Thursday, 20 December 2012

EA Today Assignment Notes

EA Today Assignment Notes
Ok our second assignment for Understanding Creative Media Industry section, we had to do this as a presentation so regretably mine taken 40+ minutes because I didn't have a clue on what to include and what to get rid of.
Here are my notes:
Electronic Arts, also known as EA, is one of the biggest gaming companies in the world today and is spilt into four different categories that in turn have various international studios. These groups are known to be:
·         EA Maxis
·         EA Bioware
·         EA Sports
·         EA Games
EA Games
EA Games holds the biggest number of studio and development teams; reason being is this group sole concentrates on creating action adventure, role-playing, racing, MMORPG and combat genre type games.  Studios accountable for this are:
Ø  EA Interactive which includes EA's, Playfish and EA Mobile whose led by Barry Cottle and based in London (UK), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Redwood (California, USA)
Ø  Criterion Games (Guildford, England)
Ø  Danger Close Games (formerly EA Los Angeles, California)
Ø  EA Black Box (formerly Black Box Games in Burnaby, British Columbia)
Ø  EA Digital Illusions CE (formerly Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment, Stockholm, Sweden)
Ø  EA Montreal (Quebec, Canada)
Ø  EA Partners (Redwood, California)
Ø  EA Phenomic (Ingleheim, Germany)
Ø  Visceral Games (formerly EA Redwood Shores, Redwood, California)
EA Maxis
Creates and publishes casual games which include The Sims series and development/ marketing life-simulation games and online communities. The label is headquartered at EA's campus in Redwood Shores, although the original studio is located in Emeryville.
Ø  Maxis Emeryville (Emeryville, California)
Ø  The Sims Studio ( Redwood, California)
Ø  EA Salt Lake ( Salt Lake City, Utah)
Ø  EA Hasbro ( Rhode Island, USA)
Ø  MySims (Unknown)
Ø  Casual Studios (Unknown)
EA Sports
EA Sports publishes the realistic, casual, and freestyle sports-based games including FIFA Football, Madden NFL, Fight Night, NBA Live, NCAA Football, Cricket, NCAA March Madness, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, NHL Hockey, NASCAR and Rugby.
EA Tiburon (Florida)
 EA Canada (Burnaby)
 EA North Carolina (Morrisville)
EA Bioware
EA acquired Bioware in 2007 from Elevation Partners which includes the integrated Bioware Victory founded nearly about a year ago. These studios focuse on creating multiplatform, role-playing, MMO and strategy games- much like the other studio EA Games
BioWare Edmonton (Alberta, Canada)
 BioWare Austin (Texas, USA)
 BioWare Montreal (Quebeck, Canada)
 Mythic Entertainment (also known as BioWare Mythic based in Virginia)
 BioWare Victory (formerly Victory Games based in Los Angeles, California)
Electronic Arts Executives
John Riccitiello(Chief Executive Officer)
 John Riccitiello is Chief Executive Officer of Electronic Arts and is the world's primary developer and publisher of interactive entertainment.
John initially joined EA in October 1997 as President and Chief Operating Officer. He was President during a period of dynamic growth - with his help EA grew a better market share, diversified product portfolios and strengthened business across the globe. In 2004 he left to become a founding partner and managing director of Elevation Partners who was a private equity partnership that focused heavily on the media and entertainment sector. In addition to his responsibilities as a Managing Director at Elevation, he also served as the Chairman and CEO of VG Holdings which consisted of BioWare and Pandemic Studios and also served on the Board of Directors of Forbes Media LLC. He returned in April 2007 as a CEO for EA.
Peter Moore (Chief Operating Officer)
 Peter Moore is the Chief Operating Officer of EA who provides strategic leadership for all global operations that enable the company to bring products to market .He has more than 25 years of experience in gaming, entertainment and consumer products. Since September 2007 to August 2011, he held the position of President of EA Sports and during his time, EA SPORTS delivered some of the top-selling sports video games of the current console generation with franchises FIFA, Madden NFL, NCAA Football and NHL, John was also able to expand EA Sports gaming to social Medias and mobiles devices.
