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shaz

installer or rar/zip file - what's your preference?

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When you download and install a game (or any software, for that matter), would you prefer it to have an installer, or to be in a zip/rar file that you can extract yourself?

 

Why?

 

 

If you're not sure what the difference is:

 

An installer asks you where you want the game to go, and it extracts the necessary files and puts them where they need to go, and also creates icons for your desktop and entries in your start menu (sometimes these are optional). All the Aveyond games use an installer.

 

A zip or rar file, once downloaded, has to be opened with a program like WinZip or WinRAR, and you manually create a folder to contain the files, extract the files into that folder, and if you want an icon on your desktop or an entry in your start menu, you have to create them manually as well. All the Aveyond goodies and patches use zip or rar files.

 

 

 

(ugh! For some reason, I can't attach a poll to this. Please just state your answer, then add any comments)

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But do you prefer an installer over a zip/rar file?

 

If you could get a game in either format, which one would you use, and why?

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(I've read the whole discussion, but I'll answer here, as I'm more trusted with this forum.)

 

I'm fine with both really, but when we're talking about commercial games (and I know we are) I kind of expect an installer. It might sound ridiculous, but it gives off a distinguished feeling, a professional feeling. If I'd see a commercial game (by a new/unknown developper, I'd probably let it slide when it's yours, Eri's or Indi's) using rar/zip files, first impression would be something along the lines of amateurism. I'd still play the game, but unless it turns out to be good, I'll be left with the feeling that it could have easily been a free game. (That being said, I don't think I've seen one without an installer yet, so yay ^^)

 

On the other hand, free games with an installer make me go 'huh? xD'. It feels strange as most don't use it and installers are almost entirely exclusive to commercial games. Though I can see the use of it for both types. :)

 

If I could get a game in either format, I'd pick the installer one, as that often leaves this lovely icon on my desktop, instead of the ugly map icon (which is flooding my desktop atm T.T). No really it stands more out, than those map icons, so it catches my attention more, which results in me playing it more (most of the time).

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@Shaz

 

I honestly don't have much of a preference to either. I can handle rar/zip files fine.

 

And I'm totally okay with installers, as long as they give me options to not create shortcuts.

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What Mopiece said, but more importantly, I want an option to NOT make a Start Menu folder. I don't like excessive folders in my Start Menu. I keep all my games in one folder so I don't need shortcut folders in my Start Menu.

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I prefer an installer, it's quick, it's easy, I haven't got to mess around with .rar files. Usually I'm given a choice about having a shortcut on the desktop, which is handly, otherwise if I want one I have to create my own. I think it looks more professional.

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I can, of course, handle either, but I think for general release that an installer is the way to go. So many people have only a vague notion of how their computer system works that having a wizard hide all the system stuff is much cleaner. So much of commercial software uses installers that most people get used to them and expect them.

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I prefer an installer! I have an oooooooooooold computer (I bought it in 2001 so yes I know that's ancient in computer standards) and for some reason zips don't always work. Installers seem to be more reliable for me.

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Ditto on an installer being more "professional".

 

A lot of computer users have no knowledge of folder/file systems and/or extracting from zips/rars. An installer takes care of everything for you, which is what you need to please the masses. :)

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That is true. RAR can be a little screwy sometimes.

 

As said above, I like RARs and ZIPs, but I've had a number of games that ended up being corrupt inside the RARs, and it was really a hassle :S

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I prefer RAR/ZIP files. I am very adamant at installing softwares. I hate not knowing what the installer is doing with my computer.

Installers usually add entries in the registry, Application Data, system32, and who-knows-where-else. With ZIP/RAR file, on the other hand, there is only one place where the files associated with the particular game/program would be located. If ever I want to completely remove this program from my computer, I only have to delete one folder.

I am very concerned about left over files and useless files that clutter the registry and application data folder, for example. Uninstalling programs doesn't really remove everything. Some uninstallers are very sloppy. All they do is delete the application's folder in the C:\Program Files and delete the shortcuts in the desktop and in the start menu. This is pretty pointless because I can do all these things myself. The additional files associated with the application are then left forgotten. This takes up space and as much as I want to get rid of them, I could not do so because I don't know where they're located!

Although there is a maintennance software called CCleaner, this would be another program to install and to take more disk space.

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ever tried "Installed Programs" from the Control Panel? you can remove every installed program from there. Sometimes pre extracted files inside the RAR archive turn out to be incompatible. Really hate it.

@registry entries: app installers just add tiny little keys to the registry, and Save files to Appdata folder.They don't really fill up the memory...

 

I too, prefer an Installer.

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I prefer an installer. Because I'm too lazy to read anything so I can just click next... then check the I agree box... Then next next next. I don't have to think of the destination folder.

 

And I think that an installer file doesn't store viruses unlike a rar/zip files.

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vumpires_assistant wrote:

I prefer an installer. Because I'm too lazy to read anything so I can just click next... then check the I agree box... Then next next next. I don't have to think of the destination folder.

 

And I think that an installer file doesn't store viruses unlike a rar/zip files.

 

To be honest, an installer is much better for storing viruses since in Windows Vista and higher, you give them administrative privileges yourself, while installing

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I think that one installer file, shows that the maker cares about his/her work, and that he/she have the knowledge and the time to make an installer, to make things easier for us /they with no knowledge in how computers and game script works …

But Im happy for a rar/zip file to :)

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To join with the choir, a professional product really must use an installer... full stop.

 

As for the use of RAR/ZIP... please be aware that these are generic compression algorithms (albeit with variable data heuristics). As a developer, you have more knowledge about what files will gain from compression... and which will actually increase in size. This knowledge can be leveraged in an installer (read: use heuristic from engine 'X' when compressing file A, B, C, and heuristic from engine 'Y' when compressing file X, Y, Z).

 

As I'm sure there will be RAR/ZIP devotees let me be clear to say that what I'm suggesting is that RAR only knows about the heuristics implemented in the version of the library leveraged for the task... clearly, the same hold true for ZIP. Additionally, RAR cannot open ZIP and vise versa. By extension, distributions of either must be entirely of one engine.

 

While alluded to throughout this thread, compression libraries are not native (a limited ZIP is supplied within Windows) and unless you're going to make the file self-extracting... the end-user needs to have a compatible version installed for use.

 

It's also helpful to be mindful of your audience... if I were making a Linux tool for developers... I'd not concern myself with an installer ("sudo app-get" is the expected protocol)... but if I were making a game... I'd build an installer (MSI for Windows, the result will be smaller as the engine is already guaranteed to be available in the target).

 

If you've not already, you may want to review WiX (http://wixtoolset.org/)... free and easy way to create Windows installations.

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