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Collaborate is terrible and much worse than Asset Server, and this is why

Discussion in 'Unity Collaborate' started by Artaani, Jul 3, 2017.

  1. Artaani

    Artaani

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    UPDATE
    This thread was created before Unity 2017.1 was released out of Beta.
    2017.1 have a lot of improvements of Collaborate in comparison with previous version.
    So the text below is no longer actual for latest version of Collaborate.



    First of all, before we will start, in case if you will think that I am just a hater, I should say that I am (and our team) is very very loyal Unity fans. I am working with it since version 3.* or something like that. We are always thought that Unity is much better than CryEngine or Unreal Engine even when Unity didn't had Dx11 or the same level of graphic. And everything what was developed by Unity, was a revolution.

    But now, Unity begin to move in really wrong way in some cases. First it happened with UNET, it will be explained in another post. Here we will talk about "Collaborate".

    Out team tested it while it was in Beta, and it was quite terrible, so we decided to wait.
    And now you announced that Collaborate is out of Beta and fully released.
    And it is almost the same as it was in Beta...

    Currently, we are still using Asset Server. Seems like people thinking that Asset Server is outdated and broken, but we have no idea where this idea came from. In our opinion, Asset Server is amazing and was a revolution when it was released. A huge respect for the team who developed it.

    We using it for 10-30 Gb projects and it works really well and fast. Very rarely it requires re-installation, but it is not a big problem as a price for such a good service.



    So, why Collaborate is much worse than Asset Server? There is a list:
    1. Extremely small window which can be re-scaled. What is this? This is not serious. I can't even see entire file name and full path. In additional, when I hover mouse over the line, two buttons overlap it even more.
    2. In Asset Server I can click on any item in the list of local changes and this file will be selected and highlighted in Assets window. In Collaborate, click on the line do nothing
    3. In Asset Server, each line in local changes list have its icon which represents its type (script, prefab, material etc.). In Collaborate, all lines looks the same!
    4. In Asset Server, each line in local changes list have colored icon which represent type of change (add, move, delete). In the Collaborate there is nothing like this.
    5. In Collaborate, I can't selected several items in the list of local changes! I can't commit or discard several selected files at once! If I want to discard some files, I should select each of them, click on discard button, click on confirmation button, wait 1-2 seconds and repeat this action for every file! This is unacceptable!
    6. The same with conflict resolve, only one file at the time!
    7. Also, due this, I can't commit only some of local changes, I should commit everything! Of course I can select several files in Asset window and commit them using right mouse button, but it is extremely inconvenient, I want to do it right from the list of local changes as it is possible in Asset Server.
    8. In history log I can't see entire list of changes, I should open a website, which is slow and inconvenient, and also displays list of changes in very uncomfortable way.
    9. And the most important, Collaborate just do not works. I tried to download a project, and it was downloaded with wrong scripts and errors which already solved on another computer. This tool even can't perform its main task. Also look at all of these posts about issues on the forum. And this is called a "final release"? Looks like the same situation as with UNET. "Final release" and everything still extremely raw.


    This is how list of changes should looks like!


    Look at this! Icons from the left. Icons from the right. Rescalable. Every item is clickable.

    This is how "resolve conflict window should looks like!


    Icons, clickable items, selected option from the left. Possibility to selected several items or all of them using Ctrl+A. Possibility to select a solution for multiple items at the same time. Perfect! Isn't it?

    This is how history should looks like!

    Full lists, icons, folders, everything is clickable. Possibility to download specific file very fast and in comfortable way! Love it!

    This is how Collaborate should looks like! But better!

    Not like this!

    This is ridiculous.
    It is completely wrong way to display and manage big data.


    Excuse me, do you even used Asset Server? It is a great tool! It was revolution, how fast and easy it was to share a project between members of the team.

    In order to make something better, you should take previous experience as a reference and make it even better. Asset Server is a great experience, all what you need, it is just improve it. But seems like you started to reinvent a wheel. That is completely wrong.

    I was excited when I saw that you are developing a Collaborate. I thought you are going to take a Asset Server and improve it. But you made something completely different. Everything good from Asset Server was threw away. New Collaborate should be at least as good as Asset Server, but it is much worse than it. In that case, I don't understand why you even started to develop it.

    I am starting really worry about future of Unity. First it was UNET. Absolutely terrible solution which replaced old unity network which was amazing.

    Now Collaborate which designed to replace Asset Server, but also have much worse quality.

    It is all really sad.

    We are really hope you will consider this text and will try to improve a situation, because we have a very big plans about how to use all the power of Unity, and we hope Unity will not lose its power overtime.

