Branches, also known as Betas, are specific builds of your application that you have made available publicly or privately through Steam.
Branches are managed from the Builds
page in App Admin of Steamworks. Available app branches
lists all of the branches you have created, plus the default branch.
You can create a new branch using the appropriately named "Create new app branch" button. When creating a branch, you just need to give it a meaningful name without any spaces. When users are selecting from the beta menu for your game, this will be the name they see. If a password is specified they will be required to put in the password before they have access to the branch, including its name.
To switch to a custom branch in the Steam client, right-click on the game from the library page and select "Properties". Among the available tabs will be the "BETAS" tab.
Your beta should be listed in the dropdown menu under "Select the beta you would like to opt into:"
As soon as a tester or customer has selected the branch, the Steam client will start downloading the branch, replacing their currently installed branch.
The default branch is the version of your game delivered to your customers on Steam. Prior to release, this is the version that your testers will download by default. Once your game is live, there is nothing special you need to do to deliver your default build to your customers.NOTE:
When uploading your content you can not set the build live on the default branch automatically. You must do that manually in App Admin.
Adding a new Branch
You can create additional branches of your title to meet your varying requirements. The most common use of a beta branch is for testing.
Example if your title is currently live on Steam:
- You need to fix some issues that you're seeing pop up in Error Reporting, but you need a means of testing your fixes before updating the game for your customers.
- You are not shipping any new content, so you don't mind if customers want to opt-in to your beta and play the version you are working on.
- Here are the steps to set that up:
- Create a new branch in the Builds tab of your App Admin
- Using the ContentBuilder tools in the Steamworks SDK, upload the build you wish to use for testing
- Refresh your App Admin page and the latest build should appear at the top of the list labeled Showing last 50 builds:
- Select the branch from the "Set build live for branch..." dropdown menu.
- Click on the "Preview Change" button for the build you selected.
- Click on "Set Build Live Now" to immediately make your branch available in Steam.