Know ahead of time whether you are creating your Authorware piece for the Windows or Macintosh operating system. It is possible for both Windows and Macintosh computers to share the same Authorware files on one hybrid CD. Only the Authorware run-time application appropriate to the operating system viewing it will be visible to the user. To create hybrid CD disks, check the documentation that came with your CD-R mastering software.
Minimum CD-ROM Drive Speed
You will also want to determinethe minimum CD-ROM drive speed required to run your Authorware piece. CD-ROM drive speeds are advertised as 2X, 4X, 10X, and so on. Multiply the drive's speed by 150K/second to determine the data transfer rate for that drive. For example, a 4X drive will transfer up to 600K per second. However, be aware that other factors will impede the theoretical transfer rate for the intended minimum drive speed. (Remember that the components of the computer running the Authorware piece may also impede delivery. Other factors, such as CPU speed, available memory, disk fragmentation, and other bottlenecks may keep a CD-ROM drive from reaching its maximum data transfer rate. For more information on CD-ROM drive technology see Andy McFadden's CD-Recordable FAQ.
Defining your CD project
The best strategy depends on the type of project being authored. A linear project is one where the user will access different files in a prescribed sequence. An interactive project would typically have a structure which allows the user to choose between following a sequence or jumping from one point to another. The initial navigation point (the introductory level which gives the user the options to view different materials) will be referred to as a"shell" in this TechNote.
If your program has groupings of material that are likely to be accessed in a linear fashion, then materials which will be viewed at about the same time should be housed in the same library. For instance, if the user will be moving through a series of chapters, then put all the materials (sound, graphics, text and so forth) associated with Chapter 1 in one library, all the materials associated with Chapter 2 in a separate library, and so on. Sometimes developers create libraries based on the types of material used in the Authorware piece (for example, all sounds in a sound library, graphics in a graphic library, and so on). Organizing the materials in this manner will cause the CD to jump back and forth between libraries to display the Authorware piece. Forcing the CD-ROM drive to search the CD from one end to the other for material will slow down the delivery of the files.
Varied or interactive organization
In more complicated situations, you will need to consider further optimization techniques beyond properly organizing libraries of materials. For convenience and clarity, a typical interactive situation will be described here and suggestions offered on how a developer could optimize the delivery of such Authorware files on the CD.
This interactive scenario is a book with 8 chapters. Each chapter has a 3-minute audio track, a 5-minute video clip, a text transcript of the audio, and a short multiple-choice quiz. The user can choose which chapters to view and in what sequence they are viewed, although most will view each chapter sequentially. The scenario would likely follow this order: