April 19, 2013

CCP Games at Merge 2013: Version Everything

MERGE User Conference

ccp games eve

Larger teams, increased collaboration and increasingly complex projects: That pretty much sums up how game development has evolved at CCP — and you could argue that this is a general trend in the software industry. This trend puts increased pressure on versioning.

Rather than trying to shield your diverse teams from revision control processes, however, you should turn it into a strength: Make versioning the heart of your development process and subsequent operation of your software.

I’ve been a Perforce fan for 12 years. Thanks to Perforce’s solid engineering, we can use it for more than "traditional" revision control. We're versioning everything!

But just how far can you take versioning everything in and around your product? I say you should take it all the way, thanks to my hard-won lessons from MMO game development and operation of EVE Online and Dust 514. Our single biggest check-in was 6.5 terabytes. I’ll explain the methods behind the madness at my talk at the Merge 2013 Perforce Conference.

No one size will fit all, but the principles and practices that I present should be widely applicable. Think of Perforce more as a platform than a product. Innovate around your workflow.

Versioning everything is an investment and requires foundation work, but it pays off. Nobody is born a versioning hero – you become one after a freak software accident. After that, you never again doubt the power of versioning.