If there is one thing about making video games that best defines the state of entertainment software development, it is crunch time. If you’ve never met someone who worked in the entertainment software industry, you may be unfamiliar with the concept of crunch. At Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, both vendors and developers sought to find ways to end the crunch.
One of the best ways to eliminate crunch time (the time before a game ships where, typically, everyone working on the game works seven days a week, 12 hours a day or more) is to turn to the wealth of software development tools that exist in the market. There were no shortage of those tools on display at the show.
One of them was Plastic SCM, from Codice Software. This source-code-management system has evolved to handle larger files, bringing artists into the mix. This was a major change to the platform’s workflow, said CEO Francisco Monteverde.
“We hope to get mass-market indie game developers and small companies [as customers],” he said. In enterprise engagements, He said that GitHub is frequently a competitor, but when it comes to game companies, smaller firms may not even use source control at all.
The new large file support in Plastic SCM allows art assets to be checked into the system, as well as source code. Additionally, artists like to lock their assets when they are working on them: branching and merging doesn’t work for art. Thus, Plastic SCM can now lock assets as they are checked out.
For a customer like Telltale Games, said Monteverde, this is an essential capability. As a game company, Telltale employs 300 people, but most of those are artists who generally couldn’t use Bitbucket or GitHub for their assets.
Monteverde also said that Plastic SCM is bringing another Codice product into its fold: SemanticMerge. This previously standalone merging tool allows most of a code merge to be automated through automated detection of changes.