BUGLE: B**t-Ugly Game Launcher for Exiles

BUGLE: B*tt-Ugly Game Launcher for Exiles

BUGLE is an unofficial, third-party game launcher for Funcom’s videogame Conan Exiles. It aims to bring certain QOL features to players, at the expense of good looks and smooth user interface. It’s ugly as sin, and it’s my hobby project that I came up with for fun and relaxation, so don’t expect miracles from it.

For a list of known issues, scroll to the last section of this document. If you run into an issue that isn’t there, feel free to open a GitHub issue about it, or post about it here.

Installation

Go to the v1.4.0 release on GitHub and download the bugle-v1.4.0-x86_64-pc-windows-msvc.zip file. Unpack it into a directory where you’re allowed to write files. It’s a good idea to put it in its own directory, because it will write a couple of files there (bugle.ini and bugle.log).

There’s no installer, you just run bugle.exe. Bear in mind that Microsoft Defender SmartScreen might stop you from running it. If that happens, do the following:

  • Right-click on bugle.exe
  • Select “Properties”
  • Check the “Unblock” box
  • Click “OK”

Source Code

If you know about programming and want to check for shenanigans before running some random stranger’s executable, or if you’re curious about what makes BUGLE tick, you can go to the GitHub repository and look at the source code. If you do decide to look at the source, bear in mind that this is the most relaxed kind of a hobby project, so don’t expect stuff that I would normally do at work (e.g. well-commented code, automated tests, etc.)

In fact, you can build BUGLE on your computer, if you have Rust installed. If you do, I recommend building it with the fltk-bundled feature. Otherwise, you’ll have to install some prerequisites that FLTK needs, and I’m not gonna go into that in this forum post.

Features

In no particular order, the following are the features BUGLE brings to players who decide to try it:

  • Efficiency. It’s quicker to start and takes up less memory than Funcom launcher.
  • Server browser. Instead of starting the game, selecting online play, waiting for the server list to load up, and selecting the server you want to play, you can do it straight from the launcher itself.
  • Persistent server filter. You don’t have to reconfigure the filter every time you open the server browser. If you filtered the server list to look at only PVE-C server in Oceania region, the next time you open BUGLE, the filter will be in effect.
  • Ping an individual server. If your ping seems to be too high or you want to see whether the number of connected players changed, you can ping the selected server again and get updated results, without having to restart the whole server browser.
  • Single-player game list. For each map you have installed, you can see when was the last time you played it in single-player, the name of your character and clan, and what level your character is.
  • Back up and restore single-player games. You can create backups for your single-player games, and restore them whenever you want. You can also export any of those backups to a file on your drive and import a backup file into the game.
  • Mod list management. You can not only activate and deactivate mods, and change their order, but you can also save a mod list and open it again later. This should make it easier to switch between the mods you use in your single-player game and those on your favorite server; or you can use this to switch easily between mod lists for different servers. If you’re hosting a server using Funcom’s Dedicated Server Launcher, you can copy the mod list from BUGLE with one click and paste it into the server launcher.
  • Local mod library. If you download non-Steam mods and put them inside the Mods directory in your Conan Exiles installation (or in any subdirectory nested as deep as you want), BUGLE will show them in the list of available mods and allow you to add them to your mod list without having to edit your modlist.txt file yourself.
  • Moving installations and sharing mod lists. If you move your Conan Exiles installation from one place to another, your mod list is normally left with a bunch of entries pointing to where your mods used to be. Similarly, if another player gives you their modlist.txt and their game isn’t installed on the same path as yours, that mod list will be full of errors. BUGLE has a feature that can look through your mod list and the list of mods you have on your system, and try to fix broken entries in your mod list if they match an installed mod.
  • Single-player mod mismatch detection. The launcher will do its best to detect whether there are any mods missing in your list when you decide to continue your single-player game. It cannot detect if mods are in the correct order, but at least it can warn you about missing mods. It also warns you when you have mods in your list that you haven’t previously used with your single-player game.
  • Update outdated mods. You can see which of the installed mods require an update. If there are outdated mods in your active mod list, the launcher will offer to download the updated version when you start the game.
  • Flexible BattlEye usage. Just like with Funcom launcher, you can configure BUGLE to enable or disable BattlEye. However, you can also tell BUGLE to use it “only when required”. In this mode, BattlEye will be enabled only if you join a server that requires it.
  • Support for TestLive. If you also have the TestLive (Public Beta) version of Conan Exiles installed, you can use the same installation of BUGLE for both. Switching between Live and TestLive is easy and quick.

