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PUBG dev says store-bought assets help teams 'work smart'

"Hiring an art team of 40 people to 'try a game' and 'see if it's fun' is simply not a smart way to work. This is what the asset store is for."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

June 18, 2018

2 Min Read

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) developer PUBG Corp. has spoken about why it uses some pre-made assets from the Unreal marketplace, explaining its one of the best ways to "work smart."

The studio's communications lead Ryan Rigney took to Reddit to debunk what he called "misinformation" about how the game is developed, after some players accused the popular battle royale game of being an "asset flip." 

The implication is that the title has been half-heartedly churned out using pre-made, purchasable assets, and some Reddit users claim that's why it suffers from a number of performance issues. 

Rigney refutes that notion, and posits that using marketplace assets is simply a sensible decision when you're attempting to spin up a game fast, without breaking the bank.  

"Hiring an art team of 40 people to 'try a game' and 'see if it's fun' is simply not a smart way to work," he wrote. "This is what the asset store is for. It’s a great resource for teams that want to work smart."

He explained PUBG's first map, Erangel, was a combination of in-house work at the studio's headquarters in Korea, some direct purchasing of assets, and outsourced art work from a team in the American Midwest. 

The second map to launch, Miramar, came about as a result of collaboration between the newly formed PUBG Madison team and the Korean team in Seoul, with those groups replying less on store-bought assets this time around.

Even so, Rigney admits Miramar did indeed utilize pre-made assets and recycle old assets, because it "just doesn't make sense to build everything in the game world yourself."

"Although a map like Miramar is a combination of in-house and external assets, the majority of the external assets are adjusted by our artists after the fact for visuals and for optimization performance," he wrote. 

"Why should one of my artists spend two weeks on a generic sculpt if they could instead spend that two weeks adding real value for players elsewhere?. How many times should a telephone booth be modeled? How many times do we gotta sculpt a cash register?

"Because we’re steadily investing more and more in building our internal art teams, Miramar used fewer external assets than Erangel, and Sanhok used fewer still. Our fourth map, the one coming out this winter, uses fewer still, but if we’re smart it’ll almost certainly still involve some mix of assets from different sources. This is a good thing."

Rigney urged players to keep those points in mind whenever they see someone telling "oversimplified" tales. You can read his full response by clicking right here.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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