We had major speed issues with Mercurial, and therefore we decided to try Perforce. The difference was night and day. Our submits went from half an hour to under a minute, saving approximately two person-hours per day. Suffice it to say, we switched immediately."

Ryan Fedje

Senior Game Designer Camouflaj

About Camouflaj

  • Boutique game studio founded by former Halo 4 creative director and Metal Gear Solid 4 producer Ryan Payton
  • Creators of the new dystopian action-adventure game République, which introduces a ‘one-touch’ input method using smart Artificial Intelligence (AI) and logic-based input
  • Dedicated to bringing high-quality game experiences to the broadest possible audiences

Core Pain Points

The 25 artists, designers, developers, and production personnel working on République collaborate on artifacts that include code, art, and Unity game engine assets:

  • The art directory of Camouflaj’s depot is 100GB
  • A large part of its repository consists of binary files
  • Animation files are 100MB on average 100MB, and can get up to 1GB
  • Up to 20 percent of the team works remotely at any given time

Before Perforce, Camouflaj’s source control system, Mercurial, was slowing down the development pipeline:

  • Mercurial’s peer-to-peer architecture caused collisions between users, even when those users were submitting different files. Users might be required to resubmit files that they had not worked on
  • The system would slow down drastically when handling binary files. At times, users would have to submit multiple times
  • Merging was difficult to complete

“Initially we thought that not having a central server would create a better workflow,” says Ryan Fedje, Senior Game Designer at Camouflaj. “However, the result was that it could take half an hour to get a change submitted at the end of the day.”

Why Perforce?

Camouflaj briefly evaluated Git and Subversion before deciding to start a free trial though the Perforce Free for Small Teams program. Perforce was attractive because:

  • Unlike Subversion, it would not generate extra files that would waste storage space
  • Fedje and others had previous experience with the product

Perforce in Action

Running Perforce alongside Mercurial during a trial period, the production team saw a dramatic difference: submits immediately went down from half an hour in to under a minute.

“We have found Perforce to be incredibly stable,” notes Vincent Loiseleur, Technical Designer.

  • Camouflaj set its server to have two network cards for direct routing to Perforce
  • Team members check files out of Perforce and keep them locked while they are doing their work, avoiding conflicts with other users
  • The Perforce plug-in for Unity has made it faster and easier to author content in Unity
  • Software release managers can assemble projects using familiar engineering processes, and Git developers can continue to use their preferred tools
  • Unix build scripts access the Perforce repository to generate builds as often as 20 times per day. Getting all of the code from Perforce takes less than five minutes

Business Impact

Perforce has delivered significant benefits to the Camouflaj team:

  • Faster submits have made the team much more productive on a daily basis. The company estimates that it is saving more than two person-hours per day, or 12,000 person-hours per year
  • File locking has prevented the major productivity losses that could occur if team members work on the wrong version of an asset
  • Team members now have visibility into who is working on which assets, allowing them to work more efficiently. “With Mercurial, we had to resort to the Skype channel to get this information,” Loiseleur reports
  • Better security: Camouflaj can now provide contractors and remote employees with access to select parts of the repository rather than the entire game

Expanding the Perforce Footprint

Moving forward, Camouflaj is looking at ways to incorporate additional Perforce products into its development process, including Git Fusion, Swarm, and P4GT, the Perforce Plug-in for Graphical Tools. According to Loiseleur, “Perforce offers us a wide array of tools and modules that I can see improving our workflow here at Camouflaj and we're only just starting to use a fraction of them.”


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