But yeah, Perforce version control is pretty important. It's almost designed to help manage assets, especially large ones. And it's free for under 20 users, I think.
Beyond that, you might want to include the level, screen, and/or date for the assets in your naming structure. Pretty much every company, and sometimes every project, uses a different structure, though.
Kotaku has a great post-mortem on the development of Bungie's Destiny game, including fantastic horror stories about the design tools:
“Let’s say a designer wants to go in and move a resource node two inches,” said
one person familiar with the engine. “They go into the editor. First they have
to load their map overnight. It takes eight hours to input their map overnight.
They get [into the office] in the morning. If their importer didn’t fail, they
open the map. It takes about 20 minutes to open. They go in and they move that
node two feet. And then they’d do a 15-20 minute compile. Just to do a
Game design is built upon rapid iteration and anything in the way of that will kill your title.
PlasticSCM is a newish alternative. I can't vouch for it, but it looks really good. It tries to give you the best of Perforce and DVCS in one package. It also cleanly solves some problems that are hard to solve in Perforce (e.g. X-links https://www.plasticscm.com/documentation/xlinks/plastic-scm-...).
We are now using git lfs which so far works like a charm.
It was incredibly helpful. Lionhead had some good tech going on to solve this exact problem OP describes.