I found it difficult to find a working tutorial on how to make a setup file for Windows machines for a nwjs game I was making with Construct 2, as the ones I could find were outdated and didn't work anymore. So when I finally worked out how to do it, I decided to make a spanking new tutorial on it so it could hopefully help anyone else that needs help with this.
I'll be using InstallForge to create the setup file in this tutorial, as it is the only free one that has worked for me.
This tutorial wont show you what you need to do in order to get your game approved for any specific sites like Steam, only what to do to get a working install and uninstall files for your Construct 2 game. I wont, as well, go over all the options available in InstallForge, but only the basic ones needed to get a working setup file for your game.
So let's get started!
Part 1 - Install Installforge
If you haven't installed InstallForge yet, go ahead and do that. You can find it on installforge.net, their official website.
When you have it up and running, you'll have to first decide if you want to target 64-bit or 32-bit windows machines, as when you exported your game in Construct 2, you got two folders with the game named win32 and win64 for windows computers. So you will make two setup files, one for win32 and win64. Once someone wants to install your game, you probably would like to allow them to choose which version they need out of those two.
Part 2 - General Information
When you first start InstallForge, you'll be asked to enter some general information about the application you want a setup file for.
You'll want to enter your details in as the labels suggest.
Then underneath, there are some options for what operative system version you'd like the game to be available on. I usually choose the newer kinds like Windows 7, 8 and 10 as I have tested my own games on these systems before and they have worked. You should of course choose the ones you know your game should work on.
Part 3 - Graphics
In the Graphics tab to the right of the general tab, you can choose some images for the installation wizard. You do not need to specify any of your own images, you can leave them as they are and the default images will be used instead which I personally think is the best.
Part 4 - Setup Language
At the language tab you can choose what language you want the setup to be available in. If your game is available in different languages, you might as well choose the setup to be available in those languages as well. This just simply means that the install wizard will be in the chosen language that the user chooses, from the ones available you have selected.
In this example image, I just chose English as the only language, which means the setup will automatically be in that language.
Part 5 - Adding An Icon
Before adding your game files for the setup to use, you probably will want an icon for your game that will show up on the users desktop and start-menu. If you do not already have one, you can make one yourself.
I usually make one in one of my drawing software's, and then save it as a .png file and convert it to an .ico file online. An .ico file is the type of file you want for the icon to work on windows machines.
In this example, I just took an image from Pixabay and extracted these kitchenware items for my icon:
I try to keep the icon image as square as possible then use for example icoconvert.com to convert my .png image to an .ico file. I usually make sure I have the icon in the sizes: 32x32, 48x48, 128x128 and 256x256. If you use that site and check "multi-size in one icon" you'll get all of the checked sizes in one file. You can find many other sites that can convert your image to an icon by googling for them if you rather use something else.
Once you've saved the final icon, you can make a new folder inside the folder for your nwjs game (like the win64 one) and call it "icons" and put the icon file there.
Now you have added your icon to your game files, and can choose it later in the setup file creation process for the shortcuts.
Part 5 - Adding The Files
To add your game files to the setup, go to the blue "Setup" Tab in the sidebar, and choose "Files". Once there, click on the "Add Files" button and select all your files from the folder that holds the correct version of the game (like 64-bit or 32-bit depending on which you decided to start with). Do not include the folders, you'll do that in the next step.
After that, do the same with the folders. Click the "Add Folders" button and add the two folders "locales" and your newly created one "icons" one by one.
That's it for your files. You can also at the bottom choose if you want to allow users to decide the installation path of your game on their computer. This is generally a good practice in my opinion, as people can choose if they want it on a specific hard drive for example.
Step 6 - Create Uninstall File
An uninstall file is good to include so people can easily uninstall your game for various reasons. To make an uninstall file, go to "Uninstall" and check the box that says "Include Uninstaller". That's all you need to do for that part.
You can also choose to automatically open up a page on your website once someone has uninstalled your game, but I personally find that practice to be annoying and unprofessional so I don't do it myself and don't really recommend it, but it's up to you.
Step 7 - Creating Shortcuts
To get a shortcut for your game to display on the desktop and/or in the start-menu, you'll go to the "Shortcut" section in the sidebar under "System". There you can click "Add" to add a new one.
You can add both a desktop and a start menu one, or just one of them.
In this example, I chose both.
When you click "Add" you'll get a prompt to enter some information in about the shortcut, like what type it should be, the name that it should display and what file the shortcut should run when you click on it.
Since you have a nwjs game, you'll want to enter "nw.exe" as the target file, since that is the file that will start your game up. You may though, have renamed your nw.exe file to something else. In that case, just enter that name after the <installpath>\ placeholder like in the example image.
Then you'll also want to add the icon for these shortcuts. Remember how you put it into the "icons" folder? You will therefore want to add <installpath>\icons\icon.ico as the path to the icon. Remember though to use the actual name of your icon if you didn't name it "icon".
You can also set if you want the user to be able to choose the path for the start-menu icon, as well as if the shortcuts should be added for all users on the computer, or only for the user who is installing the game.
Part 6 - Building The Setup File
Now you're done and only need to build the actual setup file. So go to "Build" in the right sidebar and when you're there, you'll want to first decide what the name of the setup file should be. Click on the "..." button next to the text field and enter a name you'd like.
For example : "My Test Game - Setup x64", or "my-test-game-setup-x64" etc. Then make sure you save it in a good location on your computer so you can find it easily.
I like to make a folder called "Executable - Windows" inside the folder where all the different OS versions of the game is. Then you can make sub-folders like "Win64" and place the 64-bit setup file there, and same for Win32.
Once you've done that, you click the icon with a box and a CD, and watch it build your setup file.
Once it's done, all you have to do is navigate to the Executable folder and the setup file will be there. Test it and see how the setup looks like, and see if the shortcuts are properly added with the right icon. Then test run your game!
This is how my example icon looks like on the desktop:
And once I double click on it, my test game runs!
That's it for this tutorial. I hope it was useful, and as I said earlier, it's just a basic tutorial that does not go into all the other options that are available in InstallForge. There are tutorials on the internet you can find on what the other different options do if you want to get a bit more advanced.
If something is unclear, feel free to leave a comment below!