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In the past two years, almost everyone in the game industry has seen the trend of the whole industry moving towards high-quality products, but few people have paid attention to how difficult is it. The driving force for the development of high-quality products is more from the industrial growth of game R&D. However, industrialization is never a natural result, but a difficult process in which the whole industry actively seeks change and completes the transformation after millions of tries.

In other words, it is quite difficult to achieve a general improvement in the industry’s R&D level by relying solely on technology empowerment. In addition to mature optimization tools and production processes, more importantly, there should be guidance from many “forerunners” with rich experience.

UWA Technology, which continues to provide product performance solutions and technical support for the game and VR industries, has cumulatively supported more than 8,600 products in the past six years. At the same time, adhering to the unique business philosophy of “altruism”, UWA is also continuously improving the infrastructure construction of the game industry through the establishment of communities, talent training and etc.

It is precisely because of its years of in-depth exploration in all aspects of game development that UWA has long known the various pain points of the current industrialization development stage and the urgent needs of the developers.

Last weekend, UWA DAY 2021 just ended, which is the 5th Game Development Conference held by UWA. Due to this year’s special reasons, UWA DAY 2021 took the form of the two-day live stream instead, which also brought developers a feast of technology in an extraordinary way. With the theme of “Drive Game R&D Enter the Age of Industrialization”, this conference shared a total of 35 wonderful speeches for developers in the game industry with full of substantial knowledge.

From GameLook’s point of view, UWA hopes to take the chance of this conference as a technical exchange to review the industry’s excellent R&D concepts and practical experience together with all the game developers; and once again conduct a more in-depth exploration of the definition and implementation of “industrialization”. Finally, working hand in hand with Industry partners, UWA intends to build an open and win-win technology exchange ecosystem.

 

In-Depth Exploration of “Industrialization”

Over the past ten years, many game companies have enjoyed the boom of China’s mobile game market. However, after frantic growth in the early years, the increasingly mature market has already entered the era of “stock”.

It can be seen that the demographic growth crisis has brought intensified competition, and players’ requirements for game quality and development costs have also gone up. How to use the industrialization system to increase productivity and reduce R&D costs has become the primary issue faced by major Chinese game companies. In this regard, UWA DAY 2021 brings multi-angle sharing to game developers.

On the first day of the conference, UWA CEO Xin, Zhang first delivered a keynote speech on “Drive Game R&D Enter the Age of Industrialization”, sharing his in-depth understanding of industrialization. He mentioned that any mature industry starts with a workshop and slowly explores a reproducible and large-scale method, thus embarking on a scientific commercialization path. To some extent, this is not a new exploration, but the historical experience of our transformation from the agricultural era to the industrial era in the past, and it is also an irreversible trend.

Zhang Xin believes that the basic premises of game industrialization are: Standardization, Normalization, Professionalization, and Automation. Based on the current market environment and needs, UWA also launched the UWA Pipeline suitable for game development teams. It aims to create a one-stop service system for game development teams, from code submission, to package compilation, to automated testing, and finally, it will be deployed online to create an “industrial-grade” development pipeline for the R&D team.

UWA Pipeline deeply reflects the related concepts of industrialization. From quality monitoring to performance optimization, it provides comprehensive information feedback to the R&D team during the development process, escorting the performance and quality of game projects.

“Standardization” achieves the standardization of production by scientifically establishing specifications, including project R&D standards, art resource specifications, etc.

“Normalization” standardizes the R&D process, production standards, and testing frequency, making them a more normal and regular process. With simple precautions to achieve better results.

“Professionalization” combines UWA’s in-depth performance analysis services to provide professional solutions to improve the efficiency of problem-solving.

“Automation” provides four functions: equipment management, use case management, package management, and task management, and builds an easy-to-use automated testing framework to make the R&D process more controllable

Picture of the Upcoming UWA Pipeline 2.0 Local Cloud Real Machine Test System

 

In fact, different groups of people have different understandings of the industrialization of games. Weihao, Jia, the technical leader of a project team from Hangzhou Jiangnan Studio of the NUVERSE Game, brought a sharing in how they achieved the game industrialization in their project, and objectively analyzed the advantages and obstacles of industrialization.

Weihao, Jia from the NUVERSE Game Hangzhou Jiangnan Studio

Compared with how the technology is implemented, the transformation of thinking is often more difficult. The so-called industrialized thinking means that developers must have a forward-looking vision and “stand high and see far”. The domestic game industrialization is still in its infancy, but there are many mature ideas overseas that are worth learning from.

Combined with the experience of participating in the development of many 3A games overseas, Nan, Chang from Hero Games shared the current industrialization direction of game R&D for developers, including R&D management, technical infrastructure, art production, and other industrialized processes.

Nan, Chang, Deputy Dean of Hero Game Technology Research Institute

After all, the industrialization of games is still inseparable from the fueling of technology. The first and foremost is the innovative iteration of engine technology. This year, UE5 related new technologies such as Nanite and Lumen have gradually entered the vision of game practitioners, which makes us surprised and can’t help but want to explore them in-depth: How are these technologies implemented in specific processes? What is the principle? Any experience can be shared in using these technologies… Fortunately, at UWA DAY 2021, Mi, Wang of Epic Games revealed these cutting-edge technologies for developers one by one and shared the future development direction of UE5.

Mi, Wang, Epic Games China Lead Engineer

Industrialization has increased the efficiency of R&D, and in turn, the improvement of technology has a natural promotion of industrialization. This virtuous circle brings infinite possibilities for brand-new game forms and experiences. Teacher Xiaoyue from Chengdu Digital Sky started with the method of emotional transmission, focusing on sharing how to coordinate the rhythm of the CG animation interpretation and the game part, how to balance the division of labor between the digital performance process and the traditional animation process, and how to use motion capture actors’ re-creation to reversely optimize the expression of actions in the game, thereby creating more vital digital characters.

Xiaoyue, the Dynamic Capture Director of Chengdu Digital Sky Technology Co., Ltd.

Many players may feel deeply that as the complexity of the game continues to increase, game AI competitive robots with the ability to fight can greatly enrich the entire game experience. But for the development team, it is still a big challenge to develop a powerful, controllable, and diverse AI competitive robot.

To bring a new thought on this topic, Jianrong, Tao, the AI technical director of Netease Fuxi Lab, shared cutting-edge AI competitive robot development practices with developers, including Fuxi AI competitive robot algorithm framework, service architecture, service cases, etc.

Jianrong, Tao, NetEase Fuxi Lab AI Technical Director

Reviewing the agenda of the UWA DAY 2021 two-day event, there are multiple topics involving forward-looking exploration. This grand occasion makes us think that perhaps the sci-fi future we once imagined is gradually being reflected into reality, and the game has never been so close to the “Ninth Art” as it is now.

 

Technology Promoting the Quality and Scale of Games

Since the beginning of this year, from “League of Legends: Wild Rift” to “Harry Potter: Magic Awakened”, the domestic mobile game market has seen a lot of popular and good selling masterpieces.

However, with the emergence of more high-quality games, the ceiling of industry quality has also been continuously raised, and the aesthetic standards of users have also been improved. What is curious is how can these good games stand out when the players’ tastes are becoming more and more critical?

To this end, UWA DAY 2021 also invited top technical experts from well-known domestic companies to lead developers to explore the secret of success behind these popular masterpieces.

It can be seen that the application practice of procedural generation (PCG) technology, the deferred rendering pipeline mobile game technology solution, the full analysis of UE’s Lua development solution, the practice of special effects GPU performance quantification, the new mobile rendering technology… these solutions that felt out of reach in the past have continuously penetrated into reality with the advancement of hardware and algorithm technology.

Of course, technological changes are bound to bring new optimization problems. What performance challenges has UWA encountered in the past year, and what mature optimization techniques can be used? What is the feedback on the new features of the Unity engine, such as URP? What are the mature solutions for Unreal optimization?… UWA engine development engineers also solved these puzzles for developers one by one.

In addition, this conference also invited relevant experts in various fields to talk about the essence of their projects to carry out diversified content development around quality assurance. They shared rich and diverse solutions on how to conduct server stress testing scientifically and comprehensively, how to successfully carry hundreds of thousands of players simultaneously online, how to ensure the high stability and high scalability of packaging… Listening to these speeches can be quite an eye-opener for all the attendees.

It is worth mentioning that, in addition to the above sharing, this success of UWA DAY 2021 is actually inseparable from the support provided by sponsors such as Epic Games, Gametrigger, Yuan You Information, Weile Games, Le Bian, Xinguang Joy, Shushu Technology, Netease Fuxi Lab, and etc.

 

Conclusion

Looking back this year, many realistic variables such as the game publication number regulation and epidemic situation have made the entire game R&D environment full of challenges. However, these external factors have not fundamentally changed anything, but have only accelerated certain irreversible trends, such as the emerging of high-quality products and the industrialization of research and development. The final result has also not changed, that is, all game developers are bound to embrace these changes.

From the perspective of the organizer, UWA, the original intention of this conference is to bring some inspiration to every diligent participant.

Perhaps based on the same technical background, UWA seems to believe that the inquiries about the industrialization of games and the continuous exploration of technology will be constant all the time. After all, the flames of the pursuit of technology that are surging in the heart of every technology believer will not disappear, and the obsession and belief in the ninth art in the hearts of every game practitioner will not be put out.

Perseverance, every day will be better.

*The original article was published by Gamelook: http://www.gamelook.com.cn/2021/12/464429 

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