2022 and beyond: Teslasuit and a New Dimension for the Youniverse
Zero Latency Pushes Immersive Entertainment Industry Forward With Next Generation Platform Release, Available Globally Now
Focus Entertainment partners up with Two Horizons to publish Hotel Renovator
Gaming/careers: Analysis reveals more younger people look to make a living as a social media influencer
Internet Vikings surges deeper into the U.S. as they take their game to Michigan
Could RichCast be the ultimate Game Jam tool?
SMPTE Rapid Industry Solutions (RIS) On-Set Virtual Production Initiative Receives Epic MegaGrant
Gaming platform PlayDough Technologies secures $2m funding round as play-to-earn games take-off
Linux Foundation’s O3DE Project, Kythera AI Gives Independent Developers Free Instant Access To New Open-Source Games Engine
Escape Studios partners with Epic Games and leading European animation schools to deliver world’s largest training programme in Unreal Engine
Replica Studios Announces Early Access to AI Voice Actors for Unreal Engine's MetaHuman Creator
Replica Studios, an artificial intelligence (AI) voice technology company, today revealed plans to integrate with Unreal Engine’s MetaHuman Creator, allowing developers to give their MetaHumans unique sounding AI voices with matching lip-synch and face animation. Replica’s platform enables game developers, animators, and filmmakers to use AI voices for digital characters. Additionally, they are creating a library of hundreds of AI voice characters with unique sounding voices for developers to tap into for game and animation narratives. Developers can sign up for early access to the Replica Studios and MetaHuman Creator integration at https://replicastudios.com/metahumans View a preview video showcasing MetaHuman Creator avatars performed by two of Replica Studios’ AI voice actors: https://vimeo.com/574661176 Quality lip-syncing can make or break visual storytelling in games and digital content, and as developers add a cast of characters to a narrative, the lip-syncing challenge becomes all the more complex. Replica Studios’ integration with Unreal Engine’s MetaHuman Creator provides developers from AAA to indie studios with AI voice-acted characters in addition to accurate lip-synching and face animation, speeding up the animation process and freeing up more time for more creative experimentation with game narrative. Developers can animate digital characters in minutes by capturing their own voice using a recording app, then using the audio to direct the performance of the AI voice, so that it matches with the face mocap and lip movements of the MetaHuman Creator. This video shows how the integration between Replica and MetaHuman Creator works: https://vimeo.com/572363430/2e986794ba Replica Studios will showcase its AI voice technology at the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) next week. Developers can attend the GDC session to learn more about its AI voice actors for MetaHuman Creator on Monday, July 19, from 2:00pm - 2:30pm Pacific Time: https://schedule.gdconf.com/session/game-narrative-summit-voice-ai-for-game-developers-optimizing-the-narrative-process/879792 Shreyas Nivas, Co-Founder and CEO of Replica Studios, said: “We’re about to see a major transformation in the way game narratives are created and experienced by audiences. Traditionally, animators manually animate the face and lip movements to match the voiceover, which gets recorded separately, often losing days or weeks to this process over the lifecycle of a project. Replica’s Voice AI platform enables text-to-animation pipelines to render dialogue and narration within minutes. While we’re only letting in early access developers into our AI voices beta program for Unreal Engine MetaHuman Creator, soon millions of game developers and animators with access to the MetaHuman Creator will be able to access our library of AI voice actors to give their MetaHuman Creator avatars a voice. These lower barriers to entry and faster times to market mean that we’ll be seeing a shift to higher quality, more narrative driven, more realistic looking and sounding games sooner than you’d expect.” Sign up for early access to the Replica Studios & MetaHuman Creator integration at https://replicastudios.com/metahumans Replica Studios’ AI voices for MetaHuman Creator will feature: Unreal Engine MetaHuman Creator voiced by Replica Studios’ AI voice actors, with accurate lip-syncing. Replica Studio’s library of 40+ AI voice actors that range from expressive game characters to narrators and storytellers with a diverse range of accents and speaking styles. Text to Synthesized Speech. Type what you want your avatar to say and receive the synthesized speech in seconds. Fine tune the AI voice actor’s performance with controls to apply moods, emphasis, pitch, sound effects and other characteristics where needed. Capture and save multiple takes and access a history of saved dialog lines for future adjustments and iterations This announcement follows on the heels of their launch of an integration with iClone Character Creator, another highly popular animation and face mocap software trusted by hundreds of thousands of developers worldwide. Learn more about Replica Studios’ AI voices for Unreal Engine at www.replicastudios.com/unreal
DropKey, World's First Inflatable Green Screen Studio, Now Available on DropKey.com
DropKey®, the world's first inflatable green screen studio called the Pop-up Studio in a Bag® with the DropKey mobile app, is now available on Dropkey.com following a successful Kickstarter campaign and will ship to customers this fall. DropKey is also providing access to MediaBook.tv® for location-based video clips creating a content creation “ecosystem” designed specifically for content creators, Twitch steamers, YouTubers, TikTok amateurs and professionals who want to “level up” and shoot broadcast quality, live background replacement streaming from their home or office. With DropKey, none of that is required as you have your own Hollywood Pop-up Studio in a Bag at home! DropKey’s Creator Network (DCN), a free membership that is 17,000 members strong made up of photographers and videographers, can get discounts, enter brand competitions and upload their own high-quality location-based background video clips to the MediaBook ecosystem and make money. MediaBook is an online store for video clips made up of millions of aggregated stock footage assets available for green screen backgrounds (b-roll), enabling users to quickly obtain “locations” and create broadcast-quality green screen videos from literally anywhere. The company will market DropKey as the Be Anywhere® app. The DropKey Pop-up Studio in a Bag Classic (available for $599) is equipped with a camera app that syncs location-based video clips directly from the MediaBook.tv online store, enabling users to find live, searchable video clips and start shooting in that location in seconds. DropKey includes a wireless lighting controller with optional software audio mixer, making it the ultimate inflatable portable studio. In addition, the DropKey Pop-up Studio in a Bag Professional is much larger (12’W x 10’H) for $1,999 and includes professional audio and a 10-channel software mixer. DropKey can be purchased at https://dropkey.com and b-roll video clips can be purchased at https://mediabook.tv. Video clips purchased will sync to your camera roll, a function that will be available when the company starts shipping product in the fall. MediaBook will include a mobile app in Q4 2021. All DropKey Pop-up Studios pair automatically with the DropKey app on your smart device (iOS and Android) and will include the DropKey Ads Creator by monthly subscription giving users workflow templates for content creation and final assembly in the cloud, creating professional grade commercials at a fraction of the cost, removing the need for crews, rental gear, and post-production. “85 percent of what you see on television is made using green-screen technology and nobody knows it. Almost 100 percent of professional content creators use Chroma key background replacement in their productions every day,” said Rockwell Scharer, Founder and CEO of DropKey, Inc. “When you put that ability on over two billion smart devices for the first time, you have the potential for a video and content creation revolution--and Dropkey is leading the way.” According to Scharer, “We saw a very big niche in the new work-from-home economy where content producers can significantly increase their revenue streams on the mobile platform through collaboration and at-home productions. Users will be able to make broadcast-quality videos at home using professionally shot, curated green screen location-based “video backgrounds” via the DropKey and MediaBook ecosystem. With DropKey, the next Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams may emerge as we enter this new era of video creation.” More information can be obtained at www.DropKey.com and Mediabook.tv
