The ultimate guide to distributing your game

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The ultimate guide to distributing your game

Post  Fantasist on Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:58 pm

This post will be kept up-to-date as I gain more knowledge. Anyone's welcome to share any tips and if they're good enough, I'll add them.

I'll explain two methods here. The first one requires the use of Blizzard's Resource Tester. So if you don't want to use it, skip to the second method. But either way, if you're using resources of your own, make sure to name them differently from the names in the RTP to avoid problems.

Method 1
Do this after you're totally done with making your game.

Step 1: Search for 'RGSS' in your Windows directory. You'll find RGSS10xx.dll. If you're using the official version, you'll find RGSS102E.dll. If you're using the Postality Knights, you'll find RGSS100J.dll. You need to copy this and paste it in your game directory. Note that the 100J has some bugs and it's recommended you use 102E for best results(found here). Enterbrain also released a v1.03 RTP which contains the RGSS103J.dll. I don't recommend using it yet, as it's relatively new. For more information, go here. You might also want to know about a little bug in the dlls if you script something for your game. This bug isn't corrected in any dll till date(to the best of my knowledge), but there's no need to worry as it's not relevant in the default scripts(again, to the best of my knowledge). For more information, go here.

Step 2: Open the Game.ini file and modify the contents by using the following guide:

[Game]
Library=RGSS102E.dll (if you don't have it, put the name of the dll you're using)
Scripts=Data\Scripts.rxdata
Title=(Your game title. Most likely, you don't need to do anything about it)
RTP1=(Leave it empty. There will be a "Standard" by default, but remove it)
RTP2=
RTP3=

Step 3: Copy the contents of the Graphics and Audio folders of the RTP into your game's directory. If you imported any of your own resources, make sure to name differently from the names in the RTP to avoid problems.

Step 4: Use the "Resource Tester" (found here). Make sure you turn on the 'Deep Testing' option. You follow the instructions on the Resource Tester topic. After you've run the game, there will be a txt file in your game folder which lists all the resources you're game's using. Now prowl your Graphics and Audio folders and remove any resources that are not being used(I know it's a bit troublesome, but believe me, this is the easiest way there is). Note that resources used in scripts are NOT checked by the Resource Tester. You should be able to track them down since you added them in the scripts.

Step 5: PLAY THE GAME ONCE. You can skip this if you want to, but it's highly recommended that you play the game COMPLETELY once so you can be sure of any missing resources.

Step 6: Now compress the folder and distribute it. You're ready to go. If you wish to encrypt your game, just use the "Make Game Disk" from the file menu, and check the "Encrypt Game Data" option. You can protect your Data and Graphics folders that way. Note that audio files are NOT ENCRYPTED. There are very few ways to do this, the best(IMO) being the "DREAM for Music Files" (found here). You might also want to encrypt the save files for your game so they're hack-proof. I'd recommend the "DREAM for Save Files" (found here). If you use any script which uses the DREAM module, you're bound by copyright law. Be sure to read the copyright information if you want to use them(found with the DREAM products).

Though using the Game Disk is fine, you're game will be more professional if you use an installer. ClickTeam provides a free version of installer which is very easy to set up. Here's the link. If you want to use an other installer, the choice is yours. Just use Google.

Method 2
Import EVERY RESOURCE from the RTP(use the Resource Manager from RMXP) while making the game. NOTE THAT YOU'LL SCREW UP EVERYTHING EVEN IF YOU MISS ONE RESOURCE. Then follow steps 1, 2, 5 and 6 from above.

That's about it. Now I'll throw out some tips to make the file size smaller.

Reducing Filesize

1) Image Compression: DON'T USE .BMP IMAGES. That's the first rule. You're best bet is JPEG images unless you need transparency. That's when you use PNG images. But USE PNG IMAGES ONLY WHEN YOU NEED TRANSPARENCY since JPEG images are smaller in size. I'll use pictures to explain...

Try to compare these pictures:

.jpeg
JPEG quality 100%(quality ranges from 0% to 100%)
19.1 kb


JPEG 90%
6.18 kb


JPEG 70%
3.44 kb


JPEG 50%
2.60 kb


Note that though the difference in quality is almost imperceptible, the difference in filesize from 100% quality and 90% quality is nearly 3 times, which means using 100% quality JPEG images should be avoided. I use 70% quality most of the time and the difference from 100% quality is nearly 5 times.

.png(Portable Network Graphics)
PNG compression level 9(Compression level ranges from 0 to 9)
30.6 kb


PNG 5
36.8 b


PNG 3
41.5 kb


Note that there's not much difference between the filesizes and you most likely won't need to use compression level 0.

.bmp(Bitmap Image)
The same image as BMP is 139 kb(didn't upload it). Even a 100% quality JPEG is nearly 7 times smaller than a BMP. Now you see now why you should stay away from BMP format?

IrfanView is one VERY nifty tool for saving images in different formats. You can do MANY things with the program besides saving images, and it's really small, so it's easy to download. I highly recommend you download this program. Here's the link. Without it, I don't know what I'd do everyday Smile

2) Music compression: DON'T USE .WAV FILES. That's the rule with music files. Also, try using MIDI files for BGM and ME. Use other formats like MP3 and OGG if you're particular about what you want to use and MIDI files aren't up to the mark. The reason? Try converting a MIDI file into MP3 or any other format and check the file size. You'll know what I'm talking about. When you DO decide to use other formats than MIDI, remember these points:

  1. kbps determine the quality and size of MP3s and OGGs.
  2. RMXP needs extra time to load OGG files, while MP3s don't need any. The delay in loading an OGG file depends on its size.
  3. Streaming is supported by MP3 and WMA(Windows Media Audio) files and thus they don't need any time to load.(The reason OGG files take time to load is streaming is not supported for this format)
  4. An OGG file encoded on 64kbps is around the same quality as an MP3 file encoded on 128kbps.
  5. Using a 32kbps OGG file sounds quite good in-game, despite being 4 times smaller than a 128kbps MP3 file.
I'm not too familiar with audio encoding and optimum encoding of audio files will be a whole tutorial in itself. The best way is to do some experimentation yourself and use the format which suits you best.

F.A.Q
Awaiting questions...

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