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[.net] Creating an Installer Project

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I need an easy way to package up my C# DirectX game with its resources. If I were working in C/C++, I would just zip up my project folder and upload it to my website. I could do this for my C# game, except I'm worried about people not having the right .Net framework and MDX redistributeable. I saw the post below about the installer program someone wrote to stream all the prereqs for a game from the net. It's pretty cool except I can't figure out how to duplicate my local directory structure on the client machine. For example: I have a folder, /Witherwyn that has a directory structure with source, resources, and executable in it. I basically just want to copy it to someone else's machine and make sure they have the right versions of the redistributables. I looked at the MSDN docs and this seems like a stupidly complicated process for something so simple. Can anyone throw me a bone here?

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Are you using VS.Net? If so, try adding an installation project to your solution. It will create a setup executable for your program. Once you create the setup project, add the needed file structure to the setup project and the installation should handle setting it up.

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Whatever you do, please make sure your game is runnable by non-privileged users. This means write access to only C:\Documents and Settings\username (use SHGetFolderPath to get the actual path), no writing to C:\Program Files, no writing to C:\Windows, no writing to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.

It really annoys me when a game does something stupid like save games to its installation directory. Rather, save to C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\your game name, the path of which you can obtain by calling SHGetFolderPath and passing it CSIDL_APPDATA.

BTW, what version of Visual Studio are you using? VS 2005's Setup project type will create an installer that installs .NET Framework for you. I'm not sure what the situation is with MDX.

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Can anyone tell if if it is easy to make either the nullsoft or inno setup program check for the presence of the .Net framework and Managed DX framework; and download it to the client machine if necessary?

Thanks!

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Use Microsoft's Component Installer to do that, it is easy to get it to run right before your own installation program and it can handle the installation of the Framework, DirectX, and the Managed DirectX assemblies. You will need to take care of D3DX seperately though.

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That's a real pain in the ass. There's no reason for creating an installer to take more than 5 minutes and there's no reason why Microsoft's tools shouldn't transparently handle installer creation, no matter what one's dependencies are.

/rant

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