Sourcetree for the Uninitiated

Joseph and I became a team back in the fall of 2013. I was a partially employed undergrad with an art minor, and Joseph was an IT consultant who’d created a game prototype that needed artwork. Luck (or our mutual friend named Braxton) brought us together, and we made Binary Cocoa’s first game, Hexapod Defense Force.

When I first started doing the art for Hexapod Defense Force, I realized I needed more than art skills to help make a computer game. Two computer tools became absolutely essential to our creative process: SourceTree and Bitbucket.

Bitbucket is a type of cloud storage designed for code projects that can be accessed and updated by multiple users (up to five users for free). SourceTree is the file management program you can download to your computer that simplifies accessing and updating your files and projects stored to Bitbucket. This beautiful relationship makes it so Joseph and I can seamlessly collaborate on games from either side of the country.

While there are plenty of programs that help you share files remotely, the real benefit of using SourceTree and Bitbucket is that you can push and pull modifications and additions to a game with relative ease and with protection against overwriting each other’s work. SourceTree keeps track of every version of a project, so if something blows up, you can always go back to before the explosion. SourceTree manages the files so that you receive any updates prior to sending out your changes to a project.

Here’s an illustration of the basic process:

treeDiagram

As an artist, these programs mean I can send Joseph new artwork as I create it. He can then turn around and show me the latest version of the game, and I can test how it plays. Lately, I’ve been learning enough of the basics of programming that I’ve been able to add in art and sound files as I make them. This frees up more of Joseph’s time for the hardcore coding and keeps us on the same page without having to constantly bug one another for updates (not that we don’t love each other).

Programs like SourceTree make it possible to truly collaborate even though we have different talents and schedules and zip codes. Binary Cocoa couldn’t be successful without all the incredible resources available to us. Perhaps this blog is meant to be a dedication more than a how-to or a chronicle.

For more information about SourceTree and Bitbucket, try their official websites.