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Back up your stuff NOW!

edited July 2015 in Adventure talk
Not directly related to AC as such, but just thought I'd remind everyone to have a strong backup regime when working on projects. Tonight I was saved by this, meaning I only lost about three hours' work instead of everything.

My gut feeling is it was a Unity editor bug, but I never really panicked because I knew I had at least 10 generations of working backups and all my asset source projects in a separate location. Will make a formal Unity bug report if I manage to recreate it tomorrow.

So ... learn the easy way from someone who originally had to learn the hard way: Back Up Your Stuff!!!


  • edited August 2015
    I'm saving my current project in a dropbox folder, so I can work on it on my PC and my laptop. The 30 days file-backups of dropbox already saved my ass a couple of times. But there's a drawback: Unity is constantly accessing a lot of files, which "killed" a dropbox folder one time. The folder was totally messed up, didn't sync anymore and couldn't be deleted anymore. 

    Now I pause the dropbox syncing while I'm working on a project and  close it and sync dropbox every hour or so, and continue working again. Additionally I create simple .rar archives of the complete project folder regularly. 
  • Just here to chime in: backing up is essential! I used to work in home tech support and I can't tell you the number of times I was called out to recover crucial data. Doctor's theses, novels, family photos: it can all go if your hard drive crashes.

    I also use Dropbox, as well as a second hard drive in my PC. I also intend to set up a NAS in my office (likely with its own online backup) so I have my data in multiple locations, on- and off-site.

    I'm not a big fan of working directly into Dropbox, so I use a program called FreeFileSync and Windows Task Scheduler (I'm sure OSX has something similar) to do daily backups. I should probably set that to hourly as I move further into development of my game.
  • edited August 2015
    Finally remembered something that I wanted to write as a comment to this: working directly in a dropbox folder used to cause a small but constant trickle of really annoying file access problems for me, apparently because dropbox and unity will fight each other for locks on files. Not really a huge problem, but it typically tended to happen when I started a full project build, went and made a fresh cup of coffee, only to find that fine little "Abort or retry?" dialog that had popped up 15 milliseconds into the process waiting for me. Also used to happen a lot when refreshing assets from the file system during project loading.

    The solution was setting up an external sync job, as described above.

    EDIT: If you click "Abort" first, I think the OS reply should be "You give up too easily." :-)
  • Aye. A good call.

    If you are working on a serious project then you should at the least have a network drive in RAID. Then you can work over that local network instead of suffering the Dbox conficts.

    And, for a simple project back-up method which works well do this:

    With Unity closed, just create a zipfile of your project and store it on a separate drive.
    Fast SD cards are brilliant 21st C 'floppy' back ups. With 64GB sized ones for well under £20 you can practically have a card as a project archive for an extra level of safety.
  • Everybody. Can you please stop this dropbox/zip/sync advise nonsense. I have to step in here in case others read this thread and feel inclined to adopt that. We don't talk about day-jobs much here in this forum but I am a senior technical engineer at a huge software company and an evangelist for state-of-the-art agile and cloud engineering practices and I want to highlight a better and also very simple way.

    Given, any backup is better than none. Dropbox and similar have no place in software development though. Here we should talk about versioning systems. I can only strongly urge everybody to adopt such practices. Now.

    Advantages includes:
    • Going back and forth between "commits" which are basically chunks of your work is a click of a button
    • Seeing the difference between commits is super easy
    • Reverting an unsuccessful asset or Unity upgrade is trivial
    • Developing something major in parallel without bringing it in the master is easy with feature branches (although I advise against this as feature flags are a much better practice nowadays)
    I used CVS & SVN in the past. Today the sure bet is Git -> G(oogle )it. On Windows I use Tortoise Git as the perfect explorer integration and Visual Studio Online to host my 40Gb project, for FREE. I shared this project with Unity so that everytime I have a bug my repro advise is simply to checkout a certain commit. That speeds up working with Unity a lot and really solves bugs.

    There are also other fitting tools (bitbucket, mercurial etc) to cater your personal preferences but chose something along these lines. If somebody wants examples, hints or screenshots for Git usage just drop a note in this thread.
  • edited August 2015
    Amen to that.

    At my day job, I'm the only in-house developer, but still use Git rigorously for everything. Apart from writing new stuff, I also maintain a lot of legacy code that I originally had to manually hunt down from various network drives and decide which of several different versions was the correct one - grrrrr!

    @10FingerArmy: if you have any good advice about working with large binary asset files in Git, I would be very interested.

  • I backup about 2-3 times a day :P

    i have a temperamental pc that likes to blue screen. i blame windows 8 ;)

    Sometimes, it crashes and opening the scene has nothing inside it. And this is where backup comes in handy !

  • Here is an old thread that it would be helpful to have updated.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this subject in 2020? I have no idea how to get started with backing up my project in a more sophisticated way than dropboxing...

    What are YOU doing and how?

  • Five years later, Git is definitely the way to go. I use GitHub for everything now, and support for large binary assets now works smoothly.

    I pay $5.00 per month for 50 GB storage on GitHub, and that easily handles around a dozen active and archived projects. Overall a much better experience than I had when I used Unity Collaborate.

    If you're importing 3rd party asset packs to your project, I can't recommend Maintainer enough:

  • Indeed - IMO any project should rely on Github or similar version control, even the free options.

  • Ah, interesting! Thanks, @Snebjorn.

    I was asking around on the Discord and just had a recommendation for Unity Collaborate. At 9Bucks a month I was a bit dubious.

    I guess I will look back at Github again. Is it not a complete pain in the neck having to constantly 'Push branches' etc?

    For completeness, on the same Discord thread someone recommended this GUI for people like me who are scared of too much code:

  • Git doesn't have to be complicated at all, especially if you're not using branches. Also, if you're a single developer, you probably won't have any issues at all with merging.

    I use GitHub's desktop client which makes it all very straightforward, and on the few occasions I've needed to revert changes in a project it's also been quite simple.

  • Thanks for that last nugget, @Snebjorn - GitHub's desktop client seems fine, you're right. I appear to be just about up and running! Woop. This video was very helpful for anyone looking to do the same -

    A related question, which has been bugging me for a while now anyway:

    The way I have my folders organised, all of the AC assets, including the demo, are also inside of my Unity Project Folder. This bulks out the size of the project quite a lot. Is there a smarter way to manage these files?

    i.e. can I put them somewhere else in my Unity file tree and still have access to them in the project, or is this just a necessary evil?

  • The Demo folders are not necessary, so long as your own game doesn't rely on any of their assets.

  • I just got my github repository all setup thanks to this great thread.

    What do most users here do for allowing play testers to submit bugs? I have set my repository to private code, but would still like users to be able to submit feedback and not everyone has a github account.

    What is the best way for players to submit feedback/bugs?

    I've seen some mention that there are tools/plugins that can connect google forms to Github etc..

    Thanks for any advice!

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