New Zealand-Based Studio Mayday Conquers Indie Game Dev Challenges With Perforce Helix Core

StudioMayday (now RiffRaff Games) is an independent game studio, proudly located in the heart of Wellington, New Zealand. Currently, they are working on a couple of unannounced titles, with their debut expected in 2022.

The journey to set up their team, and deal with a sudden shift to remote, has involved conquering a lot of challenges. Learn how Studio Mayday empowers their small but mighty team with Helix Core — source control from Perforce.

Easy Setup for Coders & Creatives

Scales Quickly to Manage Big Files/Repos

Streamlines Collaboration

“Perforce has had such an important impact

on our team’s ability to just do things at a steady and regular pace.”

Behind the Scenes at Mayday

Studio Mayday is comprised of a handful of artists, inventors, and craft-folk. Their mission — to be the most inventive game studio in the modern era; bringing high concept creations and new genres to a wide audience. But where does a small studio start when building a unique gaming experience? 

According to Technical Director, Jordan Ewen, “Making a game and being different is a big challenge.” Spinning up a studio is no small task. Without a technical resource on staff, Mayday needs to rely on every member of their team to pitch in. “We're at a size where we don't have any support staff or people who aren't active developers.”

Setting Up the Team for Success 

To help support his teammates, Ewen wears a lot of hats. He is one of the most experienced members on the team, making it his job keep everything working. “As a technical director, I came from a game development background. But I have no experience running infrastructure stuff, so it’s been a learning experience.” He continues, “As a small game studio with a very limited presence, most of our pain points came from setting up and figuring things out.” 

Perforce Helix Core is designed for indie game developers to quickly get started. Ewen explains, “The infrastructure is easy enough to set up.” And for Producer Claire Barilla, “We invested a lot of time up front to get set up and configured in a good way, and now two years later, Perforce [Helix Core] is the one system with no problems the entire duration.”

Indie devs like Studio Mayday can easily set up Perforce Helix Core and deploy it their way — on-premises or in a pre-configured cloud environment. Not having to worry about how things are built allows creatives and coders to focus on creating.  

“It’s challenging being a small studio. We’re just trying to get a game out. Perforce [Helix Core] helps us do that.” — Jordan Ewen, Technical Director at Studio Mayday


Building Though the Pandemic

mayday office

In the beginning, everyone at Studio Mayday worked in an office. Barilla explains, “Our office space is very informal and kind of cozy. We relied a lot on people just talking to each other or walking past each other and asking questions.”

Then COVID hit. Ewen elaborates, “The first time working from home started for us, we had nothing ready. We didn't have any remote workers.” But, because they were building with Helix Core, the team was able to keep working. As technical director, Ewen was able to quickly get everyone the access they needed.

Although they are all back in the studio now, setting up Studio Mayday for remote work will help them scale as their project and teams expand. For a producer like Barilla, “New Zealand is an isolated and faraway country, and obviously with COVID, it's a lot harder to get people into the country. Hiring remote will help us get talent we might not be able to get locally.” 

Helix Core is flexible enough to support how teams want to work. Whether in the office, or remote, teams can experience the same high-performance and speed. 

“Perforce [Helix Core] is just solving all problems, like remote work, giving people access, or whatever. It's incredibly convenient.” — Jordan Ewen, Technical Director at Studio Mayday

Everyone on Deck

What makes indie studios so unique is that everyone, from the producer to the artist, is usually going in and making changes. With Helix Core, it is easy for team members to work in parallel, without ever stepping on each other’s toes. For Ewen, “It comes back to us being a small team. Our producer [Claire Barilla] also does a lot of work. Testing, fixing, she makes changes to the game, just not quite to the same level as other contributors.”

Barilla explains, “It's convenient that I can commit [changes] rather transferring changes to someone else.” As people come up with new characters, storylines, and more, they can go in and make tweaks. With Helix Core, all the changes are tracked. And if (and when) something breaks, teams can go back to the previous version.

Collaboration is key when trying to launch a new game with a small team. When it comes to working in Helix Core, Barilla says it best: “There’s really no major pain points with Perforce.”

The Tool Indies Trust

Start small and scale. It’s easy with Perforce Helix Core.


Seamless Unreal Engine Integration

Making a game today is all about creating pipeline. Just like many AAA game development companies, Studio Mayday builds with Unreal Engine. For studios building with powerful game engines, Helix Core is the preferred source control. “We mostly work in Unreal. That’s probably one of the major reasons that we use Perforce [Helix Core],” Ewen explains. 

Barilla continues, “I can't imagine any games today that wouldn't have a source control solution. It's just too important.” This is because source control is the foundation for game development pipelines. And Helix Core is the only source control system that can seamlessly manage the extremely large files and numerous files associated with Unreal development.

The tight integration between Helix Core and Unreal Engine allows Studio Mayday to unleash their imagination. Plus, as their game studio continues to grow, they will never need to change. Helix Core scales, helping indie studios like Mayday become bigger players.

“The Perforce integration into Unreal… It’s seamless.” — Jordan Ewen, Technical Director at Studio Mayday

Start Small and Scale Like Mayday

When Studio Mayday started building with Helix Core, they had just a handful of users. They were able to get industry leading tools from Perforce at the right price. Ewen says, “At that point, our number of users was low enough and the repo was small, so we could register for free.”

When they started to grow and needed to support more people, they could scale. “Helix Core, it works really good. We've had no problems and nothing's gone wrong.” Eliminating issues ensures Studio Mayday keeps moving towards their release date. When they do release, or add additional users, they can scale quickly and efficiently. 

If you are a small studio just starting out, start with the best tools. Get started using Perforce Helix Core version control for free. 

Get Free Tools