Winning in the games industry by Ivon Smith

By ROHIT SHIRKE | 11 January, 2011 - 15:02

Ivon Smith

The session by Ivon Smith was focused on enlightening students about the game art industry in Malaysia and how Codemasters KL is providing a perfect opportunity to start off their career.

Ivon has been in the 3D industry for over 12 years, working in film, TV and games in the Asia Pacific region as an animator, character rigger and VFX artist. He has also developed a wealth of training resources for students and professionals from the entertainment and design visualization industries.

Ivon is one of the regions few Autodesk Certified Instructors (ACI) and Examiners (ACE) for 3ds Max. At Codemasters (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) Games Studio he heads staff training, recruitment, internship mentoring as well as liaising with government and educational faculties to improve the channels between high level industry production and tertiary education.

The KL art studio is currently working on Body Count and Dirt 3. Prior to this the studio has worked on best sellers like F1 2010 and Dirt 2. The studio has created most of the 3D artwork of the games which includes card, characters, environments, tracks and character animation. The KL studio currently has 75 people. "We are planning to grow to 100 plus people in the next few months. Our studio has been evolving since the inception. We have introduced new training and intern programs to ensure a future supple of production and we want talented artists to come and join us" Ivon said.

Ivon laid out a few ground rules for artists as how they should go about making and presenting their portfolio. According to him you should keep the following tips in mind.

- Your portfolio should not contain anything too fancy, try to keep it simple
- Include basic real world objects, assets, buildings, vehicles and landscapes in your portfolio as these can be used at multiple instances and every game needs misc objects.
- Art work should be photorealistic.

These basic real world objects can be used at many instances in a game and its always good to have a library of these objects. E.g a lamp post, food cart etc.

Ivon then elaborated about the Codemasters Accelerator Program which is basically is a 3-months long intensive training and internship program. It's a hands-on course that will have intakes learning real world techniques, develop their 3D art skills, and work on art production assets for AAA games production. Upon completion of the course, successful candidates will be guaranteed a full-time job with Codemasters Malaysia. The program will be open to anybody, be it current or ex-grads, as well as users with game art experience.

New training and intern programs are ensuring a future supply of production. Codemasters have dominated the games market in 2010 as F1 2010 was and still is one of the hottest games in the racing genre.

Codemasters have upgraded their technology from game to game. F1 2010 has deformable track surfaces in the upcoming games like Dirt 3 which has destructible cars and Bodycount which will have completely destructible environments. So the studio has a lot of work on their shoulders and hence the huge recruitment drive.

Interested artists should keep the above mentioned points in mind before applying at Codemasters. Also the CAP is an extremely interesting and amazing opportunity for young game developers from Malaysia to work for one of the biggest AAA game development companies in the world.