Distribute a build with BlackBox Hub

Overview

Until recently, BlackBox Hub was know as ABY.

 

BlackBox Hub is a development build distribution solution for game developers. It’s part of BlackBox and ties in with the BlackBox Backend, BlackBox Web Portal, and BlackBox SDK/BlackBox CLI. BlackBox Hub is a standalone Windows desktop app that lives on the desktop and can be launched and kept in your tray.

Developers use BlackBox Hub to download your team’s builds from the BlackBox Backend, and deploy and launch them on the Windows, Linux, PlayStation and XBox platforms.

BlackBox Hub is made to be independent of a user’s technical level, so all developers should be able to easily download a build. There are permissions levels, groups, build channels etc. to help your Admin manage the app.

This document contains a basic introduction to the Blackbox Hub desktop app. The app allows you to do much more than is shown in this document, however this introduction will get your team moving forward with development team game build distribution and BlackBox Hub.

This page is aimed mainly at general game development team members. Your Build Engineer or Tools Admin will have set up BlackBox Hub for your team, and your only task is to download and start using it. This document will walk you through how to do that.

If you just want to quickly get development team build distribution up and running then our Drag and Drop Development Team Game Build Distribution is a faster way to start.

Instructions

Download and install the BlackBox Hub desktop app

The download for the Blackbox Hub desktop app is in the Downloads section of the BlackBox Web Portal. It can be downloaded by any team members that you have already invited to Blackbox and who, therefore, already have an account and password.

  1. Go to the BlackBox Desktop App section of the Downloads page in the BlackBox Web Portal.

  2. Click Download to download the latest version of the Blackbox Hub desktop app.

  3. Run the .exe file.

  4. Enter your namespace when prompted.

  5. Click Continue.


    The BlackBox Hub login screen displays but would show your namespace rather than “avengers“.

     

  6. Log in with your BlackBox login details.
    The home page displays.

     

  7. Click the top left drop-down.
    All the games in your studio’s namespace are displayed in the drop-down.

  8. Select your game.

If you can’t see any games, contact your Admin and check that your access credentials are set up to allow you to see them.


Download a build through a channel

In the earlier image, you can see that we have a namespace containing several games, such as Alaskan Sun. For each game, your team will undoubtedly construct many builds (game builds) each week. To keep this organized, we can set up a channel and associate game builds with that channel. So, for instance, you may have a Windows channel, and all game builds for Windows will be associated to that channel and be available to all subscribers (your development team) to that channel.

You need to subscribe to a channel before you can see if the download of a build on that channel is available.

Your Admin will already have setup the build channels, and your Build Engineer would have uploaded a build to a particular build channel.

Admins and Build Engineers can find information on how to set up the build channel and push a build to the BlackBox Backend in Managing your Build - BlackBox Documentation - Documentation (atlassian.net).

So now we can go and download a build using a build channel.

  1. Click Subscribe Build Channels.

  2. Select a build or builds from the list.
    Here we have subscribed to several builds at once.

  3. Click Save Changes.
    Details of the channels we have now subscribed to are displayed on the screen, as shown below. You can see that, in this example, we have subscribed to two different channels. Each channel has information about the latest build available through it, its platform and release notes, and other information aimed more towards Build Engineers.

  4. Click the Download button to download a particular game build.

  5. Enter the location to store the download on your PC.

You can download through multiple channels at once, although this will take up more download bandwidth and may be slower overall. You can also pause and resume downloads using the same buttons.

We suggest that you use SDD, otherwise your download speed may be restricted by the disk read/write access speed. We also suggest that you have more than 5GB of free RAM available, as large files will be paged out to disk during the download and cause a slowdown.

Deploy/play and connect console development kits (DevKits)

So let’s move forward a bit. In the previous section we were only downloading Windows builds, but BlackBox Hub can also download and deploy console builds. Typically, your Build Engineer or Infrastructure Engineer will help you get your development kit (DevKit or TestKit) connected, but if you want to try yourself, we will cover how to do that in this next section.

In the image below, we have a PlayStation 5 (PS5) channel and a Windows channel.

Windows builds don't need to “deploy“, so the Windows PC build below is ready and you can launch it immediately. Just click Play.

Builds for consoles, such as PS5, need to be deployed to your connected console. So let’s connect a console.

The PS5 build in our example has a message that a default DevKit is not connected.

Follow the steps below to connect it.

Make sure that your DevKit is turned on and booted successfully and that it is connected to the same network as your PC that is running BlackBox Hub.

  1. Click Select/Connect Devkit.
    On the BlackBox Hub, select the PS5 DevKit Manager window icon.

  2. Click the Discover DevKits button.
    This can take a minute of two to complete.

Although you can be connected to several DevKits, only one can be deployed to at a time. This DevKit will be the default.

  1. Go back to the BlackBox Hub main page.

  2. Click the Play button in the PlayStation 5 build channel to play the game.