An illustration of collaborative game development with remote team members.
April 2, 2020

How to Enable Collaborative Game Development For Remote Teams

Game Development
Version Control

Game development teams have always been remote. But now remote game development teams are facing a new challenge. In this blog, you’ll learn how to enable collaborative game development for remote individuals.

Remote Game Development Teams Just Got More Remote

Remote game development teams just became remote individuals. For the foreseeable future, institutions are closed. Physical events have been canceled. And most people are working remotely.

At the same time, the game development industry is seeing more demand. Games are a great way of entertaining people who are stuck at home. Playing games relieves stress and provides a welcome distraction.

In some cases, games are replacing physical events virtually. There are virtual F1 and NASCAR races to replace the real-life events. Pro race car drivers are now competing with gamers, and everyone is having fun!

This presents a unique challenge. There’s more demand on game development teams to build faster and release more. At the same time, you have a team that’s made of up entirely remote individuals.

Why Collaborative Game Development Is Important

Collaborative game development is important for building a successful game. And now you have remote individuals contributing on each team. It’s even more important now to ensure a collaborative game development process.

Here’s an example. Your developers and designers are sitting at home. They still need access to large repositories to do their work. And they need to download and work on:

  • Digital assets (e.g., visuals or graphics).
  • Design.
  • Source code.
  • All the other components that go into producing a game.

But there are unique challenges to working remotely that make this more difficult. Internet connectivity might not be as good at home as it is on the local network in the office. And there’s a greater need to communicate via tools.

You need to be able to see who’s doing what. For example:

  • What files are people working on?
  • Do you need to switch to different releases?
  • How can you help teams efficiently manage workloads?

How to Enable Collaborative Game Development For Remote Teams

Here’s how to enable collaborative game development for increasingly remote teams. Watch the on-demand webinar below. Or keep reading for a recap on how to help your remote game development teams collaborate better.

 

 

1. Scale Infrastructure

All of the individuals on your team are working remotely. And you might be trying to do more work to satisfy increased demand. That means even more builds and tests are required to get more and more releases out the door.

You’ll need to scale your infrastructure to support this.

To scale your infrastructure, you should consider:

  • Moving (parts of it) to the cloud.
  • Setting up federated architecture.

Moving to the Cloud

Moving to the cloud might be a wise move. One risk is that you may lose access to on-premises servers. In many cases, the cloud can help you deliver files to remote users.

But the cloud isn’t a cure for everything.

There’s more you need to consider. This includes:

  • What instances/resources are still available in your preferred region(s)? (Microsoft is reporting 775% increase in demand in some regions.)
  • How are you going to optimize data costs?
  • How will you manage a more complex topology?
  • Do you understand the appropriate security mechanisms that need to be set up?

To learn more about version control and cloud:

Setting Up Federated Architecture

Another option is to set up servers around the globe that allow remote users to work as if they are local.

In Helix Core, you can do this with Perforce Federated Architecture. Major sites typically have edge servers. Individual users can have personal proxies. And build farms may be distributed to deliver feedback faster.

For example, you're looking here at running a proxy process on your local PC. A proxy caches the contents of files that you're syncing locally. It's ideal when you need to work with larger files. When you do a sync, the proxy digs the files out of the local cache. This is much faster than going up to the server and transmitting it over the wire.

In addition, you can schedule tasks to prepopulate the proxy cache with the latest builds. And you can set it to run in the early hours of the morning before you start work.

2. Set Up Monitoring

If you’re responsible for keeping teams running, you need to actively monitor what's going on in your infrastructure.

You should set up monitoring to:

  • See trends and spikes.
  • Review performance and pro-actively respond to issues.
  • Limit any downtime.
  • Allocate resources where they are needed most.

You should always ask:

"How are things performing? How can I tweak things and make things better?"

One team might be working well. But another team might need some extra support. And setting up more servers increases the need to monitor your entire infrastructure.

You should also automate alerts — and build with industry standards. For instance, Prometheus monitoring and Grafana dashboards are helpful for this

[Related Blog: How to Implement Prometheus Monitoring + Grafana Dashboards]

 

3. Enhance Builds

If you’re trying to get more releases out and do more work, you’ll need to consider what it means for your build pipeline. You may need more build resources. You’ll need to consider where around the world those should be located. And you’ll need to optimize your pipeline.

It’s critical to deliver feedback fast. And you’ll need to make sure that everyone’s changes get put together, integrated, and tested automatically. Builds need to happen nightly, if not continuously throughout the day.

Supporting Build Farms

If you’re distributing work around the globe and using the cloud, you might want to consider the following.

"Okay, how can I put my build farm in the cloud or in different parts of the cloud for different regions?"

For example, with Helix Core, you’ll want to consider how you’re going to support those build farms with edge servers.

If you put an edge server close to your build farm, it makes the performance so much better. The edge server receives updates from its upstream commit server and provides local working performance for the build farm. And you can use the cloud to optimize utilization and backbone communication.

Speeding Up Builds

Helix Core also helps you speed up builds. It integrates with external tools, including CI tools like Jenkins.

A central server keeps DevOps teams up-to-date on changes. Using a “build edge” server makes it easier to manage. Plus, it doesn’t require a high availability replica. And a recent Helix Core feature — the “background submit option” — improves responsiveness for large digital assets. This helps you deliver feedback quickly to teams.

Optimize Workflows With Perforce Streams

Using Perforce Streams — branching in Helix Core — helps you optimize and automate workflows.

Streams enables you to visualize what changes need to flow. And you can use it to guide team members to make changes in the right place. Plus, there’s flexibility for different teams to do different aspects of the work efficiently and effectively. 

Learn more about enhancing your builds:

Build Your Game on Helix Core

It’s more important than ever for remote game development teams to be collaborative. To truly collaborate, you’ll need to be able to deliver feedback wherever your teams are located. And to do that, you need to scale infrastructure, monitor performance, and enhance your builds.

Helix Core can help you meet the demands of your remote game development teams. And Helix Core enables collaborative game development.

That’s because Helix Core can scale to handle anything:

  • 10s of 1,000s of users.
  • 10s of millions of daily transactions.
  • 100s of terabytes of data.
  • 10,000+ concurrent commits.

Helix Core can deliver files quickly to remote users without the WAN wait. It works on-premises or in the cloud. You can pair it with industry standard monitoring tools to see what’s going on and enable collaboration. And you can use Helix Core to accelerate your builds, so you can release faster.

By using Helix Core, you’ll be able to build faster and entertain more. See for yourself how Helix Core can help your remote team. Get started for free for up to 5 users.

Go Remote With Helix Core