can download theirs. You can still not use them though. It's a means for backup, nothing else. A meta discussion on possible uses the tool can have is irrelevant, it's up to the user to decide what they want to go with it.

And heads up, any source code can be altered to include botnets or whatever, is then all source code illegal and bad? We are not responsible if someone puts in a bot in the source code that isn't owned or maintained by us. It's made by one of our members yes, but it's not owned or maintained by BetaArchive in any way or form and BetaArchive does not take any responsibility for the tool. It's just a tool, like DiscImageCreator or Alcohol120%, both of which allows you to take a perfect illegal copy of a game. If you wish to. And we're not responsible or authors of those either.

The binary provided here will always be a clean one and if they download it from somewhere else, or from a dodgy source repo then it's on the user, not us. The tool is also optional for members to use, if they feel uncomfortable using it then we will fully understand and never question that decision. The tool was designed for backup only, and to make it easier for members with slow connections to allow us to download the files. We can remove those features of course, but then all members will require to upload the full depot set every time, regardless if it's 200MB or 200GB.

By the way, send our regards to your other admins and moderators at your russian Steam-emulator-crack-bot-hack-exploit-oriented forum. I am thinking of a word starting with "hy...". Guess which one...

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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:29 am 
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CS667 wrote:
^^Then let's not talk about your database, but about the DepotDownloader fork I mentioned. It gives any individual the possibility to download files from depots THEY don't have a legit subscription for as long as they got the resp. depotkey from wherever.

[Your web browser] gives any individual the possibiliy to [read emails] from [accounts] THEY don't have a legit [subscription] for as long as they got the resp. [password] from wherever.

You see, your logic can be applied everywhere. If you have the access keys, tokens, whatever, you can access the data, even if you're not supposed/allowed to...

I assume there are already dozens of depot key databases out there, especially in those russian steam-hacker forums which mrpijey mentioned.... so if Valve would consider that a threat they would already have done something against those...

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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 7:09 am 
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That's great that there's finally a viable way for Steam games to be archived. But I do have one question: Once they are considered completely abandonware and are online in the repository someday, how are they going to be installed and executed? Or is it that the Depot keys are the only encryption Steam puts on their game?


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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:59 am 
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Steam doesn't put any "depot encryption" on the game, but they do add their own Steam DRM on the executables. It can be bypassed in some cases but that's not a discussion for this forum.

The purpose is to archive them, not to allow piracy so you can play them without paying for them. So I am afraid you will have to look for your answers elsewhere, as our concern for these titles ends with preserving them for the day Steam decides to pull them off the store.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 4:33 pm 
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Great work! Nice to see the talk from the other thread bear fruit :)

Are there any plans for supporting beta branches too? or is there already some support for that in here?
(A lot of games hide their betas in those, sometimes passworded too, and I believe that makes them use a different depot key to the standard one they have - not 100% about that though)

Adding support for the passworded ones would probably be tricky, but a lot of them don't actually password-protect them for open betas and such, pretty sure SteamKit can query those too etc, so would be nice if the dumper can dump the keys for these (maybe with some kind of marker so that it's easy to see that it's from a beta branch?)

E: oh hm, seems branches might require AuthTokens as well as depot keys? That's unfortunate if true, guess they might have to be uploaded the old fashioned way.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 4:55 pm 
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Yes it will work with beta branches too, but then you will need to deal with it manually, i.e find the correct depot and manifest and download it. The batches I have will not do that.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:31 pm 
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mrpijey wrote:
Yes it will work with beta branches too, but then you will need to deal with it manually, i.e find the correct depot and manifest and download it. The batches I have will not do that.

Ah right, would it maybe be a good idea for dumper to make a <username>_steam.branches with all the apps branches it can see, to save you needing to do that? I dunno, branches can get removed/added at any time so maybe not, but if the branch data is already loaded when it's dumping the depot keys maybe it wouldn't hurt.

Also I noticed some apps seemed to timeout while it was dumping, maybe the CDN or whatever it was using was down at the time, any way to make it use a different CDN if it can? or are those just prevented from getting depotkey or something?

E: strange, FTP refused to accept the .appids / .keys files?
Quote:
Response: 227 Entering Passive Mode (94,130,67,140,3,249)
Command: STOR steam.keys
Response: 550 Cannot STOR. The filename is banned.
Error: Critical file transfer error
Command: CWD /=> Upload
Response: 250 CWD command successful. "/=> Upload" is current directory.
Command: PWD
Response: 257 "/=> Upload" is current directory.
Command: TYPE I
Response: 200 Type set to I.
Command: PASV
Response: 227 Entering Passive Mode (94,130,67,140,4,42)
Command: STOR steam.appids
Response: 550 Cannot STOR. The filename is banned.

I'll upload in a ZIP for now, might want to update OP to mention that.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:49 pm 
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Considering that the branches gets updated and removed over time it's not really of any use to archive that info as it will be outdated a month or year later anyway. And the manifest can be found on steamdb.info etc if absolutely needed. Steam doesn't save all the manifests and files forever either, and I am usually only interested in the latest version. For exceptions such as few betas etc it can be manually done by adding the manifest option.

I've not noticed any timeouts, but some downloads do take a very long time, and it jumps to a different CDN if it fails.

And as usual, pack up the files. This is a general rule and doesn't only apply to "normal" uploads... This will not change.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:07 pm 
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mrpijey wrote:
Considering that the branches gets updated and removed over time it's not really of any use to archive that info as it will be outdated a month or year later anyway. And the manifest can be found on steamdb.info etc if absolutely needed. Steam doesn't save all the manifests and files forever either, and I am usually only interested in the latest version. For exceptions such as few betas etc it can be manually done by adding the manifest option.

Yeah true, I guess if you scrape steamdb you can probably get manifest info for any non-passworded branches pretty easy, even when branch was removed, so yeah not really much need.

How would you prefer passworded betas to be handled btw? I think I have access to a few passworded ones (nothing special, just devs that for some reason passworded their open betas & posted it)
I'm not sure if there's any way to get the manifest IDs besides using SteamKit (steamdb only shows encrypted manifest ID, but steamkit can decrypt with the right password etc), I guess uploading is probably the easiest? If so, is there a way I can grab the manifest file with this for you to verify with?

mrpijey wrote:
I've not noticed any timeouts, but some downloads do take a very long time, and it jumps to a different CDN if it fails.

It looked like the appid ended up being skipped but I need to double check that, takes a little while to go through though, better make a log this time *hehe*
(EDIT: ah, seems the depots that timedout don't have any manifests listed on SteamDB at all, so I guess it's fine)

Quote:
And as usual, pack up the files. This is a general rule and doesn't only apply to "normal" uploads... This will not change.

Oh yeah, will remember that in future.


Last edited by Leon on Fri Mar 27, 2020 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Steam DepotDumper (beta)        Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:22 pm 
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You can use the public DepotDownloader on github to get what you need, you need to tinker with the options to get it right. I have not experimented with it much when it comes to passworded betas.

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