In December last year, UWA DAY 2021 just ended. Only after 5 months has UWA DAY 2022 entered the preparatory stage again. After “Driving Game Development into the Era of Industrialization”, this year’s UWA DAY will be “Practicing the Industrialization of game R&D”. With the theme of “industrialization”, it seems that UWA is determined to carry out the industrialization of game R&D to the end!
However, GameLook also noticed that there are still many misunderstandings in the industry that industrialization is equated with technological empowerment. In fact, the most mature optimization tools and production processes still have to serve developers and specific project development. In other words, the industrialization of game research and development requires the joint participation and practice of the entire industry in order to ultimately achieve a comprehensive improvement in the level of research and development.
For this reason, UWA Technology, which is rooted in game research and development, has adopted “Practicing” as the keyword for 2022. This company, which has provided game performance solutions and technical support for nearly 9,000 games in the past six years, has become more and more aware of the significance and value of practicing game R&D industrialization with a large number of specific practices.
In order to understand the pace of UWA’s implementation of industrialization, we interviewed Zhang Xin, founder, and CEO of UWA Technology again, to talk about the standardization, normalization, specialization, automation, and scale of game development.
Q: The theme of this year’s UWA DAY is “Practicing the Industrialization of Game R&D”. What topics will be presented this year to highlight the theme of the conference?
A: UWA DAY is already in its sixth year this year. Every year, we will focus on a theme and invite industry experts to share new technologies, new experiences, and new trends in the industry over the past year with practitioners in the game industry. This year, many experts from companies including ByteDance, NetEase, Tencent, Lilith, etc. have been confirmed as lecturers. They will share their knowledge and experience in how to implement industrialized deployment in their respective teams, including central control, performance optimization, TA, and test development.
UWA lecturers will also focus on topics including how game development standardization, normalization, specialization, and automation are implemented in the process of project development and management; benchmarks based on the establishment of industry standards. They will also introduce our experience in project optimization by illustrating the classic cases of UWA deep optimization adopted in Unity and Unreal projects. The lecturers will demonstrate the importance of the industrialization of game R&D through multi-dimensional speeches, which will be a very exciting experience for everyone.
Q: What kind of deployment did UWA make to drive industrialization within the past year?
A: We launched the UWA Pipeline product in the second half of last year, aiming to improve the R&D process of a large number of small and medium-sized game teams. Because we found that many performance or technical problems are actually caused by the imperfection of the R&D process. Once the process is reasonably controlled and scientifically developed, many subsequent problems can be avoided. When Pipeline was 1.0, many teams still used it as a tool for daily packaging of the design and test team. This year, UWA Pipeline has reached the 2.0 stage, which is not only a Game CI that meets the needs of the project itself but also adds a new Private cloud real machine remote debugging function. In the company’s intranet environment, with Pipeline as the platform, a set of “test equipment management” systems is built, which can access mobile devices that may be scattered throughout the company, display the use status and parameter information of each model in real-time, and can call the required test device at any time.
For example, in our cooperation with “Figure Story”, we can restore the operations of a QA member on the mobile phone side on the PC side, and use automated test scripts to test the function and performance of batch devices. A test case can obtain reports of functional testing and UWA performance evaluation data. If you think that the writing of automated scripts is difficult to master, UWA also has training and scripting services for you.
At the same time, another major function of the UWA Pipeline 2.0 stage is that it can be seamlessly linked with various SaaS services of UWA, and completed automatically through tasks. For example, GOT Online and real device testing services for static resources, code detection, performance evaluation, etc can be automatically run, and problems can be found and solved in a timely manner. All of these UWA SaaS services can be tried on our website, and interested teams are welcome to visit our website and use a trial.
These products and services are the first steps towards standardization and automation in our efforts to industrialize game development. UWA Pipeline can connect a lot of work, automate the fixed work as much as possible, and release more manpower.
In terms of standardization, we launched the “macro” standards for project quality and performance last year and gave professional ratings through the evaluation of the project’s recent performance and the use of package resources. For projects with lower ratings, it is not recommended to largely invest in user acquisition, because the worse the performance and quality ratings are, the higher the cost of user acquisition and the lower the price/performance ratio will be. Through in-depth cooperation over the past year, many projects have reached the “Double-A Standard” (Quality Rating A and Performance Rating A, as shown in the figure below) on our UWA platform.
Project Quality Rating Chart
Report Performance Rating Figure
Additionally, in order to further help the R&D team improve optimization efficiency, we have continuously provided users with more detailed “micro” standards through massive performance data analysis over the past year. These standards can be refined not only to each game module such as rendering, physics, UI, etc. but also to important performance variables in each module (such as Draw Call, Triangle, number of particle systems, loading initialization, texture memory usage, etc.). These standards can be divided not only according to the computing power of different models but also according to the different goals set by users. For example, if a user tests the game on Xiaomi Mi 10 and wants the frame rate to reach 60 frames, then we can tell the user within 1 second which module’s performance index exceeds the standard, how much exceeds the standard, and how should it be optimized. All of these are based on our massive performance data and hardware data in the background as well as our understanding of performance after optimizing thousands of games, and our own data analysis capabilities. We already released this feature to all clients last month, and we believe that this will greatly facilitate the promotion of R&D standardization in the entire game industry, especially benefiting many small and medium-sized teams that have little experience in this area.
In terms of specialization, we have developed a more in-depth GPU performance analysis tool, which not only supports in the Unity engine, but also in an active expansion to include game projects of the Unreal engine. At present, we have cooperated with many game companies such as Hero Games, Zulong Games, and Lilith Games to carry out in-depth cooperation for their Unreal projects.
Q: It has been nearly a year since the last interview. Has UWA’s definition and view of industrialization changed?
A: Our definition of game R&D industrialization has not changed. In the past six months, we have communicated and cooperated with many teams. More and more teams have realized the importance of industrialization to them. Game industrialization is a very important direction for China’s game research and development in the future. First of all, players have higher and higher requirements for game quality. In recent years, many high-quality games have appeared in various game subdivisions, so that players have higher expectations for subsequent games, which invisibly forced the R&D team to continuously improve the production quality. The improvement of quality has two requirements, one is the improvement of the number and capabilities of R&D personnel, and the other is the improvement of R&D tools and processes. Secondly, with the increase in the scale of R&D personnel and the increase in the demand for specialized capabilities, the phenomenon of internal competition in the game industry has appeared, which has led to a substantial increase in the cost of enterprises. However, the project revenue of most companies has not increased proportionally, which has led to the problem of excessive pressure on operating costs for many companies, forcing many companies to start paying attention to the internal processes of the R&D team and how to achieve this by optimizing tools and processes. Reducing costs and increasing efficiency have become the focus of a large number of game companies in the past year. Based on the above requirements, more and more game teams have begun to explore and transform in the direction of industrial R&D. In this process, we have begun to cooperate with more and more game teams, and at the same time, we have become more and more convinced that through “standardization”, “normalization”, “specialization” and “automation”, we can gradually reach “mass production” in the industry level, so as to finally achieve the purpose of industrial production.
Q: How does UWA look to the future of the industrialization of the game industry?
A: China’s game industry must not only have peaks but also plateaus. To evaluate the maturity of an industry, we should not look at its peak value, but at its median value, which is a benchmark value. Only when the benchmark value of our industry is improved will China’s game industry get better and better, so as to achieve “Going to the world and leading the world”. In this process, the industrialization of the game industry is the only way to go in the next ten years. In this process, game developers will pay more attention to breakthroughs in core gameplay and core technologies, and invest a large number of core resources into the polishing of “game features”. The “game features” here not only refer to the gameplay, but also in terms of the technology, art design, plot narration, and light and shadow performance to be more fascinating.
At the same time, there will be more specialized and new SaaS service providers in the game industry. They will help the R&D team of the game industry in all aspects of industrialization and empower the game industry through their unique professional capabilities. In the R&D process of each R&D team, many professional SaaS services will be used to solve professional problems for them. Just as the production of an aircraft requires hundreds of suppliers to provide different professional parts, the industrialization of China’s game industry will also lead to the development of a large number of third-party SaaS service providers, and their degree of specialization will gradually reach the world’s leading position.
The above two points are the inevitable results of the evolution of industrialization. This is true of any industry, and the game industry is no exception. These two points complement each other, and will eventually lead to the industrialization of Chinese games in the next ten years, bringing game quality and R&D efficiency to a new height.
Q: In the past year, which game teams have UWA launched in-depth cooperation with?
A: After 8 months, the version numbers were finally released in the middle of last month for the launch of games within China, which is undoubtedly a boost for the entire game industry. But from the perspective of UWA, the Chinese game R&D teams have never stopped exploring new heights. Whether it is aimed at going overseas or optimizing while waiting for the version number, everyone is working hard on their respective tracks.
Among them, UWA is fortunate to provide deeply optimized services for some teams. The projects it has served in the past year include Uncharted Waters: Lord of the Sea, Chronicle of Infinity, Quantum Maki: Enobetta, Komori Life, Mole’s World, Warpath, Wind Fantasy, Burst Witch, Rakshasa Street MOBILE, Azur Lane, etc., covering MMORPG, sandbox, ACT, SLG, card, leisure, and other categories. The core personnel of some of these projects will also attend this year’s UWA DAY to share their research and development experience. The relationship between UWA and these projects is a mutual achievement, and UWA is willing to be the support behind everyone.
The feeling of being recognized is very fulfilling. For example, we have recently cooperated deeply with “Azur Lane”. Although the project has been launched for a long time, in order to give players a better experience, developers choose UWA to provide performance optimization and guarantee service. Here are some of the feedbacks after our service. The technical director of “Azur Lane” of Xiamen Yongshi affirmed the UWA service:
“UWA has always been well-known in the industry, and we have seen many performance optimization articles published by UWA, so the partnership came very naturally. The main reason for the performance optimization of “Azur Lane” this time is due to the unsatisfactory management of early project resources, causing the code part becoming difficult to control in the case of non-standard early development. With the continuous iteration of the version, the subsequent modification will become more and more difficult, so we decided to carry out some system reconstruction as soon as possible, and re-optimize the relevant strategies of the interface UI. Therefore, we need some industry performance standards to support our reconstruction and optimization.
Through UWA’s deep optimization service, we found many performance problems that were not easily noticed. After optimization of some strategies, the performance has been improved significantly. At the same time, following the idea of UWA report analysis, we have also formulated more complete rules and tools for project resource management to check resources regularly.
Judging from the feedback from players, the UI response speed is much faster, and the refactored system can be entered in seconds. Although there are many small bugs, everyone in the team is happy to see the good results, and it still needs to be improved and maintained in the future. “
It is said that there is unknown pain behind every initiative to change. This of course also applies to the gaming industry, which is struggling to survive during the pandemic. Changes in the external environment that are ultimately transmitted to the game industry, are still the keywords that are frequently talked about such as product refinement and R&D industrialization. This also forces the game industry to continuously seek spontaneous transformation with the goal of high quality and efficiency.
With the advent of the post-pandemic era, we are increasingly aware of this acceleration of active change. More and more game companies are realizing the necessity of R&D industrialization for their own development, and the pain points and difficulties they encounter in specific practices are exactly what UWA tries to solve.
Based on the common technical pursuit, it is foreseeable that the exploration of R&D industrialization will become the main theme that will continue to run through UWA and the game industry in the future. Only by consistent practicing can we truly practice R&D industrialization and take root to grow upward in the ever-changing market environment.
(Original Content from Game Look – https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/pS5sehcqVCK2g6i0rSSKKQ)
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