Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 Posted by Jim Thacker

Southpaw Tech announces Tactic | aWare for Unity


Southpaw Technology’s upcoming Tactic | aWare for Unity will enable indie game developers to access assets stored in a Tactic database from inside Unity. The product, which is priced at $399, will ship in April.

Southpaw Technology has announced Tactic | aWare for Unity: a new product integrating Tactic, its open-source asset-management system, with the Unity game engine.

Tactic | aWare for Unity will enable users to access files directly from a Tactic database within Unity, with Tactic providing asset review and approval tools, metadata tracking, and batch processing and rendering.

From corporates to indie developers
It’s an interesting move, since Southpaw doesn’t currently list many game developers among its clients – the best-known Tactic users are big transport firms like Nissan, Lockheed Martin and Bell Helicopter.

However, there is certainly a gap in the market for an asset manager aimed at indie games: Alienbrain – namechecked in the press release below – only integrates with Autodesk tools and Photoshop, leaving many devs relying on generalist source-control tools like Perforce or Mercurial or homebrew systems.

At $399 per seat – although Tactic itself is open-source, Southpaw still provides commercial services for it – the price isn’t too steep, either. We’ll see if it’s right for the market when Tactic | aWare for Unity ships in April.

Southpaw Technology, developers of the open source digital asset and workflow management system TACTIC, announced today an integration for the Unity game engine, TACTIC | aWare for Unity, which will be available to purchase in early April 2014. With the integration, game developers and other content creators working in small and large teams can now use the familiar Unity interface to access digital files directly from a TACTIC database, where all files are securely stored and automatically organized and versioned. The integration will cost $399, and requires TACTIC to operate. TACTIC can be downloaded for free from the TACTIC Community site or from the TACTIC GitHub project.

Unity is a complete game development ecosystem: a powerful rendering engine fully integrated with a complete set of intuitive tools and rapid workflows for creating interactive 3D and 2D content. The Unity Asset Store also includes thousands of ready-made assets. TACTIC | aWare of Unity will offer an integrated and automated method for applying naming conventions, for versioning files, for moving files down the production line, and for applying business logic to understand the status of each file or entire productions.

“Software to handle the storage and movement of files through the game development process have been sorely missing from the game development industry since Alienbrain got acquired by Avid almost a decade ago,” said Wanda Meloni, CEO of M2 Research. “This new offering from Southpaw couldn’t be more perfectly positioned. TACTIC is mature software, open source and completely customizable. The integration is a commercial offering, but the price is right in line with many of the apps offered on the Unity Asset Store. It’s a great solution for teams in need of asset and workflow management.”

TACTIC is a dynamic, open-source, web-based platform that allows users to manage the development and delivery of digital assets through the entire content creation process. Unity users will never have to leave the Unity interface to access their assets or to enjoy the security and productivity-enhancing features TACTIC provides.

TACTIC-Unity Integration Core Features
Using TACTIC as the primary asset library helps create structure. TACTIC enforces naming conventions and manages the creation and administration of the project folder structures on local machines. This ensures predictable asset locations and provides the creative teams with a local sandbox to work in. Couple this with TACTIC as a tear off TAB inside the Unity application and designers can now seamlessly interact with the asset database without having to leave Unity.

Files are now “aware” of TACTIC
Once files in a Unity project become “aware” of TACTIC, game developers and other Unity users will enjoy the following benefits:

TACTIC Automation
With a consistent data structure, TACTIC can anticipate and automate event triggers to advance the development pipeline. For example, events such as file review, feedback/notes & approval, background batch processing and rendering remotely can also be managed. This frees up local resources to continue working.

TACTIC review and approval
In an attempt to bring project managers and key stakeholders closer to the creative workflow in real-time, and assisting with current AGILE and SCRUM workflows, finished models that are checked into TACTIC from within Unity can be natively reviewed, scaled and rotated from inside TACTIC, which ensures that non-Unity users can comfortably review content. IT systems that do not have the Unity game engine installed can also seamlessly review completed models.

Metadata tracking and cost of assets
Moving files around multiple applications becomes less daunting as TACTIC is tracking version history, names, dates, times and people associated with the file by embedding this information within the TACTIC asset. Using business logic, TACTIC is able to very accurately track asset cost and development time with this information.

Comparing this data month over month also enables valuable operational data analysis on each job, and manage resource efficiency at a per job, project, or team level. With TACTIC aware of the check-in and delivery events users have a very powerful version control history, not only with the Unity environment but also between all graphic and 3d applications.

Pricing and Availability
TACTIC | aWare for Unity will be available in early April 2014 for $399. Users will need the latest version of open source TACTIC, which can be downloaded from the TACTIC Community site or from the TACTIC GitHub project.

A more customized version of TACTIC | aWare for Unity can be created by the Southpaw Professional Services team, which provides workflow advice and technical expertise for companies needing to rapidly extend the functionality of TACTIC across departments, studios and entire enterprises.

Visit Southpaw Technology online