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I've recently started completing games and accumulating "assets" -- graphics, sound effects, textures, 3D models, etc. that I can build on and reuse from game to game.

Is there a great, free place I can store an unlimited amount of this content? Ideally, I would like to categorize my content (by game) and tag it (eg. icons, characters, sound-effects, soundscapes). Unlimited storage is key, because I want everything stored in one place.

Also, most of my content is strange file formats; graphics are vector done in Flash (.FLA), or in GIMP (.XCF); I don't know what 3D model formats I'll use. Sounds will be .MP3.

Where can I store this stuff?

Edit: Not quite 100% dupe, but quite similar to Assets Management, database or versioning system?

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I would just keep the content carefully sorted into folders for what you call "tags" and subfolders by game. Maybe something like this:

  • /assets
    • /2d
      • /spritesheets_tilesets (i.e. combination images)
        • maybe even a sub folder here for humans, animals, etc.
      • /textures (tileable images)
        • you could have subfolders here for sizes, if they're all square power-of-two textures
      • /animated
        • this would be gifs; animation spritesheets would go in spritesheets_tilesets
    • /3d
      • maybe different model types? at the very least, maybe two folders here for organic and non-organic, if you have any mocap files they should have their own subfolder obviously, but for the most part 3D models are 3D models. Name them as best as possible, and where necessary put a screenshot of the model with the same name in the same folder so that you can quickly see models without having to load them in your modeling program.
    • /audio
      • /music
        • if you can come up with different mood types or something, that might be good subfolder candidates here
      • /sound effects
        • again, maybe have folders by type - explosion, shoot, ...
      • /voice
    • /video
      • i can't think of any subfolders for video. broken out by game is probably fine.
    • /text
      • /ascii art
      • anything else you think might be an asset

Notes:

  • In the "deepest" folder of each of the above things, that's where you should break it out by game if you want.
  • Remember, as you fill up the folders, that you can put files in any folder; you don't have to only put files in the deepest folder. A great example is the 2D folder; you're going to have content which doesn't fit the three subfolders I came up with, and probably can't be grouped with anything else, so just leave it in the 2D folder.
  • However, to reduce mess, every single file should be properly named. Come up with a consistent naming style and rename all your files to match this style. If you want to capitalize the first letter of every word in a filename, do that for everything; if you don't want files to have spaces but instead replace them with underscores, be consistent with that across all your files. This will help the readibility, both of browsing these folders and of any code or data files that have to list these filenames. Plus it helps you guess at a filename and not have to try variations of capitalization and underscores/spaces/nothing.

Now, assuming you are okay with the above method of organization, you just have to manage and back up a folder! You can use any of many cloud storage solutions to do this. You could have a server somewhere and FTP everything to/from it (don't use a web server; webhosts don't like being used as backup solutions and have no reservations in deleting files if they see you using it as pure backup). One solution I highly recommend you check out is Amazon S3; this would truly be unlimited storage, as you ask for, at a cost. But the price is very low. Or, you can simulate unlimited storage by buying a large hard drive(s) and just keeping everything on it (back it up somehow of course!!). Then you have the benefit of always having fast access to your data, whereas S3 would require a (fast) internet connection.

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I don't much care for the folder organization (too complicated), but Amazon S3 seems good -- maybe with some custom software to let me tag it easily. –  ashes999 Apr 4 '11 at 1:02
    
If you don't just store the files in folders, then you have to find a proprietary solution to manage the files and you will have an extra layer of abstraction and information to deal with. You will have to hope the solution is maintained and works on all platforms you use and will use in the future, and that it doesn't have bugs that might hinder you (or if you do find a bug, hope there is a maintainer who will fix it in a timely manner). If you make such a tool yourself then you have to deal with all the same concerns, but both sides are up to you to deal with. –  Ricket Apr 4 '11 at 15:49
    
That's very true. –  ashes999 Apr 4 '11 at 15:50
    
It makes me think of iTunes; iPods have to be managed using Apple's iTunes software. iTunes on Windows is terrible (slow, bulky, installs services and runs in the background, not very customizable, ...) but you are pretty much locked into using it and you play by its rules. Your songs are automatically copied into a folder where they are organized by artist and then by album, and generally wrapped in DRM, and your playlists and things are all stored in the iTunes Library file, readable only by iTunes (mostly). iTunes runs only on Windows and Mac. etc. etc. - you get the point. I don't like it. –  Ricket Apr 4 '11 at 15:53
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unlimited is a difficult thing. But you don't really mean unlimited, you just mean really big quota.

First, compress everything well. On Windows, simply enable 'compressed folders' for the folder where you are placing things. Or to compress as well as possible use a proper archiver such as 7zip. The archive approach has the advantage of being a nice single file that is easy to send to other systems, and typically uses 'solid' compression so the ratio can be substantially higher than a Windows compressed folder; however, it is also much slower and non-transparent to work with.

The best place to keep large amounts of data is locally, but keep multiple copies. External hard-drives are very cheap these days. You can put a lot on a DVD every few months and then put that DVD somewhere safe.

But if you also want off-site backup - good for robust disaster recovery - then email them to your gmail account (using a filter to hide them from normal view, e.g. prefix all subject lines with CRZY or something else that doesn't occur in normal emails). Put some context into the subject and message body so you can search them well using the gmail interface later to find them.

After you have filled up the 7GB or so that gmail offers, you may consider a paid solution.

(gmailFS solutions are not robust and dependable)

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