Lesson 17.1 – Running the game on another computer

Lesson Objectives

At the end of this lesson, you will know…

  • How to move your game to another computer, and run it without Visual Studio


Right now, you have to start Visual Studio and load your solution before you can play the game. But if you want to share your program with someone else, you don’t want to make them install Visual Studio.

So, now we’ll build a version that you can copy to a CD/DVD/thumb drive/etc. and share with your friends and family.

Visual Studio has a nice installation package creation project, but it gets a little complex. So, we’re going to use the “quick and dirty” method, for now.


Building the program for another computer

The first thing you want to do is build the program in “Release” mode.

So far, we’ve used “Debug” mode, which can be useful while writing the program. Debug mode lets you take a look into the program while it’s running, in case you have a problem and aren’t sure where it’s happening.

But when you’re done writing your program, and are ready to “release it”, you want to use Release mode.

Then, you just need to copy the program’s files to a computer that has the correct .Net Framework installed, and you can run it there.


Link to video on YouTube


Step 1: Start Visual Studio Express 2013 for Desktop, and open the solution.


Step 2: In the menu, to the right of the “Start”, there is a dropdown that probably says “Debug” right now (that’s the default value). Change it to “Release”.


Step 3: From the menu, click on “Build”, then “Build Solution”. This will create the executable files – the ones needed to run your program.

Check the “Output” box, in the bottom middle of Visual Studio. It will tell you when it’s done building the program, along with where it was built.


Step 4: Open up Windows Explorer and get to the folder where the executable file was created.

You’ll see the file there, along with some other ones. You don’t need all of them, but it won’t hurt to have the extra files. So, we’ll copy all of them to our new location.

In this case, I just created a new folder named “Games”, with a sub-folder under it named “SuperAdventure”. You can name your folder whatever you want.

Then, paste the files into this folder.


Step 5: To make this easier to run, create a desktop shortcut for the SuperAdventure.exe file. That’s the executable, the file to run the game.

Now, you can double-click on the shortcut on the desktop and start playing your game.



Now you can copy your program to another computer (assuming they’ve been running Windows Update, and have the same version of the .Net Framework you used when you made the program.

If you learn how to create a Windows Installer project, you can end up with a single program someone can use to install your program on their computer. If their computer is missing anything, or doesn’t have the correct version of the .Net Framework, the installer program will fix that for them.

There are also some more complex installations for different types of projects – ones that use a database, or are run as a website.

But, now you know how to copy this game over to your friend or family member’s computer, so they can see the program you created and play the game.


Source code for this lesson

No source code for this lesson


Next lesson: Lesson 18.1 – Future enhancements for the game

Previous lesson: Lesson 16.3 – Functions to use weapons and potions

All lessons: Learn C# by Building a Simple RPG Index

52 thoughts on “Lesson 17.1 – Running the game on another computer

  1. Hey Scott! I changed the Solution Configurations to “Release” and when I build the program it came up with an error: “SuperAdventure” is a ‘namespace’ but is used like a ‘type’ in the program.cs Ive checked the code on SuperAdventure and it is spelled correctly I also re typed it in both codes. Not sure what happened :/

    1. Does it work if you build the program in “Debug” mode, or do you still see the same error?

      I’ve seen this problem come up for a couple other people, and it’s usually a little difficult to track down to the original source. But, here are the places I’d start:
      1. Did you rename any of the projects (SuperAdventure or Engine) after you created them? If so, you’ll probably need to manually correct the namespaces in the projects. You can see how to do that here: https://scottlilly.com/learn-c-by-building-a-simple-rpg-index/lesson-05-1-creating-objects-from-classes/#comment-1639
      2. Check the SuperAdventure.cs class and make sure it says “public partial class SuperAdventure : Form”. Then check SuperAdventure.Designer.cs and make sure it starts with this:
      namespace SuperAdventure
      partial class SuperAdventure

      If those look good, is there a place you can upload a copy of your solution? DropBox, Github, etc. Then I could check out some other things that are a little difficult to describe through us talking back and forth in the comments here.

