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Work in Progress / MiniMSIMaker

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mr_d
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Posted: 1st Jun 2011 10:26 Edited at: 13th Nov 2012 15:16
Hi Guys, here's a little something I've been working on for the last few days. The following description is extracted from the included readme.txt file in the attached setup package:

MinimalMSIMaker is a very simple app that I created in hopes that it would prove sufficient in relation to creating the single MSI install file required by the Intel AppUp Store for game submissions.

The latest existing fully FREE method found so far by the TCG community has been via the use of 3 separate tools (WAR Setup, WiX, and ORCA); the last tool required to make manual edits to the MSI produced by the other 2 tools.

This seemed a little too difficult and prone to errors, so I decided to try to create my own tool to perform this with the least amount of pain.

I have thus created the MinimalMSIMaker, that attempts to replace WAR Setup and ORCA, and transform this into a simple process to complete.

Please note that this is an alpha version, so may be buggy and as explained in the license agreement, the use of it is at your own risk.

And not that it's much use; but here's pic:

Cheers.

UPDATE 03/06/2011: Uploaded a new update (version 0.03) with the improvement of being able to select whether to include the DirectX Merge Module file or not.
Also added simple logging of the WiX pre-processing and compilation steps to log the files WiX_Step1.log and WiX_Step2.log respectively.

UPDATE 09/06/2011: Uploaded a new version (v0.05) with the improvement of allowing 1 level of sub-folders to be part of your game packaged folders. i.e. if your game is in ..\MyGame_v1.0\ then you can have ..\MyGame_v1.0\Images, ..\MyGame_v1.0\Music, ..\MyGame_v1.0\Data, etc.

UPDATE 20/06/2011: Uploaded a new version (v0.06) with the improvement of allowing multiple sub-folders to be part of your game packaged folders. i.e. if your game is in ..\MyGame_v1.0\ then you can have ..\MyGame_v1.0\Images, ..\MyGame_v1.0\Images\Textures, ..\MyGame_v1.0\Music, ..\MyGame_v1.0\Data, ..\MyGame_v1.0\Data\AI, ..\MyGame_v1.0\Data\AI\Enemy, ..\MyGame_v1.0\Data\AI\Ally, etc.
Have also re-badged this tool as "MiniMSIMaker" as this is a bit easier on the tongue.

UPDATE 27/06/2011: Uploaded a new version (v1.0) with the following improvements:
- much smaller file (and installer) size
- redeveloped in VB6 so noticeably faster than before
- buttons renamed and slightly changed for easier use
- some tool-tips added for slightly more info
- removed requirement of a 3rd party executable file (for GUIDs)
- settings saved to ini file under current users "appdata" folder
- can now handle spaces in folder paths and file names
- WiX log files automatically displayed after the build process
...and maybe more that I can't remember at the moment
So please try this out and let me know you comments.

UPDATE 04/07/2011: Uploaded a new version (v1.1) with the improvement of allowing the results of the build attempt to be uploaded to my website to help resolve any issues encountered. Note that this is an optional function, and for anyone that is at all uneasy about connecting to the internet can choose to not use this option at all.

UPDATE 10/07/2011: Uploaded a new version (v1.2) with the improvement of allowing the user to enter a Company or Author name that will be used as the folder name under Program Files that the game/app will be installed to and used for Start Menu parent folder.

UPDATE 14/11/2012: Uploaded a new version (v1.3) that fixes the problem reported of the build failing when a different project folder is selected immediately after a previous build has completed. Have also updated the installer to install any missing dependency files like comdlg32.ocx.

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The Slayer
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Playing: (Hide and) Seek and Destroy on my guitar!
Posted: 2nd Jun 2011 01:43
Hey mr_d, this is a great idea! I haven't tried this out yet, but I'll probably will.
Just a couple of questions, though.
Firstly, why does it need teh Wix to be installed?
Secondly, in the help text file, you mention something about adding the dependency files, but they have to be in the same folder of teh executable, and not in seperate folders? It doesnt work if we add files (or folders) outside the executables' folder?
I usually work with seperate folders to store media, sounds, models, etc. Are you planning on adding an option to load in other folders or files from other folders?

