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Codename: OUCHMAN

So I’m making my own install/setup program for The Dating Pool, that also happens to be 100% compatible with Sierra’s games. Fun, fun. What’s was particularly funny to me is the size difference.

Sierra’s installer is at minimum three separate files. One is the installer proper @ 74.4 KB, one is the on-screen text @ 9.21 KB, and one is the driver database @ 17.2 KB, totaling 100 KB. Add to that the “install to hard drive” script file for another 1.80 KB if you want, but that’s optional.

Mine is, with all the features it has to offer so far (and I can certainly add more) a mere 34.4 KB. This includes every single bit of on-screen text. It is almost entirely self-contained. The presence of a single extra file switches it into “install to hard drive” mode, and that file merely specifies the standard target directory and the number of disks. Add another four kilobytes if you build with -DISOFONT for 256×16 bytes of extra font data, subtract about a half if you build without -DNORTON.

But then I wondered, how does Sierra’s installer do a bunch of things exactly? Like how does it know it’s being run from CD so it knows to invoke that script at the end, among other things? It’s not the presence of the script file, since that’s copied right along. So I opened it up in IDA… and was told it was compressed.

Turns out install.exe is actually a whopping 167 KB. You’ll excuse me for my curiosity…

17.7 KB. With everything but the disk install trigger file built-in. Sweet Christmas.

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