AI-powered avatars should be embraced in gaming
The gaming industry should embrace the use of AI-powered avatars to enhance gamers’ experience, according to new research from the University of Portsmouth. The study suggests that experienced gamers would welcome expressing themselves in the virtual world through a human-like avatar which can think, act and interact with the gamer to improve their performance. Co-authored by Dr Muhammad Awais Shakir Goraya, senior lecturer in operations and systems management from the Faculty of Business and Law, the research found that AI-powered avatars would give gamers an experience as close to reality as possible. Dr Awais Shakir Goraya said: “The pandemic has been a technological game changer for many of us because we have seen a digital transformation, with the likes of AI, virtual reality (VR), Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain, becoming more commonplace. “People are running marathons virtually, we can meet colleagues in Australia and use VR to feel like you’re in the same room. The world is fast becoming digitised and modernised, and AI is used in so many things we use in everyday life – from online browsing to our shopping journeys on varied platforms. “AI has already altered the multi-billion pound gaming industry, but our research has found gamers want to be fully immersed inside the game to get the best possible experience. Using an AI-powered avatar would allow a customised, interactive experience, which would be more enjoyable for the gamer.” The research surveyed 500 people - mostly students - from China who were gaming every day on smartphones and personal computers. At least 20 percent of them were gaming for three to six hours daily. The study explored whether gamers think an AI-powered avatar - which could offer guidance, improve performance, speed and combat - would be easy, useful and enjoyable. Dr Awais Shakir Goraya said: “Ultimately, consumers use a product or service if they find it easy and useful, so predicting that AI-powered avatars would be beneficial for gamers shows that it’s likely to be successful in the marketplace. “This research is just a starting point to guide the gaming industry, but it could also have implications for other industries such as retail, hospitality, logistics and aviation. The pandemic has really forced us to shine a spotlight on what is possible using this technology, and what might come next.” The paper ‘Let's play: Me and my AI-powered avatar as one team’ is published in Psychology and Marketing.
WeQ Launches WeQ STUDIOS to Offer Global Games Publishing and Premium Player Acquisition
WeQ today announced that it acquired boutique games development studio, Booster Studios, to provide exclusive access to gaming inventory. Uniting the talents of its acquired gaming studio with its mobile advertising expertise, WeQ’s strategic growth continues with the latest addition rebranded as WeQ STUDIOS. WeQ STUDIOS publishes first and third-party hyper-casual games, providing services to mobile developers of all sizes for the chance to launch, market and grow their games at scale. WeQ STUDIOS is already working collaboratively with third-party developers to publish their games according to a fair shared revenue system. They also work with partners, enabling apps to gain visibility and achieve specific KPIs in key markets including US, Europe, Eastern Europe. The mobile gaming market is expected to reach $106 billion by 2021 (Newzoo). In particular, casual and hyper-casual games have seen unprecedented growth over the past year and the market is valued to be in the region of $2 billion to $2.5 billion in annual revenue (IronSource). What sets WeQ STUDIOS apart in a saturated and fast-changing mobile gaming publishing market is offering a collaborative approach, transparency and premium player acquisition with performance-boosting and publishing solutions. Markus Malti, Managing Director of WeQ, said: “WeQ STUDIOS leverages our market expertise in mobile advertising to offer premium player acquisition and industry knowledge, which enables our partners to get discovered while they focus on what they do best: create great mobile games. This combination of gaming talent and advertising expertise ensures our partners’ success.” Behind WeQ STUDIOS is a world-class team of gaming professionals who are passionate about helping developers and advertisers publish and grow their mobile games. WeQ has entrusted Booster Studios’ gaming experts and furthermore, acquired new talent to join forces with WeQ’s mobile advertising capabilities. Frédéric Hatanian, who joins as Head of Gaming, has a background in game design and project management. Prior to joining WeQ he was at SoftGames, coming up with new ideas for games like Cookie Crush and Solitaire Story - Tripeaks on Facebook Instant Games, and bringing them to life through the entire development process. Alex Olmos Pardo, UA Manager of Mobile Gaming, has spent over five years at From the Bench Games where he worked with global brands including NBA, NFL, MLB, Real Madrid, Liverpool FC and AC Milan. He brings a wealth of experience in app store optimization (ASO) and user acquisition on channels such as Facebook, Google and Apple Search Ads. Sven Lubek, Managing Director of WeQ, said: “As WeQ already delivers user acquisition beyond the walled gardens of Facebook and Google, this addition to the team enables WeQ STUDIOS to open up new advertising channels.” With this new launch, WeQ is able to continue helping existing clients grow their apps with exclusive inventory, and also giving developers the chance to publish their mobile games and bring them to the app store. With this step WeQ adds more value to its offering, which benefits both clients and new partners alike. Hatanian, Head of Gaming at WeQ STUDIOS, said: "By bringing our mobile gaming expertise and deep knowledge of casual gaming to WeQ, we can help developers of all types and sizes to publish, launch and market their games across key markets. WeQ STUDIOS is working with some of the most experienced developers in the industry to ensure best-in-class game development. We work with our partners transparently, with fairness and full respect for intellectual property. We understand that our success is determined by our partners’ success. We are always eager for new games to show at our door and are looking forward to seeing how our unique offering can help developers.” Booster Studios has already released two hyper-casual games in the app stores: Helix Madness and Tower Raise. After joining WeQ STUDIOS, the team launched Cube Flip in early May and have another game Clear Out, due for launch in June. WeQ STUDIOS has ambitious plans. Since APAC continues to be a top tier market for WeQ’s mobile advertising activities, they also have their sights set on expanding into this region in the coming year.
