Using dropbox to collaborate with game translating

27 03 2012

Dropbox is a must have! I don’t think I can go back to using the old method to collaborate.
Here are some of my ideas on how to collaborate with game translating(or collaborate with anything else-like Game Making). I spend some time researching Dropbox and softwares that can be used with it. Maybe some of you will find it useful.

Any suggestions to improve collaboration is appreciated.

Why is Dropbox good? Lets see the old fashion way. Translator upload files to email, compiler downloads x N times. Or translator have to completely finish all translations before giving to compiler, leaving the compiler with nothing to do, got out of touch and then probably disappear. With Dropbox, the compiler and translator can change the code anytime(some limitations like cannot edit same files together). Since it sync, it’ll be up to date for the compiler to take it for testing. Plus, any problems you can communicate easily with the chat app I listed down there.

– Install Dropbox desktop software. Dropbox integrates to windows explorer like a normal folder.
– Save files that need to be translated in Dropbox folder. We have folders “Chat”(for chat app), “Screenshots”(to communicate if words are hard to do)
– Make the folder a shared folder. Shared the folder with everyone that is in the team.
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– Edit the files directly, it’ll sync when you save it. It’ll sync the files with everyone when they open the Dropbox software. You can see the icon changes when it is syncing so pretty handy.
– Any Edits to the file will let everyone on the team receive balloon notifications on what is edited/added/deleted. No screenshot as none of my teammembers are around to help me get a notification now 😀

– There is even an external chat software I found that you can communicate with everyone in the team. Even though it’ll create conflicting copies, but at least the chat will be kept for everyone in the team to see when they run the Dropbox application. Normal chat software can’t do that. Before we use this software, we were using txt file(or any file) and changing the name of the file. It’ll give notifications when we change the file name. As you can see we have a few of the chat app in different folders as individual chat about a certain topic(you can run multiple of the chat if it is put in different folders). We have GeneralChat, ScriptChat, GraphicsChat, Announcements/Questions(no chat here but to get a global msg across if he/she not around). To access them fast, I create shortcuts to my dock so I can check all of them at once after I launch Dropbox. The software need .NET 4.0!

Author Site/Download:
http://blog.williamhilsum.com/2011/03/dropbox-chat-chat-through-dropbox-or.html

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-Dropbox creates versions of files for up to 2 weeks. So if you accidentally delete something or changed a file, you can get an old version back or undelete files. That’s why there is no risk when collaborating with lots of ppl. I never have to undelete or reroll to an older version of file, here is a tutorial:
https://www.dropbox.com/help/11

-If you right click the dropbox icon, you can see 5 recently modified items but sometimes when you’re not around, your teammates edit a lot of files, you can go to the event page to look at ALL updates since collaborating. You can also subscribe the page as a feed. For me, I just place a link on my dock to the site when I need to view.
https://www.dropbox.com/events
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-To avoid same file being edited by different ppl. We used an excel file to “check in” and “check out” of a file using colours. Yellow=Editing(don’t touch), Green=Done, Red=Need Attention. So when someone is in the process of editing the file, we can know about it and leave it be. This is very useful for the coder/compiler where they are always taking files to edit code and test out the game. There’s a software that did this but you have to install it. In the end I think the software is not really needed and this is enough to use for our current needs.
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-We also got a Notes Outliner with tree nodes to use so we can get all the small notes/ideas together. It needs to be used in a specific way though(cannot use together). See pic below for my idea about check-in & check-out. Codebank is good because you can store snippets of code, it has syntax highlighting too. There are other features like comments area so that it won’t affect your codes. The cons is that it cannot store graphics. If you want to store graphics and can edit font size and colour easily. I would suggest The Guide. The Guide needs some setting up before it can be used collaboratively though. Codebank needs .NET I think(Don’t know which version of .NET as I have all).
Author site(No download):
http://zeraha.org/2011/06/codebank-hierachical-source-code-snippet-database/
Download:
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/codebank.html
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-Lastly, you cannot use relative shortcuts in Dropbox. The desktop app kind of use quite an amount of memory(I don’t see any difference that impact my pc), the Chat app also use quite a lot of memory for a simple app. Conflicting copies is a problem too. But all its useful collaborative features outweigh this! You just need a system that works for your group.

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