The widely popular free-to-play fighting game Brawlhalla, developed by Blue Mammoth Games, has maintained a huge fan base with over 100 million people playing the game since open beta in 2015 and its subsequent launch in 2017. Its success led the studio to dedicate a team to making continued development updates and host worldwide esports tournaments.
When the pandemic arrived, remote work became a necessity, and Blue Mammoth needed a way to enable their artists, animators, producers, developers, and other team members to work from home without sacrificing the artistic quality or in-person collaboration that makes Brawlhalla the beloved platform brawler it is.
Enter Parsec, a high-performance remote desktop solution that enables creative teams to access their computers from anywhere and work together like they would in the office. Because of Parsec’s support for GPU-intensive workflows and peripheral inputs like gamepads and drawing tablets, the Blue Mammoth team chose to implement it as their remote tool of choice for end-to-end development and broadcasting.
Now, even as many companies have returned to the studio, Blue Mammoth maintains a hybrid work environment that leverages the improved communication and collaboration Parsec provides between departments as they work on Brawlhalla projects and patches.
We interviewed Uyen-Anh Dang, Brawlhalla’s lead producer, Rachel Jost, the project’s illustration lead, and Mike Bedsole, the character animation lead at Blue Mammoth, to learn more about their experience using Parsec for seamless remote game development.
Uyen-Anh opened the interview, “I want to note, I’m literally using Parsec right now. I’m remote, and this is my home. Before this call, I was using Parsec to catch up on work and coordinate a patch update. It’s a daily thing and has been extremely helpful.”
Collaboration across teams
The heart of Brawlhalla’s success lies in cross-functional collaboration between diverse team members, each contributing their expertise to create a well-rounded gameplay experience. Uyen-Anh reveals that this is especially important during critical patch updates, which require constant communication. Parsec became the linchpin in this process, enabling remote collaboration as seamless as over-the-shoulder interactions in a physical office. Teams are able to work together in real time to provide feedback, make tweaks, and ensure the quality of each element.
“Communication, coordination, and tracking across projects and updates is crucial to a producer’s workflow. Parsec has allowed us to maintain the same level of daily communication across departments that we had in the office when we’re collaborating on patch updates.”
— Uyen-Anh Dang, Lead Producer, Brawlhalla
Rachel emphasized how Parsec transformed her remote work experience: “Once the team explained to me how Parsec worked, it solved all my issues. My machine at home is basic, with the core essentials: browser, Discord, and Parsec – done. Parsec has become the way I use my computer entirely.”
Empowering creativity with drawing tablet support
A standout feature that set Parsec apart for Blue Mammoth was its near-flawless support for Wacom drawing tablets. For artists and animators like Mike, this functionality was non-negotiable: “When I put pen to screen and the cursor isn’t where it’s supposed to be, I can’t work.” In the past, other remote desktop solutions had fallen short in translating precise pen-to-screen interactions, inhibiting creative output.
Parsec has precise pen support, including pressure, tilt, and rotation, for an unrivaled remote drawing experience. This has enabled the art and animation teams to successfully work from anywhere with their drawing tablets. “Parsec was the first remote desktop that was able to support our artists seamlessly, so it ended up being a natural fit in our workflow,” Mike said.
A new era of flexibility and accessibility
Beyond enhancing collaboration, Parsec liberated the team from geographical constraints, allowing Blue Mammoth Games to tap into a global talent pool. The team now has illustrators distributed across the United States and even outside the country, in Malaysia. Dang noted that Parsec’s secure access, which includes features like multifactor authentication and single sign-on (SSO), facilitated the sharing of key files and eliminated the barriers previously posed by restrictive permissions.
Dang echoed her team members: ”Parsec has made everything so much more convenient – that’s probably the biggest difference in our work, the convenience.”
Seamless integration into an existing workflow
The Blue Mammoth team voiced a unanimous sentiment – Parsec not only addressed the challenges often posed by remote work, but enriched their daily routines. As Brawlhalla’s development continues, Parsec remains at the core of their creative process, supporting everything from intricate animations to crucial QA checks, transcending distances and time zones.
In Dang’s words, “Parsec makes it all still work – and it runs smoothly.”
Blue Mammoth Games and Parsec have shown that innovation can flourish even in the most challenging circumstances. As the gaming industry witnesses the evolution of remote collaboration, this synergy between developer and technology serves as a testament to the power of adaptability, creativity, and the tools that bridge physical distance.
If you work in game development, post-production, animation, VFX, or any other creative field and would like to see how Parsec can empower your remote team, kick-off a 14-day free trial of Parsec for Teams today.
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