In the high-tech world of 2016, game development teams have the best tools and technology available to help designers access levels, update code, and keep the game up to date without stepping on each other's toes. Until, inevitably, someone breaks it of course.
This wasn't always the case. While pouring over our postmortem of Insomniac's 2016 Ratchet and Clank, we noticed something a little bit unconventional about how PS2-era Insomniac Games handled asset management for the older Ratchet and Clank titles.
Let's just say we never expected die-cast Hot Wheels cars to have such an impact on a game about fuzzy space aliens and frequently abused robots.
It's a nice reminder that creativity in game development isn't just about what ends up in front of the player, sometimes it's about keeping your team clearly engaged and aware of all the tasks at hand in game development. (It's also potentially a danger for your game's pipeline if you bring a particuarly car-enthused toddler to bring-your-child-to-work-day.)
And in response, some of our readers shared their own silly stories from asset management days of yore. We collected the best ones and shared them for you in case they bring back any happy memories of scrambling to notify your employees you were updating the code around the office.
Remember, if you're interested in participating in these conversations in the future, make sure to follow @Gamasutra on Twitter. The questions usually go out on Fridays in the late morning, Pacific time, alongside Tweets of our regular news, blogs, and original writing. (We just made a special exception today in order to share these answers)
One reader shared an example of using file naming to keep code in line---we can only presume in this gentleman's case, there were occassionally filenames such as "paul.cs" somewhere in the database.
@simoncarless When I learned to code way back in the 80's we used cans atop our terminals to signal compiling so we didn't thrash mainframe.— Brian Upton (@bbupton) May 16, 2016
This reader's day would have been frequently interrupted by the sound of tin cans rattling, no doubt making their workplace sound something like a herd of cows every time they began compiling.
Next example possibly NSFW
.@simoncarless We had a check-in hat with a chicken. Had to be wearing it to check in code. Take too long - "Bob's choking the chicken".— Tom Forsyth (@tom_forsyth) May 16, 2016
Another reader shared a story not too-far off Insomniac's Hot Wheels example--though slightly ruder overall, since whoever wore this fabled chicken hat would be singled out if their code was checked out too long in a dubious fashion.
In a not too recent example, this reader's office took up the ancient art of sempahore (waving flags about to signal ships) in order to let coworkers know they were deploying code.
And this last reader only leaves us with an ominous clue as to their company's ways of managing code---was the conch checked out for every level? Was it blown on, to signal code deployment? These answers may yet rest in the depths that the fabled conch emerged from, but the possibilities they imply will linger in our minds for days to come.