    Sorry if we are a bit too rude, but it is only because we are worry about future of Unity. Turned out that some thing not go well and we should express our thoughts about this.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
    IgorAherne, joaobsneto and Romenics like this.
  2. jwvanderbeck

    jwvanderbeck

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    I have never used Asset Server but I completely agree that Collab is a hot mess right now and the fact that Unity Tech is pushing it to be live makes me question their priorities. It is no where near production stable, and continues to have tons of problems. It isn't so much a matter of the missing features that I think should keep it from going live, it is a matter of the core functionality not being reliable and that is unacceptable from a VCS.
     
    Artaani likes this.
  3. Artaani

    Artaani

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    jwvanderbeck, by the way, can you recommend good system which allow to share big projects (10-30 Gb) between team members? We are still using Asset Server, but maybe there is something more modern?

    Plastic SCM removed from the Asset Store for some reason. Perforce have only one review in Asset Store and it have 1 star. Git for Unity still in early alpha and Collab definitely not ready for stable usage.

    We are wondering, how others teams solved this task.
     
  4. jwvanderbeck

    jwvanderbeck

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    We are still just using Git/GitHub and GitLFS as a backup to Collab right now. The initial setup with GitLFS was a bit of a pain but it seems to be working ok now. I've looked into the Unity Git plugin and it looks interesting, but I have yet to try it out. I want to though.

    Really I *do* want Collab to be good. It is so easy to use for everyone. I just can't trust it after having been burned so many times, and with it in this state I can't imagine actually paying for it. Honestly I think it is really shady for UT to be trying to charge for it with it being so unreliable. I really hope they get it smoothed out before the free period ends.
     
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  5. daxiongmao

    daxiongmao

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    I would recommend perforce. Depending on your team size they have a free 5 workspace version.
    Earlier versions offfered 20 not sure if it is still possible to get that.

    We used the perforce unity plugin and it was usable to bad.
    We recently switched to the native unity perforce tool. And are much happier in general.
    We mainly rely on it for marking changes or moving files etc.
    We use p4v for doing the change list management and other features.

    The biggest problem I have now is in unity they have nice buttons to checkout things.
    Except materials on renderers. You have to go select the material then check it out.
     
  6. jwvanderbeck

    jwvanderbeck

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    I don't even know what "Perforce" means anymore. I've never used it, always used Git, but visiting perforce.com is super confusing.
     
  7. quixotic

    quixotic

    Unity Technologies

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    Artaani, thank you the feedback. I appreciate how much thought you put into this. The reason there are so many differences between the Asset Server and Collaborate, is that Collaborate was intentionally designed to be simple and easy to use (especially for people that have never used source control of any kind). We are continuing to add features, such as project browser integration that might better serve your needs.

    In 2017.1 among the changes we made, we added filters in the project browser. Those allow you to select everything that has been modified, also everything that is in conflict. From there you can use the right-click menu to selectively discard local changes, publish files, and resolve conflicts. Our desire was to move actions away from the tiny Collab window and more inline with how the rest of Unity deals with files.

    We have plans to make improvements to our UI, I’ll talk to our designer about your specific feedback to see how we might address it.

    I'll also be contacting you directly to ask you some follow up questions to better understand the issues you ran into (for 9 that sounds similar to a bug we resolved in 2017.1 but I would need more information).
     
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  8. Flag74

    Flag74

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    I totally agree with Artaani.
    We used AssetServer for years and even though it has some bug, it's still usable.
    Sorry but Collaborate UI is terrible. If you want to keep it simple, just add an advanced mode maybe.
    To reproduce Collaborate bugs is really simple, since they happen 50% of times:
    just create a project, fill it with assets, create new folders, rename and move assets to those new folders and so on...there's 50% chance that collaborate will miss or break something. Jest play with those operations and you'll see Collaborate won't work as it should.
     
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  9. Artaani

    Artaani

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    Thanks for your reply!
    Now our faith in Unity is increased : )

    We glad you realize that current style of GUI of Collaborate is does not suit the rest of UI and overall ideology of Unity.

    In Unity everything is a "Window" which can be resized, dragged and inserted in another window as a tab, but Collab even not a window at all, it is just fixed panel with its own design.
    Glad that you going to fix it in further versions.

    About simplicity. Of course, it is a good goal, but simplicity should not conflict with functional.
    Basically what I mean it is "Usability" or "User friendly interface".
    For example, If user will be unable to select multiple files and perform some action at once - it will mean a flaw in usability (simplicity).
    But seems like you understand that and we will wait for the next version.

    Thanks for inform your designers about my post. I have some experience in graphical and UI design, so feel free to ask whatever additional information you want. I will be glad to help with the interface.
    But mostly, you should just look at the Asset Server and just make it even more better.

