.zip or .exe?

Discussion in 'Indie Basics' started by maksum, Jan 28, 2005.

  1. maksum

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2004
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently I have my demo and full versions downloadable in a zip format, just so I can wrap up a README.txt file with the .exe. I've noticed that a lot of people just have the .exe downloadable. Is there an advantage to that?

    Why do people choose to have people download an exe directly rather than a zip?

    Thanks,

    Mike
     
  2. MattV

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd do both. Some people arn't technical enough to manage zip files. Some people will moan a lot about having to install the game and risking it putting loads of crap everywhere.
     
  3. Coyote

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    697
    Likes Received:
    0
    A full installation executable that requires acceptance of the EULA (for what little legal value it actually provides), includes a built-in uninstaller, and can automatically do a full install including the set-up desktop icons, Start Menu entries, etc., is far more professional-looking.

    More importantly, it requires FAR less effort on the part of the customer, many of whom might not even know what a ZIP file is or how to install it manually. You want the user to do as little work as possible, and have as few obstacles to playing your game as possible.
     
  4. Tom Cain

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    284
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have both available because I used to field a LOT of tech support about how to open zip files. Providing both cut installation support to almost zero.
     
  5. ggambett

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    1,982
    Likes Received:
    6
    Provide an installer. This way, the user goes "Next Next Next Finish" and he's playing your game. No "open the zip, make a folder, drag and drop the files, find the exe, run it". You get menu entries. You get desktop icons. You get uninstall. Now go download NSIS!
     
  6. Jim Buck

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    1,158
    Likes Received:
    0
    What about just providing the .exe only?
     
  7. James C. Smith

    Moderator Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    Messages:
    1,768
    Likes Received:
    0
    In other words, if you have an EXE installer version, is there really much need for a zip file? Do people who know how to use zip files get that annoyed if they have to use an EXE installer instead? It seems simpler to me to just provide an EXE only. It is one less thing for you to update each time you make a new version. And one less decision the customer has to make. (Which file should I download?)
     
  8. gmcbay

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    280
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think the best solution is just to offer the exe and use an installer-maker (like the aforementioned NSIS) that lets you embed readmes right into the install process. ZIP files are fine.. for distributing source code to developers. They really aren't a good solution at all for end users.

    I think even giving the user an option isn't worth it, because that's just a needless decision to possible confuse them with.
     
  9. Tom Cain

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    284
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry, I should have provided some context. My software runs on Palm OS not the desktop. Therefore, it needs to be openable on every desktop OS that Palm supports. My two download links are labeled on the web site as:
    • Installer for Windows desktops
    • Zip Archive for other desktops
    It is strange providing an installer exe for software that is going to be transferred to another device, but doing this cut down the support emails a great deal. Most of my customers are brand new handheld users and aren't familiar with how it works, especially installing software onto it. Windows users have preferred the installer choice and gotten their software installed with less frustration.

    As you stated, if I was offering a Windows product I would only offer the installer exe download and forgo the zip.
     
  10. MattV

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    I got 3 or 4 email complaints about 'troid when I just had an .exe installer version. That may reflect the "hardcore" audience the game appeals to. The basic complaint was "I will not play this game because I refuse to trust your installer not to put stuff all over my machine or uninstall cleanly". These people were not interested in my assurances that it did cleanly uninstall, so I just offered a zip file version as well.
     
  11. Jim Buck

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    1,158
    Likes Received:
    0
    My guess is that people like that would not convert to paying customers in the general case.
     
  12. oNyx

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    1,212
    Likes Received:
    0
    Why? Seriously, that's totally unscientific ;)

    I also don't really like installers.

    >No "open the zip, make a folder, drag and drop the files, find the exe, run it".

    rmb-drag->extract to <whatsoever>
    doubleclick the exe (which is spot-able within 5 seconds. detail view/sorted by filetype)

    >You get menu entries.

    Which I don't want.

    >You get desktop icons.

    Which I need to disable.

    >You get uninstall.

    Which may or may not leave directories and files behind. About 50% of the installers leave some files behind... and even more leave registry entries there.

    If I can choose, I'll pick the plain archive. But I don't really have a problem with installers... I know that the average joe customer needs em. So generally only an installer is needed and if the audience is pretty techy you can also offer a simple archive as an option.
     
  13. Jim Buck

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    1,158
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't have anything scientific to back it up, but I just have the general feeling that the market that casual/indie/budget/etc games appeal to does not intersect too well with the ".zip-only" crowd. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule, but if I had to place a bet, my guess is that the CR of the .zip guys will be far smaller than that of the .exe guys.
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer