In the world of 3D games, things are getting very complex. Art quality and quantity are increasing, really good interactive stories are being told, game play is evolving and being enhanced. Dev teams are getting larger, deadlines tighter, budgets bigger. On the other hand, smaller Indy studios are producing quality games, and generating revenue for themselves. Big or small scale, It’s an exciting time in the industry.
The technology of art creation has come a long way. Many small to medium size studios are adapting practices from Film and larger game development studios. Even in the smaller studios the need for technical artists is becoming evident (sometimes painfully), and I expect the field to grow and specialize.
All that being said, there is something nasty happening. Or on the verge of happening.
We are all still working in silos.
We’re using segregated processes. The workflow is non-linear (“Model>Texture>Rig>Animate>Export” is a lie). We’re not communicating well enough; each team isn’t aware of what the others downstream of them need. Tools are being created, deployed and supported to fix busted processes. We’re treating the symptom and not the root cause.
There are a ton of tools out there that are billed to enhance communication, track and version assets, speed up development, etc. The issue is every studio and project have unique needs. For example, at Turbine, I’m currently working on two MMO’s that have been released for several years and updated many times. There’s a bit of legacy involved (for better or worse) in regards to the art and technology surrounding it. We’re also working on an unannounced title. I can’t say much on that other than that it’s new and therefore, different.
What works for A and B, may or may not work for C. And every combination imaginable.
No one tool or even combination of tools is “perfect” for the job. What do we do? Find the one that best fits or build our own. Now building your own tool is daunting and impractical if you build yet another tool that almost fits. Something will be missing. What’s the real answer (imho)? The best bet is to build your own Art Platform.
Not just a doomed uber-tool, but a modular platform that tools, DCC apps, exporters, communication systems and whatever else work within.
How does one do that?
Start here …