    The only complain, you probably made final release of Collab is too early. You are talking that it will be much better in 2017.1, so probably it still should be in Beta for a while.
    People will not be scary by "Beta" word. Some people can even use Beta tools in their main projects, if it is stable enough, but if they will encounter some bugs or important flaws, it will be understandable.
    However, once you called it "final release", many people will start using it actively, and once they will encounter the same bugs or important flaws, they will be very frustrated. Also people will think "maybe I am doing something wrong or not understand something" (because it is final release), will spend even more time and will be even more frustrated. (it happened with UNET before).
    Don't be afraid to call your tools "Beta" until you are not sure in reliability of this tools. People will understand it and will wait for improvements.


    Also I want to say about importance of your work. As you can see from comments in this posts, people forced to use "strange", not very comfortable and not very reliable solutions in order to share their projects between members of the team.
    Plastic SCM and Perforce seems abandoned and low quality, Git is hard to setup and plugin still in Alpha.
    Asset Server is good, but still not very reliable and will be good if it will be replaced with something new.

    Besides that, we are always prefer to use tools which developed by Unity Team (for example, we never used nGUI, for a long time we used old Unity GUI system and after that, switched on new UGUI, and now we thinking that UGUI is the best GUI system in the world (not only for game engines)).

    So we wish you success and thanks for your efforts : )
    We will check a new versions of Collaborate.
     
    Romenics likes this.
  10. GroenBoer

    GroenBoer

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    Unity Collaborate is horrible.
    It is completely unoptimized. I have a 20gb project that it checks for changes every damn time I open up unity. It takes like 2- 4 hours to do only to find that there are no changes! Use hashes ffs.
    I can write a better collaboration system in a day. I am just waiting for this damn thing to finish "checking for changing" to disable it completely. Glad I did not buy additional seats for the team.
     
  11. Ryan-Unity

    Ryan-Unity

    Unity Technologies

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    Hey @GroenBoer! It sounds like you're experiencing this bug here. If that's the case then rest assured we are working hard on a fix at this very moment. This issue should be resolved soon.

    If you feel that it's a different issue then please let us know.
     
  12. jwvanderbeck

    jwvanderbeck

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    Ryan to be completely honest here, this issue of slow scanning has been a thorn in Collab's side for at least a year, maybe more now. It is the #1 reason everytime I try to switch to collab, I end up dumping it very quickly.

    It confuses me because I thought Collab was built on git, yet git can scan the same projects in seconds whereas Unity hangs every editor load for 15, 20 minutes, sometimes much longer and it just completely kills productivity.
     
  13. Artaani

    Artaani

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    Hello. Are your project on a SSD? Our project is 30 Gb and it takes 10-15 minutes. Of course it is definitely not good but much suitable than 2-4 hours.
     
  14. GroenBoer

    GroenBoer

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    The issue for me I believe is bandwidth.
    I am from South Africa and my ADSL line is only 2mb (and latency is to US is about 300ms).
    From what I can determine is that Unity is trying to compare every file in the project (there are about 8000 files) against those on the collab server. But instead of using a hierarchy of hashes to indicate file & folder changes, Unity scans through each and every file to calculate the hash every time. If a hierarchy of hashes were used (like TFS does) then it would have been a second or two to determine whether the whole project is up to date.

    By the very least Unity collab should not force users to have to wait on every startup of the project; either make this a non-blocking operation of make it a process initiated by the user self by clicking a button.

    Anyhow, I finally managed to remove Unity collab.

    As much as I love Unity, this product needs to be redesigned at the core. The worst thing that you can do to any developer is to force us to sit and wait while we urgently want/need to be busy developing.

    If Unity didn't inherently keep on modifying the .proj files then TFS would have been the best solution to use.

    For the moment, dropbox will have to suffice until we roll our own damn collab system.
     
  15. jwvanderbeck

    jwvanderbeck

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    I think it just needs to be on a background thread. I don't understand why Unity blocks while this process is being done. Just let it run in the background so I can kep working and update the UI icons as the scan completes on each file.
     
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  16. Artaani

    Artaani

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    If it is not a secret, what you decided to use instead of Collab?
     
  17. jwvanderbeck

    jwvanderbeck

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    I would suggest Git or Perforce. Git is much easier to use and setup, but Perforce is loved by the games industry and handles binary assets better. Git with Git-lfs is what we use instead of collab.
     
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  18. Artaani

    Artaani

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    Thanks.
    Interesting! I heard about Perforce but I thought it is very low quality and unprofessional because their plugin on the Asset Store have terrible rating.
    https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/25523

    But now I checked it again and figured out that Perforce integration already built in Unity.
    However I still can't find any tutorial how to setup Perforce. All tutorials is outdated and based on old plugin from the Asset Store.

    Maybe you know a good link on the tutorial how to setup new Perforce for Unity?
     
