Australia's premiere game developer, Krome Studios, is moving its entire game development pipeline to Maya software. With more than 130 employees, Krome Studios has created successful games for all platforms, with titles including Sunny Garcia's SURFING, EXTREMELY GOOFY SKATEBOARDING, BARBIE BEACH VACATION, JIMMY NEUTRON BOY GENIUS: JET FUSION, the TY THE TASMANIAN TIGER series and KING ARTHUR.
Recognizing the growing importance of Maya software to the 3D game development community, Krome began to evaluate their pipeline tools and talent pool.
"A lot of guys have trained on Maya and they see Maya as the big, cool package that is used in films and they want to be using that," explained Steve Stamatiadis, creative director for Krome Studios. "We found Maya is the package that best caters to animators and since most 2D guys or TV/film people are exposed to Maya, it makes sense to speak their language."
Stamatiadis is well aware that the artists are Krome's most valuable assets. "Maya was the best choice for forward-looking talent. Our business is all about the animators and how they work in software. At the end of the day you can't make the game without them. If you get good people working on the project you are always going to have a better game, so switching to Maya rapidly became the logical choice."
With KING ARTHUR and TY THE TASMANIAN TIGER: BUSH RESCUE published this year, Krome Studios is at the forefront of the cross-pollination trend that is seeing entertainment properties being developed for both games and screen media.
"This convergence has meant that we regularly need to work with assets created in Maya, as well as send our own work back for approval to the same companies," explains Robert Walsh, Krome Studios ceo. "As this becomes much more prevalent, it makes more sense to work in the same format as them. With the upcoming TV series based on TY THE TASMANIAN TIGER, we are looking at reversing the trend by providing the assets in Maya to the series production team. So you will have the reverse of the status quo, where we will give the assets out in Maya to whoever is doing work on that series."
This development occurred in July this year when Krome Studios announced that it had joined forces with DPS Film Roman, an IDT Ent. Co. known for its animation work on the hit shows THE SIMPSONS and KING OF THE HILL. The strategic alliance will see the companies partner to create television and DVD productions featuring the characters from the best-selling videogame TY THE TASMANIAN TIGER. The videogame series has sold well in excess of one million units worldwide.
"Krome Studios is a world leader in working with the convergence of assets between the broadcast film and games industries," added Geoff Foulds, Global Industry manager for games at Alias. "Their success and innovation in the marketplace makes them a sought after developer and Alias is thrilled to collaborate with them.
Krome staff had a weeklong, on-site training window with a Maya software expert to kick off their learning and is planning more in the coming months.
"Whether you need to fast track your people into becoming fully functional with our tools, or need to integrate workflow with other applications, we have solutions that are proven to get you the results you're looking for," explained Foulds.
"The experience our expert had in helping people to swap programs was invaluable in ensuring a smooth training transition, added Stamatiadis. In particular, when we did the modeling training, everyone wanted to be there.
The greatest return Krome has experienced to date is the speedy implementation of Maya software into its existing pipeline. The high-end extensibility of Maya is designed to integrate a comprehensive range of features and put them at the fingertips of users. "Usually the biggest issue for us is time. We have a saying at Krome that 'you can't shift Christmas'," declared Walsh. "Maya will streamline our development process. We're anticipating a much higher quality of finished product along with substantial productivity increases. Which all translates into games that are cooler to watch and more fun to play."
Krome Studios expects to release its first all Maya software game in 2005.
As a leading innovator of 3D graphics technology, Alias (www.alias.com) develops award-winning software, custom development and training solutions for the film and video, games, Web, interactive media, automotive, industrial design, education and visualization markets. Alias is headquartered in Toronto with a Custom Development Center in Santa Barbara. Alias was recently purchased by Accel-KKR, a technology-focused private equity firm, and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.
Brisbane, Australia-based Krome Studios (www.kromestudios.com) is one of the Australia's most stable and successful independent developers.