After Evaluating SVN and Git, Rooster Teeth Sides with Helix Core

Before selecting Helix Core, Rooster Teeth had evaluated Subversion (SVN), which it found to be counterintuitive, and Git, which did not scale adequately. “Git worked fine with just a few files, but once we tried to access 1,000 files at once, it crashed,” reports Jeff Yohn, Technical Director, Rooster Teeth.

    What Convinced Rooster Teeth to Pick Helix?


    Good previous experience from other team members

    ASCII data type and binary asset management

    Significantly less risk of missing deadlines

    In a production pipeline, the stress goes up with every hour that you have to make up because something happened to a file.

    Perforce is a lifesaver."


    About Rooster Teeth Productions

    Creators of award-winning online animated series RWBY, Rooster Teeth Productions is an Austin, TX-based creative production studio. With 50 developers and animators, they make a variety of comedy and gaming series.In 2012, their YouTube channel became the 8th most viewed non-music channel in the world with 2.2 billion views. The Rooster Teeth website attracts five million unique monthly visitors with a community of 1.4 million registered members.


    Losing Time and Visibility  

    Working on the web-based anime series RWBY posed some problems:

    • Computer-generated productions made it difficult to track file changes
    • Limited traceability on corrupted assets took too much time to rebuild
    • 5 TB of ASCII and binary assets in approximately 10 million files creates a huge tracking problem

     “We needed a system that would help us monitor asset changes and recover lost data without a lot of lost man-hours,” states Jeff Yohn, Technical Director, Rooster Teeth.


    Picking Helix Core Over SVN or Git

    Before selecting Helix, Rooster Teeth evaluated Subversion (SVN), which it found to be somewhat counterintuitive, and Git, which did not scale adequately. “Git worked fine with just a few files, but once we tried to access 1,000 files at once, it crashed,” Yohn reports.

    Reasons Perforce was a solid choice:

    • Developers had Helix experience from previous work in gaming
    • Easily scaled to the size of Rooster Teeth projects
    • Handled both ASCII data types and binary assets
    • Helix Free for Small Teams program included responsive tech support

    “When I came on board at Rooster Teeth, not everyone was sold on version control,” Yohn remarks. “Now we know that it’s a necessity.”


    Plugin to Helix

    Rooster Teeth team members use Helix, along with the Windows plugin, to access files. Yohn also integrated Helix with the two 3D animation packages used for the project, Autodesk Maya and Smith Micro’s Poser. When an animator loads one of these packages, it checks in with Helix Core to make sure the animator is working on the latest file.

    Helix ensures that Rooster Teeth’s rendering engine is operating with the most up-to-date assets. Running on a standard gamer’s desktop system, Helix handled the load with no downtime during the production season. Towards the end of the project, Rooster Teeth did 500 shots in two weeks and generated 300-400 Helix queries per night.


    Impacting Productivity 

    Helix has made huge strides for Rooster Teeth. The team can recover lost, corrupted, and accidentally modified assets faster. As a result, the company has significantly cut the risks of a missed production date, which can have huge revenue implications.

    “With a production pipeline, it’s all or nothing,” Yohn says. “You can work for nine months, and if you don’t make the DVD date, you don’t make the sales. You might not even get to make another season”


    Onward and Upward

    Rooster Teeth has started using Helix as a delivery system for custom tool sets that Yohn develops for the production team. The company plans to expand the use of Helix to new productions over the next year.