Roadmap

There’s a lot more that can be added to BUGLE, and some if it is already in my plans. Bear in mind, though, that this is my hobby, so don’t expect me to add stuff quickly and tirelessly.

Here are some things that I’m planning to (try to) add to BUGLE:

  • Co-op. Right now, the co-op button in the launcher informs you that this feature is “not yet implemented”. The truth is that I’ve never even played Conan Exiles in co-op mode, ever, and I don’t really have anyone to try it with. I intend to implement this, but first I’ll need some help from a volunteer.
  • Localization. BUGLE is currently available only in English. I need to add support for other languages.
  • Support for other platforms. Right now, I’m building BUGLE only for Windows, and it works only with Steam. Ideally, I would like it to support Conan Exiles when installed from a different game store, and I would also like to offer support for Linux. However, I’ll need help from volunteers to make that happen.
  • Online mod mismatch detection. I would love to make BUGLE detect whether your mod list matches the server you’re trying to join. Unfortunately, the information about a server’s mod list is part of the protocol the game uses to let you play. There is no information on this protocol. Unlike the one used by the server browser, this one will be a much tougher nut to crack, and I’m honestly not sure whether I’ll have the time, patience, or skill to do it.

For a more detailed view of what ideas I’m investigating and what features I’m planning to add, you can visit the BUGLE Roadmap Trello board.

Known Issues

  • Mod mismatch warning if you stop using a mod. If you use a mod in your single-player or co-op game and then decide to stop using it, it will leave traces in your game database. BUGLE will detect those traces, see that the mod isn’t in your mod list, and warn you about mod mismatch. You can disable mod mismatch checks if this starts bothering you.
  • Switching between Live and TestLive confuses Steam. Just like with Funcom’s launcher, when you run BUGLE, Steam shows you as playing Conan Exiles. When you click “Switch to TestLive” (or “Switch to Live”) button in BUGLE, Steam will show you as playing both Live and TestLive versions until you exit BUGLE. This is because of how Steam determines whether you’re playing the game.
  • False positive virus detection. Some anti-virus software might warn you about BUGLE and try to stop you from running it. This is because this is a hobby project, which means I don’t have the stuff big companies have, like an EV code signing certificate. I’ll try to submit BUGLE for malware analysis so that this doesn’t happen, but it’s a slow process.

Change Log

1.4.0 (2024-05-14)

Settings editor, saved servers, more stats, and more filters.

Added

  • You can now edit the settings for your single-player game.
  • Single-player backup can now be exported to or imported from a file anywhere on the filesystem.
  • BUGLE now lets you save the password when joining a password-protected server. It can also use the password you’ve previously saved inside the game.
  • Server browser now shows how many servers there are in total, how many servers fit your current filter, how many players are connected to all servers, and how many players are connected to the servers that match the current filter.
  • More criteria can now be configured in the server browser filter.
  • You can now save server information from the server browser to your local BUGLE installation. This allows you to connect to a server after it reboots even if Funcom’s server list doesn’t show it yet.
  • You can also manually add servers to the saved servers list, so you don’t have to use the “Direct Connect” option when you want to connect to an unlisted server.

Changed

  • You now have to pick a difficulty when starting a new single-player game. You can either choose one of the three preset difficulties (civilized, decadent, or barbaric) or configure your own custom settings.

Fixed

  • If the Mods directory is missing, BUGLE will try to create it.

