Installer Guide
By Earl and Firefly2442
Published : December 2002
Updated : Aug 2003
Feedback : Here

Introduction

This tutorial is intended for Ghost Recon Mod Makers. The number one error with mod submissions we see at GhostRecon.net is faulty installers. Usually they install to the wrong location, for the end user this can be a frustrating and bewildering problem.

This report sets out how to correctly prepare an installer, so that it installs your mod to the mods folder in Ghost Recon.

Tools

One of the most popular application for making an installer is ClickTeam's Install maker. There are 3 versions, a freeware, and 2 pay versions, but they are all the same download. You specify during the installation if you want to install the free or pay version. The download page can be found here.

Understanding Folder Structure

With Ghost Recon mods we want to create a new folder within the Mods folder of the Ghost Recon folder. The name of this new folder will reflect the name of your mod for easy identification. We will require the installer to create this folder, and extract all your mod files and folders into the new mod folder - and here's how you do it.

Create the Directory Structure

Before you begin Install Maker, you need to prepare your directory structure. We need to create a fake directory structure that has the same folder names as your Ghost Recon game directory, but which contain no files. The reason for this is that we will be using the registry key for finding Ghost Recon's install path no matter where any user decided to put it. That method is very helpful, but causes our install path stop at the game directory "X:\..\Ghost Recon", but we need to put our files into "X:\..\Ghost Recon\Mods\New_Mod\*.*"

If we create a fake directory structure, then each file will have the necessary path info, as shown in this screenshot:

Click for full image

  • Create a new folder and give it any name you like. I used a folder called "Current" because I archive every previous version of my mod for easier patch making.
  • Inside the new folder, create another folder called "Mods".
  • Copy your mod folder (e.g.. "Spetsgruppa Vympel") into the new "Mods" folder.
  • You should now have something like: Current\Mods\Spetsgruppa Vympel\*.*

Using the Install Maker

Using the wizard to complete the installer ...

  • The first step is to specify the location of your files. Browse to your root folder that you just created, (e.g. "Current") and ensure that you have the "Include Sub-directories" option checked.
  • Next, choose the language and provide a name for your product.
  • Skip over the next screen. We aren't installing executables, so we don't need icons or desktop shortcuts.
  • Work your way through the Shell, Information, Window, and Bitmap screens. It should all be self-explanatory.
  • At the Installation Directory screen, add the default install directory, which should be "C:\Program Files\Red Storm Entertainment\Ghost Recon\"

Checking the Ghost Recon Install Directory ...

  • We also want the installer to automatically check for the actual install directory, since some people may not be using the default location for Ghost Recon. Click the "Registry Base" button.
  • Use the following settings:
    • Root Key:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
    • Key:
      SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\GhostRecon.exe
    • Subkey:
      Path

Click for full image

That's everything you need for a clean install, but there are still a few sections of the wizard to work through. You can set uninstall options, although I prefer not to use any uninstaller since you can simply delete a mod folder. Also, if you set uninstall options, the installer will create a folder group in the start menu, this can be an annoyance to some users. You can also specify readme.txt files to open automatically after the install.

Before you submit your mod to GhostRecon.net or a File Archive, remember to check it fully. This means removing the mod from your Ghost Recon folder, then running your new installer. Check the Mod has installed to the correct location, and that's it!

Earl
Spetsgruppa Vympel for Ghost Recon

 

Update Introduction

I thought I'd put together some tips and programs on other mod installers. I saw a couple posts in the Ghost Recon.net Forums about people having problems with .zip files and extracting and not knowing how it works and so on.

Free Extractor

This is a great utility that is free to use that takes .zip files and turns them into executables, and can be download at disoriented.com

Works great. Very simple to make executables. You can put in a readme, choose the default directory for installation, and even create shortcuts. All through a wizard interface that is super easy. This will make your mod easier for people to install.

Nullsoft Scriptable Install System

Now onto the big one. This is for the uber-installer. Nullsoft Scriptable Install System (NSIS), available at sourceforge

This one is also free and has an excellent forum if you have questions. The program is scriptable which means that you actually create a script file (think perl/php/scripting languages) which then creates the executeable. This means you can do ANYTHING.

Want it to download the latest version off the internet, yep that's possible. There are tons of plugins available for you to use. Or you can make your own. Want it to find the GR directory and automatically install it. Yep, you can do that as well. There are many good "Wizard" style programs out there for NSIS as well. They will walk you through a basic installer and create the nsis script file for you.

Anyway, I hope this was helpful

Firefly2442
abyss games

 

 


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