Announcing Unity Collaborate Beta

March 22, 2016 in Services, Technology

Over the last year we’ve been learning from many of you – how you and your teams work, how you leverage the strength of the Unity community with things like the Asset Store, and what challenges you face while collaborating on your projects with your team.

Today, we’re pouring all your feedback and our magic into a new set of features called Unity Collaborate. It’s our way for making it easy for teams members to save, share, and sync their work together.

Simple, easy, and integrated with Unity

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Create Together. Share your project. Invite others to create with you.

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Stay in Sync. See what your team is working on.

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Contribute Easily. It’s easy to use by the entire team – artists, QA, everyone.

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We want to make Collaborate even better.  Sign up for the Closed Beta and tell us what you think.

This is just the start of Collaborate and we encourage that you try it out soon.

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P.S.  Special thanks to Galvanic Games, Imperium 42, and Studio Atma for all the helpful feedback during our Alpha period.

Comments (50)

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  1. Waterboygaming

    May 14, 2016 at 3:10 am / 

    Nice hope I get picked :P

  2. nick

    May 4, 2016 at 8:48 pm / 

    Signed up for this have been given access to this , but when I try to add my partner in the website he gets an invite but cant seem to get connected :/

  3. Swfly

    March 31, 2016 at 7:27 am / 

    Have been waiting for a long long time for this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Andres Quevedp

    March 29, 2016 at 3:43 am / 

    why i cant see the collaborate button, i see the cloud but not the collaborate button, something wrong?, using 5.3.4

    1. Arisa Scott

      March 30, 2016 at 7:22 pm / 

      Hi Andres! To see Collaborate, you need to have signed up, been given access, and be using the latest beta: http://unity3d.com/unity/beta

      Collaborate is currently only 5.4+

  5. Rea

    March 27, 2016 at 1:38 pm / 

    This seems interesting but can we create our own server?
    and bit of topic, but lately with new stuff added in unity the interface starting to look inconsistent.

    1. Arisa Scott

      March 31, 2016 at 1:23 am / 

      Right now you can’t create your own server, currently we host everything.

  6. Peter

    March 25, 2016 at 9:28 am / 

    How secure will our repositories be on those online servers? Do you use any kind of encryption when data is transferred? Our clients are very concerned about this.

    1. Dave Takahashi

      March 31, 2016 at 1:21 am / 

      Hi Peter,

      Communication between Unity and the service is sent encrypted over HTTPS using TLS.

  7. Pirelli

    March 25, 2016 at 7:48 am / 

    How we can import Blender Cycles render nice materials in the Unity ?

  8. ZachS

    March 24, 2016 at 7:54 pm / 

    Can I just purchase my way into the beta? :)

  9. Bartłomiej Przybylak

    March 24, 2016 at 9:54 am / 

    For me scripts are not problem while they are text-based, the main problem in collaboration are scenes. Is there any chance of having some git-like merge mechanism on it ? It’s the pain in the ass when two people works on same scene, changes transforms, lights etc. and then …. ups.

    1. Arisa Scott

      March 24, 2016 at 6:20 pm / 

      We’ve integrated smart merge into Collaborate, which makes for much nicer merging of scenes and prefabs!

  10. laurent

    March 24, 2016 at 5:41 am / 

    Will the server executable be released so we can deploy on our own infrastructure – like the now defunct Asset Server?

    1. Arisa Scott

      March 24, 2016 at 7:23 pm / 

      We don’t currently have any plans to allow full local installations of Collaborate, but we do have some tools in the works that will allow parts of it to work with your own infrastructure.

      1. laurent

        March 25, 2016 at 10:13 pm / 

        So a part of the backend will always sit on Unity’s server? Why is that?

  11. Andy

    March 23, 2016 at 12:28 pm / 

    Does this sit on top of our own choice of source control repository – SVN/Git etc. hosted wherever – or on top of your version control system and your cloud servers?

    1. Richard Fine

      March 24, 2016 at 12:45 am / 

      It runs entirely on our own servers, powered by our own source control setup (which happens to be based on Git, but that shouldn’t make a difference to anyone using the service right now).

  12. Victor K

    March 23, 2016 at 9:52 am / 

    Is this going to support something similar with SVN externals?
    Also, why would someone pay for this, when you can have unlimited GIT private repositories with Bitbucket?
    Even for indies it’s more useful to use something like GIT, SVN or Mercurial and not trying to reinvent the wheel.
    It seems to me that you could have focused on more important tasks, like the things you promised in road-map, or improve the UI.

  13. Jack

    March 23, 2016 at 1:10 am / 

    I guess maybe the actual ‘official’ source control is for once you turn over a project to CM with build and release instructions.

    I’d say this is excellent for indies and corporate workers collaborating on a project if the managers of the project split it out to avoid having conflicts that often. My old bosses were masters at that.