ALAX Gaming Platform Completes Token Migration to DECENT’s DCore, Paves the Way for Token Swap Services
DECENT declares an official conclusion to the ALAX Token Swap initiative. The ALAX token (ALX), formerly hosted as an ERC20 token on the Ethereum blockchain, has successfully migrated to DECENT’s DCore blockchain. ALX token holders can now store their tokens on all of DECENT’s wallet services as well as ALAX’s own ALAX Pay application. ALAX is a Hong Kong and Geneva-based mobile games distribution platform which, compared to its competition, plans to provide content distribution and game purchases with higher speed and efficiencies. ALAX is set to supply app and game developers with access to millions of new consumers in emerging markets. A unique attribute of ALAX’s marketplace lies within its region-free availability, including a concentrated population of 438 million unbanked individuals in the Southeast Asia region alone. Earlier this year, ALAX successfully performed a full switch to DCore from the Ethereum blockchain. ALAX token holders were prompted to perform a simple migration process in which they moved their tokens from the bygone platform to DCore. Matej Michalko, CEO and Founder of DECENT and Co-Founder of ALAX, attributes the switch to DCore to its “advantageous speed, stability, and security, further advancing the capabilities that the ALAX platform offers to its users. ALAX is, indeed, a unique project which strives to make use of those qualities for the best user experience imaginable. We’re excited that the swap process went seamlessly and that ALAX was able to make such a smooth transition to DCore and reap its full potential.” As of today, ALAX has released its conclusive figures pertaining to the swap process. The total number of accounts which performed the swap was 487 with more than 43 million ALX tokens successfully swapped. Users were able to migrate the tokens to their newly created DECENT Wallet accounts. Unique accounts that received ALX tokens from the swap were credited 0.005 DCT (DECENT’s cryptographic asset) to cover the transfer fee, enabling users to send their tokens to the recently released ALAX Pay application – dedicated to storing ALX tokens with the ability to top up balances with cash. With ALAX being DECENT’s first successful project to be switched to DCore from a different blockchain, DECENT appeals to developers and blockchain companies for an easy switch to DCore from ERC20-based blockchains, accentuating its platform’s transaction speed (2,000+ TPS) and advanced security features. The company also offers to cover all fees associated with the switch, meaning that all amounts of DCT required for swap-related transactions will be taken care of. DECENT encourages any blockchain company interested in switching to DCore to contact the company.
Virtualitics Announces New Software Release That Unlocks Key Insights Through AI and Immersive Visualization
Virtualitics Inc, a leading software company specializing in machine learning, advanced data analytics and visualization, has announced a new release for its flagship product VIP – Virtualitics Immersive PlatformTM in order to support more use cases for a wide array of industries. The software uses AI to quickly identify key insights in the data, while immersive visualization provides a unique way to represent the data and explain AI findings through desktop or coupled with Virtual Reality (VR) to offer more powerful visualizations and a unique collaboration tool. According to Ciro Donalek, CTO and Co-Founder of Virtualitics: "Data scientists are in high demand and there are simply not enough of them to satisfy the need. Our software bridges this gap, allowing non-data scientists to exploit sophisticated machine learning routines in a few clicks, and at the same time greatly improving data scientist’s workflow through high-dimensional visualizations and a way to build powerful narratives to explain their models to key stakeholders." Dr. Alban Quillaud, VP Digital Innovation and Analytics of Kuehne and Nagel, said: "Virtualitics has not only helped us to save time, but has allowed us to seamlessly identify critical business insights that have generated tangible book-value for our supply chain customers." Bert R. Mandelbaum MD DHL (Hon), Co-Director of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Cedars Sinai, said: “The Virtualitics platform and team utilizing Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Machine Learning has provided our clinical scientific group immersive visualization and a true collaborative and precise analysis of our data. This approach has been transformative and has helped facilitate the development of clinical guidelines, consensus documents and new study design.” Today, Virtualitics released a host of new features in support of use cases for a wide array of industries, including: Aakash Indurkhya, Head of Machine Learning Projects and Lead of API Development at Virtualitics, added: "Businesses have built out some truly amazing technology stacks that involve modern data storage systems, AI tools, and third-party APIs. The Virtualitics API was built to empower data scientists to get the most from their technology stack without leaving their favorite digital workspace, for example Python notebooks. Integrating VIP into data scientists’ workflows will aid them in data engineering, sharing insights, and building machine learning models while allowing them to create immersive visualizations with one-line commands.” The software can be seamlessly integrated in client infrastructures with easy-to-use embedded ML routines to help users quickly find key insights and unlock the power of high-dimensional visualizations in real-time collaboration through the Shared Virtual Office™ (SVO), where users can share their analysis and build immersive dashboards. Michael Amori, CEO and Co-founder of Virtualitics, commented: "Virtualitics is growing quickly in the enterprise software market. We are redefining the way data analytics is being performed thanks to our technology blending AI and Immersive Visualization. Our Fortune 500 clients and the government are now able to extract and share key findings in their data in seconds, when it previously took many hours or was impossible to find such insights." Virtualitics has been operational since August 2016, raising $11.4M through Series A and Series B rounds, led by Centricus and The Venture Reality Fund. For more information about Virtualitics, please visit www.virtualitics.com
NCSOFT Continues to Invest in the Future Driven by its Core Value in Game R&D
- Company’s investment in R&D upholds at approx. 20% of annual sales, and its R&D force accounts for 70% of its total employees.- Various R&D facilities built in-house include a motion capture studio, 3D scan studio, and a large-scale sound studio.- Throughout its 21 years of thriving business in online games, NCSOFT has demonstrated the power embedded in its major franchises – Lineage, AION, Blade & Soul – and now extends its value across different platforms.- NCSOFT strives towards technology-driven innovation as well as securing leading-edge artificial intelligence technology. ▲ 'NCSOFT Pangyo R&D Center’ in Pangyo, Korea NCSOFT Corporation (CEO Taek-Jin Kim), a leading global game company headquartered in Korea, led to the popularization of internet based online games in the country by successively making hit PC online games ranging from Lineage (1998), Lineage 2 (2003), AION (2008) to Blade & Soul (2012) as well as Guild Wars franchises. Founded in 1997, the core driver behind NCSOFT’s accelerated growth over the past 21 years essentially resides within continued research and development (R&D) as part of the company’s DNA. The company’s philosophy taking R&D with the utmost importance and an ongoing investment made it now a technology-driven game developer.The composition of employees and investment scale simply demonstrate how R&D is positioned as part of the company. According to its recent financial report for the third-quarter of 2018, 2,323 employees, which account for 68% of the total 3,397 employees of the company, are dedicated to the responsibilities in R&D.NCSOFT has been extensive with R&D investment since its establishment. The average R&D investment for the last five years (2013 – 2017) has been persistent, accounting for about 24% of sales. According to the analysis of the trends of 1,000 companies with global R&D investment for a 10-year period (from 2006 to 2016) – a study conducted by Korea Industrial Technology Association – NCSOFT was one of 25 Korean companies listed among 1,000 global entities. In particular, NCSOFT was the only Korean company from the software sector, where global R&D investment has increased the most in the past decade. (*NOTE: The result of analyzing top 1,000 of the EU Industrial R&D Scoreboard)○ ‘Game development is as artistic and sophisticated as making films’: Bringing realistic characters and sound into gamesNCSOFT, as a technology-pioneer at the forefront in the game industry, continues to invest in securing the excellence in