If you are using Steam and have Team Fortress 2, CounterStrike Source, Half-Life 2 Deathmatch or Day of Defeat Source installed, you may have noticed a "Game content conversion" prompt when you tried to launch one of the aforementioned games.
The message states that "Steam needs to convert game content for "your game" to a new, more efficient format" and that it "will require an Internet connection and a few minutes' time". The message should appear the next time you are starting the game. Note that it will take a while before you can start the game if you go ahead with the conversion. If you do not want the game to be converted at that point in time, click on the cancel button when the prompt appears.
You are probably wondering what is going on in regards to the conversion. Let me fill you in on the details.
Valve is upgrading the games mentioned above to the SteamPipe distribution system. This is Steam's new content distribution system that changes how games are downloaded and stored on the system they are downloaded to. According to Valve, it has several advantages for players including faster downloads, game boot and map load times, easier management of mods and better dedicated server distribution.
The conversion may take a couple of minutes - usually between 5 and 15 minutes - and it is necessary to download some files from Valve's server in the process. Valve notes that games will take up more space on the hard drive as a consequence as Source engine files are no longer shared between games.
Games are also moved to a new location. Previously, they were stored under [steam folder]/steamapps/[username]/game name/ whereas now they are stored under [steam folder]/steamapps/common/game name/ instead.
All files that are downloaded from game servers are now placed in the /game name/download/ folder. Already downloaded files are moved into the folder as well. All custom modifications need to be put in to the /game name/custom/ folder now. To separate customizations, use different subfolders in the directory.
The prompt is currently only displayed if you try to launch one of the four games mentioned above. Other games, like Dota 2, are already using the new system.
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