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I can’t believe you still manage assets with folders and names

11/12/2010

I thought this strategy had gone the way of the dodo, but apparently not. There are still people using folders and filenames to manage assets, which is expected, but worse is that there are still people suggesting folders and filenames as a solution to asset management.

It is difficult to refute the suggestion- it is like arguing with people who believe the earth is flat. I am frustrated that any more virtual ink needs to be spilt over this. The system is fundamentally flawed in both experience and concept- the fact that people believe it has worked, or even worse can work (we just haven’t found the right naming convention!), makes me think some of these people may never learn and the rest of them shouldn’t have a say in these things.

Naming conventions have never worked- the fallacy that they ever did work is just a coincidence brought about by the fact that games have actually been finished. But I’ve never heard of anyone say ‘man, that naming convention and folder structure really made this project go smoothly.’ And if you have heard it, I’d ask you to consider whether the factors under which it was uttered can ever be repeated again. Think of what it necessitates:

  1. All asset organizational needs were successfully considered, for all types of assets, before production was in full swing.
  2. Asset organizations needs did not change during the entire course of production, or
  3. An opportunity arose that allowed you to reorganize all content without disruption.
  4. Naming conventions were successfully taught and implemented by content teams.
  5. There were no exceptions to the naming conventions needed or
  6. The naming convention happened to accommodate the exceptions needed (see first point).

How many of us can say we’ve worked on a production where all of this has been true? And how can naming conventions work in a system that doesn’t fulfill these criteria?

Technology is moving forward, and thus our asset management needs are moving forward, and our tools are using that technology to support our greater asset management needs. We need to put faith in our tools developers (including TAs) to solve the asset management problem- nay, we need to force them to solve the asset management problem, and any naming or location of assets needs to serve the tools developers primarily. If you can’t do this, you need tools developers you can have confidence in. If you won’t do this, you shouldn’t be involved in these sorts of decisions.

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