Learning In Progress #1: Sorting asset submissions

Here’s a peek into what I do day to day and the things I’m learning, from broad concepts to specific ideas. I don’t know how informative it’ll be, but I’d like to document it anyway.

I currently lead a team of 11 remote contractors, down from a peak of 14. Sorting out the data they send me is starting to get pretty tricky. The way I’ve BEEN doing it is by organizing them with a directory structure like this:

Bob Contractor
– submission01 (unique male leather armor 1)
– changes (helm modification)
– submission02 (unique male leather armor 1 fixes)
– submission03 (unique female leather armor 1)

The ‘changes’ directory is where I modify the file myself, save it, and send it to the contractor. I put it in a separate directory so I can better sort through the files I save myself, and the files the contractor sends me.

The main problem with the way I’ve set it up is that I get SO many separate directories under each contractor. I’m up to ‘submission30’ for one of my artists, and the sheer amount of files is overwhelming. Files can get mixed up sometimes and it’s hard to tell what the latest version of something is.

An idea I’m toying with right now is custom naming every file with a date prefix and dumping it all into one large directory. So it’ll look more like this:

Bob Contractor
(01-19-2007) File 1.max
(01-19-2007) File 1.tga
(01-19-2007 JJ) File 1 changes.max
(01-20-2007) File 1 fixes.max

It’ll all be in one directory, sorted alphabetically AND by date because of the filenames I gave them. Files I’ve sent back for changes have the ‘JJ’ flag, because those are the initials of my name. When I approve an asset, I already have to resave and rename the files and move them to the project directory, so giving them different filenames here prevents me from accidentally assigning textures to the model outside of the project directory (which gets ugly in the game). It fits in pretty well with my existing workflow, while also giving me a quick at-a-glance view of every contractor’s assets and the last time I received a submitted asset from them.

All I have to do to maintain it is, when I receive an asset submission, add the date onto the filename as I save the file to my hard drive (which I already do anyway, so it’s not an extra step).

I don’t know if this is the best way to do things, but it’s the best idea I have right now and I’m moving forward with it until I get a better idea. 🙂 Any thoughts or suggestions would be welcome.

[UPDATE] I talked to some more people about it and the most stupidly obvious answer eluded me — set up an FTP account, give my artists some basic file naming convention directions, and let THEM do it. No more sorting through old assets, no needing to rename everything… just let THEM take care of it. Problem solved! Can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner, but I’m glad I asked around. 🙂 [/UPDATE]

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