Before joining EA he  was Corporate Vice President of the Interactive Entertainment Business of Microsoft Corp giving him responsibility for leading both the Xbox and Games for Windows businesses, driving games development at Microsoft Game Studios, as well as gaining buisness relationships with third-party game publishers and developers around the world. Prior to that he was President and COO of SEGA where he was responsible for overseeing SEGA’s videogame business in North America.
Blake Jorgensen (Chief Financial Officer)
At EA Blake Jorgensen is Chief Financial Officer and is the world’s leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment. He joined EA in September 2012 with over 20 years of experience in finance spanning across different industries, with a deep understanding of technology, consumer products, online commerce and entertainment.
Rajat Taneja (Chief Technology Officer)
 Rajatis Chief Technology Officer of Electronic Arts and joined EA in October 2011 as CTO to drive critical technology decisions and investments for EA on a global basis, before joining EA he spent 15 years at Microsoft where he most recently lead the division responsible for development and deployment of all commerce and transaction technologies across Microsoft’s connected services, including Xbox Live, Windows Phone, Windows Azure, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft adCenter  and MSN.
Frank Gibeau (President, EA Labels)
In 2011, Frank was chosen President of EA Labels where he leads the transformation of the company into a digital entertainment powerhouse by bringing world-class properties to all gaming. He is responsible for product development, worldwide product management and marketing for all packaged goods and online offerings within the four EA Labels.
The intellectual properties under Frank’s sponsorships include Battlefield, Command & Conquer, Dead Space, Dragon Age, FIFA, Madden NFL, Mass Effect, Medal of Honor, Need for Speed, NBA Jam, NCAA Football NHL, SimCity, Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Sims, Spore, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, Warhammer Online and much more.
 Before serving as President of the EA Games Label, he acted as Executive Vice President and General Manager of The Americas where he was responsible for a publishing operation that accounted for more than $1.5B of EA’s annual revenue. Frank directly oversaw product marketing, branding, public relations, marketing communications, sales, operations, and finance. Previously Gibeau  aided as Senior Vice President of North American marketing and has held a variety of senior publishing posts at EA. At that moment of time he was answerable for driving the go-to-market strategy for the EA and EA SPORTS brands as well as the launch of hundreds of game franchises across multiple platforms that have shipped since 1991.
 Patrick Söderlund (Executive Vice President, EA Games Label)
 Patrick is the executive vice president of the EA Games Label having responsibilities for product development and marketing of packaged goods and digital releases across  multi-platinum action, racing and shooter games like: Battlefield, Medal of Honor, Need for Speed and Dead Space. At the same time he oversees studios around the globe from Redwood Shores to Montreal, Guildford, Stockholm and Gothenburg.
Andrew Wilson (Executive Vice President, EA SPORTS)
The executive vice president of EA SPORTS is Andrew Wilson who provides tatic leadership over one of the most recognized brands in sports and entertainment. Mr. Wilson presumed his position in August 2011 after leading worldwide development for the company, having more than 11 years of experience at Electronic Arts. His responsibilities include management for product development and global marketing and planning for all packaged goods and digital services. Previously he served as vice president and executive producer of the EA Sports FIFA Soccer Division and was in charge of the strategic, creative and business direction of all EA Sports football games, including FIFA, FIFA World Cup, Euro, FIFA Manager and FIFA Street.
Gabrielle Toledano (Executive Vice President and Chief Talent Officer)
 Gabrielle Toledano is the Executive Vice President and Chief Talent Officer and is responsible for EA's global staffing and resourcing, benefits and compensation, organization and leadership capability development, rewards and recognition, Facilities and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Joel Linzner (Executive Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs)
 Joel has served as Senior Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs since April 2004, before joining Electronic Arts in July 1999, he  served as outside litigation counsel to Electronic Arts and several others in the videogame industry.
Kristian Segerstrale (Executive Vice President, Digital)
 Kristian is the Executive Vice President, Digital of Electronic Arts.  At one point he was Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Playfish Limited from 2007 until November 2009 when the company was acquired by EA. Thereafter he took the role of General Manager of EA’s Playfish business unit.
Stephen G. Bene (Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary)
 Stephen Bene has served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary since October 2004. Since then he’s held the position of Vice President, Acting General Counsel and Corporate Secretary and during June 2003- April 2004 he’s also held the position of Vice President and Associate General Counsel.
