mudstack Talked to 275+ Game Devs to Find Out What They Struggle With

mudstack, an asset management and collaboration platform for game studios and digital artists, talked to 275+ game devs at GDC 2022. Here’s what they found.

mudstack, an asset management and collaboration platform for game studios and digital artists talked about their experience at this year's Game Developers Conference (GDC) that recently took place in San Francisco.

According to the company, it was an amazing week filled with lots of new connections, new faces, and important conversations about how to make life easier for the people who make games.

At the conference, mudstack's team spoke with more than 275 game developers including artists, art leads, CEOs, COOs, and Creative Directors, about some of the biggest challenges they faced while making games.

Asset Management Is Hard

When the team asked game developers what tools they use for asset management, most of them said it was Google Drive or Dropbox. Lots of the devs went on to describe all the ways these tools create as many problems as they solve, saying that they need to develop and maintain rigid folder hierarchies and file naming conventions just to be able to use them. Getting artists to abide by these rules seemed to be something many of the art leads they spoke to struggled with.

"We also heard several asset management horror stories, including one where a lead artist left and IT wiped their computer, only to realize that their work wasn't backed up anywhere. Three years' worth of work was lost to the studio," shared Nachiket Kumar, Co-Founder of mudstack.  

Version Control Is Painful

As for version control tool for art teams, Perforce and Git LFS seemed to be the most popular ones, although artists aren't particularly fond of them. They noted that branching, checking files in and out, locking files, etc. was too distracting from work they want to be doing.

Project-based version control, like Git and Perforce is also not the most convenient for earlier stages of artwork creation – before it goes into the engine. There’s too much volatility in the artwork and using a project-based version control system gets out of hand, so most teams don’t really version control this part of the work.

"Getting out of sync because your teammate changed a totally different file from what you're working on is ... annoying," said Josef Bell, Technical Product Manager. "Relying on the version histories offered by Google Drive and Dropbox was just not an option for these teams, so artists are forced into using tools built for engineers."

Collaboration and Review Is a Struggle

Covid didn't spare game studios – they all suddenly had to go remote too. Processes that were historically in person, like art reviews, had to be done virtually now.

With rare exceptions, most studios are struggling with communication. Feedback is all over the place – lost in Slack and Discord threads, or even email, and disconnected from the asset being reviewed.

"When you have to spend as long wrangling your tools as you do using them, many give up halfway in frustration. If no one likes using the tools, then many won't use them the right way," noted Jordan Stevens, Founder of mudstack

Not having clarity into the state of work in turn creates more work and delays. Forcing artists and art teams to use tools that weren't designed for their unique needs results in a "spaghetti of tools" that barely talk to each other. This all ultimately contributes to the crunch.

"We already know that asset management is a pain in the neck – that's why we developed mudstack," added Jordan. 

"With tags and libraries that sync across all your teams, version control for artists, and collaboration and review tools, we're making this job way easier for everyone involved."

If you couldn't make it out to GDC this year but want to learn more about what mudstack is building, visit today. Also, don't forget to join our new Reddit pageour new Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we are sharing breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.

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