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What Source Control Is To Me

by Trevor Hilz on 11/01/12 05:15:00 pm

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Source Control Blog

                As a growing video game developer, there are many things I have learned. From level design to 3D modeling to working more cohesively with team members and how important everything truly is. There is one item I overlooked during my start, source control.

                The ability to save in iterations is an invaluable tool for anyone developing… anything really, and video game developers are no exception. Many developers, myself included have lost hours of work from a hard drive crash and we weren’t backing up correctly. External hard drives can be a hassle on a daily basis, source control makes it easy. I am currently an assistant producer for three development teams making demos and source control has most definitely saved some of them from losing precious work. In my own experience, my coworkers and I have lost hours of work, only to redo what was lost. After this happening several times, it is safe to say I update my source control folders very often now.

                The two source control software packages I have experience with are Perforce and Tortoise SVN. I find both of these do their job properly and work fine when used by knowledgeable people. Perforce is great as it has a checkout system that does not allow anyone but the person it is checked out to, to save over the existing file. It takes longer to add documents, and is simply a more advanced system but the team I worked with found it very useful and worth the extra effort. Tortoise SVN is a very easy tool to understand, the issue is there is no checkout system as in Perforce. I have heard many developers discussing they must tell each other which level they are working in to prevent the overwrite that happened last time. Overtime though, most developers find Tortoise SVN to do the job well.

                Overall I think source control is a fantastic tool that saves iterations of work and (potentially) prevents loss in work. I would have never thought coming into this industry that source control would be on the top of my mind, but after many experiences (good and bad), source control is now very crucial to the development teams I work with.

Trevor Hilz

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