It’s an exciting time in the world of game design. In the wake of the pandemic, there has been a huge push for developers to create tools that allow for more remote collaboration capability.
Because of this, previous limits on who you could collaborate with on a project and when are suddenly lifting. Suddenly, there’s an entire world of opportunity out there to find and work with new team members.
If you’re working in Unreal Engine, there are several different tools you can use to collaborate with team members, whether they’re across the studio or the globe. We’ll break down the pros and cons of each option so you can figure out which tools will integrate into your workflow.
Does Unreal Engine offer a native collaboration feature?
In Unreal Engine version 4.22, Epic Games has integrated a new Multi-User Editing feature, which allows multiple editors to work together on a single project file in a shared editing session.
This feature is still in beta, which means it’s a great time to try it out and send feedback to the developers about any aspects that may fall short.
Pros and cons of Unreal Engine’s native collaboration tool
- No additional software is required to collaborate (as long as everyone is working in Unreal Engine)
- Users can see changes that other users are creating as soon as they’re applied
- Multiple different platforms (PC, Mac, VR) can collaborate on a single project at the same time
- It only works on a Local Area Network (LAN) or select shared VPNs, not an open internet connection
- It doesn’t include any tools to communicate with other editors while editing
So while Unreal Engine has made a ton of progress in providing tools to collaboratively edit, there are still some significant limitations to the software. We’re especially not thrilled with how the design limits its use to just a LAN, which is a huge bummer if you want to collaborate with fully remote team members.
Thankfully, other tools on the market can take your ability to work with remote team members to the next level. If you’ve tried to stream Unreal Engine over Zoom, you’ll appreciate these alternatives.
Tools that can help your team collaborate in Unreal Engine
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. If you want to live stream your Unreal Engine projects while chatting with your collaborators face-to-face, this is the perfect tool.
- Ultra-low latency (less than 150ms on average) means that you’ll be able to chat in as close to real-time as possible
- On-screen annotation and timestamped notes help you keep project notes organized and frame accurate
- The platform allows for simultaneous video chatting, text chatting/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
- It not only works with Unreal Engine, 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)
- It’s 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.
- 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 give
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.
- 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
- There is not a lot of storage included in the free or team accounts
- Team accounts are priced by the user, which means costs can add up quickly
Tool #4: Helix Core
If you plan on using the Multi-User Editing tools available for Unreal Engine, you’ll need a source control solution to ensure that project updates are constantly organized and managed correctly.
This is doubly important for game designers since game creation requires lots of people all working on the same project, who all need to be working on the latest version of any asset.
Helix Core by Perforce is the industry gold standard for source control, and it's capable of keeping even the most complex and extensive projects aligned.
- Centralized source control
- Large project support
- A graphical UI to make it easy to use for less technical users
- It’s one of the most expensive source control systems
- It requires a good deal of technical knowledge to set up and administrate
- Not really optimized for smaller teams
Making collaboration platforms work for your team
The right tools should “disappear” and allow you to work together without complications or distractions.Great collaboration tools should be simple, intuitive, and designed to help create “flow” during every step of the creative process.
You want your collaboration tools to prioritize personal connection and design features that allow people to communicate in whatever way they feel is best. They should also help eliminate the gaps that distance creates, both logistically and technically.
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.