Starting now you'll find a publicly available "Halfway [native]" beta branch in the game's BETA properties. In this posting we want to explain what this beta is intended for.
What is this "native branch" about?
Halfway is written in Java, and needs a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) to work. We can't take for granted that a JRE is installed on the user system, so we bundle such a JRE, specifically OpenJDK 7u45, with the game installation.
Now, this native version is built with Excelsior JET[www.excelsiorjet.com], a commercial software product by Excelsior LLC. Excelsior JET translates Java byte code into an executable which runs as native code on Windows, MacOS and Linux platforms.
What's the benefits?
With Halfway, so far there have been a few Java related issues for some users. Some people have security concerns about Java. This version does not use Java.
In theory, native code might run faster, though Halfway isn't as computational intensive as other games. We didn't do a more detailed performance analysis yet, but the native version runs at least as smooth as the Java version on our own systems.
Why this beta version?
Compiling Halfway with Excelsior JET has been enjoyably straightforward and trouble-free, but so far we've only been able to test this build on a small number of systems. We want to gather more feedback about stability, speed and compatibility on a wider range of system configurations.
Note: it's not decided yet if the native build will replace the Java version at some point in the future. Given the slightly different technical requirements (read below), it's also possible that we continue to support both.
If you are interested, please try this version. Any feedback is appreciated. How well does it work? Is the performance comparable, worse or better than before? Do you experience any bugs, crashes or other issues?
System requirements & known issues
This version should meet the same minimum system requirements as the Java version, with these exceptions:
Windows: We experience some problems with fullscreen modes on high-dpi systems running Windows 8.1 when using desktop scaling of 125% or larger. As a known workaround you can:
Right-click on Halfway in the Steam library, select "Properties", then navigate to "Local Files" / "Browse Local Files"
In Windows Explorer, right-click on Halfway.exe, select "Properties".
In the "Compatibility" tab, check "Disable Display Scaling On High DPI Settings".
OS X: Excelsior JET officially only supports Mac OS 10.8 and later. The build is reported to not work on 10.6.8 at all.
Linux: On one test system running Linux Mint 16 32-bit, the game does not connect to Steam correctly. If this happens, cloud saves and achievements are not available.
How to participate?
For now this build is only available on Steam. To enable it, you can opt in the "native" beta version in the BETAS tab inside the Halfway game properties.
To get back to the regular version you just need to opt out of this beta again.