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Best Practices for Version Control in Game Development


Every game studio aspires to provide an unforgettable and one-of-a-kind gaming experience to its audience. This entails overcoming the difficulties that come with worldwide teams, huge files, and a variety of content formats.

The following is a best practice guide with relevant insights from some of the industry’s most forward-thinking studios. What game development leaders already know will be reinforced in this article.

The best games in ten years won’t be empirically created; instead, they’ll be theoretical creations generated from the minds of creative development teams.

Change management and file versioning approaches used to build these amazing games, on the other hand, will be firmly established in today’s best practices. There are a variety of tools and technologies available to assist with change management and bringing your team’s creative output together. Many of your game development pain points can be alleviated by the visible experiences of industry leaders, which we highlight in game development.

Current Game Development Trends

  • Large file sizes — both binary and source code — commanding greater data retention than ever before, 4K screens outputting greater visual clarity and acuity, and new technologies, such as virtual reality (VR), creating wholly uncharted terrains to be explored, are all examples of these ongoing challenges.
  • Many gaming developers are shifting their focus away from traditional console games and toward virtual reality ventures. According to GDC 2016 attendee data, developer interest has surged by 15% in only the last year. Nearly half of the developers polled expressed an interest in working on VR projects, with 73 percent predicting that virtual reality will one day completely eclipse gaming console development.
  • With top players like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift leading the way, as well as increased competition from Sony and Google, game companies are being forced to adapt to the new development landscape faster and at a lower cost to their business.

Each game developer has unique challenges.

  • Aside from that, each design studio must deal with its own set of internal issues.
  • Smaller teams, frequently collaborating with newer creators, compete in saturated markets against larger AAA game studios with more resources and brand recognition.
  • Monolithic studios, on the other hand, must coordinate their tasks across enormous teams.
  • They want to be as agile as their smaller competitors, but they can’t seem to keep track of workflows and changes in their complex branch structures and separate digital content repositories.
  • Perforce Helix Core is the best version control for game development. Helix Core provides total visibility and traceability of projects to teams of all sizes. A single source of truth that enables small and large teams to become more powerful and agile.
  • The bottom line is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for every operation. The key ideas in this eBook, on the other hand, will help any design firm improve its short- and long-term efficiency. Helix Core provides stable branching procedures in distributed contexts, full traceability with secure asset versioning, and a scalable architecture that is ideal for artists and engineers.

1. Epic Games are a series of video games

The Concept

In 1885, the first roller coaster built in America debuted in Coney Island, traveling at a speed of 6 miles per hour. Roller coasters today go at ten times that speed and frequently have many vehicles on the same track. That parallel may be extended to game production, where teams of artists, developers, and project managers are all working on the same “road” but in very different “cars.”

The transformation of AAA gaming is accelerating at a breakneck speed. Gameplay systems, as well as the development engines used to create them, are becoming increasingly complicated. Studios are pushing the limits of what is possible, creating assets that were previously unthinkable.

This rapid expansion of ambition and expectation has necessitated the formation of larger development teams working in distributed contexts. This means a very complex development branch structure for folks on the ground, which might potentially derail your game in an instant. It’s critical to make your branching structure more stable and efficient. This method keeps teams working, eliminates bugs and errors, and assures that all teams are on pace to release the next game on time.

The Approach

Epic Games challenges their sub-teams to handle the various aspects of their engine development while also correcting issues in their forked workspaces in real-time.

Before any of the code ever makes it to the mainline track, each branch is put through a QA procedure. This results in a project content release branch that is extremely stable. Individual team branches are also more stable because any modifications made outside of the team have previously gone through the QA process.

Perforce Streams’ visualization tools are what keep all of this mayhem connected and trackable. Helix Core provides a single source of truth for branch actions, from Time-lapse ViewTM to Revision Graph to P4Merge.

As a result, content writers can continue to be productive on the mainline, while programmers can continue to work efficiently in their team branches. Build managers will be able to see everything in one location and coordinate efficiently.

2. CD Projekt Red is a game developed by CD Projekt.

The Concept

Artists create works of art. Developers work on projects. And AAA game engines are at the heart of everything. Why should DevOps procedures get in the way of these happy, self-contained operations?

To bring these frequently diverse teams together, many design studios have developed their DevOps approach. Positive coupling can be achieved with the correct tools and methods. That’s because a single erroneous problem may ruin an entire project, and if build managers are examining many, unrelated repositories, good luck keeping your teams productive and efficient.

Your teams risk losing valuable IP, overwriting essential assets, or losing total visibility of all your hard work if software builds lack traceability. Teams can have the best of both worlds with Helix Core, which combines a highly collaborative and secure platform for versioning all project changes with a mono repo that can share smaller individual chunks, known as narrow clones, effortlessly.

