Success Stories

Interview with

Zac Litton - VP Engineering

James Chan - Manager of Technology

Telltale Games

www.telltale.com

"Download gigabytes that changes every day is vital, a tool that the people can use right away is very important to productivity, doing source control operations effectively and reliable make you more efficient. This is really important for a piece of software that's going to be used in your studio every day. Last but not least, you need a company that you can reach out to and get help when you need it."

Telltale games – BATMAN, Game of Thrones, Walking Death, Minecraft Series

Telltale is an award winning independent developer and publisher of video games, which creates uniquely experiences within the rich worlds of Minecraft, The Walking Dead, Batman, Game of Thrones, and many others.

The company has been in business ten year, and wanted to become the best narrative licensed game company. They are doing so with a digital first episodic model, making consumers to enjoy and engage into a two-hour experience playing their series, which may have five episodes over the course of 6 months, in a similar way to TV shows.

Their games run on 14 different platforms and is challenging to create the same cinematic experiences in all of them, as well as keeping the pace of producing an episode every two months for three large productions at a time, they have now. As people engage with the license and the content, they even influence through a community the evolution of the story or characters of the next episodes. This makes Telltale very special.

The studio expanded from 50 people to 350 over the course of 5 years, which stretched the tools, the technology, the processes and the pipeline that need to adapt at the same time.

Challenges

  • Maintain Fast Release Cycles: we release five episodes for three large titles over six months, with more than 350 staff.
  • Get tools that are easy to use for Artists: we want our people to concentrate on making games. We want Version Control to save time, to make them more productive and efficient, download gigabytes of information quick, do the basic version control operations easy, and gets out of their way.
  • Support for Remote Partners and Security: we want remote and contractors to access the information on assets they need, and been able to work remotely with fast access to the repositories. We wanted to grant access to part of the repositories.

The setup

  • Large Repositories (such as 3.2TB): Our largest repository is currently about 3.2 TB. We want downloads and uploads to be fastMost artists only need a subset of this, so we want them to be able to work only on assets they need.
  • Server & Storage: Our main server is hosted on a dual socket Xeon E5-2630 with 32GB of RAM that houses both the Plastic Server and the MySQL daemon. Storage is provided over a 10Gb network interface.
  • High Availability & Backup: We have a secondary server that uses the replication feature in Plastic SCM to keep the two servers in sync, so we have constant synchronization. We have High Availability and Backup all in one.
  • Proxy servers: our international partners run Plastic’s proxy server in their environment to have fast access to the repositories.

Why Plastic SCM?

  • Manage Large Repositories (such as 3.2TB): Our largest repository is currently about 3.2 TB. We want downloads and uploads to be super fast. Most artists only need a subset of this, so we want them to be able to work only on assets they need.
  • Artist Friendly Version Control System: Plastic Gluon UI and workflow is a subsystem, designed specifically in mind for easily configurable sparse checkouts, at a per file level, and it is very easy to use.
  • Locking Capabilities: When an artist needs to work on an asset, we have Maya plugins that interface with Plastic and it configures the Maya file and all its dependencies into a local workspace so that you can perform an exclusive lock on the file and then commit it later.
  • Security and Access Control: Plastic SCM has extremely fine grained ACL for your IT staff requirements and security purposes, this is very important when working with external groups.
  • Support and Fast Access for Remote Partners: our international partners run Plastic’s proxy server in their environment, and the admins there keep the cache hot by syncing with our servers periodically the experience for their staff feels almost local even on very high latency, low bandwidth connections.
  • Real Time Replication: Plastic SCM can replicate the repositories in another server in real time, providing High Availability and Backup, all in one.
  • A partner behind the tool: we need a company that we can reach out and get help and support when we need it, delivering the highest levels of service.

Advice for those using or evaluating Plastic SCM

Work with Codice Software to get the most out of Plastic SCM, and see if the product fully fits your needs. They are extremely helpful, therefore check them out.