Once you have completed your game you surely want to make it available to others. In general you should first create a .love-file which can be either directly distributed (which requires users to have LÖVE installed) or used for platform specific packages.
These are the preferred ways to distribute your game depending on target (all make use of the .love file):
Create a .love-file
Please note that some operating systems use case-sensitive paths. To avoid unnecessary hassle make sure that the path specifications you use in code matches that of your folders and files.
To create a .love-file you have to create a zip file of the whole game directory. Make sure that your main.lua is in the root of the archive, e.g. if you have
<somedir>\SuperGame\gfx\character.png <somedir>\SuperGame\main.lua <somedir>\SuperGame\conf.lua
You must ensure the zip file containts
gfx\character.png main.lua conf.lua
and not the directory SuperGame\.
Once you have your zip file you simply rename the ending from .zip to .love and you are done!
Platform Specific Notes
Windows supports creation of zip files out of the box. For detailed instructions see http://windows.microsoft.com/en-hk/windows-vista/compress-and-uncompress-files-zip-files
Alternatively you can use the Distribution Utility that is available here
Linux / OS X
Assuming your current directory is SuperGame/ you can create the .love file from command line directly using
zip -9 -q -r SuperGame.love .
Creating a Windows Executable
Once you have packed your game into a .love file you can create a game executable that directly runs your game.
For this you have to append your .love file to the love.exe file that comes with the official LÖVE .zip file. The resulting file is your game executable.
Once you have your game executable you can pack it together with all the other DLL files of the official LÖVE .zip file into a new .zip file and share this with the world.
Note: Some people do not have a 64-bit version of Windows, so it is a good idea to either distribute both 32- and 64-bit versions of your game, or only distribute a 32-bit version.
Platform Specific Instructions
To create your game executable under windows use the command line to run
copy /b love.exe+SuperGame.love SuperGame.exe
Note: You may have to run the command as an administrator on your computer. You can do this by going to Windows\System32 and right clicking on cmd.exe and selecting the option Run as administrator. After this, you must type cd C:\Program Files\LOVE\ (or whatever your default love directory is), then you may continue as normal.
Alternatively you can create a .bat (e.g. create_game_exe.bat) file with the contents
copy /b love.exe+%1 "%~n1.exe"
and then you can simply drag your SuperGame.love file onto the .bat file and it will create the file SuperGame.love.exe which you could then use for distribution.
This method creates a fused game.
Linux / OS X
You can create the windows executable from Linux and OS X using the command line.
First download the official zipped 32 or 64 bit executable (not the installer) from https://www.love2d.org/.
Then in the command line/terminal run
cat love.exe SuperGame.love > SuperGame.exe
to obtain the game executable SuperGame.exe.
When distributing the windows executable you will need to include the dll files that came in the folder of the love.exe you used (so don't mix the 32 bit dll's with the 64 bit dll's). Without these files you will get error message when attempting to run SuperGame.exe on a windows machine.
The contents of your final distribution folder should look something like this:
- OpenAL32.dll (note: this file is different in the 64 bit download despite still being called 'OpenAL32.dll')
- license.txt (note: the license requires that it be included in any further distribution)
Creating a Mac OS X Application
Once you have your game prepared as .love file you can make your game available for Mac OS X users using the official LÖVE zipped download for Mac from https://www.love2d.org.
These are the steps required:
- Download and unpack the Mac version of LÖVE from https://www.love2d.org
- Rename love.app to SuperGame.app
- Copy your SuperGame.love to SuperGame.app/Contents/Resources/
- Modify SuperGame.app/Contents/Info.plist
- Zip the SuperGame.app folder (e.g. to SuperGame_osx.zip) and distribute it. Enable the -y flag of zip to keep the symlinks.
When modifying the file SuperGame.app/Contents/Info.plist make sure to change the values of the following XML-tags:
and remove the section UTExportedTypeDeclarations which ensures that Mac OS does not associate all .love files with your app. Overall the changes should be something like this:
|Original Info.plist||Modified Info.plist|
... <key>CFBundleIdentifier</key> <string>org.love2d.love</string> ... <key>CFBundleName</key> <string>LÖVE</string> ... <key>NSPrincipalClass</key> <string>NSApplication</string> <key>UTExportedTypeDeclarations</key> <array> ... </array> </dict> </plist>
... <key>CFBundleIdentifier</key> <string>com.SuperCompany.SuperGame</string> ... <key>CFBundleName</key> <string>SuperGame</string> ... <key>NSPrincipalClass</key> <string>NSApplication</string> </dict> </plist>
Distribution for Linux
For Linux there is not yet a simple way to distribute your game. The general approach here is to point to the official LÖVE packages at https://www.love2d.org. Once the package is installed, the .love packages are usually automatically executed using the installed LÖVE package or using the command line:
A common mistake is to use the following method to make binaries for Linux;
cat /usr/bin/love SuperGame.love > SuperGame chmod a+x ./SuperGame
Please keep in mind, while the binary `SuperGame` will run on your machine, and other Linux distros that have the same architecture and similar version libraries, there's a good chance that it will not run on many other Linux distros.
Distribution on the web
There is an experimental project to run .love games in a WebGL capable browser (up to date Firefox, Opera, Safari, Chrome...) without needing extra plugins, see forum thread
There is an experimental project to run .love games natively on Android phones, see subforum
There are a few tools developed by the community to help with game distribution.
- love-release.sh (forum), a Bash script that automates game distribution. Supports Windows, Mac OS X, Debian, Linux and Android, and much more features.
- StackMachine (forum), an online tool. Supports Windows and Mac OS X, ships with automatic updates and crash reports.
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