      1. Nope haven’t Renamed anything and everything else looks fine. I don’t have a way to upload it but I can make an account which site do you prefer?

        1. DropBox is probably the easiest. Please upload the complete solution (including all the sub-directories, and files in them) and reply here with the share link for the DropBox directory. I might not be able to look at it until Friday night or Saturday.

  2. Alright sorry for all the comments since it never showed that they passed the moderation so I kept putting them in :/

    1. I got the comments, but am holding them in moderation (since they’re not really relevant to anyone else, until we figure out the problem). I sent you a couple e-mails that the Engine project was missing from the zip file. Can you check on that and try re-uploading it?

    2. I’m going to check something out on Monday (when I’ll be at my computer with Visual Studio 2013). I think the problem might be how the solution was setup, which might also be why you had problems sending both projects together.

    3. I found the problem. Your UI project’s name is different from “SuperAdventure”. If you right-click on your UI project, and select “Properties”, and click on “Application”, you’ll see your project’s namespace. Right now, it matches the project name “WFA game practice”. But, when you copy-paste the code from the lessons, they are all defined with “namespace SuperAdventure”.

      The easiest way to fix this is to change the “Default namespace” value (on your UI project’s properties) to “SuperAdventure”. You could also change all the classes in the UI project to have the namespace match the namespace in your properties. But then you’d need to remember to do that every time you copy-paste something into the project.

      Please let me know if that doesn’t fix the problem.

      1. So I tries it that way and I think it is right but it is not working. I am new to all of this so I might have not done it right. I had the same error pop up and have tried renaming everything I could find but had to revert back and have the same problem. I went to the application spot and changed it from “Simple_RPG” to “SuperAdventure”.

          1. There are two things to do, to get the program to run.

            1. Open SuperAdventure.sln in Visual Studio (there is also a “Simple RPG” solution, but I used the SuperAdventure solution). In the SuperAdventure project, edit the Program.cs file. Change the name space (on line 7) to from “Simple_RPG” to “SuperAdventure”.
            2. Right-click on the SuperAdventure project and choose “Set as StartUp Project” – so Visual Studio will know the UI project is the project to run.

            Let me know if that doesn’t fix the problem.

          2. Oh. I changed the one I think you meant. I changed the program one now and it is working. Thank you!

  3. Hey Scott

    this was my first experience with visual studio and programming, and i had a lot of fun ! really great tutorial and looking forward to continue this one with the enhancements to the game !

    Thanks you so much for doing this really complete tutorial

    Keep up ! 🙂

    1. Thanks! I’ve started creating the lessons for a WPF version of the game, which will eventually add more capabilities to the game. I should be posting the initial lessons in the next week or two.

  4. Hi Scott, I really appreciate your C# lessons as they gave a lots of insight into how to make a windows form application, as I have only have some previous experiences with C and Java.
    Now, onto my question, I ran into some problem when trying to compile the program in the final step. I have 2 errors which I don’t know how to resolve since the C# source file here doesn’t related to the files in the tutorial.
    I also want to mention that when I commented those files, the game compiled normally, but I can’t kill the rat in the first quest since the use button didn’t work, so I suspect that the error has something to do with the “use” button
    Sorry if my description is to vague to you, in that case, here is my solution:

    Thanks for reading my question 🙂

    1. Hello Trung,

      For the first problem, when you were working with SuperAdventure.cs in the Design screen, you might have accidentally double-clicked on a control. When that happens, Visual Studio creates an “eventhandler” and a new function. If you paste in code from one of the lessons, that code will not have the function – which causes the error. You can comment out lines 243 and 290, in SuperAdventure.Designer.cs. Those are the eventhandlers you do not need.

      For the “Use” button, it is missing its eventhandler. To fix this, edit SuperAdventure.cs, in the “Design” screen (you should be able to do this after you comment the two extra eventhandler lines). Left-click on the “Use” button once. Look at the “Properties” section in the lower-right corner of Visual Studio (see the picture below). Click on the lightning bolt picture (to see all the events). Find the “Click” event, and left-click in the box to the right of it. This will show you the available functions. Select “btnUseWeapon_Click”. That will create the eventhandler to connect the “Use” button to the function to use the weapon.

