Experts weigh-in on the New Age of Gaming – Where power meets speed, creativity and collaboration in real-time

It is interesting to observe how over the years the gaming sector continues to boom as if there’s no Sunday. The tremendous demand for new games has pushed the production of new ones among game developers. As the days pass by, more and more demand for games that provide cinematic, real world gaming experience is rising. And  to understand this, AnimationXpress in partnership with Autodesk organized a virtual round table, titled New Age Gaming “Where Power meets Speed, Creativity & Collaboration in real-time.”

The virtual webinar was divided into two segments First up there was a fireside chat with industry stalwarts like Technicolor India country head Biren Ghose, The JetLine Group of Companies vice chairman and MD and the JetSynthesys founder and CEO Rajan Navani. The session was moderated by the Autodesk India and SAARC technical solutions manager for Media & Entertainment Samit Shetty.

Gaming has been a part of our lives since a long time as Navani shares, “Gaming is inbuilt in every human being. In society, competitiveness is the spirit which is there in people in different shapes and forms and that is what is driving gaming.” In a country like India, the penetration of smartphones, affordable bandwidth proliferation of a massive number of digital devices has enabled rapid growth in the gaming sector.

According to Navani, processing capabilities and capacities have actually made a massive difference in the growth of the sector. “Technology has enabled content to shape up the industry. The entire complexity that is required to drive user experiences at a completely different level exists in a manner that developers can actually unlock and could thoroughly enjoy. The entertainment industry sees gaming as the next lever that will change the future as it is two ways interactive as we move forward,” Navani added.

Evolution is the movement of life and gaming is no exception. With the advent of new technologies like AR, VR, MR, cloud, AI and so on the gaming sector is constantly evolving. According to Biren Ghose, “Immersive technologies which is in the early stage right now is going to be the future of games.”

As per Ghose, 433 million folks are playing games today in India, therefore gaming cannot be counted as the new media anymore. “By 2021-2022 the revenues from games in India will be greater than the revenue from theatrical feature films. That is the reality,” Ghose added.

Developers work kind of also depends on the demand of the audience. The paradigm shift that is happening in Asia as well in India is moving customization, localisation, optimization which is helping the game development industry to evolve even faster. “We are following the suit. From what we are seeing, it is no longer a startup industry, it is a global industry and has a massive scale and opportunity and the headroom is enormous.”

Samit Shetty expressed that a lot of 2D games are now moving into 3D. “From black and white 2D mobile games to more like cinematic imagery games,” Shetty added.

Going forward the gaming ecosystem will focus more on delivering real-time, cinematic immersive gaming experiences. Pandemic has driven the social interaction in game. And to create such an experience for the audience requires technology that will bolster the content creation among developers. Ghose shared, “The advent of sophisticated software like Autodesk provides an ease in manipulating pixels irrespective of what imagery we are creating.” It will continue to do so as long as the demand of it is concerned.

Overall the session was quite insightful as the industry leaders tapped into how the industry will evolve in the coming years and towards which direction.

Moving on, the next segment was with the industry experts who shared how they are evolving in the game development process for a brighter immersive tomorrow.

The speakers of the session were JetSynthesys senior vice president Anuj Mankar, Gamitronics studio head and art director of Vishnumurthy A, Nextwave Multimedia co-founder and CEO Rajendran PR, GameEon Studios founder and CEO Nikhil Malankar, Epic Games business director- India and SEA Sameer Pitalwalla, Autodesk India and SAARC technical solutions manager for Media & Entertainment Samit Shetty. The session was moderated by part of Indian Television Group founder, chairman and editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari.

Pandemic has brought a lot of shifts in our daily life and undoubtedly the workforce of the game development organisation has certainly adapted various shifts to ease the workflow of the game development of the company. Anuj Mankar stated, “Tools which were overlooked are parts and parcel of our lives due to pandemic.”

PR Rajendran shared, “We use multiple tools for our production as per the requirements of game production including open-source tools. If you want to put PC quality games on mobile then you have to pick up tools very fast. Our team is enthusiastic and that helped them to incorporate new things very quickly on projects.”

As per Vishnumurthy A, in the game development process, they incorporate Autodesk products like Maya, 3DS Max to ease the creative process of creating environment design, characters and so on.  It is very important for game development companies to upgrade tools time to time to utilize better features while developing the game. Samit Shetty mentioned, “There are a lot of tools which artists haven’t touched yet and are working on traditional way using the same old tool. At Autodesk we started working on the performance of the tool to ease the challenges artists face with heavy scene files.”

The main challenge with artists in the studios is that they tend to remain comfortable on the tools they have been using since the inception of their career as an artist which becomes an issue going forward.

As Vishnumurthy added, “The task is how we can bring the updated version in the workflow. We keep looking for upgrades. It is our job to ensure that every employee follows the latest version and gets all the benefits that come with it. We can’t sit years after years and use the same old version. If we do, then it is like staying at the same point looking at the future but not working towards it.”

Commenting on the game development scene in the Game Eon studio Nikhil Malankar shared, “We use Autodesk Maya LT especially for affordability and being a small studio, we have to look at the cost point. We use Unity as well as Unreal Engine and have realized that what Unreal Engine could offer is a quality benchmark that is much higher than what Unity can offer at a starting point. There are a lot of talents out there who are extremely well-versed with Autodesk. All these tools, both Autodesk and Unreal Engine, go hand in hand.”

One of the biggest challenges that amateur developers face is installing an engine even before they get the training on it. Sameer Pitalwalla said, “We have moved all our training to the cloud so you don’t really need a high-end engine in order to get trained. We have trained 2.5K people in 11 months and that has really driven the quality of gaming and the depth of talent in India.”

It is true that collaboration is the key when it comes to game development; be it tools or be it workforce. As per the creative needs, it is essential to keep various tools in handy. Shetty further stated, “Everything, be it animation, VFX or gaming, has a mix of multiple tools and it cannot be just one tool that delivers everything. We have to make sure that the pipeline is set followed by good workflow, workforce and the right support from the technology side as well.”

With an aim to provide cutting-edge tools to the creative industries that can help create revolutionary work, Autodesk has emerged as an important player in the domain of creativity. The gaming industry is on the tipping point of a transformation as the traditional ways of creating imagery is becoming challenging every day. With the burgeoning demand for high-quality games, it is important for studios to scale up with the right kind of tools to offer a cinematic immersive experience to the audience.

Overall the sessions were quite fruitful as they shed light on both the creative aspect of game development as well as the future of the Indian gaming ecosystem.  You can watch the session here: