Would you buy a game that installed via Java Webstart?

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by elias4444, Oct 5, 2009.

  1. elias4444

    elias4444 New Member

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    I've been looking for some possible solutions to my Windows-quandaries. I think I've decided that installation on Windows 7, Vista, XP, 32-bit, or 64-bit is kind of a pain. I use an auto-updater that I built that tries to sort it all out (and works, but still requires an installation path for different version of Windows).

    Of course, for Linux users, I take a simpler approach. Just use Java Webstart, so things get installed and stay updated automatically.

    My question is, particularly for Windows users, would you buy a game that installed via Java Webstart?

    For those who would be willing... I just updated my Martians Vs. Robots installer to support Windows 7, Mac Snow Leopard, and 64-bit variations of XP, Vista, and Win7. Would you please try it out, and then afterwards, try out the Java Webstart method (via the Linux link - which will work for any OS).

    Please list your OS (including 32-bit or 64-bit variation), whether or not each one worked, and your general thoughts/feelings about how the two installation experiences compared.

    Any feedback for this matter is GREATLY appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. Indiepath

    Indiepath New Member

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    Does this mean that I have to use the browser to launch the game every time I want to play? or is it just to launch the installer?

    Tim.
     
  3. elias4444

    elias4444 New Member

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    No, after installation Java Webstart gives you a shortcut (generally, on the desktop) to launch it from.
     
  4. indy

    indy New Member

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    Personally from what I've seen of Java Web Start it isn't good enough to be used as an installer for the masses. There are way too many issues with it and doesn't work on many machines out there even though they have java installed.

    You'd probably get slightly better results if you used an applet installer instead of jws.
     
  5. Imphenzia

    Imphenzia New Member

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    If I see the word "Java" anywhere I simply wouldn't buy the game :)
     
  6. whisperstorm

    Original Member

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    ditto Imphenzia --
    You'd be better off with just a zip file that ran an installer or something..
     
  7. elias4444

    elias4444 New Member

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    You mean to say that if a game is made with Java, or uses Java in any way, you simply won't buy it because it has something to do with Java? I'd love to hear why.
     
  8. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    Is this for the installation only or the game will be in WebStart?


    That's not an issue. You'll see it *after* you buy the game :D
     
  9. Maupin

    Original Member

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    If a game uses some kind of weird installer or a slow Java install window with nonstandard GUI I'll probably abort. (Yeah, I know Java has come a long way since those early bad experiences.)

    On Windows, just use a standard installer like everyone else uses and that customers are familiar with.

    Edit: Okay, I've tried both install methods. Assuming I'm a normal Windows user...

    The Windows installer worked as expected and went smoothly. Good show. I'm happy. I get to play your game.

    The web start pops up the Java logo and then starts downloading with a progress bar. When finished I get the message "The application's digital signature cannot be verified. Do you want to run the application?" I click the default option "Cancel" because I already saw the Java logo and I don't know what's going on... usually when I download games I don't get warning messages. Move on to some other game download.
     
    #9 Maupin, Oct 6, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  10. vjvj

    Indie Author

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    I tested it in Vista 64-bit and Windows 7 32-bit. Both installed and ran fine. The uninstaller didn't work in Vista 64-bit, which angered my inner nerd.

    So here's my question: What's the advantage to doing this? Don't NSIS/Innosetup handle all the different versions of Windows properly (assuming you use the correct directory macros)? Which, in theory, leaves dmg creation for Mac builds as the only additional step.

    I'm intrigued by this whole Java Webstart thing, but the Java 6 requirement leaves me feeling like you're adding an extra step to the installer for a lot of people. I don't have any statistics to back that statement up, though :)
     
  11. elias4444

    elias4444 New Member

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    They only handle it correctly if the user has administrator access. I've had numerous issues with people installing that didn't have admin access and Windows (Vista) does strange things (although from testing, this seems to be remedied with Win7).
    DMG creation for Mac is easy. I've got it, it works, and I've even automated it.

    ARGH!!! Yeah, my inner nerd is upset as well. I'll check it out and see what's going on. In the meantime, you can just delete the shortcuts from the start menu and delete the game directory you installed to. I don't do registry (the installer puts one line into the registry which I can't avoid, but it leaves it there even on uninstall... don't blame me, blame NSIS).

    Thanks to everyone for the feedback! Please keep it coming!
     
  12. elias4444

    elias4444 New Member

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    Did you get a specific error message? What happened exactly? I just tried it on my Win7 64-bit test machine and it worked fine. :confused:
     
  13. vjvj

    Indie Author

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    Ah, good point. Ok, very interesting then indeed, since this method bypasses the whole thing by defaulting to the /users directory. I'll have to look more into this later, as it sounds worth investigating. Thanks for the tip!

    Regarding the error message, I tried uninstalling from the control panel and it gave the standard "this has already been uninstalled, would you like to delete it from the programs list?" message. Windows 7 uninstalled fine from the control panel; I only had the problem with Vista.
     
  14. princec

    Indie Author

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    I'd honestly just totally avoid Webstart if I were you, and concentrate on simply embedding VMs in your Windows distribution and packaging things with an NSIS installer. Use a simple version checking mechanism to inform the user that they've got a new version to download (and if you're feeling clever then do the patch for them). But really, Webstart is a great idea that's been really badly executed.

    Cas :)
     
  15. Imphenzia

    Imphenzia New Member

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    I said it somewhat as a joke but there is a fair deal of truth in it at the same time. Java is just frustrating to me in general with applications requiring different JRE-version that ontop of each other are not compatible many times causing a heap of problems. Personally I also find that non-java-stuff has a higher quality feel to it both in terms of performance, has fewer bugs/issues and that it requires less runtimes and additional components. This is not the nature of your question however so I apologize for hijacking your thread to voice my java-opinion :)

    What still applies to my response, however, is that I would avoid installing a game that utilizes java as the install mechanism. I had a go at your link for the Linux version and as the java loader launched it just feels "wrong" for me. I would much prefer a normal windows installer so I can guarantee it ends up in add/remove programs and that it doesn't do anything "funny" with the computer.
     
  16. princec

    Indie Author

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    All the more reason he should just embed that VM and then you'd never know! I don't particularly like letting people know what technology we use under the hood in our games. They just have to "work".

    Cas :)
     
  17. elias4444

    elias4444 New Member

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    OK, well, I'm definitely getting the impression to stay clear of Java webstart. I guess that means I need to keep working on my Windows install scripts and launchers for my next game. It sounds like the ones I built a year+ ago for MvR are still working well, so I'll just update and use those again.

    Thanks for the testing and and feedback everyone!
     
  18. princec

    Indie Author

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    Wise move :) I did a Webstart conversion rate test a few years ago btw, I seem to recall it converted less than a third as well as conventionally deployed applications, and not only that, my "download" count plummeted as well (really "successful installation" count). It was a short-lived test!

    Cas :)
     
  19. elias4444

    elias4444 New Member

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    Cas, how do you handle Linux installations then? Webstart is about the only sure-fire way I seem to have found for it.
     
  20. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    Actually webstart apps *do* end in add/remove. And i dislike that, because most of webstart apps i've ran were demos (of engines, articles, etc), not stuff i would like to see there.
     

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