In a new Intel-sponsored feature, Rod Green discusses the creation of art pipelines
for the firm's Project Offset
engine/game, explaining why studios "should be aiming to sever the umbilical cord" and implement a 'common format' approach to the problem.
Green is the technical art director at Intel, where he manages the art and design pipelines for the game engine team group, and was previously one of the managing directors and COO of Offset Software, the developer behind Project Offset
The Project Offset
team were acquired by Intel
in early 2008, and in the introduction to the feature, Green explains the thinking behind the division's pipeline approach:
"It's no secret that the world of art development for games is getting more complicated, with dynamic rig LODs, real-time tessellation, sub-d surfaces, mega-textures, and the like. The complexity of assets is increasing, while at the same time, there's a drive to simplify the process to create them.
If the initial technical hurdle is lowered, artists will be free to be more creative and spend more time iterating art, and less time wrangling their tools to try and just get the assets into the game (or so the thinking goes).
One really good initial step toward helping your artists do what they do best is to alleviate their dependency on one specific software package. Long gone are the days when a studio could get by just with a copy of [insert your favorite package here].
Studios should be aiming to sever the umbilical cord and let their art teams work with what they know or what's best for any given task. Beyond the implicit benefits, there's also a world of good to be had in using this approach when working with outsourced employees.
The trick to making the switch is to change the studio's mentality by breaking down the export barrier and implementing an import-based pipeline."
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject
, with lots more detail on structuring your art pipeline in this in-depth article, which originally appeared as an editorial piece in Game Developer