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How do you create a stand alone install..?

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I'm wondering how you make a stand alone install. I have built a game in visual studio/directx and I'm not sure how to do it. I know visual studio has some sort of installer framework is that the best way to do it? Also if a program is built in release will the exe work on a machine without the DirectX SDK installed? Pretty basic questions I know but if you don't ask you never know.

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Alright, this is actually a very large question, but I'll try and at least get you pointed in the right direction.

In Visual Studio 2008, you'll want to create a new installer project. In the "New Project" window, go to the "Other Project Types" tree, select the "Setup and Deployment" branch, and select "Setup Wizard." This will walk you through the steps of creating your installer app.

It does a fairly good job of automatically detecting dependencies (like the .NET framework, Windows Installer Service, DirectX, etc), but by default it prompts the user to download the latest version of the dependencies from Microsoft's website. If you go into the project's Properties menu, I believe there is a group of options for changing that, to include installers for the dependencies right in the setup package.

FYI - the end user wont likely need the DirectX SDK (meaning "Software Devleopment Kit"), but they'll need the DirectX Runtime Library.

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Quote:
Original post by BTownTKD
In Visual Studio 2008, you'll want to create a new installer project. In the "New Project" window, go to the "Other Project Types" tree, select the "Setup and Deployment" branch, and select "Setup Wizard." This will walk you through the steps of creating your installer app.


Since there are so many of us Express users on these forums, it is worth pointing out that this is not supported by the free version of Visual Studio. A third party installer system like NSIS mentioned above is your best bet instead.

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This is a topic I am also somewhat curious about-- Using VC# express I've used the publish option and copied the contents of the publish folder within my project to another computer and the install worked fine. Granted the project was very basic.

Is there anything wrong with this method? Or really, what are the disadvantages of using this option as opposed to using 3rd party software?

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Original post by zinkem
Is there anything wrong with this method? Or really, what are the disadvantages of using this option as opposed to using 3rd party software?


I don't know if this will catch any external dependencies you may have. Like deploying the DirectX Runtime and installing OpenAL if neccessary. For simple things, it's probably the easiest, most straightforward way.

If you need to add some more functionality (like adding custom start menu entries, adding an entry to your game into Vista's "Games" folder or asking for a serial number during install) the next easiest option would be the already mentioned NSIS.

Another free option is to use WiX. It has a rather steep learning curve, but it'll create proper .msi installers and automates things such as removal of files during uninstall, rollback if the installation is cancelled half-way. This is what I'm using right now for my XNA games and while I've had to put in several days to write the installer, the end result was worth it :)

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Quote:
Original post by Cygon
Another free option is to use WiX. It has a rather steep learning curve, but it'll create proper .msi installers and automates things such as removal of files during uninstall, rollback if the installation is cancelled half-way. This is what I'm using right now for my XNA games and while I've had to put in several days to write the installer, the end result was worth it :)


WixEdit softens the learning curve quite a bit, but it's still far from the user friendly interface of Visual Studio. However, IIRC NSIS install scripts were worse [smile]

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