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The way it works, according to me: when you start a projector, it loads all the xtras that are in the xtras folder, regardless of whether you need them right away or not.
Normally, I would advice to use a stub movie that has just your menu so it would start up as fast as possible. From that menu you would start protected movies, but you cannot, as far as I know, include xtras in a protected (dxr) movie. So you would still need to include these xtras in the xtras folder, which would again cause your stub projector to slow down in loading.
The only way I see to solve this, is to use actual projectors (exe) that have the xtras included in them. Whether that's a great solution depends on the situation I guess, in this case, it may be warranted though. The Buddy xtra can do this, FileIO too I think. In order not to confuse the user, I would recommend using a splash image for each exe file, so the user will know something is happening. You then have to decide whether to close the menu upon launch of the selected item, and have the new exe re-open it upon close, or have it stay open. If you choose to have it staying open, you could have the new program send a local message to the menu when it opens and/or closes, so the menu could display an appropriate message or put itself in the background or foreground.
Hope this helps!
"The only way I see to solve this, is to use actual projectors (exe)
that have the xtras included in them."
My understanding (which could certainly be wrong) is that this increases
the load time because the xtras have to be unpacked and then read in.
true, but his main gripe was that his program didn't start up fast enough when the cd is initially inserted (or the main menu exe double clicked, whichever)
If the separate programs don't need like 5 huge xtras for them to work, the loading times could be kept acceptable.
Just make sure you don't leave any unneeded xtras in your xtras map! (or included in your projector)
You can't avaoid loading all xtras at startup. However, you can pare
back all the xtras used to the bare minimum and this will help load
time. Use a fast-start, stub projector. Use a splash-screen bitmap while
loading. For Impressario (a known resource/load-time hog) there are
specific strategies - check INM's site for details.