infrastructure technologies for game development. It has built a motion capture studio and 3D scan studio for the first time in the country as a game developer, with the purpose to create the most realistic moves for in-game characters. It is also the first game company in Korea that built a sound studio in-house; and has the largest sound studio facilities compared to other local game studios. Its sound studio has a 5.1 channel video sound mixing room and a Foley studio (sound effect recording room), where various sound effects of games are recorded. ▲ 3D Scan Studio ▲ The scene of shooting motion capture ○ Relentlessly securing fundamental technology, leading to future innovation with AI researchIn addition to the accumulated technology and expertise, NCSOFT moved quickly to secure next-generation technologies. It considers artificial intelligence (AI) a technical tool for problem solving, and concentrates on securing various AI fundamental technologies. NCSOFT strategically focuses on creating future competitive strengths in the overall IT fields through securing AI fundamental technology.NCSOFT's AI research and development started when Dr. Song-Yee Yoon, CSO of NCSOFT and CEO of NC West, initiated the task force back in 2011. As early as 2011, NCSOFT envisioned AI as a core technology and initiated R&D in the field. Today, NCSOFT’s AI R&D takes place at its AI Center and Natural Language Processing (NLP) Center under which five labs are dedicated with various different fields. AI Center includes a) Game AI Lab, b) Speech Lab, and c) Vision AI Lab; and NLP Center includes a) Language AI Lab, b) Knowledge AI Lab. Currently, more than 100 R&D forces are working directly with Taek-Jin Kim, CEO of NCSOFT.Recently, NCSOFT has attracted attention from the eyes of the public by presenting an AI with skills on a par with professional gamers. In September, NCSOFT has unveiled its AI with professional gamer skills at the finals of its own e-Sports league, ‘Blade & Soul Tournament 2018 World Championship’, where Blade & Soul’s PvP competitions are held to determine the strongest champion in the world.The company’s AI R&D – namely Game AI, Speech AI, Vision AI, Language AI, and Knowledge AI –are essentially applicable beyond just games. Rather than having an AI technology that simply tries to solve short-range problems, NCSOFT is concentrating more on in-depth R&D that can solve fundamental problems and can be used in various ways. NCSOFT's AI research is not restricted just to games, but will be opened and applied to any area where it can develop outstanding technologies and innovate. NCSOFT plans to expand and strengthen its investment in AI as well as in fostering AI research specialists and professionals. To this end, it is proactively engaged in recruiting talented professionals in the field. NCSOFT plans to expand development and investment to create new value by applying AI to various fields such as online and mobile. ▲ At ‘Blade & Soul Tournament 2018 World Championship’, PvP matches took place between AI and professional gamers, which recently caught attention of the game industry. ○ Leading the innovation of MMORPG, proving the power of IPs – Lineage, AION, Blade & SoulNCSOFT is the home for globally acclaimed franchises including Lineage, Lineage 2, AION and Blade & Soul. With solid story composition, content, and innovative game play, it is playing an active role as winning intellectual properties (IPs) across the platforms and regions.Since the company was founded in 1997, NCSOFT has been investing to build solid original IPs and for its expansion. With approximately five years on average to develop an NCSOFT title, it concentrates its development efforts on every corner – from world view, story, character, graphics, and sound to bring the best possible game play experience. Having secured various IPs, NCSOFT is continuing to expand and add value to its IPs by connecting the world view and story of each game and continuing development with new device platforms such as mobile and console.‘Lineage’, which led to the popularization of Korean online games in 1998, has been in service for 20 years as of this year. Following on with Lineage, the company’s representative IPs include: a) ‘Lineage 2’, a sequel set in Lineage’s world view of 150 years ago and presented high-quality 3D-graphics, b) ‘AION’ with abundant fantasy adventure and flight features ranked first in Korea’s PC-bang (internet cafes) ranking for 160 consecutive weeks, and c) ‘Blade & Soul’, which depicts Eastern world view and colorful martial arts and is being serviced in nine countries throughout the world. Each game is further enhancing its value in the mobile market.NCSOFT released two mobile games based on its own IP of Lineage. The company launched ‘Lineage Red Knights’ in December 2016 and ‘Lineage M’ in June 2017, respectively. ‘Lineage Red Knights’ is a reinterpretation of the original Lineage characters and world view in a creative way. ‘Lineage M’ fully realizes the core elements of the original Lineage on mobile, and has implemented a control method and game system optimized for the mobile platform. Since launching in June 2017, it has maintained the top #1 position of gross sales in Google Play. It has topped the list of the local mobile games with 5.5 million pre-registration accounts and KRW 13 billion as the highest daily sales. ‘Lineage M’ in Taiwan is also in its top ranking in gross sales in Google Play since its launch in December last year.NCSOFT's IP expansion is being actively pursued with not only in-house development but also in collaboration with local and overseas partners. In particular, through cooperation with well-known developers, ‘Lineage 2’ was reborn as new games; ‘Lineage 2 Revolution’ by Netmarble in Korea, and ‘Lineage 2: Blood Oath’ by Snail Games in China. In July this year, 37Games in China also launched the web game called ‘Honor of Blood Oath(血盟榮耀)’ in China. 37Games presented at China's biggest game show 'China Joy 2018' held in early August and received a high response from the players. ▲ Taek-Jin Kim, CEO of NCSOFT ○ Implementing Two-Track Strategy for Mobile: ‘M’ line-up as expansion of original IP to mobile setting, ‘2’ line-up as a sequel title of its original franchisesNCSOFT is leading the way in R&D and investment for IP expansion. It is developing mobile MMORPG project currently under development, ▶'M' line-up, which developed the original IP into mobile, and ▶'2' line-up, which is a new numbering title and sequel with mobile.■ <Lineage 2M> realizes the largest mobile seamless open world Lineage 2M is a mobile MMORPG under development with full 3D-graphics. NCSOFT implemented the largest seamless open world, and its size reaches as large as 102,500,000㎡, which is the largest land map among mobile MMORPGs in the country. This is only respective to the continent of Aden. Upon launch, NCSOFT plans to expand the world with a new continent, doubling the size of the entire seamless open world. The game features extreme freedom and large-scale RvR (Realm vs Realm) battle. NCSOFT also plans to present a realistic world, where all players become part of the world, without any interruption in between. Lineage 2M is under development for release in the first half of 2019.■ <AION 2> finally reveals the future that AION promised for AION 2 is the sequel to AION. It is the new numbering title of AION’s IP as mobile MMORPG. It is set in the world 900 years prior to the war between Elyos and Asmodians broke in AION. AION 2 features three-dimensional battles such as cracks of the world’s time and space, which connects to another server, and free gliding.■ <Blade & Soul 2>, an official sequel with the connected and completed Blade & Soul’s world Blade & Soul 2 is an official sequel set in the era after the original Blade & Soul. The heroes of the past become the legends, and the following new adventure becomes the next story. Areas that have not been seen in the original Blade & Soul are newly opened. Blade & Soul 2 continues unique sensibility, stylish action, and solid story line from the original Blade & Soul.■ <Blade & Soul M>, the newly re-written story and battles of the original Blade & Soul Blade & Soul M presents evolved stories, combat, and graphics based on the emotions and fun elements of the original Blade & Soul. It features that users can get their own storylines in accordance with their choice along their play within the same world. In Blade & Soul M, the flying skills are implemented as a means of combat with a sense of action beyond the means of movement. Team Bloodlust, the team that produced the original Blade & Soul, is taking on the development of Blade & Soul M.■ <Blade & Soul S>, the boldest and most challenging change of Blade & Soul Blade & Soul S is a prequel that tells the story three years prior to the original Blade & Soul. It is a mobile MMORPG that all players communicate and compete together in an open world. Users can feel the fun of the story expanded and deepened the world of Blade & Soul with characters’ hidden stories untold in the original version.
