Cometh the hour, cometh the woman

“Do women play games?” What a draconian thought, right? Women have always participated in video games since the industry’s inception. The percentage of female participants may not be as high as men, but they’ve always formed a considerable section of the gaming fraternity. With the rise of smartphones, more and more female consumers are pouring in. Women are not only playing mere casual games but also “hardcore” games such as Call of Duty, World of WarCraft, DOTA and Counter Strike, among others

Here’s an interesting question: Why do people think that the majority of women are not interested in playing social or mobile games? Maybe the lack of games with female protagonists is a reason. More often than not, the female characters in video games are showcased as damsels in distress or reinforce old stereotypes that no woman relates to. With time, we’ve furthered ourselves with technology and advanced methods of creating video games. And yet, the way female characters are designed remains quite outdated. Most female characters are stereotyped in the worst possible way, with heavy makeup, typically sculpted bodies with provocative clothes and high heels.

The tide is turning, though. Games these days are targeted towards mass audiences rather than gender-defined audiences or any other section, for that matter. Award-winning game Journey’s protagonist is a faceless character without a specific gender, culture or country. Also games like Transistor or Child Of Light are taken forward by female protagonists who move away from the usual stereotypes. They’re fresh and creatively conceptualised characters who actually fit the storyline of the game. Such games lean towards being more of a “heroine’s journey” than just female versions of a male specific/fantasy orientated game. This kind of fresh outlook on games, be it from any genre, works by targeting not only women but gamers of other age groups and races as well.

Women are not only consumers in the video game industry but also creators of these games. Though the percentage is not very high at the moment, it’s slowly increasing. Besides joining as Game Artists, the number of female Game Designers and Programmers is gradually growing. People such as Kellee Santiago – Game Designer, Producer and Founder of ‘ThatGameCompany’, makers of the beautifully crafted, multi-award winning game Journey – can only be expected to pull in more female talent into the industry. As more such like-minded women enter the industry, Gaming is set to grow by leaps and bounds by being all-inclusive.

 

 

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Cometh the hour, cometh the woman

Game artist vs. animator: what’s the difference?

When people learn that I work in the games industry, they think that my job revolves around playing games all day. The second misconception is that a lot of people associate video game artists with animators. Sure, a game artist and an animator do similar things: they draw. But that’s where the similarities end.

Like an animator, a game artist can specialize based on their skillset: Concept Artist, Promo-Artist, Texture Artist, 3D modeler, Rigging & Animation Artist, Technical Artist and UI Artist. But one of the major differences in the production of an animation and a game is the limit of polygons that a game can use. Polygons are like the atoms of any game asset. In an animation, since the movie is rendered beforehand, the frame-rate problem is non-existent and so is the polygon limit on the assets. The production mentality in most game studios is: “less is more”. So an artist looking to make it in the game industry must understand these nuances.DSKIC Blog

An artist can no longer just draw and expect the game to create itself. Having experience in engines like Unity, Unreal and the like could be the edge in job interviews between one artist and the next. Engine knowledge is of prime importance when designing assets and managing their file-size. Another major difference is that game artists work very closely with programmers and designers in their team.

A game artist and an animator use different tools, have different work environments and modus operandi. While what we do might elementally be the same, the end result and the way we do it, is essentially different. This is rightly why Game Art and Animation are two separate streams at DSKIC (Supinfogame  & Supinfocom). Under the guidance of the trainers at the institute and with my personal drive, I was able to learn a lot more than I could hope for at any other institute in India. Working on team-projects became viable as I met a lot of like-minded individuals. And working becomes easier when the institute provides high-end systems. Their Build Your Own Game competition is a great way to make your first game and is an invaluable experience.
In the end, being a successful game artist solely depends on you. You could be provided with all the top-notch facilities in the world, but you need the drive to push forward and improve. The goal of perfection is light-years away, but you can always get closer with each step.

Written by Rahul Narayanan, a professional video game artist and DSKIC alumnus.

 

Game artist vs. animator: what’s the difference?