Suggestions for writing cross-platform launcher apps

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Suggestions for writing cross-platform launcher apps

Postby Nash » Mon Sep 20, 2021 11:51 pm

So sort of related to my other thread, I am looking for a kit that allows me to easily write a launcher app whose purpose is to then externally execute another app (in this case, a customized GZDoom fork).



I have a working prototype made with Clickteam Fusion, but Fusion is only able to export executables for Windows and Macs (which is really just the Windows .exe with some wrapper/Wine bottling taken care of for you, it produces a single container app for you).

This is missing a Linux option, and I'd like to use something else that lets me write the launcher app once and then be able to deploy it to Windows, Mac and Linux.

I have considered using either Unity or Unreal to write the launcher, but this is the least optimal option as the launcher itself would end up being ridiculously large in file size and absolutely overkill.

I have also taken a look at Godot, which might be a viable option, but I haven't messed enough with it yet to draw a conclusion.

Now, so far, the only tools I've mentioned are all visual scripting-style creation suites - I am not against using "real programming" kits (just a plain text-based IDE with UI SDKs) if it'll have to come down to that - though I'd need to be hand-held a little if the latter step is the only way to go to achieve what I want here...
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Re: Suggestions for writing cross-platform launcher apps

Postby nova++ » Tue Sep 21, 2021 12:10 am

I don't know if Godot can run external commands, but it would be a nice lightweight and easily cross platform choice if it can. A highly portable option would be something python based, I know there's plenty of GUI libraries for such things but that is on my list of "things I always meant to look into then never did because there's like 6,000 and I got scared".

Definitely not Unreal, I don't think it's capable of making a build smaller than a few hundred MB... Unity would be tolerable, but still pretty bloated. Despite being a fan of Godot, my personal leaning would be toward a python solution as probably the gentlest non-visual solution, I think you can pack things like that into a single minimalist package that doesn't need any prerequisites? That's another thing on the previously mentioned list, though.
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Re: Suggestions for writing cross-platform launcher apps

Postby emile_b » Tue Sep 21, 2021 2:20 am

What about QT? I know Steam recommends it as a cross-platform launcher for the Steam Deck:

https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/steamdeck/proton

Our recommendation is to use standalone technologies like Qt for launchers instead of OS-dependent frameworks like .NET / WPF.


May be massively overkill and add too much bloat to your install package however, also it is a "real programming" kit but still shouldn't take much work to create something simple with option checkboxes etc.
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Re: Suggestions for writing cross-platform launcher apps

Postby _mental_ » Tue Sep 21, 2021 2:32 am

If you are using custom GZDoom build, why do you need a launcher at all? In my opinion, it won't add any value here.
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Re: Suggestions for writing cross-platform launcher apps

Postby Nash » Tue Sep 21, 2021 2:36 am

_mental_ wrote:If you are using custom GZDoom build, why do you need a launcher at all? In my opinion, it won't add any value here.


To let the user pick some graphics presets before actually launching the game, set the default backend, and some game-specific CVars. Also possibly a simple mod/load order manager and more importantly, a UI to manage multiplayer sessions. The intended target audience is people who have no idea what GZDoom or source ports are.

Otherwise, I would tend to agree with you, it's indeed redundant for power-users.
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Re: Suggestions for writing cross-platform launcher apps

Postby leileilol » Wed Sep 29, 2021 2:58 pm

FLTK might work out in terms of size. It's cross-platform and not overly huge and may be appropriate for a complementary launcher. If you've ever touched Oblige, then that'll give a rough idea of what FLTK can do.

(my brain regarding launchers are cute autorun frontends that provide convenient install and uninstall buttons as well as driver redistributables and links to BIG CORP website)
Last edited by leileilol on Wed Sep 29, 2021 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suggestions for writing cross-platform launcher apps

Postby Nash » Wed Sep 29, 2021 6:29 pm

FLTK looks like it'd fit my needs. Thanks!
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