G-Audio Launches Loudness SDK to Provide a Consistent Streaming Media Listening Experience
G-Audio, a next generation audio technology company dedicated to enhancing the listening experience for XR and streaming media, today launched its Sol Loudness SDK for streaming media. Starting today, video and music streaming platforms can leverage G-Audio’s Sol Loudness SDK to provide a smoother audio experience for subscribers. The popularity of OTT video (over-the-top) is growing rapidly and streaming media consumption is increasing across multiple devices, including smartphones, Smart TVs, and game consoles. Over the past few years, streaming media companies have prioritized the seamless transmission of high quality video and music, and improved UX. Audio quality and audio features have not received the same level of attention, resulting in inconsistencies in the listening experience across devices. Emerging audio technologies, such as G-Audio’s Sol Loudness SDK, solve for this by smoothing variations in loudness and providing continuity of the perceived sound level between streaming content for end-users. Henney Oh, CEO and Co-founder of G-Audio Labs, said: “At G-Audio Labs, we are dedicated to improving the end-user listening experience. Our loudness management solution addresses common subscriber complaints and solves for volume inconsistencies between content programming. A smoother audio experience leads to increased subscriber satisfaction and that leads to improved retention.” Alexis Macklin, Analyst at Greenlight Insights, said: “With 62% of U.S. adults streaming TV and movies each week, streaming services have revolutionized the way consumers listen to and watch media. Unfortunately, this mass appeal has yet to translate to consistent audio quality. The streaming market is set to be disrupted by new solutions focused on setting higher standards in streaming audio quality. Loudness management will be central to the features that creators and publishers will need to deliver as a growing number of consumers expect consistent audio quality across streaming platforms.” G-Audio’s SDK product line includes spatial audio rendering for 360° video and loudness management for streaming media. Other loudness management software solutions today employ a legacy "file-based" approach, which is a pre-processing pipeline that destructively modifies the original content. The Sol Loudness SDK uses a server-client architecture in which the server-side performs loudness measurement and generates metadata that the client-side uses to normalize content to the target loudness setting. Advantages to the server-client solution include, (1) the opportunity to set loudness targets per platform, end-user device, or even listening environment, and (2) the original content is never modified, avoiding compression artifacts. Naver Corporation, a South Korea-based internet content service company, is one of the first companies to integrate the Sol Loudness SDK for their streaming media services.
“Quality and interoperability will be key for VR’s future,” says VR Industry Forum
Creating a buoyant marketplace for Virtual Reality (VR) in the future will depend on high-quality and interoperable services, the President of VR Industry Forum (VRIF) has said. Speaking during an IBC2018 Masterclass on VR Technology and Industry, Rob Koenen highlighted the healthy and realistic expectations that now surround VR – but warned that the industry will need to come together to ensure its full potential is realised. “Forecasts for VR are good – IDC, for example, expects spending on AR and VR products and services to reach $27 billion in 2018 – but there is still work to be done,” said Koenen. “To ensure these projections are delivered, the industry needs to come together to focus on creating interoperable, high-quality services which are accessible and bring true value to end users.” Koenen emphasised how far VR has already come with the example of the first wave of headsets being geared only for early adopters, citing that they were expensive, required expensive computers, and were clumsy to set up. He noted that now, we see stand-alone headsets appearing that are below $200 USD, have no wires, require no computer, and offer better quality. He then moved on to underline the progress that is visible in demonstrations being shown at the VRIF booth in IBC’s Future Zone. These demonstrations, said Koenen, are all based on the VRIF’s Guidelines and showcase standards-based implementations becoming available, including for high-quality live VR360 streaming, tools for the production and playback of streaming VR360 based on the MPEG Omnidirectional Media Format (“OMAF”) and MPEG‑H spatial audio. “Consumers and businesses alike are interested in VR and a healthy ecosystem is developing, but for it to be truly successful it needs to reach enough people, deliver a cinematic-type experience and be affordable to distribute,” continued Koenen. “Live services will be key to the success of VR; they take the VR experience to the next level. They are a now key focus for VRIF and we will document recommendations for live VR in the upcoming version of our Guidelines, which is scheduled for publication in January 2019.” Koenen also welcomed the new wave of VR applications that are emerging beyond entertainment, such as training and in healthcare. He concluded his masterclass by emphasising the importance of interoperability in bringing the different elements of VR together: “For consumers, interoperability means less hassle and less expense, and for content creators and distributors, it means easier and more cost-effective production and distribution. This also means that there are more opportunities for ads and promotion – it truly is a win-win-win.” The VRIF membership includes XR influencers, leaders and innovators such as Akamai, Dolby, Ericsson, Fraunhofer, Harmonic, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, Qualcomm, Sky, Sony, Verizon and many more. Focusing on cinematic VR, the VRIF advocates for consensus around technical standards, encourages interoperability and develops guidelines for best-practices, aiming to bridge the adoption chasm and reduce costs of development and production.
WeQ Launches Innovative App Ranking Solution to Boost Apps to the Top of the App Store Charts
WeQ, a global mobile ad tech organisation, has announced the launch of WeQ BOOST — an innovative app ranking solution that utilizes proprietary technology for campaign management and optimization. Additionally, it combines over 100 boost traffic sources with a deep knowledge and understanding of app store algorithms to create bespoke burst campaigns that are specifically designed to catapult apps to the rank that yields the highest ROI. With 5.8 million apps in Google Play and Apple App Stores to date, visibility is key. Changes to both platforms have made it challenging for advertisers to use app store optimization (ASO) and user acquisition (UA) through burst campaigns effectively. New features in the iOS11 release included a new “homepage” design, new character limitations and the split categorisation of apps into “Games” and “Apps” with their own navigation tabs and pages, giving non-games the chance to be discovered more easily. Additionally, both platforms adjusted their ranking algorithms, putting more weight on the quality of the app measured by reviews and ratings. Google even added engagement as an extra variable for its algorithm to reward good quality apps that bring more added value to the users. These changes present both a challenge and an opportunity for marketers wishing to find the best ways to boost their discoverability and increase their chances to be found by high quality users. WeQ identified four main use cases for doing burst campaigns, on which the newly launched WeQ BOOST solution is based: Fast Track User Base Growth: burst campaigns are a cost efficient way to jump-start user base growth, helping advertisers to achieve critical mass. Take Monetization to the Next Level: the more eyes on the app, the more chances for stronger monetization — be it through selling advertising space or increasing revenue from in-app purchases. Establish Presence in a New Market: bursts can prove a catalyst to open borders. Outrank Competitors: bursts are a great tool for reaching the top of the charts, getting the app noticed and outranking competitors, resulting in strong organic growth. Stanislava Todorova, VP of New Media Solutions at WeQ, said: “WeQ BOOST is designed to empower advertisers to cut through the noise in the ever-changing ecosystem of the app stores. Launching this new solution adds another powerful element to our portfolio that enables us to create the perfect mobile marketing mix for our clients. At WeQ, we believe that the ultimate marketing strategy should be a combination of bursts and sustainable user acquisition campaigns to address different needs throughout the lifecycle of an app.” WeQ’s proprietary technology, combined with its team of over 100 seasoned professionals with global mobile marketing expertise, is what makes our app ranking solution unique. The WeQ team develops a personalized strategy for each client based on industry intel, local knowledge and experience from more than 2000 successful burst campaigns. The carefully curated global network of publishers means a truly global reach and access to a specific geographic for the advertiser. This is further supported by the hands-on approach that the team practices, ensuring that the campaign is constantly analyzed and optimized for better ROI. Furthermore, WeQ’s dedicated team carry out traffic checks to prevent fraudulent activity using in-house anti-fraud technology. With launching WeQ BOOST, the adtech company is hitting another milestone of their global growth and expansion plans of its solutions and services. Today's launch falls on the heels of WeQ's announcement in late April that it had secured more than $50 million USD in internal funds and debt capital to accelerate an ambitious global growth path. The ad tech brand plans to use the funds as it undertakes an aggressive M&A strategy. Over the next 12-24 months, WeQ plans to acquire cutting-edge technologies from innovative ventures to expand its technological footprint and services, attract international talent, and enter new international markets.
