7-Zip is a freeware file archiver developed by ZX Computing Inc. and released in 1996. It was originally designed to allow users to compress large amounts of data into smaller files without sacrificing quality or speed. 7-Zip can decompress ZIP archives, TAR archives, RAR archives, BZ2 archives, GZIP compressed archive (Gzipped), LHA uncompressed archive (Lzhpzipped) and many other types of archived data formats.
The program supports multiple archive formats including: .ZIP, .TAR, .RAR, .BZ2, and many others.
7-Zip can create archives from any type of archive format. You can even use it to extract archives created with other programs such as WinRar or WinZip. 7-Zip is available for Windows 95/98/Me/NT4/2000/XP; Mac OS X 10.3+ and Linux.
WinRar is a powerful compression utility which allows you to easily manage your files and folders quickly. It’s great for those times when you need to compress or unpack large amounts of data. It can handle all kinds of archives, including ZIP, RAR, 7z, Tar and many others. WinRar can also open .ZIP archives created with other programs like 7-Zip or WinZip.
The 7-Zip (originally published as Dimitri and later known as I Want a Disk!) is a disk editor that allows you to create, extract, and inspect files and disks. You can use it to copy files from old 5.25″ or 3.5″ floppy disks, or even from newer formats like flash drives.
You can open the files on your computer, edit them, and then save them back out again.
This is the answer to your problem. feature-rich 7-zip in a small package. This tool gives you all the power and flexibility of 7-zip, without any unnecessary bulk.
If you have an old floppy disk laying around from 1993 you can open it with this program and view or edit the files inside. You can also use it to save changes you make to any of your working files. 7-Zip supports a wide range of archive formats including ZIP, RAR, and many others.
If you need a quick way to uncompress something you downloaded from the internet, 7-zip is a great tool to have around. It can open all popular archive formats such as RAR, ZIP, 7Z, etc.
Many third party programs can create and open ZIP files, as can most modern operating systems (including recent versions of Windows, Mac, and Linux). If you have a lot of files that need compressing into a single file for easier downloading or sharing over the internet, many browsers and online file hosts (such as Dropbox) can automatically ZIP your selected files for you.
In most cases, a simple ZIP file is all you need. These files can be created and opened by nearly all operating systems and by most programs, so they are very convenient when sharing files with others.
If you don’t anticipate ever needing to access the contents of the file on a machine you don’t own, you may not need to use anything other than ZIP.
If you are sending the file to someone who does not have any of these programs, you can select “7z” as the archive format. This will create a file that requires the 7-zip program in order to be opened. Most operating systems have this installed by default, but if you need it you can download it here.
If you anticipate needing to access or update the file later, ZIP is probably not a good choice. In this case, you probably want to look into a different format.
There are trade-offs with any format. ZIP is simple to create, open, edit, and backup. However, it does not handle large files well. LZH and RAR both handle huge files well, but are more complicated to work with.
There are many different archive formats, but for most people ZIP and RAR are going to be the best choices. If you know you’ll be working with extremely large files, you might choose LZH or 7z instead.
This sums up most of what you need to know about the various archive formats. However, there are several formats supported by 7-Zip and each has their own unique features.
If you’re sending someone a file you created, and they don’t have 7-zip, you should strongly suggest that they get it. Not only can it open all the major formats, but it also is completely free. It can be downloaded here.
If you’re sending a file to someone who is using Microsoft Windows (or is inclined to download the Microsoft software), then ZIP is a good option. However, if the person is using Mac or Linux, it’s probably better to send them one of the other formats.
ZIP files have a few shortcomings that the other formats do not. First, they are limited to a little under 8 GB. Second, they can not reliably encrypt the contents without 3rd party software. Finally, they do not handle huge files well, as any file over 8 GB will not be compressed as much as it could be.
The ZIP archive format is by far the most common for packaging files for download on the internet. This is because it is supported by essentially all operating systems and is included with all of them. It is also easy to use, as there is essentially only one format (unlike RAR which has different formats for normal, solid and recovery files).
Lossless compression algorithms are designed to reduce the size of the data while preserving complete accuracy of the original data for decompression. In other words, there is no loss of data during the compression and decompression processes.
Although not a perfect format for this purpose, 7z offers the best overall combination of features. It uses two different algorithms for compression which allows it to select the best one for any given file. It also has a few extra compression options that trade off speed for size. As such, it’s the recommended format for when size isn’t as much of an issue (such as for your game).
However, the benefit of a lossless format is that you can later use it to make another exact copy of your game. If this is important to you or you expect people to want to make copies, then you’ll want to use a lossless format.
The down side is that there is no major advantage in compression. With other formats, they typically offer 2:1 or 3:1 compression. However, these formats typically only work with specific types of files. For example, you can get a 2:1 compression with .ZIP files, but only if the data is primarily ASCII characters.
The other option is no compression at all. Some people use this to speed up the process since it takes much less time to copy the files onto your phone or tablet. You can do this for any format.
Lossy compression, unlike lossless, is exactly as it sounds. The data is compressed in a way that takes bits of data out thus permanently losing it. This is typically done in a way that the human eye can’t detect, however. Usually these types of compression are used for images and video in order to greatly reduce their size.
The term “codec” usually refers to a specific piece of software that does the decompressing for you. In the case of video, there are many different types and companies that produce them. In most cases you must specifically get the codec software from the company that made the video in order to play it. Sometimes, but rarely, there is a standard that becomes widely adopted (such as .AVI).
More commonly, a company will produce a codec that only their software can read. In this case Vorbis is a format that is only supported by the company’s own software and not any other programs.
The way these video formats work is similar to image formats in that typically they use a lossless compression method for most of the video and then use a lossy method (where information is discarded) for finer details. The exact methods, again, are beyond the scope of this document, but you may want to research them yourself as these formats become more widespread and common on portable devices.
One major difference between this format and the others mentioned is that in most cases the music files are significantly larger than the equivalent lossy music file (such as MP3). This means that if you’re concerned about size, then using a lossless format on your game audio is probably not a good idea.
One last thing to note about this format is that it isn’t restricted to audio. It can also be used for video. If you’re using this for music in your game, then you’ll need to embed the video as well in order for it to keep perfect time. Obviously, this will increase the filesize quite a bit and may not be appropriate for all games (especially those with big music files).
The final major option in terms of music is a live recorded version. There are several different ways to achieve this and most of them are beyond the scope of this article, but it is possible to take a live recording of your music and then release that (either as an album or as a DLC/add-on which players can select and use in your game).
One thing to consider though is that you may want to add in some audio effects (reverb, etc. see the section on Sound Effects) in order to make the music sound like it’s being played in a particular location even if it was actually recorded in a studio. This is especially important if you’re going to be uploading these kinds of files as DLC since some players will quickly notice that something sounds off about the music and then complain about it (even if this option was never advertised).
There are other issues to think about as well, such as the music sounding different on different sound systems. While this is also the case with other music formats, it’s a more noticeable problem with live recorded music since not all systems are going to play the music at the same volume or EQ (equalize) it the same way.
One option is to do multiple takes and use your judgment to pick the best sounding one. This is also known as “live mixing” and is typically done in studios all the time for music (and even for games). The other option is to leave them all in and let each person customize the sound system to their own preferences. This can be done by letting the user manually adjust each individual sliders (such as “bass”, “mid”, and “treble”) or by generating different versions of the music based on your own custom settings.
Another issue that you may run into when releasing recorded music is licensing. If you are releasing recorded music rather than synthetic (meaning that it was computer generated rather than recorded by musicians), then you will most likely need to pay licensing fees for each song. These can range from a few dollars to multiple hundreds of dollars per song.
If the music isn’t released as part of the main game and is released as DLC or an expansion, then you may be able to avoid paying these fees depending on the agreements you have with your composers. It may also be the case that you’re not required to pay these fees if the music wasn’t written with the intention of being released (this mostly applies to game mods though rather than commercial games).
Whatever music format you decide to go with, it’s highly recommended to have some sort of music in the game. It is one of the most important aspects of setting the tone of a particular scene, as without it, scenes can end up feeling bland and lifeless.
In the next chapter, we’re going to cover graphic content. This includes everything from artwork for the game itself to logos and promotional images.
Doesn’t QA stand for “quality assurance”? Why are we testing this stuff now?
Because it’s part of the process and while I appreciate all of your input on various things, I can’t rely on you to pick up the slack on other aspects. Especially since most of you don’t have much experience in these areas.
Also, get used to it. A lot of the game development process is testing things along the way.
That being said, let’s get started…
First off, we need a logo. This will be for the game itself and for the company. For the game, we’ll probably just put it in the corner somewhere. For the company, well, that’s going to take a little more work and thought.
If you’ve been following our saga, then you know that we’re eventually going to have multiple games, comics, toys, and more. All of this stuff is going to be tied together somehow. That’s where the logo comes in.
You may or may not have noticed, but we’ve been using the same “GC” logo that we came up with for game concept a long time ago. This isn’t really the best plan though, as that logo is specifically tied to a single game now and doesn’t even reflect the type of content that we’re making now.
So, let’s get to it.
One of the first things you should do is make a list of all the things that you think should be included in the logo. For example, if your game has multiple factions, then having one of the factions represented in the logo would be a good idea. If your game features space ships, then a satellite in orbit or something may be appropriate.
Once you’ve made your list, you can start weeding out the ideas that just don’t work for this universe. Once you’ve done that, you can start narrowing down the list a bit more. Let’s take a look at our own list:
-Multiple races, one of which is human
-At least two continents (possibly more)
-Humans are from “The East” (so to speak)
-At least one airship
-Nomadic people (grues)
From this list, we can start seeing a couple of things that will probably be common throughout the Universe. For example, there’s going to be multiple races present, but none of them are going to be elves. There’s also going to be multiple continents, at least two of which have human populations.
So, from this, we can narrow down the list a bit and start choosing which of these ideas are most important to us.
Do we eliminate the Elves idea altogether or do we include it even if it isn’t a major feature?
The same thing can be asked about multiple continents.
Do we keep it in the logo even if the game doesn’t take place on a different continent?
For the purposes of this example, we’ll say that we’re keeping all of the ideas listed in the final product, though only one is a major feature of the logo. We’ll eliminate the elves altogether since they aren’t really a major feature and don’t want to clutter things up. This also gets rid of an entire continent, so there’s no need to keep it in the logo.
So, with those two gone, here’s what we have left to work with:
-Multiple races (still including human at this point)
-At least two continents (possibly more)
-Humans are from “The East” (so to speak)
-At least one airship
-Nomadic people (grues)
From here, we can start making eliminations based on other factors. For example, at this point we can probably eliminate the airship. Since this isn’t a major feature of the logo, there’s no real need to clutter things up and keep it in.
This leaves us with just the ghoulish race of nomads and two unknown continents. For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll eliminate the continents entirely since they aren’t really a major feature and don’t want to clutter things up. This gets rid of the ghoulish race as well since they’re nomadic and are now out of a home. That leaves us with just humans from “The East” and there’s no need to keep that in the logo.
At this point, we’ve trimmed the fat and have a nice, clean logo that’s easy to read and focuses on the major feature of the setting: the multiple races living in one world. This is what we’re going to use.
Sources & references used in this article:
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