Cheers

SLAYER RULES! YEAH, MAN!!
mr_d
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Posted: 2nd Jun 2011 06:11
Hi The Slayer,
WiX is needed as that is really the guts behind it all; it is what really generates the MSI installer based on source configuration files. My tool is used only as a helper to generate the source configuration file with all the relevant settings required for a very basic game with simple dependencies.
This is an alpha of the tool to make sure it actually works. If it does, then I may expand it to have more complicated or structured dependency files.
At this point, I wouldn't use this for an important submission that you want approved by the AppUp Store first go or in a short time.
I was hoping that people that may have already successfully submitted apps there to give this a try on a game that they can afford to not succeed maybe the first few times...

Hope this makes sense, and is doable by some kind souls out there

mr_d
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Posted: 2nd Jun 2011 18:52 Edited at: 10th Jul 2011 11:07
FYI, I've uploaded a new version - it's slightly more user friendly, and the option to exclude the DirectX Merge Module will help in creating smaller install files for testing. cheers.

UPDATE 09/06/2011: I've uploaded a new version (v0.05) with the improvement of allowing 1 level of sub-folders to be part of your game packaged folders. i.e. if your game is in ..\MyGame_v1.0\ then you can have ..\MyGame_v1.0\Images, ..\MyGame_v1.0\Music, ..\MyGame_v1.0\Data, etc.

UPDATE 20/06/2011: I've uploaded a new version (v0.06) with the improvement of allowing multiple sub-folders to be part of your game packaged folders. i.e. if your game is in ..\MyGame_v1.0\ then you can have ..\MyGame_v1.0\Images, ..\MyGame_v1.0\Images\Textures, ..\MyGame_v1.0\Music, ..\MyGame_v1.0\Data, ..\MyGame_v1.0\Data\AI, ..\MyGame_v1.0\Data\AI\Enemy, ..\MyGame_v1.0\Data\AI\Ally, etc.
Have also re-badged this tool as "MiniMSIMaker" as this is a bit easier on the tongue.

UPDATE 27/06/2011: Uploaded a new version (v1.0) with the following improvements:
- much smaller file (and installer) size
- redeveloped in VB6 so noticeably faster than before
- buttons renamed and slightly changed for easier use
- some tool-tips added for slightly more info
- removed requirement of a 3rd party executable file (for GUIDs)
- settings saved to ini file under current users "appdata" folder
- can now handle spaces in folder paths and file names
- WiX log files automatically displayed after the build process
...and maybe more that I can't remember at the moment
So please try this out and let me know you comments. Cheers.

UPDATE 04/07/2011: Uploaded a new version (v1.1) with the improvement of allowing the results of the build attempt to be uploaded to my website to help resolve any issues encountered. Note that this is an optional function, and for anyone that is at all uneasy about connecting to the internet can choose to not use this option at all.

UPDATE 10/07/2011: Uploaded a new version (v1.2) with the improvement of allowing the user to enter a Company or Author name that will be used as the folder name under Program Files that the game/app will be installed to and used for Start Menu parent folder.

enderleit
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Posted: 18th Jul 2011 12:26
I've been thinking about getting into AppUp developing and the MSI creation process looks really scary, so I am definately going to have a look at this when I need to create the installer.

mr_d
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Posted: 18th Jul 2011 13:23
Hi enderleit,
Thanks for the comment - it has been a bit bare on this thread.
It's not as bad as it first seems, but it is a little tricky to get your mind around it the first couple of times.
that's why I created this tool - to help out people that may be intimidated by the manual steps required and to try to simplify it to a fairly simple process - it seems to work ok so far (with 1 successful submission by Lucas Tiridath with his RADAR Demo)
If you haven't already; I suugest you post a message on the AppUp thread and I'm sure the others (as well as myself) will be only to glad to help you out on any questions, feedback or testing you may be looking for. Cheers.

baxslash
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Posted: 24th Oct 2011 11:46
mr_d, any chance you could create a quick tutorial that I can add to the AppUp guide? I'm currently doing an online version of the guide for the ADG website. It will be easier to update and access for everyone and I just realised I don't have an up to date guide for this!

The guide can be viewed here: AppUp Developers Guide Online!

CumQuaT
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Posted: 24th Oct 2011 14:18
Wow, this is awesome! Thanks dude!

Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox
www.msoa-game.com
www.facebook.com/malevolencegame
mr_d
DBPro Tool Maker
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Posted: 24th Oct 2011 16:26
@baxslash
check your email

@CumQuaT
Thanks for the thanks. The exclamation marks makes this comment all the better

baxslash
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Posted: 24th Oct 2011 18:14
I've added your guide to the page too now thanks mr_d!

Thanks for formatting it similar to the rest of the article too

CumQuaT
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Posted: 3rd Nov 2011 16:17
I'm getting an error when I run this... "Component 'ComDlg32.OCX' or one of its dependencies not correctly registered: a file is missing or invalid"

I'm running Win7 x64...

Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox
www.msoa-game.com
www.facebook.com/malevolencegame
mr_d
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Posted: 3rd Nov 2011 17:17
Hi CumQuaT, please see this article as the best method to resolve.
The only change you may want to do from what they have instructed is to try to locate the file on your computer first and copy to the right folder for 64 bit Windows 7 machine. The only reason I say this is that I cannot guarantee that the copy of the file provided in their link is actually ok both in terms of version and possibility of viruses.

CumQuaT
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Posted: 4th Nov 2011 02:35
Thanks! That seems to work well! Now to find and install this WiX thing...

Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox
www.msoa-game.com
www.facebook.com/malevolencegame
BatVink
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Posted: 10th Nov 2012 11:53
I can't believe I stuck to the old WarSetup / Orca method of packaging for AppUp. This "just works" and does a brilliant job!

Thank you Mr_d

mr_d
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Posted: 10th Nov 2012 14:14
Yay - a new convert! Thanks for such a positive comment, and you're welcome. It's been just over a year since the last comment on this thread - looks like this may be starting to be used more by people using AppGameKit than DBP for AppUp submissions.

Phaelax
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Posted: 10th Nov 2012 19:24 Edited at: 10th Nov 2012 19:25
I installed the program, but Avira gives me a warning when I try to run it. Maybe some kind of VB script update checker or do you have an infection running amok?



"You're not going crazy. You're going sane in a crazy world!" ~Tick

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mr_d
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Posted: 11th Nov 2012 06:09
Hi Phaelax,
All I can tell you is that this is definitely a false positive as I didn't put any trojans or viruses in the file. I can only give you my word on this.
I have uploaded this file to my favorite online scanning service VirusTotal to run it through the top virus scanner products available, and it only registered as a problem for the Avira product that you are apparently using. Please refer to the attached PDF file of the results.
You are free to perform the same or similar tests at any other virus checking site you like to confirm these results and to be comfortable with this software. Cheers.

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Phaelax
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Posted: 11th Nov 2012 07:05 Edited at: 11th Nov 2012 07:05
Not that I didn't trust ya, but figured it was worth bringing up just in case.

Although, I like how you basically said "I'd never give someone a virus, here download and view this random PDF".... lol

"You're not going crazy. You're going sane in a crazy world!" ~Tick
mr_d
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Posted: 11th Nov 2012 07:22
yeah, feel free to bring up any concerns you may have; and that isn't exactly what I said although it may have sounded like it...
I said that I tested it on an independent virus checking website and the results of this was attached, AND that you could check this yourself at the same site (as I gave the link so it wasn't articularly random) or any others you may prefer yourself.

Lucas Tiridath
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Posted: 11th Nov 2012 16:15
Hey, I'm glad to see this thread is alive again! I tried to post on here a week or so back but it said it was locked because it was so old.

Anyhow I still swear by this but I did encounter one strange thing when I tried to repackage a couple of apps so I could update the certificates on them. When I tried to run the program, the attempt to build stopped almost immediately and WiX_Step2.log contained the following:


Needless to say, no MSI was created. Now there are a few things that puzzled me about this. First off it had worked on this exact same file and filepath before when I first packaged the app. Further, when run on the previous version, the program still works just fine. The file path for that one was C:\Users\Laurie\Documents\Software\TezSoft Games\RADAR Free\RADAR_Free_1.1.1_AppUp. I got around the issue by putting WixUIExtension.dll in the project's root directory but this obviously meant the dll was included in the MSI as well which made it slightly larger.