      Connect the Use button to its function

      You can read more about eventhandlers in Lesson 21.3.

      Please tell me if that does not fix the problem.

      1. My gosh, I can’t believe that the solution is so simple I have finally been able to fix the problem, thank you so much.
        As for the event handle, I have only reached lesson 17.1 of yours, so I haven’t thought about it. Now I can finally resume building the game.
        Just one question, do you work on any other languages other than C#?

          1. Hi Trung,

            I can’t login to my Microsoft account, to look at your screenshot. But, check the eventhandlers for the movement buttons, to ensure they are moving to the correct location. The “South” button should call btnSouth_Click. If it is calling a different direction, that is one thing that could cause that error.

            If that is not the problem, can you post the error message in another place?

  5. Sorry for the late reply, works in college carried my away.

    Anyhow, I can assure you that I have linked all the buttons with their appropriate events. As for the OneDrive link, I found it a little odd that since I thought that the link allow anyone to view and download the photo, with or without a Microsoft account. But here is my alternate Google drive link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3ZAN8xIbpCdWlJBVkdwUjE3OTg/view?usp=sharing

    1. Hi Trung,

      If the buttons are all connected correctly, my next thought is to look at the PopulateLocations() function in the World class. Make sure all the lines that set the LocationToNorth/East/South/West properties are set correctly. If this is happening when moving South from the Alchemist’s Garden (for example), make sure there is the line:

      alchemistsGarden.LocationToSouth = alchemistHut;

      If you can’t find the source of the error there, can you upload your solution (including the folders under it, and all the files in them) to GitHub or Dropbox, so I can look at it?

      The OneDrive problem is with my Microsoft accounts. I have several of them, tied to different countries (I lived overseas for several years). So, logging in is often a problem for me. 🙁

  6. Hello, I have some problems with the player movement. When I start the program and click on North, nothing happened. What have I do wrong??

    The error list doenst say anything. The name of the button is btnNorth

    1. It sounds like the button does not have its “eventhandler” – the line of code that says what function to run when the button is clicked.

      Look in SuperAdventure.Designer.cs, and see if it has this line:
      this.btnNorth.Click += new System.EventHandler(this.btnNorth_Click);

      If that line does not exist, add it near the other “btnNorth” lines.

      There is more information on how to use eventhandlers in Lesson 21.3. Please tell me if that does not fix the problem.

  7. Hi again,

    another problem occur. When I choose the Build Solution, then on the bottom I can see description “Build Successed”, but no link where it was build, like in video, and the build doesn’t exist in the folder, where it could suppossed to exist. In fact, there is no Debug or Release folder at all in my Project folder. How come ?

    1. Make sure you are looking for the “bin” folder under the project folder, and not the solution folder.

      If it is not there, right-click on the “SuperAdventure” project (inside the Solution Explorer in Visual Studio) and select “Properties”. Click on “Build” and look for the “Output path:” value.

  8. Hi Scott,

    I ran into a couple bugs when I tried to follow the tutorial.

    First off, when I get to a location where a monster is, the weapon and potions combo list and use buttons don’t show up, despite their visabilities being set to true.

    Then If you try to go back to a location that has already given a quest I get NullRefferenceException from the HasThisQuest method in the player class.

    I’m sorry if my descriptions are vague. In LINK REMOVED FOR PRIVACY there are screenshots of my issues and my Solution and Files.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. Hi Chloe,

      I noticed you set debug breakpoints (EXCELLENT JOB!) to help you track down the problem. However, the problem was happening after those breakpoints. In the UpdateWeaponsListInUI() function, the weapons combobox is hidden if the player does not have any weapons – which is what is happening for you. From one of the earlier lessons, you need to add a default weapon to the player’s inventory.

