Sunday, 27 April 2014

An Introduction to the Games Industry

The games industry has been growing up and in the recent decade has got to the stage that even indie development studios aren't necessarily "bedroom coders", some are but most aren't. The question often arises between specialist and generalist, not just on our course but in almost any area people think about pursuing. If we focus on game art for the moment; the decision to try and become a character artist is an incredibly though one as that is most certainly a field that requires either immense specialisation or years and years of experience.

Specialisation is something that people expect to have gone to far extremes and often people expect the AAA studios to be factories where the developers simply do the same repetitive task over and over almost akin to a construction line. I have read peoples experiences of AAA studios who say that they are but some friends who are working in similar types of studios say that they need to be pretty T-shaped and have the ability to offer different skills. T-shaped; in the world of game development is a phrase that is very well known. Valve popularised the term or were the first games company to openly use the term and in their handbook this image shows the idea behind T-shaped workers.

Now I imagine that image has been used by most people writing this blog, t-shaped is a term that is thrown around the labs a lot and people are often told to refer to this when working out whether to specialise or generalise. The way I have chosen to look at things is that as a graduate artist getting a job in any industry is going to be incredibly difficult, and I know that I want to be working in this industry. While I'm here I want to learn and experience as much as possible however I also want to get really good so that I can have a portfolio or at least experience which impresses and puts me above the rest of the applicants. At the moment I see the best area to look at for this to be environment art, there are more jobs in that area and the skills you use cover almost all of the skills used in the industry, character art, vehicle art and concept art seem to take the skills needed for environment art and take them a step further. As an environment artist you need to have the skills and the abilities to create what is required from you, this means sculpting, painting, engine work, technical understanding, compositional understanding, stylisation and realism.

Overall I hope that I will be a T-shaped artist with one area that I am very strong and many areas that I have a strong understanding of. My goal is to get into the industry and keep learning, keep improving, keep painting and keep making.

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