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Game Updater – Preparing Your Game Files

When you create your first game release, it’s important to know the steps involved for prepping your game files. In this free tutorial we will take a look at how you can setup your game project for first release and then updates thereafter.

Preparing your game files

Game Launcher Creator is compatible with any game engine or authoring tool. Once you have compiled your final project or application, ready for distribution, you should navigate to the folder where all your game files are. Like so…

Now, configure your Game Launcher inside Game Launcher Creator. Once you have finished designing it, click on Built-in Updater in GLC…

Configure these settings to match what you will be producing. First of all, let’s recognise that, this will be the first version of your game. So head over to your game directory, create a new text file and call it version.txt then open it up in Notepad and type in 1, hit save and close it…

Once you have done this, upload this version.txt file also to your web server. Place it in a directory. Under our server, we have put it in a folder called /splashtest/ as you can see from the GLC screenshot above. Now you should have a file on your server and a file with your game files…

Once you have done this, you now need to compile and build your game launcher.

Compiling your game launcher

Go back to the Game Launcher Creator, ensure all the settings are correct to match your website (ie: your domain/path) and then hit Build Launcher. Once it has finished building, it will pop up with your game launcher and the data folder. Copy your game launcher executable and the data folder over to your game folder, like so…

Now you can build the first version of your game. Find yourself an install maker or creator program. We highly recommend Clickteam’s Install Creator which you can find here. It contains a Pro and Free version. The free version is great and allows you to build your own professional game installers.

Once you have installed Install Creator, open it up and create a new game install file. There is a help file accompanying Install Creator to go through the settings. Just ensure you include all the game files and the game launcher files inside the installer.

Once you are done with Install Creator, click Build to build your game installer. Call it something like install.exe. This is what you will give your users when they purchase your game, or download it for free. Upload this to wherever you like.

Check for Game Updates

Once this is done, your game will be ready to play. Your gamers can download install.exe to install the game. They can run your game launcher and click ‘Check for Updates‘ to check for your game updates. Now, because this is the first version of your game, there will be no updates available, so when an update is available, what do we do?

First of all, you need to re-pack your newly updated game files either into a new installer using Install Creator, or using some kind of Patch Maker. Don’t forget, before inserting your game files, to update version.txt (in the game directory) to 2. Re-pack the installation and output it as update.exe (instead of install.exe). Once you have done this, upload update.exe to your server where you pointed to in Game Launcher Creator… Remember, as above in GLC, we pointed the update to (http://byteboxmedia.co.uk/splashtest2/update.exe) so this is where we will upload it to…

Now that you have uploaded the new update.exe to your server, open up version.txt from your server and change the 1 to a 2. We are now telling all the game launchers of our game, that version 2 is available on the server. Every time a user checks for an update and they still have version 1 installed, it will ask them do they want to download, where they can then download and install the newest version from the server.

Game Updater in a Nutshell

It really is as simple as that to create a built-in updater with the Game Launcher Creator. If you already have versions of your game out before using GLC, you can simply introduce the game launcher into one of your future updates and then use that to check the version from the server.

The process for new games or existing games is simple:

  1. Create a game launcher and configure the settings
  2. Create a local version.txt which stores the current version number
  3. Create an installer with your game files and your game launcher files
  4. When an update is available, repack the files into a new installer file, upload it as update.exe
  5. Change the version number in the version.txt file on the server

There are some things to note…

  • Version numbers must be integer. Do not use 1.2 or 2.4, use whole numbers such as 1,2,3,4. The user doesn’t need to see these numbers, this is only for your reference.
  • Ensure you use exact filenames (ie: http://mywebsite.com/updater/version.txt).
  • Do not use Dropbox or download redirects, it will cause the update download to fail.