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When you initially launch Minecraft you open the "launcher", which will check if your client is up to date. If it's not it proceeds to download the latest files & then runs the game.

How does this happen? Is the launcher a separate application, which can execute the main jar file?

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I think you actually want to know how you can implement something like this yourself? You should rephrase your question in that way. –  Byte56 Feb 18 '13 at 23:35
    
Yeah that was my intention, I guess I can title it "How can I create a update processes similar to Minecraft"? –  thedeadlybutter Feb 19 '13 at 7:04
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possible duplicate of Game Patching Mac/PC –  Byte56 Feb 19 '13 at 14:20
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1 Answer

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Yes, if you examine Minecraft under the hood you can see that it's just a separate file that will launch the JAR file afterwards. However, you're probably more interested in implementing an update solution for your game yourself. If that's the case, check out Sparkle.

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+1 for linking a Sparkle alternative for Windows. –  michael.bartnett Feb 19 '13 at 5:10
    
Thanks for the answer! –  thedeadlybutter Feb 19 '13 at 7:04
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