Ken Barker (Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer)
He joined EA in June of 2003 as Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer. Prior to  EA, he served as Vice President, Corporate Controller and Principal Accounting Officer at Sun Microsystems.
Job Roles In Gaming Industry
Games Design
·         Lead Designer
·         Games Designer
·         Script Writer
·         Map Builder
·         Level Editor
·         Object Planner
·         GUI Designer
·         Storyboard Artist
·         Illustrator
·         Graphic Designer
Art and Animation
·         Creative Manager
·         Lead Artist
·         Art Director
·         Concept Artist
·         Environment Artist
·         PreVis Artist
·         Technical Artist
·         Artist
·         Animator
·         3D Modellor
·         Musician
·         Audio Engineer
·         Sound Effects Designer
·         Composer
·         Lead Programmer
·         Software Engineer
·         Programmer
·         A.I.Programmer
·         Middleware/ Tools Programmer
·         Graphics Programmer
·         Gameplay Programmer
·         Action Scripter
·         Platform Designer
·         Information Architect
·         Systems Analyst
·         Database Designer
·         Engine Programmer
·         Server Architect
Product Management
·         Head of Development
·         Executive Producer
·         Project Manager/ Producer
·         QA Director
·         Art Director
·         Programming Manager
·         Assistant Project Manager
·         Production Accountant
·         Production Scheduler
·         Production Assistant
·         QA Manager
·         Quality Assurance Technician/ Tester
·         Lead Tester
·         Localisation Tester
·         Localisation Manager
Project Management
·         Executive/ Senior Producer (Publishing)
·         Producer/ Project Manager (Publishing)
·         Account Director
·         Consultant
·         Associate/ Junior Producer (Publishing)
·         Project Co-ordinator (Publishing)
·         External Relations
Business Management
·         Chief Executive
·         Managing Director
·         Creative Director
·         Technical Director
·         Financial Planning Manager
·         Supply Chain Manager
Business Development
·         Business Development Manager
·         Sales Manager
·         Licensing/ IPR Manager
·         Product/ Brand Manager
·         Operations Manager
·         Customer Support
More Structure
In gaming companies it takes a hundreds of people to create one game that will take over a period of possibly two or more years, for indie gamers whose teams may only consist of around two members it could take a longer time to make their end product. With all the different roles that people have to train in and produce, the company then has to be set in a certain structure.
At the moment EA’s team structure would look like this. For most beginners who wish to pursue a career/ spot in the gaming industry they usually start off as game testers detecting bugs from the development team and telling them how to improve the game. We also have at the bottom outsources where the companies like EA will pay a certain amount of money in order for animation, voice actors, localisation and other services from companies in partnership with Electronic Arts.
Meanwhile the Electronic Arts co-publishing arm is used for publishing/ distributing games developed by third party developers, these include:
·         APB – Realtime Worlds
·         Brütal Legend – Double Fine Productions
·         Bulletstorm – Epic Games
·         Crysis series – Crytek
·         DeathSpank – Hothead Games
·         Fuse – Insomniac Games
·         Hellgate: London – Flagship Studios
·         Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – 38 Studios, Big Huge Games
·         Left 4 Dead series, The Orange Box, Portal 2 – Valve
·         Rock Band series – Harmonix and MTV Games
·         The Secret World – Funcom
·         Shadows of the Damned – Grasshopper Manufacture
·         Shank – Klei Entertainment
·         Warp – Trapdoor
·         Unconfirmed project – Respawn Entertainment – founded in April 2010, formed a partnership with ex Infinity Ward bosses Jason West and Vince Zampella
Animators are responsible for breathing life into 3D gaming models allowing them to move fluently. An animator is responsible for learning and completing motion cycles that allow various animate objects and beings to move, this can include humans, animals background pieces such as vegetation or no doubt cars. In some cases animators have to create special attacks using certain tool brushes in order to aid their creation.
During the game it’s animation that allows the characters to move in the first place and lets people view cut-scenes which gives the player and incentive of what to do next. However it’s not all about just making the object move by walking for example, they also have a responsibility to show emotions and lip synchronisation clearly which can be quite demanding as well as time consuming. On the other hand it gives the player interactivity with their gaming character making it worthwhile especially when profits are possibly reaching a high.
