I don’t care if you’re a small-time European publisher. It is the year 2008, I hereby decree the following trends of Windows PC games(specifically, demos and installers)to be idiotic:
1. Requiring an Administrator to install. I’m in no hurry to upgrade to Vista, but it rightly points out that There Is No Excuse for requiring root privileges to create a new folder and stick a few settings into the registry. I don’t care if the “amazing” installer software cost you a pretty penny, or if you absolutely need DRM somehow on a demo package. It took me maybe a night or two to learn how to use WiX. Now you have a Microsoft-approved installer that will absolutely do the right thing if you can manage to enter a few XML values correctly.
2. Not publishing CRCs or MD5s of the complete file. Considering all the hoops to jump through, “custom download managers”, and lack of BitTorrent on the big sites, it’s really really easy to get a corrupted file, and the only way to confirm is..download it again from somewhere else.
3. Repackaging installers — I’m looking at you, Manifesto and GamersHell, specifically. Relating to #2, now I don’t even know if you repackaged the developer-provided installer correctly if your funky add-on throws out “MainGame.lib corrupted. Abort/Retry/Ignore?” (and I’m not kidding, have we traveled back to DOS days?).
Someone is probably thinking “just use a torrent hub”. Unfortunately, I’ve had a hankering for checking out obscure space-sims like Starshatter or Space Interceptor, and no torrent sites(in Space Interceptor’s case, not even the original publisher) are keeping the files around.
Not that I complain too much about a corrupted download from Gamershell keeping me from enjoying the majesty of Tarr Chronicles. But I still haven’t found a working demo for Sector 13, and I’ve actually been looking forward to that one.