WeQ Launches to Transform Mobile Ad Tech with Human Intelligence and Inclusivity
WeQ, a mobile ad tech brand providing user acquisition and engagement services at a global scale, announced today its official launch. WeQ is driven by a forward-thinking, socio-economic movement striving to shift from an exclusive ‘I’ culture to a collaborative ‘We’ culture. Setting its sights on becoming a trusted leader in the mobile ad tech industry, WeQ combines innovative data-driven technology with the collective human intelligence of its accomplished team of mobile ad tech experts to empower companies to reach their goals. WeQ comes out of the gate armed with a strategic investment, having secured more than $50 million USD in internal funds and debt capital to accelerate an ambitious global growth path. The ad tech brand plans to use the funds as it undertakes an aggressive M&A strategy. Over the next 12-24 months, WeQ plans to acquire cutting-edge technologies from innovative ventures to expand its technological footprint and services, attract international talent, and enter new international markets. Markus Malti, CEO of WeQ: “With our unique approach that balances data with human intelligence, this strategic investment in place, and a highly knowledgeable team heading the organization, we are well-equipped to achieve our ambitious goal of becoming a key player in the ad tech industry. We look forward to growing our team, further expanding our reach in the U.S. through our office in San Francisco, and working with key advertisers to help them scale globally.” With the duopoly of Facebook and Google – combined, they will account for 60.9% of US net mobile ad revenues in 2018 (eMarketer) – players within the mobile industry are affected by the unregulated and highly competitive market. WeQ offers alternative, bespoke solutions and high-quality user acquisition beyond the walled gardens. The company has ambitious goals and expects to deliver several million installs a month for clients. The company’s mobile advertising solutions are powered by its proprietary technology, which is designed by an in-house team led by Dr. Steffen Wachenfeld, CPO of WeQ. Describing the underlying technology, he noted, “Advertising needs scalable and globally replicable infrastructure and services. This is why our proprietary technology is built by a team of machine learning experts, developers, and data scientists — in order to deliver the most targeted, optimized and scalable mobile advertising solutions. This allows our clients to focus on what they do best: building great apps and growing successful brands.” WeQ is spearheaded by a multi-disciplinary management team of recognized ad tech industry veterans and market experts, including: Markus Malti, CEO, former Director Digital Strategy Wanadoo Hendrik Volp, CBDO, former CRO at Adjust Dr. Steffen Wachenfeld, CPO, former HitFox Group & founder of ad tech company sold to AppLift Bastian Quilitz, CTO, former VP of Technology at Glispa Kerstin Feix, CPeO, former Global Head of People Management at Meta Design Riccardo dal Pozzolo, CFO, former Business Analyst at Walt Disney John Schlüter, CMO, former CBO at Thomas Sabo Tim Nilsson, Member of the Advisory Board, former MD at Glispa
Pearl Abyss Developers Give First Global Lectures at Game Developers Conference 2018
For the first time since the launch of their successful MMORPG Black Desert Online in 2015, Pearl Abyss is bringing their development team to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco to share their experiences about working on the game. Black Desert Online is known for its stunning graphics, seamless open world, intuitive combat system and a soundtrack to complete the immersive world. This is the first time Pearl Abyss has come forward globally to discuss their proprietary game engine that the company uses to develop all their games and introduce the music genius behind the soundtrack. On March 23, Pearl Abyss will hold two sessions in room 2009 in the West Hall at GDC. The first lecturer will be Black Desert’s audio director, Hwiman Ryu. Mr. Ryu has been with the Pearl Abyss team since the start of the Black Desert project where he is in charge of the music and game audio. He is regarded as one of the most popular audio directors in the Korean game industry. Better known to his fans as “Croove”, his previous work on rhythm game classics DJMax and EZ2DJ was what put him on the map in the industry. He is now working on remastering the original Black Desert MIDI soundtrack with orchestrated music conducted and performed by famed European orchestras. In his lecture, he will discuss some of the successes and failures he faced during the span of the project with focus on composition, arrangement and application of the Black Desert soundtrack. He will explain how the music was applied to an open-world game and the steps, including score selection, planning and production, that led up to the finished product. Finally, he will talk about his experiences recording with an orchestra for the Black Desert audio remastering project as well as ways to use costly orchestral recordings efficiently without wasting resources. Lecture schedule and location Friday, March 23 | 10:00am - 11:00am Room 2009, West Hall The second lecture will be given by two members of the game engine team. Dongwook Ha is one of the lead programmers currently at Pearl Abyss. Mr. Ha has been working with the Pearl Abyss team for 7 years and is interested in developing a multi-platform game engine. His work on the Black Desert project has contributed greatly to the success of the game. Gwanghyeon Go is a software engineer that is part of the engine team at Pearl Abyss working on real-time rendering and engine architecture. Before joining the company, he worked at NHN Games and Webzen. The two lecturers will share the secrets of their success and their expertise in the game engine development process. This includes the various techniques that have been implemented to overcome the challenges that they faced along the way. They will discuss the efforts that have been made to mass produce the various resources such as terrain, characters, etc., with limited manpower. They will also cover what it is like to deal with optimizing a massive living world that has an infinite number of characters, how that memory is organized, the rendering techniques used in the process and ultimately why they chose these methods for Black Desert Online. Lecture schedule and location: Friday, March 23 | 1:30pm - 2:30pm Room 2009, West Hall
Cashbet And Storm Gaming Technology Expand Partnership with Exclusive Real-money Games for US and AGCC Customers
CashBet (www.cashbet.com) today announced the expansion of its partnership with Storm Gaming Technology (SGT) that includes an exclusive agreement to offer online versions of its land-based casino and branded games to CashBet’s US and Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) customers. Through this agreement, CashBet will become the primary online distribution partner for premium SGT content to websites and apps operated both by CashBet’s iGaming partners and by other companies who wish to access a growing portfolio of unique content, including both real-money and social casino operators. SGT games will be the first to be distributed to operators via CashBet’s next generation Remote Game Server (RGS). Richard Sheldon, Managing Director of Storm Gaming Technology, said: “Through an extension of our exciting partnership with CashBet, we’ll be able to offer a portfolio of our premium land-based and branded gaming content to online and mobile casino operators seamlessly. These new titles will spotlight our commitment to high-quality responsive design, enabling the absolute best experience for mobile players. We plan to make a number of feature-rich titles, including Mandarin Orchid and other successful SGT games, immediately available via our agreement with CashBet.” Dr. Mike Reaves, CEO and founder of CashBet, said: “We’ve continued to grow and innovate as an iGaming technology platform developer. This latest partnership with SGT is an example of how we are evolving our technology to benefit our customers. Our partnerships and our strong commitment to technological innovation, in this case our feature-rich RGS, allow us to fulfill our vision of becoming the world’s most advanced iGaming platform. Renewing our relationship with SGT through this content distribution expansion is particularly exciting for us and offers iGaming operators access to valuable content not available anywhere else. We’re proud of our partnership with SGT and our ability to offer this exclusive content. We invite new operators to reach out and work with us to access our growing portfolio of premium iGaming content.” Learn more at www.cashbet.com