Animators usually work for development studios, both publisher-owned and independent and also for specialist outsourcing companies like Electronic Arts. Unlike other sectors, where work is often on a project-by-project basis, Animators in the games industry are usually permanently employed.
So What Do They Do?
Using objects, models, and characters created by 3D Artists, animators must define their movements and behaviours and apply them using the animation tools and techniques provided by the selected 3D animation software package like Maya, Mudbox and 3D Max. Even though game animation can be a complex combination of many different types of movement cycles they have to make extensive libraries of re-usable animations for each character.
At the same time they are also responsible for the technical processes of rigging and skinning of the characters, which lies heavily on understanding a creature’s anatomy being able piece to be one bone with the next in a correct sequence. It requires also working in a technically efficient manner, taking into account the constraints of the game engine, for example it’s sometimes necessary to restrict the number of key frames used or the number of characters that can appear on the screen at a time which can be a pain. Animators must need to work closely with programmers and artists in order to create the best balance between smooth seamless movement and enhanced performance on the target platform, keeping in mind how the animations will appear in the context of the game.
How Do They Get Into The Gaming Society?
When looking for an animation career in gaming, people usually contain some knowledge in animation using certain software packages during a degree or some other course. What also helps is use of being able to draw free handed and have experience in traditional and digital Medias of art possibly during childhood or the GCSE period. Another way people get these jobs is having experience with animation from different media sectors like film and television. Any animator thing about having a career in the game production should comprehend the interactive nature of games understanding all aspects of their discipline, which includes character modelling, rigging, skinning, kinematics, and basic cinematography.
Essential knowledge and skills
They must be able to work as part a team and also on their own initiative, taking responsibility for organising their work within the production schedule, managing files and meeting deadlines. Have an understanding of the production process and the ability to communicate effectively with other disciplines is essential. Some knowledge of programming is desirable.
Game animation must be simple and expressive. The Animator should know how to reveal attitude, emotions and mood through a character’s movement and behaviour, creating memorable characters that will appeal to players, whilst knowledge of the timing and appearance of human and animal movement and facial expressions is essential along with the ability to lip sync.
Concept Artist
Concept Artists produce the illustrations that help 3D modellers create the characters. Their job involves creating initial and final designs of characters, backdrops and props giving full reference and detail as to what it is and what it will play in the game later, this can be shown through a portfolio of sketches that show how the character has developed, as the creator thought more in-depth about how the project should be represented. In the end after creating different styles and designs of that object, they’ll all be presented in colour on a huge scale board so other artists, developers and modellers can choose the correct design.  Another piece they’re responsible for his designing the gaming levels and backdrops, concept artist must be able to work as a team member but use their own imagination to create these pieces, which is why their role is highly specialised, and there is a limited demand for this work.

Typical career routes
Unfortunately there’s no set career route to becoming a Concept Artist. Some may start their careers as Graphic Artists, Illustrators or Graphic Novelists; others have worked in Special or Visual Effects or in Animation, and make the transition to Concept Artist via storyboarding.

Essential knowledge and skills
Concept Artists must have knowledge of computer illustration software like Adobe Photoshop/ Illustrator, SAI, Art Range or Paint.
An artificial intelligence programmer gives the game a brain, constructing a set of parameters by which the characters not controlled by the player operate and make decisions creating a system of action and reaction. This is a deep field in game programming that requires a technically skilled team of highly specialized programmers to create dynamic and intuitive gameplay that is functionally flawless.
What They Do
This person works under the direction of the lead programmer and is responsible for determining a character’s behaviour which is when actions are taken by the non-player characters. The AI programmer creates code and procedures for pathfinding, group movement and cooperation, tactical strategy, and camera control. They set patterns and parameters for state mechanics and establishes how a character thinks and solves problems- creating a framework for artificial emotions and ideas. The job of an AI programmer’s depends as they move from one studio to the next—in some cases, object collisions fall to the AI programmer; in others, this task may be assigned to a physics specialist. During development, the programmer will work closely with designers to implement the necessary processes to make combat possible, establish decision trees for opponents, and create neural networks. He or she also cooperates with game testers to identify bugs and insert the appropriate fixes.