  19. jwvanderbeck

    jwvanderbeck

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    Well this is why we use Git. Perforce is confusing as heck unless you already know it :)
     
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  20. thomas_unity231

    thomas_unity231

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    Damn, coming back to this in 2020 and you still can't RESCALE THE F***ING WINDOW TO SEE ALL THE ISSUES/FILE NAMES and you STILL CAN ONLY RESOLVE ONE CONFLICT AT A TIME AND HAVE TO WAIT EACH TIME FOR A MILLION SHADERS TO RECOMPUTE.

    I'm sitting here losing a F***ing hour coddling Unity collab because this is blocking me from updating the project and getting to work. Get this S*** fixed, it's been more than eight F***ing years. Jesus christ.
     
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  21. Romenics

    Romenics

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    If someone seeking for alternative, I may recommend GitHub + Large File Storage (LFS) + SourceTree application.
    It is a bit tricky to setup initially but after that it performs its task very well. We have no issues with it during couple of years of usage.
     
  22. BoombitLicence25

    BoombitLicence25

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    Collab still draws me nuts! Terribly slow on windows, fixing merge conflicts for single small file can takes good amount of minutes- just to get error message at the end "error resolving conflict". How is this possible? Just choose their file and that's it! why it's having problems with task this simple? Can't push chosen files- only from project view, but you can't push e.g. project settings through here. And why can't I see all files pushed by my co-workers? I need to go into Unity account in my browser. Also when pulling changes progress cicrle never hits 100%. Well, task is finished but Unity UI still waits for something stucked at 97% and I always need to poke it with cancel button. Slow, painful, ridiculous. If you have a choice then never use it! Unfortunatelly I can't change it due to employer conditions so I'm stuck with this joke-tool.
     
  23. aazzolini

    aazzolini

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    Two months into learning Unity and trying to develop our first game, this is the 3rd time my partner and I lose a day of work due to Collab flakiness. We are using Unity 2020.1.12f1 Personal on MacOS Catalina v. 10.15.7.

    This is the common pattern of failures we get daily from collab:


    Reliability issues:
    - Around 20% of time, the "Collab" tab is empty.
    - Around 20% of time, we get "Error fetching changes from Server".
    - Sometimes, collab reports success but doesn't upload all of the changes. There have been multiplel instances where I had to quit and re-open Unity to be able to upload the rest of the changes.
    - "Revert to previous version" is extremely dangerous and cannot be undone -- I have never seen a version control system that prevents from undoing changes. This is extemelly dangerous given that Collab itself is unreliable and falsely reports success after uploading changes.
    - Collab often gets stuck. "Cancel" doesn't work. Trying again leads to a message in the console: "Operation already running". The only way is to restart unity.

    Usability issues:
    - Collab doesn't warn of unsaved changes before upload.
    - Collab doesn't seem to allow to inspect contents of previous changes.
    - Collab doens't allow for branches or multiple bookmarks.

    Am I missing something here? Is the Pro version of this any better? I'm assuming from the lack of recent complaints that either my set-up is wrong or no-one actually uses collab.
     
  24. xSarahh

    xSarahh

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    I'm mostly just pissed at "Checking for changes", why not just let us cancel it, or why does it check for changes even though there's nothing pushed? Why not doing it while GOING to push??
     
  25. FirstTimeCreator

    FirstTimeCreator

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    I feel your pain. I had a sudden crash where my computer restarted when I was working in the project. When I reloaded the project collab told me that my entire project needed to be reupdated. 32GB of files. Now, and I had this problem the last time this happened about 7 months ago.. it freezes about every 500MB downloading causing me to literally have to babysit the download.....

    Curse words do not do it justice. I have no way of even finding out if the download is hung other than manually checking and also I have a bandwidth monitor on my internet connection so I can see that it has stalled. You would think they would incorporate an auto restart on the download when it stalls so I don't have to literally babysit it because their servers are crap.

    Our team is currently looking into alternatives because Collab is killing production time when it fails to work.. it fails hard.

    I guess I have plenty of free time on my hands to sit here and hate on collab in the forum.. while I babysit this huge unnecessary download of my project.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2021
  26. unity_0EAFFAF5249BA943916B

    unity_0EAFFAF5249BA943916B

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    Unity collaborate is still a garbage.. even the buttons does not work on files to select use local or use remote, i can do all at once only on a conflict. When i click on use remote, it still shows there is conflict but no files listed. After deleting the project locally unity hub cannot see on remote anymore... that's the reason why you always have to use your garbage application if you want to create a good one...

    P.s.: oh yeah and sometimes it would be nice to read all these forum feedbacks from 2017 about unity for the project owners of the company
     
  27. Lurking-Ninja

    Lurking-Ninja

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    Accept your own advise, you should read the forums (and probably your emails) too. Collaborate is going away, getting updated to Plastic SCM.
     
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