In the rapidly evolving world of game development, the importance of robust backup and seamless collaboration cannot be overstated. Software that allows for secure data storage and effective team collaboration can significantly impact productivity and the overall development experience.
In our continuous efforts to better understand and cater to the needs of Unity developers, we recently conducted a survey focusing on the use of game development backup and collaboration platforms. The survey gathered responses on what software developers worldwide use, what features they appreciate the most, and what challenges they face with their current platforms.
Our survey results pointed out a distinct preference among Unity developers: GitHub, which was the choice for an overwhelming 58% of responses. Other platforms such as BitBucket (5%), Plastic SCM (12%), and GitLab (3%) also had users, but none approached GitHub's dominance. Lesser-used software tools including Unity Collaborate, Perforce, Sourcetree, Tortoise, and GitHub Desktop further underscored the supremacy of a few key platforms in the game development backup and collaboration domain.
GitHub’s dominance is unsurprising with its "State of the Octoverse 2022" report revealing that there are over 94 million developers on the platform.1 This prevalence is likely due to GitHub's perceived ease of use, robust feature set, extensive community support, and its compatibility with numerous programming languages and environments. Not to mention since Microsoft's acquisition of GitHub in 2018, the platform has seen significant improvements in its features and capabilities. Gaining the backing of a major player in the tech industry would no doubt have boosted the confidence of many users in the platform's longevity.
With Unity's adoption of PlasticSCM in 2020, you might expect a rise in adoption of this tool as Unity integrates it more closely with its platform. Only time will tell whether this acquisition will challenge Git's dominance, or if a new tool on the block—like our very own Zappaty—will make some serious waves. Have you had the chance to experience the magic of Zappaty yet?
When developers were asked about what they liked about these software platforms, 41% favoured user-friendliness and comprehensive features. This confirms the fundamental need for intuitive interfaces and comprehensive solutions that encompass various aspects of game development, such as version control, issue tracking, code reviewing, and project management features. Having all these features integrated into a single platform can streamline the development workflow and enhance productivity.
The preference for platforms with "Flexibility" is another noteworthy aspect. Game development projects can vary greatly in scope and requirements, and developers appreciate platforms that can adapt to different project needs. Specifically, a platforms ability to integrate with other development and project management tools was highly rated.
Other prominent aspects included ease of learning, cost-effectiveness, and community support. Accessible and comprehensive documentation helps developers understand the platform's capabilities and effectively utilize its features. Furthermore, an active and supportive community fosters collaboration, knowledge sharing, and problem-solving among developers. Platforms that cultivate a strong community can offer valuable resources and support to developers as they navigate the challenges of game development.
When asked what they dislike about existing platforms, the most reported issue was managing merges and conflicts, a concern for 18% of developers. This finding is unsurprising, given the complexities associated with version control, especially in large-scale projects. Platforms providing tools and features to manage code merges and conflicts efficiently is important as it significantly impacts developers' productivity and workflow.
Difficulty in learning or finding interfaces confusing was another notable concern for 10% of developers. It’s true, mastering Git's intricate command-line interface and its decentralised architecture can be steep learning curve for even the most experienced developer; further emphasising the need for platforms to produce comprehensive learning resources.
Handling large files was also a significant pain point. With game development projects often involving the management of substantial assets, it’s no surprise that this is high on the list of frustrations and there is a strong desire for robust solutions that can efficiently manage and store large files.
Other areas of dissatisfaction included collaboration, cost, and unreliability. The cost of using certain platforms can be a concern, particularly for indie developers and smaller studios with limited budgets, making platforms with free plans or low-cost tiers an attractive choice.
These survey insights offer a revealing look into the preferences and challenges of Unity developers. There's a clear preference for certain backup and collaboration tools, most notably GitHub. However, we also see a pressing need to address challenges related to managing merges and conflicts, easing the learning curve, and effectively handling large files.
At Zappaty we are dedicated to enhancing the game development experience, we see these insights as a valuable guide in refining our service offerings. We aim to build on the strengths of existing tools while addressing their shortcomings.
Zappaty at its core simplifies collaboration with contractors, effortlessly handles large files, and has a minimal learning curve. It is budget-friendly, making it ideal for solo and smaller studio developers looking for a reliable backup solution, and with easy access to project history, Zappaty ensures that no work is ever lost. If you need a tool to keep your projects safe and facilitate seamless file transfers, look no further than Zappaty.
Our own development journey is far from over, these insights will continue to serve as a roadmap, directing us as we strive to deliver the ultimate backup and collaboration solution that meets the needs of Unity developers.
Disclaimer: This is based on qualitative data collected over a 4 month period from Unity Developers Globally on LinkdIn. Out of the 647 Unity Developers asked, 314 responded.
Download the full report in PDF format: Full Report Download.
Written by Jacintha Stonier on June 21, 2023
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