Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
chapter 46
Building and Customizing
an MSI Installer
The fantastic element that explains the appeal of dungeon-clearing games
to many programmers is neither the fire-breathing monsters nor the milky
skinned, semi-clad sirens; it is the experience of carrying out a task from
start to finish without user requirements changing.
Thomas L. Holaday
Many years ago, installing applications was as easy as copying an executable to a
floppy disk and either copying it to a user's computer or running it directly off the
disk. Computers and software development have advanced to an era where com-
plex logic and tasks can be evaluated and performed, but this advancement has
introduced a new magnitude of installation complexity. Instead of a single exe-
cutable, we now have to install hundreds of files, and even installations spanning
multiple machines in the case of distributed architectures. Some applications even
depend on the registration of shared dependencies and components like COM
objects, MDAC, or the .NET Framework. Some applications have a lot of complex
dependencies on shared components, which many times results in the deployment
nightmare known as “DLL Hell.”
A number of deployment strategies and technologies have been developed to try
and address these concerns. Each approach has a place, because some approaches
are better at deploying certain applications than others. A common approach, and a
relatively straightforward one, is XCOPY deployment. This method of deployment
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