If your game is dependant on any sort of libraries or frameworks INCLUDE THEM IN THE DOWNLOAD .  There have been far too many games i’ve come across where the first step to get it running would be to hunt down and download a half dozen development frameworks…matching EXACT versions to what the developer used, just to get it to run.

When I come across these, I skip them and move on to the next game, I’m sure most other people do too.  I’m sorry but with 1400+ games I’m not going to stop and take 30 minutes to hunt down and install the exact version of lwjgl you used to develop, or build a copy of libpng12 from source so i don’t have to downgrade half my system to get it installed.

For Windows:

I haven’t developed for windows in a long time, but IIRC visual studio has a dependency checker addon you can use if for som reason you have  no idea which libraries you’re using in your project.  For instance if you used SDL include all the SDL .dll files you require in the download, do not expect people to go out and download the SDL libraries from their site and install it systemwide for a single game.  For stuff you can’t just distribute the .dll files, link or include the framework installers (depending on size)

For Linux:

Run ldd on the binary before you package it and copy all the .so files required into the package.  This is especially important if you’re using “unstable” or svn/git builds of libraries as your versions will tend to be incompatible with any version but a latest svn/git build. (meaning most distros you’d have to go and change your entire setup to run the “unstable” branch just to get the game working).  Here is an example script you can use if you want to automate this process for you http://www.h3manth.com/content/copying-shared-library-dependencies

For Java:

Most java frameworks have pretty good instructions on how to package the native libraries, and yet far too many this LD provide the .jar file but none of the deps.  This will cut down a lot on how many people can review your game as the only people that can run it are those with java dev environments already set up.  Another important note is that java7 jre is not yet standard, so if you have no real reason to compile using java7..dont..compile with java6 and a lot more people will be a ble to run it.

For Love2D:

for the windows build, use the tool that provides a exe, for the linux/mac builds, pack the interpreter + .so files with the .love files for those who do not have it installed or have a different version of love2d installed can run it.

For HTML5:

It’s understandable for the WebGL games to not run in browsers that don’t support webgl, but by far the most common reason for not running has been use of .mp3 files for sound.  It will increase the size slightly (though not as much as you would think, unless it’s a music game with 30+ minutes of sound) but if you use .wav instead it works on any browser.

3 Responses to “How to ensure more people can sucessfully run & rate your game”

  1. dr_soda says:

    Another thing to remember is that your executable file should be named something at least similar to the title of your game. Not LudumDareXX or [THEME].

    This is especially noticable if you download an Android game and the launcher icon is default and the app name is something non-descript. An actual app title and icon is critical in this context (and indeed, I walked this walk when I made my own Android game. Distinct title and icon).

    • dr_soda says:

      Oh yeah, the reason why :

      If I download a game but I don’t immediately rate it, and I lose the page from which I grabbed the game, I might have no clue how to find the game’s rate page unless the game’s filename or icon contains an actual descriptive name.

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