  14. Adam Kane

    March 23, 2016 at 12:27 am / 

    Love it!!!

  15. Rob Johnson

    March 22, 2016 at 8:37 pm / 

    Will this work together with Visual Studio? I mean, for example, when I start editing a file in VS, will it be marked as currently checked-out for others? It would be pretty tedious to do this manually in the Unity Editor every time.

    1. Arisa Scott

      March 22, 2016 at 9:14 pm / 

      Not in this version. Though we are working on a feature that would do that for you!

    2. Richard Fine

      March 22, 2016 at 11:11 pm / 

      Just to note, it’s not necessary to ‘check out’ files when you want to begin editing them with Collaborate; files are not read-only by default, as they are in some other systems.

      This does mean you might edit files that other people are also editing; we’ve got merge support in place so that your changes can be automatically combined with theirs, or an external merge tool can be launched for you to resolve conflicts if we can’t do it automatically.

      In the future we’re looking at ways for you to communicate to your team that you’re working on a file and that nobody else should edit it until you’re done.

      1. Joseph Cooper

        April 1, 2016 at 6:05 am / 

        What external tools are available for merging at the moment? What’s the preferred one.

  16. CK

    March 22, 2016 at 7:02 pm / 

    Looks like a glimpse at a new and cleaner UI in general…

  17. Miguel

    March 22, 2016 at 5:48 pm / 

    Okay, simple question, what happens when you and other dev work on the same script, then you sync the project, do you see what he has added? do you lost what you’ve done??

    Sincerely, this posts says nothing about what is and how works unity collaborate, it’s just a collection of nice pics about the interface, next time, make a real post, fully detailed about how it works, what features it has, and some examples to see if it will be usefull without the need to install it.

    Thanks

    1. Arisa Scott

      March 22, 2016 at 5:55 pm / 

      If you two are making different changes to the same script–say you add a comment at the top and the other dev is working on the bottom, then it will merge automatically. If you made changes to the same area, then you will have a conflict and the option of “choose mine”, “choose theirs” and “external merge”. One goal of ours, is for you to never lose work and be able to make informed choices.

      1. Miguel

        March 22, 2016 at 6:13 pm / 

        That’s really good, thank you very much for the answer :D,

        Although, i still think that info like that should be at the main post.

        1. David

          March 22, 2016 at 7:31 pm / 

          The moderators around here must have the patience of Job.

  18. Loic

    March 22, 2016 at 3:01 pm / 

    I signed up because I’m curious and we don’t have a lot of informations on this blog post.
    I’m a daily mercurial/svn/perforce user, let’s see how it’s different.

  19. Ben

    March 22, 2016 at 12:18 pm / 

    Yeah, what is this exactly? Is it just a revamped Asset Server? Because last I checked, Asset Server wasn’t very popular. Is this a built-in interface for git/svn? Or is it Yet Another Completely New version control alternative?

    1. Arisa Scott

      March 22, 2016 at 5:43 pm / 

      Right now, our beta is project sharing made easy, Cloud Build integration built into history, and scene merging (integration of Smart Merge). Our goals are to make working with your team easier, this is just the start of it. Things we’re talking about (and/or) planning are visual diff (ability to see changes between objects), soft locks (ability to see what files other people are working on before they’ve published it), and better integration with other services (making our history a stream, and one stop shop for latest project info).

      But, at this moment we are focused on getting our bug count down and hearing what our users have to say!

      1. Adam

        March 22, 2016 at 10:27 pm / 

        This doesn’t really answer any of the questions. Sounds like this is some sort of entirely new not-exactly-version-control-system?

        1. Richard Fine

          March 22, 2016 at 11:04 pm / 

          I’d say that’s fair. We don’t want to say “it’s version control” because that invites comparisons with lots of established systems, and we’re honestly not trying to be like those right now – instead of being fully-featured, our focus is on making it extremely easy to use. You might see more traditional version-control-esque features appear in the future, but it will always be in the context of what problems we can solve for users while keeping everything extremely safe and easy to use, rather than trying to tick off boxes to match what other systems do.

        2. Patrick

          March 23, 2016 at 3:03 pm / 

          Uhh, I read through the comments and I am still confused as to what that exactly is. Every official answer in the comments if pretty wishy-washy and doesn’t explain anything, really.

          I got it that Unity wants this feature to be “Super easy”. But just saying what you want the system to feel like does not explain what the system IS.

          So, is there Git or something underneath? I really really hope that this is not the product of some hotshot Unity engineers trying to reinvent the wheel and making a completely new version control system.

          Even if you say “we don’t want to call it a version control system” and “It’s version control light”. The system underneath is still a version control system. Users push changes into a repository and some system has to keep track what changes are new, or old, or conflicting. That IS version management.

          The fact that Unity shies away from calling this a “version control system” sounds like the engineers behind this don’t thrust their system. So why should I then commit gigabytes of assets and man-years of work into this?

