It’s time to take back control over art files in games development

By Katie Cole, Perforce Software

Great digital art is fundamental to games, yet the process of creating it is messy and inefficient in many cases. Although the volume of art files only continuing to increase as games get bigger and more complex,  to date, there has not been an ideal way to overcome the challenge of managing them. Here are a couple of scenarios with which readers may be familiar:

  • An artist spends ages trying to find the correct art file and — giving up — decides to remake it, which takes time and effort.
  • Then the artist has to watch it load and send (probably slowly). Then the frustration of feedback from teammates being received piecemeal via email, messenger and other apps…bring it all together…rinse and repeat…it is a painful process.
  • In the meantime, the artist is fielding other questions, such as ‘Remind me, where is asset XYZ saved?’ or ‘Has art asset ABC been approved? Do you know?’

Artists want to focus on creativity, not supervising digital file traffic, yet traditionally, that is precisely what takes up so much of their time. So, what’s the solution? Answer: a single source of truth for all a studio’s games art.

This is why the product team at Perforce developed Helix DAM, building on Helix Core, the industry leading version control system  (also widely used by virtual production teams). For many years, the technical teams at these studios have used Helix Core to create a single source of truth for all their code and other digital assets. (Quick fact: 19 out of the top 20 AAA game studios use Helix Core, as well as thousands of smaller studios). So, it was logical to extend the benefits to their art colleagues but make the software more effortless for them to use and tailored towards their specific needs.

As a result, we are delighted to announce the availability of Helix DAM, which enables creative teams to find, review, share and track the progress of every art asset in one easily navigable and highly transparent place. It can handle multiple file formats, including 2D, 3D, audio, and video. Helix DAM sits on top of Helix Core and has a web-based user interface that gives simplified and centralised access to a library of all the creative assets in their projects.

As well as saving the art department time, Helix DAM also makes collaboration between creative and technical teams easier. Plus, since its foundation is Helix Core, Helix DAM can handle massive projects and dispersed global teams easily, with the addition of enterprise-grade security to keep every digital asset safe and secure.

Other benefits include:

  • Less unnecessary creation of new files from scratch – because existing ones are easier to find and re-use
  • A more efficient review process – one place for all everyone’s feedback, rather than it being fragmented across email, Dropbox, Slack or other apps
  • Better use of budget – by saving everyone valuable time

With digital art representing such a large percentage of any game development project (and continuing to grow), any technique to improve its accessibility and management will contribute to better, faster time-to-market while reducing some of the art file admin headaches experienced by creatives. It is time to take back control of every digital game asset so that artists and programmers can focus on what matters: making great games, not digital file management distractions.

Teams can try Helix DAM free for 14 days, no set-up, configuration, or commitment needed.

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