Collaboration is the lifeblood of great game design, and today's tools make it easier than ever to collaborate with your team no matter where everyone is working.
Not only are companies like Unity beefing up their built-in collaboration software, but a ton of new software players are entering the game to make remote collaboration easier than ever before.
If your team works in Unity, then you have multiple software tools that can make remote collaboration a cinch when you can’t sit side by side in the studio. We’ll break down the pros and cons of each option so you can figure out which tools are perfect for your team’s workflow.
Does Unity offer a native collaboration feature?
Unity has introduced their native collaboration feature called Unity Teams. Unity Teams is a cloud-based collaboration tool that allows multiple team members to work on the same project files. Unity’s developers have presented this feature as a much simpler alternative to complex (and expensive) source control programs.
Pros and cons of Unity’s native collaboration tool
- No additional software is required to collaborate (as long as everyone is working in Unity)
- Simple and intuitive UI
- Allows users to write comments to accompany each change to add context
- You need to apply changes before your teammates can see what you’ve changed
- There’s no “live chat” feature to communicate with your team, only comments you can view after they apply changes
This integrated cloud collaboration feature is a huge step forward for remote game development teams and makes it easy and affordable for even small indie teams to integrate source control into their workflow.
Now, if you want to take your collaboration to the next level, there are some additional collaboration platforms that provide even more features that allow your team to work together seamlessly within Unity.
Tools that can help your team collaborate in Unity
Tool #1: Evercast
Evercast is a video streaming and communication platform specifically built for creative teams that need to stream professional creation workspaces while chatting with their team.
With Evercast, you and your team can be working inside of Unity Teams while your team lead streams their workspace to the whole team. Not only that, you can talk face-to-face while you edit, creating a virtual editing suite that anyone you choose can dial into.
- Ultra-low latency (less than 150ms on average) means that you’ll be able to chat in as close to real-time as possible
- Dashboard includes on-screen annotation and timestamped notes help you keep project notes organized and frame accurate
- The platform allows for simultaneous video chatting, text chat/note-taking, and workstation streaming, all under one clean interface
- No additional software is required for participants just joining a meeting; they simply need to follow a link to join. Easy to invite others
- It not only works with Unity but any and all creative software
- Requires some setup time and configuration for editors who want to stream their workstations (this is just a one-time setup)
- A bit more expensive than other tools
Create together remotely, in real time
Tool #2: Frame.io
Frame.io is a fantastic platform that you can custom-fit to your workflow to allow you to share, annotate, and manage all of your media throughout a project. This is great for reviewing new assets and clips and getting instant feedback. It’s also a popular way to keep external stakeholders in the loop on their own schedule.
- Frame-accurate comments
- On-screen annotation tools for visual notes
- One-click comment/task clearing
- Version tracking
- Works with any type of media exports
- No video chat integration
- You need to upload your project files to make comments and notes, which can take time for more extensive projects
- Not designed for applying edits while notes are given
Tool #3: Wipster
Wipster is a video review and proofing platform that was built to help streamline the draft review and approval process for both internal collaborators and external clients.
Similar to Frame.io, this is a great platform to use when you’re looking to get fast feedback from other teams or external stakeholders on individual assets or new drafts.
- Supports the review and approval of a wide variety of media files such as video, audio, PDF, and images
- Includes version tracking so you can see how the project has changed over time and which versions are currently in review
- Includes on-screen annotation and other feedback tools to make it easy for collaborators to make clear notes on the project
- People just giving feedback don’t have to download additional software
- Not designed for a “live” feedback session. Instead, files are uploaded, and then collaborators make notes as they choose
- Not a lot of cloud storage included in the free or team accounts
- Team accounts are priced by the user, which means costs can add up quickly
Tool #4: Arcweave
What’s a great game without a great story? This collaborative game design platform has a direct Unity plugin so you and your team can craft your interactive narratives from start to finish and then get to work right away. Its cross-platform compatibility and easy-to-use UI make this a seamless integration into almost any workflow.
- Simple visual interface
- Real-time chat and editing with team
- Ready-made Unity plugin for fast exports
- Cross-platform compatibility
- A relatively new platform, so it may have some bugs
- Features seem heavily weighted towards RPG developers
Now you can collaborate from anywhere
The biggest benefit of all these remote collaboration tools is that they allow your team to expand beyond the boundaries of your local area.
Your core team may be headquartered in L.A., but you can now onboard a freelancer from New York, London, or Barcelona. You can start drawing from a global talent pool to recruit your next video or audio professionals, which means building the perfect team just got a lot easier.
Not only that, your current team members can now have much more flexibility in where they choose to work without sacrificing creative collaboration on video and audio production.
We could not be more thrilled to see how many tools are now available to help creative teams do better work at a distance, and we can’t wait to see what they’ll enable you to create next.