A Paladin’s GOG Galaxy: Alpha Initial Impressions. I’m Impressed.

GOG Galaxy Initial Impressions

GOG Galaxy Initial Impressions

These are my initial impressions of the Windows client of GOG Galaxy v0.7.0.860.

So far the client seems to be well done. Installing it from the website was simple and it wasn’t anything different from any other GOG game. It should be noted that the Galaxy client does “replace” the GOG Downloader program and runs everything within the client. However, I wouldn’t get rid of the downloader (if you like using it) until Galaxy leaves BETA. Once you install Galaxy, you’ll need to login and then you get access to your games. Below is a gallery that shows off the client as its setup so far.

Buying Games:

It’s basically the website. Nothing has changed except you can now do it through a client and hopefully be more secure while doing it. Wishlist support is here as well as gifting.

Installing Games

Installing games is simple. You find the game, you click the install button, accept the license agreement and you get the game. This is a few steps simpler from the website as the client handles most of the “hard” work and it acts like installing a title from Steam. The client does support moving your library around so you aren’t restricted to your first hardrive. However, there doesn’t seem to be support for multiple folders/libraries at this time. There is also no support for non-Galaxy games either besides the importing feature. I don’t think that GOG could make installing games any easier at this point. What I like is that the more-menu gives you lots of options setup for specific games and isn’t generic like Steam’s right click menu tends to be.

Importing Titles into the Client:

So, if you’ve got games installed from the website, it does feature two ways to import them into the client. A global and per-title “import folder” option. The global one didn’t work for me so that might be a client issue or how I have my games setup in my secondary drive. However, the individual-title import as pictured below seems to work for most games. Once you import, the game is playable from Galaxy or from the folder itself. The client remains optional. I should also mention that if your game is out of date or missing files, it will update the game from the website. Though sometimes this importing process can stall. Easy solution is to click the download arrow button at the bottom left and cancel the install. Try it again and it should work. While I don’t have too many modded games from GOG just yet, the one title that I have modded (System Shock 2) didn’t seem to remove/overwrite any of the modded files when it was imported. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Galaxy did overwrite some mods when you import the game. So it’s probably better to install the game and then mod it.

The uninstaller provided by the client works as well and will only remove the game files in that folder. So if you have extras, they won’t be removed. Also, it should be noted that if your game got split up (Like Master of Orion 1 & 2) after you installed it from the GOG website, you might have some issues importing the title. Overall, importing games from previous installs seems to work, most of the time. It’s just special cases that may cause some quirks.

Bugs That I Noticed

  • Some games wouldn’t import into the client because it claimed that the game was running. Dungeon Keeper 2 was one title where I had the this issue. You’ll have to uninstall it outside of the client (or delete the entire folder if the uninstaller is corrupted) and install it directly from the client.
  • Some imports may stall out. You may need to cancel the import and try again but it will eventually work.
  • Games that were unbundled recently on GOG’s website (such as Masters of Orion 1 & 2, Thief, Alone in the Dark 1-3, etc) may not work properly with the import feature. I suggest installing them from the client so they work correctly.

Features that are missing:

Most notable missing feature is a friend’s list/instant messaging client. Not that I’m particularly surprised because I don’t think GOG has this tech setup just yet. For now, you’ll be relying on Steam chat or other resources to talk with your gamer friends for the time being.

Linux client by the looks of it. There’s a Windows and Mac but no Linux client. My guess is that the Linux client will be distributed through GOG’s website and not through individual distributions. This would be similar to how they handle their games.

Only games can be installed via the client. Individual movies, comic books and other media isn’t supported just yet. However, you can install extras that come with your game such as wallpapers, OSTs, etc.

Categories/tags or other ways to organize my titles. You have search, you can organize by title or recent activity but you can’t set categories in the left-hand side of the client. This could use further improvement so that I can easily find titles in my own way.

Final Thoughts

As an alpha client, GOG Galaxy is off to a great start. Obviously, these are initial one-day impressions of an Alpha Galaxy client on one computer. I can’t account for any problems, bugs, glitches or any other issues that may crop up on other machines. But from what I’ve seen, this is a great client that still remains completely optional. Social stuff like an instant messaging client/friend’s list are missing so that’s something I’d like to see added at some point. You can access everything from the website, as if it’s a browser (and it probably has a built-in browser), so forums are accessible. It’s a great start with some room for improvement. And I can suggest this client to anyone, there wasn’t any overly complicated process that could trip anyone up from what I found. Be interesting to see the final state Galaxy is in when it leaves alpha/beta.

Thanks for reading!


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