Case Study

Creative Assembly overcomes remote game testing challenges with Parsec

To quickly scale the team’s transition to a hybrid office/WFH experience, Creative Assembly chose Parsec for Teams Enterprise as a remote desktop and to support testing of their video games. Parsec brings developers, QA teams, and external testers together flawlessly, no matter the distance.

Using Parsec is like sitting in front of my studio workstation even if it’s 100 miles away.

-Kevin Coster, Creative Assembly Infrastructure Lead

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The Challenge

With the shift to remote work, Creative Assembly needed a solution that replicated the security as well as the experience of in-person testing, and team playthroughs.  The studio had used other remote tools in the past,  but they were in need of a solution that could handle the team’s GPU-intensive workflows while providing desperately needed high-performance, low-latency, and 4:4:4 color mode with support for control input devices like gamepads.

The Solution

Parsec for Teams Enterprise was easy for Creative Assembly’s IT admins to deploy and manage. Parsec has its origins in the gaming world, so it was already optimized for Creative Assembly’s high-performance needs: creating gorgeous 3D art, writing code, implementing audio, testing builds, and playtesting. Using Parsec meant that testers spread across the globe could test game builds together as if they were in the same room.

Parsec is a total game changer. It helped us to implement hybrid office/remote workflows so that the team could get results as good as if we all were in the same room together.”
– Kevin Coster, Creative Assembly Infrastructure Lead

What makes Parsec the best enterprise-level solution for Creative Assembly?

Game testing from anywhere that’s virtual AND secure
Traditionally game testing took place in the studio onsite. With Parsec, Creative Assembly was able to continue testing game builds and running playthroughs with their distributed teams in real-time with high-fidelity, quality motion graphics. In addition, the team was able to recruit and engage remote playtesters around the globe and collect effective data on their unfinished games. 

To make that happen was fraught with risk before Parsec. If the team sent out direct download links, there was a high risk of leaking the studio’s IP, and it was a clunky user experience for remote playtesters.

“We had all the kit ready to go – but we couldn’t get people into our UK studios. Parsec gave us a way to securely bridge the game to the studio, so our teams could collaborate with the seamless performance.” – Kevin Coster, Creative Assembly Infrastructure Lead

With Parsec, the game’s IP is safe during playtesting through Parsec’s ability to watermark the game stream and lock down the workstation and approved apps. Plus, other security features like enforced SSO, privacy mode, team computer management, and a fully-encrypted gaming experience bring greater peace of mind. 

Even when playtesters are invited to play games remotely on the studio workstations, they can only see what the Creative Assembly team grants permission for, using the Approved Apps security settings. Parsec’s Guest Access feature schedules testing sessions in advance, easily facilitating large-scale demos. Guests simply tap a unique link to be connected through a peer-to-peer (P2P), encrypted connection.

Scalable, consistent and easy to use
The team fell in love with Parsec because it made their one-to-many collaboration seamless and helped them adapt their workflows to the new hybrid office/WFH tools. The team has been growing in usage, currently with 300+ Enterprise licenses and counting.

Creative Assembly’s IT admins rave about Parsec’s quick and easy setup. Parsec’s software-only application with a small installation footprint makes it simple to download, and pretty much ‘set it and forget it.’ The creative teams using Parsec are impressed with the ease of day-to-day work and how it works seamlessly with gamepads, tablets, pens, and other input devices. No waiting for large files to load or hours for graphics to render in UHD and up to 240 FPS, plus granular 4:4:4 color control. 

“When new teams join Parsec, they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. That helps reduce the barrier to entry to adopting new hybrid/remote collaboration tools.”
– Kevin Coster, Creative Assembly Infrastructure Lead

Support for collaborative hybrid workflows
No matter how the office of the future changes, Parsec provides Creative Assembly with total flexibility and comfort in the standards of security. Employees and contractors can collaborate side-by-side, but also virtually, whether they are in the office or around the globe. 

With Parsec, the team was able to run one-to-many collaborative sessions where a single player’s gameplay was streamed to many collaborators who were looking for user feedback and assessing QA. Parsec’s low-latency, high framerate connections enabled the team to access their physical workstations just as if they were sitting in the office, with seamless remote access to their graphics tools. To share Guest Access for other playtesting use cases, inviting a tester just takes a few clicks.

“Our IT admins love Parsec because it’s an easy thing we can do to make a big impact on the security of our games’ IP.”
– Kevin Coster, Creative Assembly Infrastructure Lead

Our dev and QA teams love Parsec because it’s brought them a good quality of life – gives them the high-performance experience that makes them feel like they’re in the studio, when they’re actually working from anywhere

-Kevin Coster, Creative Assembly Infrastructure Lead

High Performance Relay (HPR)

HPR is an enterprise feature for enhanced security controls and connection reliability. The HPR is a lightweight, on-premises service that enables efficient relaying of multiple simultaneous Parsec connections through a single IP address and port configuration, giving network admins more control over their network infrastructure. It can be used to assist with NAT traversal as an on-prem relay for large LAN deployments of Parsec or as a general purpose WAN relay server. For more information about the HPR, visit Parsec’s support page.

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