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Brain

Do you bundle your game in an installer?

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Hi,

 

I am curious as to if anyone else uses an installer to package their finished game.

 

I am planning to use innosetup for my own game, and previously i used to be a big fan of NSIS. It seems that for the most part bundling an installer is an afterthought during development, making zip files available to playtesters containing the exe and assets seems to be the norm here.

 

I've never liked this and consider it a bit user-unfriendly, so i've always gone with making the release process build an installer and deploy it to the web. Does anyone else do anything like this for indie development, and if so what do you use?

 

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

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Most companies/people do that, not because it makes the software more user-friendly (it surely doesn't) but because it is necessary. Even if you assume that there are no dependencies that you have to install, and nothing to register, etc. it's still necessary.

 

Modern operating systems and browsers are so fucking annoyingly smart that instead of being hardened, they interfere with what the user is downloading and raise a lot of fake alarms based on some super smart heuristics (such as, how many people have downloaded this before).

 

Which means no more and no less than even if your software is legitimate and is signed properly, you can still end up triggering a scary alert which will make the end-user hesitate, simply because your legitimate and properly signed executable has not been seen often enough. This happens again every time you update your executable.

Now of course, the installer executable remains the same all the time, so...

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not because it makes the software more user-friendly (it surely doesn't)

 

Thanks for your comment samoth, however i have to disagree with the point above.

 

It's easy enough for you and I to take a zip file, unzip it and know where to look for it, and how we go about such a trivial task. You'd be surprised to find out how many people lack the ability to even extract a zip file and find the files they've unzipped.

 

A large number of people fill their disks with crap not because theyre saving it, but because once they've viewed it or ran it once, they can't find it again and it just sticks around a download folder.

 

I strongly agree with your point on security alerts though, and the way windows flags up alerts for things that are not downloaded commonly. I've not encountered these errors myself yet, and my programs are very rarely downloaded so perhaps it has been relaxed in recent years?

 

I do properly sign my executables, though and use well-recognised instal programs so this no doubt helps...

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It seems that for the most part bundling an installer is an afterthought during development, making zip files available to playtesters containing the exe and assets seems to be the norm here.

 

Depends on who you are working with.  For hobby development, yes, an installer frequently is an afterthought.

 

In a professional environment testing the installer and the uninstaller are part of development checklists and they are covered by testers.

 

At all the studios I've been at, testing the installer and uninstaller entered the checklist mid beta. There were several tasks required, including verifying that the uninstall removed everything set by the installer and had the option to remove the user's content or to leave the content.

 

One notable bug we had years ago went something like this:  Pause the game. Run the uninstaller. When the uninstaller prompts you to close the game or issues other warnings, skip them. When uninstall is complete, return to game. Unpause. Game will crash.

 

/Edit: "mid beta" refers to development beta after core features are mostly working okay, not a public testing beta.

Edited by frob

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