What Skills Are Needed?
The role necessitates a person who enjoys challenging problem-solving, is both a creative and critical thinker, and has a strong education in advanced mathematics. A bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, or game development is required for a job as an AI programmer. Larger game developers may prefer a master’s degree.  You will be expected to have a firm foundation in C++; STL; APIs like OpenGL and PhysX; Perl, Perforce, and profiling tools. Coursework in physics and technical writing are also helpful. An AI programmer should be comfortable on multiple game consoles and able to adapt to existing systems. Strong written and verbal communication skills are necessary, as is the ability to draft clear, concise technical documentation. Most importantly, developers look for an individual who is passionate about making and playing games. The field of AI is constantly evolving, and therefore offers great opportunity for creativity and innovation.
Level Editor
Level Editors defines and creates interactive architecture for a segment of a game, including the landscape, buildings, and objects.They must follow the design specification, using elements like the characters and story that’re defined by the games designer, but they do have the chance to say if they feel something isn’t right. The Level Editor also develops the game play for the level, which includes the challenges that the characters face and the actions they must take to overcome them. The architecture helps to define those challenges by presenting obstacles, places to hide, tests of skill, and other elements to explore and interact with. Settings and atmosphere devised by the Level Editor can also give the player clues as to different ways of progressing though the level and the game as a whole.
What is the job?
Working from the overall game design documentation, the Level Editor designs a portion of the game usually referred to as a ‘level’, specifying in detail all the possible actions and game play events which take place within that level; the environment, including locations, general layout of the spaces within the level, and thoughts about visuals, eg lighting, textures, and forms; the characters and objects involved, whether they are player controlled or non-player characters; and any specific behaviours associated with the characters and objects.
The Level Editor first sketches ideas on paper or using 2D drawing software. They have to imagine the playing experience, putting themselves in the position of the player, mapping out all the possibilities.
They need to think about the logic and flow of events and actions, the conditions that need to be met for certain things to happen, the challenges the player will encounter, and the game play that occurs as a result.
The ideas are then worked out in 3D and tested in the game engine, which produces further ideas. In consultation with the programmers and artists, the Level Editor draws up a detailed inventory of level ‘assets’ (all the objects and programming requirements needed to make the level run in the game in its final form).
Every asset can impact on the game’s performance and the Level Editor must understand the technical constraints the team is working to, eg there may be a limit on the number and complexity of objects that can be displayed on screen at any one time.
Typical career routes
There is no set route into this job, but it is rarely an entry level role. Industry experience is a definite advantage and candidates are normally educated to degree standard. Level Editors need an understanding of the conventions of game playing and also an awareness of the target market.
Many Level Editors are enthusiastic games consumers, and may well have gained experience through ‘modding’, which involves creating their own levels of published games using software toolkits provided as part of these games.
A Level Editor might progress into the role from various junior positions in the industry, eg working as a tester in a Quality Assurance department provides useful experience and gives an overview of the development process, access to software and tools, and insight to the different jobs.
Essential knowledge and skills
Level Editors must have good spatial and layout design skills, knowledge of 3D modelling, and a firm grasp of game design principles.
They also need to be very well organised. Game development is a collaborative process and Level Editors work both independently and as part of a team and they must be able to accept and give direction.
They train the testers to play the game and also work closely with artists and programmers, for which they need a practical understanding of programming and preferably some scripting language competence. This is a multi-skilled role, requiring:
•spatial awareness and the ability to visualise layouts; imagination and creativity;
•excellent communication skills (both verbal and written);
•IT skills and competence in the use of world editing tools;
•attention to detail and the ability to evaluate quality;
•knowledge of different platforms;
•a passion for games and knowledge of game design theory;
•knowledge of the requirements of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures.
(Accessed on 1/12/12 at 15:26)
(Accessed on 1/12/12 at 15:27)
(Accessed on 1/12/12 at 15:42)
(Accessed on 1/12/12 at 16:08)
(Accessed on 1/12/12 at 19:07)
(Accessed on 2/12/12 at 21:03)
(Accessed on 2/12/12 at 22:46)
(Accessed on 2/12/12 at 23:19)

No comments:

Post a Comment