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Multiplatform software sync/push
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:47 pm
I have to say it... the process of upgrading BRPG is kinda ugly. No, I don't blame anyone here - it's a complex program, and I'm just glad it exists. But having to move all downloaded files, maps, saves, artpacks, etc. manually each time there's an upgrade can be... time consuming.
My players, one in particular, get really grumpy when I tell them to update BRPG. On top of that, telling them to download and install the artpacks we're using as well just seems to push them too far. I'm wondering if there's an easier way.
I was thinking, I could just dump the latest BRPG into a shared Dropbox folder, and it would automatically get pushed/synced out to all my players. I add art packs, tokens, maps, patches, etc. to the folder, and it will all just automatically go to their machines. Is there any issue with this scenario?
To further complicate things, half of us are on Macs and half of us are on Windows. Is it possible to do a single folder containing all of BRPG's Mac and Windows files, and each person would just run the appropriate executable? I'm assuming the majority of support files are identical between platforms, and it's just the executable that is platform-specific. Is this correct?
Many thanks in advance!
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:57 pm
I like DropBox, and it's a great way to send media bundles to players. I'd never thought of using it for all the things you suggest.
Upgrading BRPG with patches is pretty fast, easy, and relatively painless. However, as you say, moving from one Full Install to another Full Install can be tedious, particularly for the GM.
If nothing else, providing BRPG updates and artpacks to your players via DropBox saves them from having to visit the forums and downloading them themselves. Instead, they just open the DropBox folder and the files are right there waiting for them. They just have to copy them to the proper BRPG folders (I believe if they move the files instead of copying them, the files will no longer be accessible to others; correct me if I'm wrong).
Off the top of my head, I believe the installations for Mac and Windows versions of BRPG are identical except for two things: the executable, and the contents of the Xtras folder. I don't recall offhand if the "INI" files are different.
Edit: I don't think you would be able to run BRPG directly from the DropBox, however. At various times, some of the files in the "Support Files" folder get saved, and this can happen at various points for the various players. It would probably cause issues with read/write permissions if more than one person is using the same installation at the same time.
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:01 pm
Thanks for the quick reply, Heruca! I noticed the different Extras contents after I posted the forum topic. Optimistically merged their contents... would that cause problems? i.e. is the Mac version going to try and load Windows extras, or vice-versa?
Also, I wondered about autosaves. Will it cause any sort of conflicts for Dropbox to be copying everybody's autosaves to everybody else's machines?
Many thanks - if this works, it'll be the ideal distribution system.
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:04 pm
I believe you can merge the Xtras without a problem. In fact, early versions of BRPG were distributed this way. I started offering platform-specific distributions to try to reduce the size of the download.
See my edit above, in case you missed it.
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:07 pm
I discovered one difference in the otherwise identical INI files:
In the Mac file:
What does this do? Would one or the other work on both platforms?
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:32 pm
That setting isn't particularly important. I think it only matters if running BRPG in fullscreen mode.
In case it's not obvious:
1 = TRUE
0 = FALSE
Posted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:01 am
So far so good: my merged BRPG folder works on both Mac and Windows. Unfortunately yes, BRPG modifies the user cast file and one or two others periodically, so it probably can't be run straight from the Dropbox folder. One would either have to copy the folder, or disable the Dropbox applet while playing.
It's really a shame the game can't be played from the Dropbox installation - that would negate the need for BRPG to transfer assets to players internally, as any items I add to the folder could be pushed out via Dropbox. But still, this should be a huge step up for my players.
The next step is for me to maintain a separate copy of the BRPG install on my Mac, and set up a Folder Action that launches an Automator workflow whenever it detects changes; the Automator workflow will copy any new files over to the Dropbox copy automatically, and those changes will get pushed out to my players.
I love automation.