Like I say, it's not a big deal and the tool still works great but if you have any theories on what happened, I'd be interested to hear! Thanks again for developing this, it's been a real lifesaver .

mr_d
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Posted: 11th Nov 2012 17:40
Hi Lucas,
That looks very strange in that your other version worked and it basically has the same folder setup as you newer version.
The information you included is from the second log file (WiX_Step2.log), would you be able to do it again and post the contents of the first log file (WiX_Step1.log) up, as that would most likely provide the reason that this failed somewhere in the contents? There is an option/button that will upload both log files so I can download them to look at, but I suppose this is probably too risky/uncertain for you to use with all the above (and that's fine)

Lucas Tiridath
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Posted: 12th Nov 2012 09:20
Quote: "would you be able to do it again and post the contents of the first log file (WiX_Step1.log) up"

Oh yes, I should have said, the reason I didn't post it was because there wasn't anything there. It just said this:


Interesting new development though. I ran it again and it worked fine.. Now although there's probably a 20-30% chance that everything I told you before never actually happened outside of my deranged mind, I'm going to run with the 70-80% chance that it did in fact happen last time. I don't know what you think but could the problem have been something to do with my having the directory open in Windows Explorer at the same time I ran the MSI maker? I only ask because I remember that sometimes it would medal with files being used by the DBP compiler which would cause a random error there so could it be possible that something similar happened here?

mr_d
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Posted: 12th Nov 2012 09:36 Edited at: 12th Nov 2012 09:42
again, very strange...
having explorer open to the same folder shouldn't have affected anything. the only thing that may have is if you have one of the files opened in another program when you tried to package everything up. you didn't did you? did anything else strange or problematic happen before you ran the program, maybe the DBP IDE crashed or something and one of the file handles where not released...?
Anyway, all I can say from this is

EDIT: actually looking at you first reported error messages again and how it says that there were unresolved references to components; this possibly indicates to me that from the time that you selected your project folder and it built the folder and file structure in memory, to the time that you kicked off the process to create the MSI file, that some files were removed either manually by yourself, or maybe from a running build process or cleanup process. how does that sound? could that have happened?

Lucas Tiridath
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Posted: 12th Nov 2012 16:24
Well I'm pretty sure I wasn't messing with the file structure during the build process. I did move the old MSI out of the way (I didn't want to delete it) and I might even have done that after I selected the directory but I would be surprised if I'd managed to do that all three or four times that I tested it and got the error! Oh well, the bugs that solve themselves are always the best kind, right? I'll be sure to let you know if it happens again or I get any other leads!

mr_d
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Posted: 12th Nov 2012 17:51
yep, those self disappearing bugs are sometimes the worse, and sometimes the best - it all depends on the timing
anyway, it was just some ideas i had that may have been the cause; I'm not saying that that was the cause, but only a possibility.
It could very well be some other rare situation that cause my app to not work as it should. I'm sure you didn't do anything wrong or funny multiple times. yep - don't hesitate if yuo have any ideas or further questions; I'm happy to answer anything I can.

BatVink
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Posted: 12th Nov 2012 19:44
That issue happens when you load up the tool, create an MSI, then change to another folder and try again without closing the tool.

Just close it and start again, it works fine

mr_d
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Posted: 12th Nov 2012 22:46
sounds like you found that out by experience
I'll have to have a look at that and put out a fixed version.

mr_d
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Posted: 13th Nov 2012 15:18
UPDATE 14/11/2012: Uploaded a new version (v1.3) that fixes the problem reported of the build failing when a different project folder is selected immediately after a previous build has completed. Have also updated the installer to install any missing dependency files like comdlg32.ocx. Download updated in first post.

Cliff Mellangard 3DEGS
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Posted: 13th Nov 2012 16:45
Great work mr d

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bjadams
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Posted: 14th Nov 2012 19:54
tried to use this, i keep getting an error log file that Light could not find my icon, even though the icon is in the game folder
mr_d
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Posted: 15th Nov 2012 08:43 Edited at: 16th Nov 2012 15:08
hi bjadams, the icon file has to have the same name as the executable file, i.e. if your game is "my_game.exe", then the icon file should be called "my_game.ico".

EDIT: would be nice if you could reply to say if that worked or not...

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