1.3.2 (2024-03-07)

Hotfix for a mod library bug.

Fixed

  • If the Mods directory is missing, BUGLE will no longer treat that as a problem with the game installation.

1.3.1 (2024-02-24)

Hotfix for a GUI bug.

Fixed

  • Drop down list widgets now render glyphs properly.

1.3.0 (2024-01-30)

Mod manager QoL features and a few visual improvements.

Added

  • You can now place mod files anywhere in the Mods directory, nested as deep as you want, and BUGLE will detect them and display them in the list of available mods so you can add them to your mod list.
  • The list of mods in the mod manager now shows the provenance of each mod: Steam or local library.
  • The mod manager now has a table that displays the details of the selected mod, such as filename, size, Steam IDs (if applicable), and similar.
  • If you want to host a server using the Dedicated Server Launcher, you can now copy your mod list to clipboard to paste it into the server launcher.
  • If you have a mod list with invalid entries, BUGLE can try to fix it by going through the list and trying to match the entries with the mods you have installed on your system. This can be useful if you moved your Conan Exiles installation to a different location, or if you got your mod list from a friend who has their game installed on a path different from yours.
  • BUGLE now detects whether you have BattlEye installed and displays that information on its home screen. If BattlEye is not installed and your BUGLE is configured to launch the game with BattlEye enabled, BUGLE will warn you and offer to change that setting to disabled.

Changed

  • The main menu buttons on the left have been shrunk to leave more space for the rest of the UI.
  • BUGLE window can now be resized and maximized.
  • Mod manager now has separate buttons for displaying the mod description and the mod change notes.
  • The BUGLE logo on the home screen is now a smidge more colorful.
  • The glyphs used by BUGLE are now all sourced or derived from Bootstrap Icons project.

Fixed

  • Having a mod file that BUGLE cannot parse will no longer make BUGLE complain about a “problem with your installation of Conan Exiles”. Affected mod files will be displayed among available mods, but with an error icon and no details other than filename and size.
  • Dragging BUGLE between displays with different scaling will no longer mess up the UI.
  • The README no longer says that BUGLE won’t save the server name or map name in the persistent server filter.
  • BUGLE should no longer mix backslashes and forward slashes in paths.

1.2.1 (2023-12-21)

Bugfix for problems with "Tot!" mods.

Fixed

  • BUGLE will no longer complain about a “problem with your installation of Conan Exiles” when you have certain mods installed.

1.2.0 (2023-10-22)

More configuration options and QoL features.

Added

  • BUGLE will now inform you if the game needs to be updated.
  • Outdated mods can now be updated in the mod manager.
  • Mods can now be activated and deactivated by double-clicking in the mod manager.
  • Added an option to tell the game to try using all available CPU cores.
  • You can now specify additional command line arguments to be used when launching the game.
  • Added an option to disable mod mismatch checks.

Changed

  • Server name and map name in the server browser filter are now persisted.
  • Read-only text fields are now slightly shaded to avoid confusion.

Fixed

  • When clicking the “Launch” button, the launcher will check if any mods need to be updated.
  • If BUGLE cannot write its .ini file in the same folder as the executable, it will try to create one in the appropriate user profile directory.

1.1.0 (2023-07-25)

Miscellaneous QoL features.

Added

  • Display total number of connected players, in the server browser.
  • Show the names of up to 10 Steam mods, in the server details.
  • Show which mods need to be updated, in the mod manager.
  • Offer to update outdated mods from your mod list when starting a game.

Changed

  • Moved the last session information above the “Continue” button.
  • Some server details are not displayed if absent.
  • Server name column is now left-justified in the server browser.

Fixed

  • If the last session was online, it will also be hidden by the “Hide Private Information” button.

1.0.1 (2023-06-03)

Hotfix for connecting to password-protected servers.

Added

  • Ask for password when connecting to a password-protected server or via direct connect.