      In the constructor for SuperAdventure.cs, make sure you have this third line that gives the player a rusty sword:
      _player = new Player(10, 10, 20, 0, 1);
      _player.Inventory.Add(new InventoryItem(World.ItemByID(World.ITEM_ID_RUSTY_SWORD), 1));

      Let me know if that doesn’t fix the problem, or if you have any other questions.

      1. Thanks! That fixed my one problem, but now my game crashes when I try to go back to a screen with a quest. I followed the problem to when it attempts to load the quest that is available, when ever a new PlayerQuest is created, it’s details are always null. I’ve updated the Dropbox link with my new code, but I’ll link it again LINK REMOVED FOR PRIVACY for convenience. I’m really confused.

        Thanks again for your help and your awesome tutorials. You still respond to questions on this tutorial 3 years after it was published, and that makes quite a difference.

        1. Hi Chloe,

          I’m sorry I skipped over the second question. I’ve been working on several things, and that just fell out of my mind.

          If you look at the error message, it says that the PlayerQuest.Details property is null. To debug the problem, you would want to see where there property is being set – since it should not be null. The PlayerQuest object is instantiated on line 149 of SuperAdventure.cs. “newLocation.QuestAvailableHere” is passed into the PlayerQuest constructor. If we set a breakpoint there, we see that “newLocation.QuestAvailableHere” has a value, which is what we expect.

          So, the next step is to look at the PlayerQuest constructor. The name of the parameter is “details” (with a lower-case “d”). But, on line 16, when you try to assign the parameter value to the “Details” property, you have “Details = Details;” (with an upper-case “D”). So, that parameter value is never put into the property.

          I’ll leave the solution to you, but let me know if you have any problems.

  9. Dear Scott Lilly:

    I am able to run my game by clicking the “Run” button in the visual studio just fine. However, whenever I click on the “exe” button in my file explorer or on a desktop shortcut, nothing happens. The game does not open that way.

    1. Did you copy the files to another computer, or are you trying to run the same computer with Visual Studio? If you are trying this on another computer, it might not have the correct version of .NET installed, or it might not have all the files from the SuperAdventure\bin\debug (or SuperAdventure\bin\Release) folder.

      If you see the problem on the same computer with Visual Studio, try opening the solution in Visual Studio and select (from the top menu) Build -> Clean Solution, then Build -> Build Solution. This will make sure the files in the bin\debug (or bin\release) folder were deleted and built from scratch.

      Let me know if those don’t fix the problem.

      1. Okay, never mind. It works when I open it from my File Explorer, but not when I try to use the shortcut I copy-pasted onto my Desktop.

        1. In your Windows Explorer, make sure you have the “File Name Extensions” checkbox checked, and that your shortcut is pointed to the Application, not the XML configuration file. If the checkbox is not checked, the “config” is not shown on the filename, and it looks like the program file.

          1. Oh, man! I just realized what I did wrong, and I am seriously laughing at myself now. I hope you get a kick out of this, too. I was copy-pasting the ICON of the exe file, not the file itself. I should have known to pick “Paste Shortcut” instead of “Paste”. What a goofy mistake to make! At least I learnt from it.

  10. Hello,

    I released the code and developed an exe file but when I open it and click north, it doesn’t work. Where might have gotten it wrong? Would you please guide me?

    1. It sounds like the eventhandlers might not be connected for the buttons. You can read about eventhandlers in lesson 21.3

      If that doesn’t solve the problem, can you upload your solution (including the directories under it, and all the files in those directories) to GitHub or Dropbox, so I can look at it?

  11. Hi Scott,
    i have a big problem. Every time i open the Game nothing happen the Game is not working.I can see everything but i cant see anything like messages and the other things. I can press all keys exept the 2. Use key (btnUsePotion) when i press that key, a error comes up.

  12. Hello,
    I have a problem:
    I click on the game and it starts normally, but when I click on “north” nothing happens.
    Could you please help me? What did I do wrong?

  13. It says
    “An unhandled exeption has occurred in the application, if you click Continue and application will ignore the error and try to continue. If you click “finish” the application will closed by winning and no object reference is set to an instance of an object.”

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