          Is this centralized or decentralized?
          Can I use my own servers (to speed up upload/download times)?
          How does this system handle large files (especially if I can’t use my own, local servers)?
          Does the system store checksums of the files or is there any data integrity protection at all?

        3. Dave Takahashi

          March 24, 2016 at 8:04 pm / 

          Hi all,

          Yes, it is Git underneath, but we have not yet exposed the full feature set of Git, thus the ‘version control light’ nomenclature.

          Why should you make commits to it? We have focused on solving problems such as binary bloat and Unity specific version control issues around .meta files, project settings and scene merging.

          This is a fully centralized system. We have toyed with the idea of a distributed implementation, but for now it is centralized.

          You cannot use your own servers as a full replacement for the service, but if the issue you want to solve is speeding up file transfers, we are working on a local cache server that will help. More details to come later.

          The system handles large files well. Upload speeds are subject to your network limitations, but the system has no problem accepting them or versioning them. There is a limitation on the number of files, regardless of size, but Collaborate will batch the files into separate commits if you have over 6000 staged.

          The system does store and track checksums for each file, scoped to the guid for your project.

          Great questions. We’d love it if you’d give it a whirl and then come back with any further questions.

  20. docsavage

    March 22, 2016 at 10:50 am / 

    Hi,

    Is this a free service for personal edition users?

    Thanks

    1. Richard Lee

      March 22, 2016 at 2:55 pm / 

      Hi. Right now, it’s in closed beta. All users are eligible.

    2. Arisa Scott

      March 22, 2016 at 5:31 pm / 

      Hi! As Richard said, it’s free to all while in beta. I would also add, that we will also have a tier available for users with personal Unity accounts, at no cost.

      1. docsavage

        March 22, 2016 at 7:28 pm / 

        Sounds good. Thanks

  21. Nickolai

    March 22, 2016 at 10:49 am / 

    Will this version control system support brunches?

    1. dave c

      March 22, 2016 at 1:12 pm / 

      No. You can breakfast or lunch but not a combination, sorry.

    2. Richard Lee

      March 22, 2016 at 2:57 pm / 

      Possibly. When we’ve asked customers when they needed branches and dive deep, they typically express a need that isn’t branches. Rather, branching is used as a workaround for something else.

      1. Daniel

        March 25, 2016 at 6:27 am / 

        Does unity not use branches internally? Or is that just to work around problems like releases management and feature isolation?

      2. Luis Correa

        March 26, 2016 at 5:01 pm / 

        How about creating a stable branch for a release so the team can keep working on new features without compromising the stability of the previous release in case a bug is found on the release build and a quick fix and resubmit is needed? How will you handle this scenario?

      3. Joseph Cooper

        April 1, 2016 at 6:14 am / 

        Yeah – we really need branches here, but not exactly branches and not exactly a work around which I’m not sure what you mean by this.

        My team uses branches for three things:

        (1) Release management / Stability Management. Our workflow goes from DEV -> QA -> Stage/Production – Each branch gets promoted once it passes a certain level by QA and is automatically promoted built / deployed via branches through our Jenkins CI.

        (2) Hotfixes – When something bad comes up, we branch Stage/Production for a quick mirror of what’s on live (Or the Release/X branch/tag) We make a new Release branch for this Release/1.1.1 which then gets frozen, and verified by jumping straight to stage/production.

        (3) Feature Branching / Bug Branching – Our CI system deploys a custom Server+iOS+Android environment when we deploy a custom branch in GIT. This allows Devs to work on feature branches or bug branches that are isolated before they are merged into the dev branch – giving QA/Product Owners the ability to launch their own builds and test specific features that aren’t accidently broken by others when you’re working in a team of 15+.

        —-

        We need branches in order to use this service with the ability to switch to different branches and the ability to merge them. And if custom CI is going to get integrated into this, we need a CLI in order to switch branches.

        Feel free to email me if the above doesn’t make sense. Until then – We’re stuck using github and SmartMerge+Tortoise which isn’t working as pleasantly as we’d hope.

  22. Daniel Kalmar

    March 22, 2016 at 8:24 am / 

    So what is this exactly? A new, integrated version control and bug tracking system? Or just a higher level overlay that supports different version control systems?

    1. Bartłomiej Przybylak

      March 22, 2016 at 10:37 am / 

      It looks like something between git, backup and hockeyapp :) But non of them :)

    2. Arisa Scott

      March 22, 2016 at 5:53 pm / 

      New, project sharing / version control light system with integration into the rest of Unity. Features aimed at making it easier for you to work with your team however we can. Like, right now we have integration of smart merge, and will see how helpful that is or how we might need to expand it (whether it be through improving that tool or adding something like visual diff).

      At some point, we will likely support you using whatever version control with Collaborate that you want to–but for the short term we’re keeping our scope small and focused on features that will make working together in Unity easier.

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