Trying to push the boundaries of what we can achieve in technology is something that we’re really proud of in the games industry. For studios who wish to develop MMO, VR/AR games or esports big-ticket items: a great deal of production needs to take place. Where to place it, how it looks in 360, how it’s lit. Will it sell? The need to establish creative quickly was and still is a driver, or let’s face it, games would be made with programming art! Performance relies upon concepts before development. The longer we spend on the creative, the later we release.
Working in different areas of the games industry over the last 25 years, I’ve been able to see and witness at first hand the issues and blockers around not just the art teams, but development teams, tools and issues that sometimes block the creative process as a whole. Art asset packs, or model marketplaces have become a go-to solution for speed of development, but once an object is purchased it often needs to be unwrapped, re-textured and everything needs to be re-baked. At SO REAL we wanted to turn this process on its head, as well as keeping the costs down and the quality up. We played with the numbers, and got our Eureka from ‘concept’ to engine process down to as little as three hours by taking out the concept phase. No, really.
Lately, in our studio, we’ve been exploring the possibilities of using machine learning to expertly handle everything from objects to artefacts to lighting. This means that traditional photogrammetry and orthography constraints are greatly reduced because we scan first. The selection of objects is wider and the turnaround from selection to in-engine is faster. But how will that work?
Let’s put it into practice: You need a basket for your medieval RPG. You set your team on concepting it, pulling references together, building sketches before modelling and texturing what might become your most popular static asset. Shove it in the game engine, and watch it obediently sit in your level design and environment set dressing. That’s a few man-hours/days of work for your team. Will you outsource it? You need to drive sales up and costs down. Outsourcing is a cheaper option and a sometimes-faster alternative but what about the quality? An industry that demands speed needs solutions, so we set about making them.
Let’s look at the medieval RPG example again: Our machine learning found the basket you described, and we sent a directly executable twin to your engine. It’s fully optimised for physics and your player can knock it around. They can even look inside it. I mean, properly, not just painted with apples! It can be smashed to pieces (and the apples too)! Oh, and it also costs much less than a few man-hours/days of work for you and your team because we twinned it in less than three hours.
You know you’ve gotta make development easier for yourselves and your players. We’ve gotta make it easier for you. By listening to the present, together we’re helping to inform the future of game dev. We’re driving your creative by directing our technology to push your boundaries further and faster.
Kelly Vero is SO REAL’s games evangelist, working with dev teams who use SO REAL’s unique digital twin technology to push their games to the bleeding edge of XR.