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Live update is more than just icing on the cake because it speeds up the final step in the iteration process. It helps asset integration and lets the user perform final tweaks to the assets in the game application at run time. After integration, the final tweaks can be an interactive and iterative process itself and having live update speeds that up.
One solution for Live Update is using the local network. If data is reasonable size, then it is sent directly to the game application memory.
Data mapped directly to the content asset attributes will reflect the update automatically. However, an update trigger can allow the game application to perform any conversions or resource updates to safely update the attributes.
If data is large, then it may be stored on disk and the live update trigger will inform the game application to load the modified data from disk. This is relatively slower, but it will do the job faster than having the user manually trigger an update on the game side.
Fig 5 shows how identical data structure is sent to the game application for update.
An update performed on the tool side should update the target application. This will require a live connection. Or if the connection is fast then a connection can be opened when data is transferred and then closed. This way there won't be an order to launching the tool and target application.
Tools are one of the most important components for production efficiency. Good tools allow faster iterations, which helps achieve better quality in game design and content. A tool's user interface plays a big part in friendly and efficient usability.
Ultimately, real time visual feedback gets the fastest turnaround time in game content production and provides leaps in freedom to create quality assets.
Implementation of such tools requires a methodological approach that may take longer than usual. However, its architecture and user interface design principles will be invaluable to the production teams for current and future projects.
Title photo by fdecomite, used under Creative Commons license.