GAMEVICE PUTS GADGETEERS IN FULL CONTROL OF THE HOLIDAY’S HOTTEST TECH
Gamevice, the makers of the zero latency and direct connected controller, announced today that it will provide full support to Spark, an easy-to-use, fun-to-fly mini camera drone from DJI, the leading drone and flying camera creators. The Gamevice controller gives Spark users the added benefit of improved precision, control, and ergonomics when flying the drone using their smartphone. Gamevice is an approved Apple MFi partner with direct Lightning support. Download the new video and assets HERE: spaces.hightail.com/receive/XcdEtcgkAu/bWF0dEByZXZlcmJpbmMuY29t Watch the new video HERE: youtube.com/watch?v=a8Afl7SNPHY “DJI’s latest innovative drone pairs well with our high-performance controllers,” said Phillip Hyun, CEO, Gamevice, Inc. “We are pleased to be working with them and other leading consumer electronics creators on future products that will leverage our platform.” “We designed Spark to be the easiest DJI drone to fly, whether using simple hand gestures, a smartphone or the dedicated remote control,” said said Paul Pan, Senior Product Manager at DJI. “Gamevice gives Spark pilots another simple, highly intuitive way to control their drone, letting them fly, capture and share life’s moments while on the go.” Gamevice and DJI's Spark Drone - Perfect Holiday Gifts The functionality of Gamevice doesn’t stop with the benefits it offers to users of drones like DJI’s. The device serves as an entertainment hub, with ever growing capabilities as new games, apps and hardware that support the controller launch regularly. Gamevice also supports the SPRK+ robot from Sphero, adding a new layer of connectivity between consumers and their robots. With precision controls, improved ease of use, and comfortable design, Gamevice ensures that when SPRK+ users are struck with creativity, it’s easier than ever to bring their ideas to life. Take Control Your SPRK+ With Gamevice This Holiday As part of their Works With Gamevice initiative, the Gamevice team is working closely with consumer electronics manufacturers to bring controller support to a variety of mobile controlled gadgets. Interested companies and creators should email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The preferred controller of gamers everywhere, Gamevice creates a console experience on mobile devices to more than 1,000 video games including Street Fighter IV, Minecraft and NBA 2K18. The controller has extended its critically-acclaimed functionality to users of smartphone-controlled devices including robots and drones like DJI’s Spark and Sphero’s SPRK+ robot. By providing precision control and an ergonomic design, Gamevice allows users to achieve a new level of usability and comfort over a mobile device’s touchpad interface, and offers the lowest latency of any mobile controller available. With prices starting at $59.95, Gamevice provides lightning-fast control to video games and mobile controlled gadgets for popular iOS and Android smartphones or tablets on the market. For more information on Gamevice, please visit gamevice.com.
Unreal Summit 2017 PD Katsuhiro Harada Keynote Speech
Epic Games Korea held 'Unreal Summit 2017', a technology related event, at COEX Grand Ballroom located in Gangnam-gu, Seoul on the April 22nd. For the first order of 'Unreal Summit 2017,' Keynote speeches were given by Tim Sweeney of Epic Games and Katsuhiro Harada, a leader and lead producer of Bandai Namco Games' Tekken project. ▲ Katsuhiro Harada came on the stage as a second keynote speaker. Producer Harada, who went on the stage as a second speaker, had a presentation about 'Philosophy in the development of Tekken Project game'. As the most important factors when progressing Tekken project, he mentioned that the viewpoint of hypothesis and statistical data has to be considered significant, and each opinion which does not appear on data has to be accepted. What's more, he stated that brilliant creativity and luck are also needed. Especially, in the case of Tekken, since the aspect of character game is strong, the values and evaluation standards are different according to the wide community culture of the country and region, and the diversity of preference is big. Here, the difference by age group and gender is added, so there are many difficulties. However, as the series continues, many case studies on the world market are conducted. Harada said, "You can think about people, games, popularity, character goods, popularity lifetime, etc. about the 'definition of a good character,' which is asked while creating a character, but such definition is actually hard to apply." And, "We aim to be loved by millions of products for more than a decade in the world market, but first we need to narrow down the goal and choose our customer who likes the character and buy a product. But as customers are not 100% aware of their tastes, it is also necessary to try to read hidden needs." On top of that, when creating characters, one needs to set the hypothesis that such character would make a hit with the target. Without the hypothesis, it is hard to determine whether it hit or not through verification, so he emphasized that one has to set it regardless of the outcome even for the accumulation of know-how. Citing the cases of Steve Fox in Tekken and Hikari Miyamoto in Summer Lesson, he introduced that, "These characters are intended for completely different users, so they contain completely different settings and stories, and the way to make a character concept changes as well." ▲ We had time to introduce philosophy in the game development of Tekken project. ▲ As each character has different preferences, the more case studies the more advantageous. ▲ When containing completely different settings and stories for each character, the way to make a character concept changes as well. Meanwhile, they need to get a feedback after the content is produced. If external disclosure is not allowed during development, they use feedbacks from overseas offices or qualitative investigation on the sample. After the release, they can use a variety of methods such as usage rate, popularity vote, user postcard and questionnaire, Internet sample survey, active research by research company, group interview, etc. As an important point in securing feedback data, having to secure as much feedback data as possible is mentioned. When hypotheses, statistical data, and feedback come to hand, it is necessary to combine this data to validate the results, so the process of quantifying all the data and documenting as much as possible which part of the developer’s idea goes against regardless whether positive or negative. This does not mean that good and bad of popularity lead to good and bad of the result. It only carries out a process of calmly verifying the 'difference from the hypothesis'. In the case of producer Harada, he hypothesizes about popularity order as well as usage order and then proceeds development. It means to start development after deciding popularity order of characters. In that case, he would get a question of "Should not all the characters be popular?". However, he stated that it is only idealism, and in reality, everyone can not make the first place. There could be some cases that are deviated from hypothesis and expectations. For instance, in the case of Lili and Dragunov, Dragunov was planned to be created as a less popular character in order to double the popularity of Lili by aiming for the effects of 'Yin and Tang'. But, it became increasingly popular than expected and affected the next work. In addition, in the case of Ganryu, its popularity and usage rate are low, but it has been used for a long time as it has worth in its own way due to having a solid position in the segment. However, the popularity and usage rate are not necessarily proportional. If the character has outstanding performance, its usage rate will be high, but related products are unaffected. Therefore, he said that the hypothesis for it has to be set. Besides, Harada emphasized that in the case of simply giving character design contract without establishing concept to a designer who has a great skill, the concept needed for the game could be lost, or the target could be wrong. In order to minimize this, he suggested to hypothesize about a character concept and target needed for the game, and share it with statistical data after documenting, so that a designer could successfully work. ▲ It is necessary to collect various feedback data as much as possible. ▲ There are also cases that are deviated from hypothesis and expectations. ▲ Quantifying and documenting the result as much as possible through verifying with statistical data. ▲ It is suggested to hypothesize about character concept and target, and document them.
