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Work Remotely using Local Hardware

Hey all, I’m getting things up and running for my new game dev/vfx company (http://stu237.com/). When I start getting more clients and I need to hire extra hands, I want to keep all the project files on my NAS, but be able to give remote access to another team member. Basically they’ll be able to use the power of their computer to do renders and develop, but just not be able to save or work on project files locally. If that makes sense. The reason why is that I want to run this company fully remote. Also some clients can be very paranoid with to many chefs in the kitchen, so to speak. This is to ensure them I only have complete control/access to all the source files/assets.

I think I seen a service that was similar to this, but I’m not sure what it’s called. Even then I’m not sure what the limitations are and if there’s even anything like this on the market. My question is, what is the possibility this software can be developed? I’m quite aware something like this might cost quite a bit of cash, but willing to get it developed for my company once more funding rolls in, and I hire my core team. Any who I’d love to get a dialogue open about this!

Congrats on starting up stu237!

This is possible via multiple methods and can be flexible depending on your needs. Others might have better ideas and methods for this… but here are some of my ideas off the top of my head.

  • Provide a network share over a secure connection that has proper permissions setup for the user. NAS software usually has a way to easily set this up and sometimes even allows you to connect some sort of authentication up to it.

  • I would recommend utilizing some sort of VPN setup that would allow your employees to securely connect to your network to access the share.

  • Ensure that you have a proper backup solution for your files. follow the golden 3-2-1 rule. Storage will be more expensive, but it will be worth not losing months of work and all the render time.

I’m concerned about this because the files would have to be readable for the client machine to be able to render and develop locally. Because of this there isn’t much in the way you can do to stop someone from keeping a copy of the assets on their local machine.

Again, I’m not familiar with VFX or the software used but the most you could really do is attempt to take the particular project and “silo” it into different parts. Think of only providing the required assets for the portion of the project that the employee is working on at the moment. Though in my professional experience this never works out well. If you can’t trust the people you hire, they shouldn’t be working for you in my opinion.

I’m guessing that you are wanting employees to render locally so you don’t have to invest heavily in equipment to run out of your office or incur expensive costs with a render farm. Though I feel that there could be some advantages if you look at some of the various “cloud” solutions available right now.

  • In theory you could still have developers and vfx folks work on stuff locally using their machine or have a machine that they remote into perhaps? (there are lots of complexities when it comes to trying to use standard consumer gpus over RDP for gpu intensive tasks, and this tech is still being discovered and developed.)

  • Checkin/Commit their changes to a server (this is more for development side, not sure how VFX does things), which then could trigger a build or massive render farm to kick on in the cloud. You would incur costs for storage, network transfer size, and the amount of time required for the render to complete.

  • Assuming that you don’t have a ‘business’ grade internet connection you could really run into issues running services that need to reach the outside world using port forwarding due to the fact that your IP is always changing. This varies from ISP to ISP though.

Hopefully this helped and other people can provide better input then I…

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@geep thank you so much for your detailed response to my post! This really helps.

I definitely trust the people I work with, it’s the clients that are wearing the tinfoil hats, unfortunately. That’s just how the industry is. Thanksfully not all though, so we’re not completely limited to the amount of work we can aquire.

This is another solution I was thinking of. Because we operate remotely. Freelancers in this industry already have their own PC’s to run the required software. However, the budget plan will factor in all core full-time employees (which would be about 5), to have a workstation PC given to them and make sure everyone is working efficiently, but I’m ranting… instead of sending the 5 new PC’s to them, I could just have them at my location. The only thing would be to have a sufficient business network. Although, if they have bad internet on their end…hmmm.

Yeah this is something I have setup right now. The only thing is to upgrade storage capacity and volume once things kick off and there’s more than 2 projects going on.

This is definitely possible and easy to do with artist, but not with engineers/programmers. They’ll definitely need full access. I wouldn’t want to silo anything for them. That would complicate things for sure.

Overall it seems like there are some alternatives, it just takes a bit of planning to get the logistics right, so it works, and is scalable when more people are hired. It’s honestly not that big of a deal for me when working on our own IP’s (still, I want some level of security, obviously) but it doesn’t have to be this intense. It’s only when we’re working with other vendors that we need to have an alternative solution to how their projects are distributed.

I’m open to any others to join in, or @geep if you come up with any other solutions, and again thank you for your insights :slight_smile:

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Glad to help :slight_smile: