Looking back at the Chinese game industry in recent years, involution has become the most empathetic keyword for gamers. Behind the involution, there is no doubt that the market competition is becoming more and more fierce and the demands of players are becoming more and more diverse. The key to supporting this transformation is the improvement of industrialization capabilities.
Although industrialization is no longer a new concept, looking at the current game industry, there are still quite a few manufacturers with full industrialization capabilities. In contrast, although more manufacturers have realized the importance of industrialization, they are still unable to start the transformation. Therefore, they urgently need the experience sharing of explorers, so as to better complete the transformation of industrialization.
At the end of last month (October 22-23), the 6th developer technology conference UWA DAY 2022 was hosted as scheduled, setting off a strong learning atmosphere in the game industry. This event with the theme of “Entering the game and practicing the industrialization of game R&D” has also allowed game teams who have fallen into industrialization transformation to gain inspiration, and have a glimpse of the way to break the bottleneck of game industrialization.
According to Zhang Xin, CEO of UWA, the UWA DAY conference has been positioned at the beginning of the conference six years ago to be a leader in the technology conference of China’s game industry. Compared with previous years, the topics of this year’s UWA DAY are more diversified, including client development, back-end technology, technical art, test development, production, planning, and cutting-edge technology. There are only diversified sharing and exchanges. Only in this way can the entire industry move forward in an all-around way; this is why UWA is still firmly holding the conference despite all the difficulties in the current epidemic.
Judging from the scale and specifications of this year’s lecturers, the conference has also received responses and support from major game companies in the industry, including NUVERSE, NetEase, Tencent, Lilith, bilibili Games, Hero Games, Guangzhou 4399, Hangzhou Flow Entertainment, Pangu Soul Games, Cangming Network, Funtoy Games, Crossing Star Studio, Soulgame Technology, G. W Studio, Shanghai Mole, etc. shared the most pragmatic and predictable development experience; Engine, tool and solution experts, such as EPIC Games, Microsoft, Imagination, AWS, Wwise, NetEase Zhiqi, Well-Link, Tai Chi Graphics, etc., have brought forward-looking dry goods to game developers.
Enter the Game and Practice Industrialization in the Actual Cases
In the opening keynote speech, UWA CEO Zhang Xin threw out his interpretation of this year’s theme: to break the bottleneck of a game, we must join the game. He said frankly that the industrialization of China’s game industry is still in the early stage, and most teams are still thinking about how to convert an idea into reality. In order to truly practice industrialization, it is necessary to continuously accumulate experience in the actual practice.
In the past year, UWA has reached close cooperation with a number of game teams and gained valuable experience in the industrialization of game R&D. Mr. Zhang Xin also introduced the results of these practices in three parts and provided specific guidance for the R&D team to master the standardization, normalization, specialization, and automation and to implement the R&D process of the game projects.
Subsequently, Zhang Qiang, CTO of UWA, made the further expansion of UWA’s industrialization performance guarantee system. He said that the continuous improvement of the UWA Pipeline in the past year has helped many teams to build R&D pipelines and performance assurance systems, and accelerated the process of industrialization. On this basis, UWA has further expanded the field of performance assurance and has continuously deepened and extended in discovering and solving problems. The practices the team made in the past year will also help the R&D team to build a more industrialized performance assurance system.
UWA’s engine development engineers Ren Zhiguo and Zhou Xuan then shared how UWA solves various practical problems in the actual development of the two major engines based on the classic cases of UWA in-depth optimization of Unreal and Unity projects respectively. Up to now, UWA has provided in-depth analysis and optimization services for nearly 200 games. The mobile rendering pipelines of the two major engines, Unity and Unreal have always been the difficulty and pain point of optimization at the technical level, and the actual analysis of the two speakers at the technical level has provided practical and effective problem-solving ideas for manufacturers.
Diversified and Pragmatic with Technology Development in Advance, and Constantly Exploring Greater Possibilities for Industrialization
For game development, industrialization can be said to permeate all aspects of the whole process. Therefore, UWA also chooses to cover more details of the industrialization of game R&D with more pragmatic topics in this UWA DAY, so as to provide more practical and effective experience guidance for game developers.
For example, Lv Munan, founder and CEO of Crossing Star Studio, shared his thoughts on the industrialization of game copywriting. She said that the idea of the game is difficult to industrialize, but the narrative can and must be industrialized. The industrialization and large-scale production of game copywriting also need to be accumulated and improved with real practices.
For different game genres, experts from various sub-genres also shared how to combine the characteristics of each genre to practice industrialization.
Sun Chao from the Leihuo Business Group of Netease Games took “A Chinese Ghost Story” as an example, and focused on sharing how an MMORPG can achieve the core goal of reducing the package memory usage, so as to bring players a better gaming experience with higher quality.
Chen Ye, the project engine leader of the hero game “Our Planet”, shared in detail the exploration of sandbox games in PGC and UGC. For sandbox games with high degrees of freedom and large scale, the traditional art production process means that a lot of manpower and material resources are consumed. Therefore, it is very important for sandbox games to reduce costs in R&D, operation, and maintenance through PGC and UGC.
Huang Yimin, head of Lilith Technology’s VGame project engine, discussed the production and optimization of SLG mobile games. For example, based on the basic characteristics of SLG, through the improvement of the real-time shadow scheme, the utilization of Shadowmap is improved while reducing the amount of calculation. This is also necessary for the cost reduction and efficiency increase of SLG development.
It is worth noting that in addition to these very popular game genres, this UWA DAY also pays great attention to the interpretation and judgment of cutting-edge technologies. Many technology pioneers have shared their opinions on popular cutting-edge technologies such as cloud games, AI, and XR.
Professor Tong Xin, chief researcher and global partner of Microsoft Research Asia, introduced the application of graphics in games, starting from the point that cutting-edge technologies are closely related to the next-generation game experience, such as photorealistic rendering and face animation. And Microsoft’s latest advances in graphics technology will also effectively help game development achieve a more realistic experience.
Digital human technology, which has been in the limelight for the past two years, has become the theme of Professor Jin Xiaogang’s speech, who is from the State Key Laboratory of CAD&CG, Zhejiang University. How to build a highly realistic digital human is a key technology for games, animation, metaverse, etc. On the basis of his research group’s results achieved, Professor Jin shared their nuanced insights on high-precision face modeling and costumed human animation on this forward-looking topic..
Lin Jianshi, head of game AI anti-cheat technology, and Li Hao, head of the robotics technology department from NetEase Zhiqi, shared the specific actual combat scenarios of AI in game R&D industrialization from the application of AI in game anti-cheat and the training and deployment of AI robots. It is foreseeable that with the maturity of AI technology, its application in the game field will be more extensive and effective in the future.
From these speech contents, it is not difficult to see that this two-day conference is not only a summary and refinement of the current industrialization experience of the game industry but also a high-sighted vision for the future development of industrialization. And these diverse topics and detailed sharing contents obviously come from the common practice of each big coffee, the team behind it, and even the entire industry. It is also these explorers who “enter the game” and finally let us see the greater value and more possibilities of the industrialization of game research and development.
It is deniable that the game industry is still full of variables and challenges, and therefore, it is more important to find a certain direction amid uncertainty. Obviously, no matter how the market environment changes, quality and the industrialization that supports it are the most permanent “unchanged” among many “variables”.
For manufacturers, only by continuously improving their industrialization capabilities can they survive the challenge and achieve stability and long-term success in the fierce market competition. As a partner fighting side by side with game teams, UWA, the organizer of the event, is naturally well aware of the importance of industrialization to game teams and the entire industry. Therefore, this UWA DAY has raised more in-depth, comprehensive, and cutting-edge thinking on industrialization.
Of course, as stated in the theme of the conference, the 47 high-quality sharing sessions are only a methodology after all. Whether it is for manufacturers or UWA, the final realization of industrialization still requires more practice. We hope that with the participation of more manufacturers, the overall level of industrialization of China’s game industry will also have more qualitative leaps, and then more Chinese voices will be heard on the world stage; we also hope that such activities can cheer every enthusiastic game practitioner up: Even in the ditch, there are always people looking up at the stars.
That’s all for today’s sharing. Of course, life is boundless but knowing is boundless. In the long development cycle, these problems you see maybe just the tip of the iceberg. We have already prepared more technical topics on the UWA Q&A website, waiting for you to explore and share them together. You are welcome to join us, who love progress. Maybe your method can solve the urgent needs of others, and the “stone” of other mountains can also attack your “jade”.
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