Code developers may simply grab the baked assets they need without synchronizing all the added artist files to their local workstations, allowing artists to focus on smaller swathes of assets without cluttering their machines or being held up by file changes they don’t care about.

That just doesn’t feel like it because all teams are working under a single, auditable pipeline. Give your users the processes they desire while giving your managers the peace of mind that their IP is properly versioned.

The Approach

CD PROJEKT RED has implemented a system of processes that monitor changes, trigger tests, and automate fixes using Helix Core’s flexibility and single-source view. The company has even started using Helix Core to automate bug patches, closing issues using pre-made remedies built on top of the mainline code.

Even as their number of engineers and artists approaches 500, their productivity has extended to their rising user base, since they are decreasing risk and releasing faster. CD PROJEKT RED knows what’s going down the pipeline, can track the modifications made by their contributors, and can fix bugs before they happen.

3. The Chinese Room is a room dedicated to Chinese culture.

The Concept

It’s difficult to believe, but Pong, the venerable arcade forerunner, was once the pinnacle of gaming. It was a resounding triumph in the fusion of creativity and technology, eagerly devoured by the public.

So, what’s different now? Why aren’t millennials hurling pixelated digital spheres back and forth with glee? It’s because, as technology advances, the desire for more innovation grows exponentially. In gaming, ideas and features become conventional, and they eventually become stagnant. The game innovation tree must be tended to on a regular basis.

The expanding breadth of a AAA game title is aided by more powerful gaming platforms and new development technologies. By being an accommodating partner to creative game designers, Helix Core stands alone in enabling that progress.

Artists prefer Helix Core’s straightforward interface to more technically complex tools for managing their creative assets.

And game studios that struggle to make Git processes work will unavoidably come to a fork in the road unless one of two things happens:

  • They’ve effectively scaled their business, and Git can no longer manage file sizes in a single repository, but rather across multiple Git silos.
  • Or studios get bored of transferring binary files, artwork, and designs between computers.Git has a stumbling block that Helix Core does not, and the artists are the ones that pay the price.

The Approach

The Chinese Room likes to focus on creative lines of advancement, preferring to get design features up and running, cooperate on future work, and revisit each development with fresh eyes. A methodical strategy that maintains their operations flexible and creative.

To accomplish so, you’ll require good version management. Helix Core users may travel “back in time” to find issues, correct them, and move on instead of worrying about how to manage assets in a VCS that just doesn’t handle them adequately, let alone in the same place.

Helix Core allows the team to focus on what makes a good game great rather than sewing together silos or managing diverse systems.

4. Cloud Imperium Games is a series of games published by Cloud Imperium

The Concept

How do you take the risk of going where no one has gone before? Is it possible to create design landscapes that are larger and more immersive than ever before? Probably.

Are enterprise access control and security required to keep it safe? Most likely.

Does it necessitate collaboration between developers and designers? Absolutely.

So, what if you need “all of the above” to manage an expanding workforce? Helix Core connects your entire universe. Sure, some small studios can manage their projects with homemade systems – albeit it’s not easy – by developing and tracking tools and workarounds.

However, when your business grows, or if your project is large from the start, you’ll need a versioning engine that can support all of your goals at once. With continuous delivery, distributed environments, and binary asset file management, this offers flexibility and performance.

Helix Core is designed for DevOps managers, engineers, and artists working on projects that grow quickly. So, what if “all of the above” is required to manage a growing workforce? The Helix Core is the hub of your universe. Sure, some small studios can manage their projects with homemade systems – though it is difficult – by inventing and tracking tools and workarounds.

However, when your company expands or your project grows in scope, you’ll need a versioning engine that can serve all of your objectives at the same time. This provides flexibility and performance thanks to continuous delivery, distributed environments, and binary asset file management.

Helix Core is for DevOps managers, engineers, and artists who work on fast-growing projects.

The approach

The Cloud of Methods Imperium Games relies on Helix Core’s system speed and stability to lead their everyday DevOps activities. Because they’re delivering the largest crowd-funded project in human history, Star Citizen, a $125 million game. The huge breadth of both work and project participants is mirrored in the degree of paid support.

Other server specs would be overwhelmed by the amount of contact CIG requires each day, but with Helix Core, servers continue to feed their network at an amazing rate, preventing development disruptions.

CIG also benefits from Helix Core’s granular access controls, which assist to protect mission-critical processes through individual permissions and auditing. As a result, while CIG works at a breakneck pace, their system administrators can be assured that their efforts are safe.

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