Perforce Helps Award-Winning Video Game Company Deliver Critically Acclaimed Titles
Alameda, Calif., June 5, 2012—Perforce Software announced that Hidden Path Entertainment, an award-winning video game company, is now using the Perforce software version management system to manage their game development. With more than 600 gigabytes of digital assets and 70 of their staff accessing the versioning engine from various time zones, Hidden Path needed a version management system that could keep pace with their rapidly growing development environment.
Founded in 2006, Hidden Path quickly made a name for itself in the indie game scene. They have delivered best-in-class titles in multiple genres and on multiple platforms. Their award-winning PC and XBLA title, Defense Grid, is critically acclaimed as one of the most definitive tower defense games ever made.
"When we first started the business we went with Subversion because it was free," said Michael Austin, chief technology officer and co-founder of Hidden Path. "When you're small, cost is very important. We were on SVN for about four years. Collaboration worked well, but it just didn't scale. Once we were dealing with millions of files, tree scanning could lock people's machines up for minutes at a time," said Austin.
As the company grew, Subversion slowed, showed signs of not scaling well and proved unstable for backup. "We needed to find something better," said Austin. "The decision was made easy when we started working with Valve Software and they recommended Perforce."
Perforce Credited with Substantially Improving Performance
Gaining 20 million more files from its work with Valve Software, Hidden Path made the switch to Perforce. According to Austin the performance improvement was palpable. "When we had a big project, for somebody to do a get of about 120 GB and 5-6 million files, it would take about two hours. When we switched to Perforce, that get took less than 5 minutes."
Perforce's speed over Subversion lies in the underlying architecture. While Perforce uses the file system to store files and revisions alongside a database of metadata related to changes, Subversion uses the file system itself as the database.
"When file metadata is in a parallel file stored in the file system, that adds a lot of overhead to the host," said Austin. "I like that Perforce keeps metadata in a database rather than a million small files. It's a good model."
Perforce Design Averts Disaster
Like many small companies Hidden Path outsources some functions, including IT. A recent experience hammered home the value of Perforce when an IT contractor deleted key files.
"A year ago, I got a call saying 'Perforce is down.' Usually that's because something's wrong with the hardware, so I checked the machine and couldn't see any executables," recalled Austin, who quickly went into panic mode. "It turned out our IT contractor had uninstalled our source control system in the middle of the day, while people were using it. I was prepared for the worst, but decided I would try just reinstalling Perforce. It picked up the databases and it just worked. That never happens in IT. I credit that to an elegant design," Austin enthused.
"The decision to avoid the registry was brilliant. Perforce was written to be as lightweight as possible, so it puts everything it needs in one directory. There are no hidden files scattered around my computer. When you rerun it, it tries to be smart and looks to see if there's an existing Perforce installation. That's the rare part for me, to have software that works that well."
Austin also admires the speed and quality of Perforce's technical support. "You're talking to the part-time system administrator," he admitted. With Perforce, "it's very part-time." Contrasting Perforce to his previous version control experience, Austin said, "Subversion support was just Google and tears. Perforce support is awesome. I have had only good experiences with them."
About Hidden Path Entertainment
Hidden Path Entertainment is an independent video game development company established to develop and produce interactive entertainment software for current and future generations of video game consoles, as well as other computing platforms. Hidden Path's team is made up of industry veterans who have each contributed to highly successful titles in multiple genres and on multiple platforms. In addition to being hard at work developing new and exciting titles like Defense Grid on its own, Hidden Path is currently working with Valve developing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Hidden Path Entertainment can be found online at www.hiddenpath.com.