How to Split a Large Project into Several Smaller Ones

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How to Split a Large Project into Several Smaller Ones

Postby Skye » Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:53 am

When your project gets so large that working with it in AM becomes a problem there is a solution:
Split your project into smaller more manageable pieces. These pieces can then be recombined back into 1 single large project for testing and distribution.

Here's How: If you already have a large project in the works.

Decide on how you will 'section' up your Full game. For example: The House, The Lakeside, The Wooded Area (each of these will become a separate project)

Create a new project for each section with a name that tell you what part of your game it will include. Now you have to copy over all the files from the Full game into the new projects you have just created. A program like Allway Sync is perfect for this
freeware from: http://allwaysync.com/

1. Copy all of your cursors and icon files from the Full game Areas folder into the Areas folder of each of the smaller projects

2. Copy all of the hotspot images from the Full game Areas folder into the appropriate Areas folder of the smaller projects. That is: all the hotspot images that are used in the House need to be copied into the Areas folder of The House project that you created and so on for each of the smaller projects

3. Copy all of the image files (jpg, bmp, or whatever format you have chosen), the *.lks and the *.fme files from the Full game Frames folder into the appropriate Frames folder of the smaller project. As above, all the images of the House plus the matching *.lks and *.fme would be copied into the House project Frames folder.

4. Copy all of the *.fmx files (where x is a number) from the Full game FramesData folder into the appropriate FramesData folder of the smaller project

5. Using NotePad, open the Variables file in the Config folder of the Full game and copy and paste any variables that apply to each smaller project into a new file of their own. You will need to determine how many variables there are and add this counter to the first line of the file. (an easy way to do this is to paste the list into a Word document and under the Tools menu select word count). Save these as "Variables" (no extension) in the smaller project's Config folder

6. If you have your images stored in subfolders within the Full game you will need to copy this information as well. If all your images are in the Default folder in AM, you can skip this part and procede with step 7. Again using NotePad, open the Folders file in the Config folder of the Full game. Copy the folder names that apply to each section and paste into a new file. Remember to count how many there are and make that the first line of the file. Save these as "Folders" (no extension) in the smaller project's Config folder. To finish off this part, you need to do the same copy and paste routine with the Frames file; copy the appropriate lines of text to a new file and save as "Frames" (no extension) in the smaller project's Config folder (remember to include the counter at the beginning of the file) The counter for the Frames file reflects the number of frames, not the number of lines in the file. ie the name of the folder and the name of the frame in that folder count as 1

7. The last thing you need to do is separate the Procedures so that they can be accessible for testing in each of the smaller projects. To do this you need to Load the Full game into AM and select Edit VBScript. Since it is not a good idea to open multiple instances of AM, you can copy and paste the procedures into temporary NotePad files. Once all the pieces have been copied, load each of your smaller projects into AM, select Edit VBScript and then copy and paste the procedures in place.

With all these steps complete, you should now have your Full game divided up into small workable projects.
Work with these small projects, adding hotspots, videos, variables and whatever else you need to do. Periodically you should transfer all the changes over to your Full game to keep it up to date and also so you can do Full game testing.

How To Update The Full Game

***Important*** Keep track of any additions you make to the variables list of any of the smaller projects and any additions or changes made to the VBScript procedures. It is sometimes very easy to forget that you added a variable or made a subtle change to one of the procedures.

1. The easiest way to update the information in the Full game is to use a file comparison utility like Vice Versa (mentioned above). Compare the following folders and update any files that differ.
The Areas folder
The Frames folder
The FramesData folder

2. Open the Variables files (in the Config folder) for any of the small projects where you have added variables. Open the Variables file for the Full game. Copy the variables from the small project files to the Full game file. Remember to update the counter at the beginning of the Full game Variables file to reflect the number of new variables you have added.
NOTE: if you have added only a few variables you can just open the Full game Variables file and manually type them in - update the counter
** If your Full game does not use subfolders, you can skip to step 5

3. If you added any new subfolders to any of the small projects they need to be added to the Full game's Folders file (located in the Config folder). Use the same procedure as for the variables (above) to update this file. Be sure to paste this new information is the proper location in the file, don't just add it to the bottom of the Full game's Folders file. Remember to update the counter.

4. If you have added new images, they are recorded in the Frames file in the Config folder. These need to be added to the Frames file for the Full game using the usual copy and paste. Paste the information in the proper location in the file, don't just add it to the bottom of the Full game's Frames file. Update the counter. The counter for the Frames file reflects the number of frames, not the number of lines in the file. ie the name of the folder and the name of the frame in that folder count as 1

5. If there are changes to the VBScript procedures, load the small projects into AM and do a copy and paste to a Notepad temporary file for all of the changes. Load the Full game into AM, edit the VBScript and copy and paste from the NotePad temp files into the Procedure editor.

You Full game is now updated and current with all the changes you have made

If your game get extremely large and takes a long time to load into AM and you are using subfolders in the Full game, consider removing the subfolders and storing all the images in the default folder. This allows AM to load your project quicker and you don't have to worry about copying over the information from the Folders file and the Frames file. You can still use subfolders in you small projects for ease of working on your project and it will not affect the Full game
Skye
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