Unreal Summit 2017 Tim Sweeney Keynote Speech
Epic Games Korea held 'Unreal Summit 2017', a technology related event, at COEX Grand Ballroom located in Gangnam-gu, Seoul on the April 22nd. For the first order of 'Unreal Summit 2017,' Keynote speeches were given by Tim Sweeney of Epic Games and Katsuhiro Harada, a leader and lead producer of Bandai Namco Games' Tekken project. Tim Sweeney, who went on the stage as a first speaker, started the keynote speech by saying, "Korea is leading the high-end mobile game market using Unreal Engine." And, "The great achievement of 'Lineage 2 Revolution' proved it, and like 'Blade 2,' we are looking forward to a better game to be presented by Unreal Engine." ▲ Tim Sweeney came on the stage as a first keynote speaker. Sweeney first stated that Epic Games is currently focusing on high-end techs such as photorealism and digital human, and its new games such as 'Robo Recall' or 'Paragon' are providing more enhanced game experience to users. Next, he introduced that Epic Games is supporting Open API and new devices, as development in PC market is expected to develop with the activation of 4K monitors and the emergence of new devices, and the support of Open APIs such as Vulcan and Open XR would bring more developments. Moreover, in video games, 'Nintendo Switch,' Nintendo's new gaming console, officially supports Unreal Engine 4, so the engine is being used in games like 'Snake Pass' and it will be able to experience the power of Unreal Engine 4 in more games. In nongame fields, Unreal Engine has been widely used for many years, and the cases such as NASA's VR training program as well as advertisements using real-time MR technique, real-time rendering of movie characters, education, architecture, car design, animation are mentioned. ▲ 'Robo Recall' is a VR game with high immersion by Oculus Touch. ▲ More than ten million people are enjoying 'Paragon'. ▲ 'Nintendo Switch' is officially supporting Unreal Engine 4. ▲ Epic Games supports a number of Open APIs. He also stated that VR is yet in the beginning step compared to PCs or smartphones, but as the games with new concepts that could secure profitability seem to appear in the next few years, it is recommended to prepare for the future. In addition, it would be ultimately concluded to AR so that realistic graphics created from PC will be merged with reality, and a technology called 'Light Field,' presented in HoloLens, will show images created from PC on reality regardless of deepness or distance. Epic Games is cooperating with many companies to prepare for this. At the end of the lecture, Sweeney said, "Unreal Engine is making a lot of efforts to provide a new experience by improving the quality of digital humans, and we expect Korean developers to show us staying ahead of VR and AR." ▲ The application range of Unreal Engine is getting wider even in nongame fields. ▲ The situation in which it is not necessary to produce an actual sample will be gradually made. ▲ Unreal Engine was used in automobile advertisement using MR technique.
Epic Games Korea 'Robo Recall' Major Development Team Joint Interview
On the afternoon of the April 21st, Epic Games Korea office located in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, held an interview with a major development team of VR action game 'Robo Recall,' developed by Epic Games and released for 'Oculus Lift'. The interview was prepared before Unreal Summit 2017 to introduce the features of Epic Games' VR game 'Robo Recall' and discuss the future technology development. Nick Whiting Technical Director, Nick Donaldson Lead Designer, and Jerome Platteaux Art Director attended the event. ▲ The interview with 'Robo Recall' major development team was held. First, about VR's attractions felt while developing 'Robo Recall' with VR platform, Nick Donaldson pointed out that giving the feeling that the virtual environment is unfolded before the eyes, unlike 2D as the biggest attraction of VR. He also introduced the case that it becomes difficult to return to the previous 2D monitor environment after his friend, who did modeling, first checked the result in one to one size through a VR headset during development. In addition, Nick Whiting answered to the question about what advantage Unreal Engine 4 has in developing VR games that, "In development, without enough understanding, the progress will become slow. However, rather than simply applying VR function, it could be possible to present an improvement by applying know-how gained from developing games to the engine. What's more, through a visual script blueprint allows as many people as possible to quickly share and try ideas." Next, to the question about differences between the game and movie, Jerome Platteaux answered that the movie tries to put all possible scenes in one scene while the game has a completely different working method as the camera freely moves. Also, in the case of VR games, careful attention should be paid to lighting and others in terms of programming. Nick Donaldson answered to the question about the plan to use a sequencer function of Unreal Engine 4 to create a movie-like VR game that, "We do not have a plan to create it right now, but we have seen a lot of things created by other companies such as Oculus VR. It was possible to get a feeling different from the usual cinematic when performing an experimental work in the intro scene of Robo Recall." And, Nick Whiting expressed his opinion that "It could be a true VR cinematic by adding interactions about users' reaction to increase the immersion." Meanwhile, in regard to 'Robo Recall', the company have gotten a number of feedbacks related to controllability such as "there is a difficulty in controlling rotation" and the feedbacks related to details such as "the city in the game is too much cleaner than the actual San Francisco". It is introduced that the company is applying the updates like skipping the cutscene and 360-degree tracking and planning a partnership with a partner related to MOD function. In addition to the question about the future of VR, Nick Whiting said, "Although many people have skeptical views on VR equipment, VR has not been long since its emergence and think that there will be masterpiece contents that will make you feel the necessity to purchase after 2-3 years. Personally, I do not think that AR and VR will be combined into one, but as I believe both of them have the same problem, if we first dominate VR market, it will be easier to adapt to AR." ▲ Nick Whiting Technical Director ▲ Nick Donaldson Lead Designer ▲ Jerome Platteaux Art Director