Changed

  • Made the BattlEye usage configuration on the home tab easier to understand.
28 Likes

Nice :slight_smile:

3 Likes

Well I was wondering where you went to…now I know. Shame I can’t review the action here but I’m sure the PC crew will keep you on your toes.

4 Likes

As someone who’s more function over form, and whose childhood was defined by such GUI, you’re a hero.

3 Likes

That’s a good feature that I miss in the normal Funcom launcher. I never play with mods though in Conan, but this is so useful!

Also handling singleplayer savegames (aka multiple characters) is very neat. I wanted to create a tool for that in 2019 but then the horse update came and I lost interest in Conan at that time.

And no freaking Electron app! :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Sounds like some sort of code magic.

I love how well-organized and professional the opening post is.

3 Likes

Comes from writing code documentation :smiley:

2 Likes

Unfortunately as a console player i can not have and use this cool tool. And I am just here to make the suggestion for some sound in the menu. If it’s so simple designed it should play some 8 bit sound :slight_smile:

3 Likes

I can’t seem to make it run. It doesn’t find the game:

Bugle is located here:

What am I doing wrong?

3 Likes

Hey, thanks for trying it out! I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong, I probably screwed something up. Could you edit the bugle.ini file and add the following line?

LogLevel=debug

(If there’s already a LogLevel setting in the ini file, just change it to debug.)

Then run Bugle again. Once you get the error and close Bugle, there should be, hopefully, something in bugle.log that I could look at.

Again, thanks for helping me debug this thing.

1 Like

One other thing I forgot to ask: is that Live or TestLive? Bugle only works with the Live version for the moment; the steam app ID that it looks up is hardcoded to 440900. I should probably add support for TestLive.

1 Like

Is the ini supposed to be empty?

1 Like

Yeah, that’s normal. It starts out empty.

1 Like

I only have the live version installed atm.

image

Here is the log entry:

Could it be because my library is on a different drive?

2 Likes

Alright, after going back and forth over Discord, I managed to figure out where the problem was. Hopefully, the fix should be out by the end of the week.

Thanks for the help! :slight_smile:

3 Likes

BUGLE v1.0.0-alpha.3 has been published.

Changes:

  • Made the server browser somewhat faster.
  • Fixed the bug that made it impossible to detect the game installation if its .acf file had a key with an empty value. Thanks to @Narelle for helping me nail this one.
2 Likes

I think I’m going to wait for a beta version before giving it a try, but I’m very excited about this. :+1: Keep the updates coming, I’m tracking this with enthusiastic anticipation. :sunglasses:

4 Likes

Thanks for releasing a fix so quickly. So far so good. Here are my first impressions.

Installation:
All you need to do is download and run the exe. It can’t get easier than that.

BattlEye:
I was pleased to note that there is an option to only enable BattlEye if required.

image

Online:
The list is populated really fast and you can refresh at any point.

Suggestion: Is it possible to include a filter to load only modded servers instead of including in the list of unmodded.

Mods:

  • The centered position does not work very well with longer names.

image

  • The description function does not work with Emberlight and Pippi (not sure what is the difference between their pages and the rest). For Emberlight I can’t get the change notes either.

  • Load a mod list doesn’t immediately detect the mod lists because the filter is set to .modlist instead of .txt

  • When you save a new one, it saves it as .modlist but then it cannot find it with the same filter. If you load all files, you can load it from there.

4 Likes

Trying to load my single-player game:

Mods as selected:

When I press to continue my current database though, it complains that I don’t have the mods:

When you press YES (as in launch anyway), it loads the mod list you have selected though so all is good in the end just confusing.

3 Likes

Sure, I’ll add that to the roadmap.

I can make it left-justified. In the meantime, columns are resizable.

Thanks, I’ll look into this.

Oh, so people normally have mod lists in .txt files? Okay, I’ll change the extension.

That’s a bug I didn’t notice. It doesn’t actually append the extension, and it should. I’ll fix that.

Is there any chance you could upload that database so I could take a look at it?

2 Likes