So I figured out why I thought building a new computer was going to take so much longer. Turns out that the real time sink is on the software side of things. At least they’ve got Windows installation down to taking less time than it did in the XP days, and ninite.com certainly helped as well. But it turns out there’s a downside to having a largely virtual game collection: you have to re-download everything.
This is going to veer straight into First World Problems territory, but oh well. We don’t have the fastest Internet connection at our place, but it’s generally fast enough for what we do (surfing, Netflix, the occasional online game). And sure, I’ve had to wait for multi-gigabye games to download in the past. But I always had something else to play or do while I was waiting for things to arrive. And believe it or not, that’s kinda hard to do on a fresh install.
So I spent a lot of time this weekend twiddling my thumbs, waiting for bits to inch their way down our DSL line. But eventually I discovered a workaround: it turns out that Steam-installed games are largely portable. You can copy the game files over, along with a corresponding app manifest file, and after a Steam client restart the game is there! So I dug out my high capacity flash drives and transferred the games that I had already downloaded to my laptop via sneakernet to my new desktop. All told, I saved myself about 50 GB of downloading. Which of course means I can use that time to download new games!
Of course, now that I have a computer that can run all the games in my Steam and GOG collections I’m faced with another problem: what the heck do I play? There’s a number of titles I’ve been itching to try, but how do I choose which ones to turn to first? I’m like a kid in a candy shop, paralyzed by choice and unsure what to throw my resources at first. Do I play a little bit of several games? Or do I commit myself to one from start to finish? And if I do the latter, do I do a long, story-driven one or a quick but entertaining diversion?
It doesn’t help that I’ve now got two terabytes of hard drive space, which is more than all my past computers combined. I’m effectively no longer limited by having to uninstall one game to make room for the next. For now, at least; technology inexorably marches on, and I’m sure far sooner than I’d like I’ll be feeling the upgrade itch. But for now, and for hopefully quite a while, I’ll be content with knowing that even if I can’t decide what game to play, I now have the horsepower to crank those graphics settings all the way to max whenever I finally do make a decision.