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Bridging the Global Talent Gap in Game Development with Virtual Production Tools

If geographical constraints are a challenge you face during the process of game development, make sure to check out Animus, Remāngu's virtual production tools, which will help you set up seamless remote work for developers and artists.

In the dynamic world of game development, the geographical location of talent can pose significant challenges. Consider a scenario: a game studio in London urgently requires a skilled animator for a project developed in Unreal Engine. The perfect candidate is found – an artist whose style aligns seamlessly with the game's vision. However, there's a catch: she's based in Tokyo and unable to relocate to London for this project.

Traditionally, one might consider shipping a fully equipped workstation to Japan, but this process is time-consuming, taking 2-3 weeks, and often clashes with the stringent compliance and security policies of most game studios. Remote access to on-premises infrastructure, while a feasible alternative, is hampered by high latency issues – a ping time of 230 ms from Tokyo to London is far from ideal for interactive work.

Enter the world of virtual production tools. At Remāngu, we specialize in enabling seamless remote work for artists and developers, aiming to integrate remote talent into projects with minimal time, effort, and cost. Our solution? Animus, our cutting-edge virtual workstation, which forms a core part of the digital workplace for game developers and artists.

Animus offers robust power through advanced desktop streaming protocols. Its global availability means your team can be distributed worldwide, accessing the same technology, data, and processes anytime, anywhere, securely, and on demand.

Customer: "The animation project required a suite of complex software, including Photoshop for storyboarding, Premiere for editing, ZBrush, Maya, 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, and Substance 3D Painter for modeling and texturing, and Unreal Engine for look development, lighting, FX, and rendering. The robustness of Remāngu allowed the studio to run these intensive applications on cloud-based workstations, ensuring that artists had access to the best tools without the need for high-end local hardware."

Performance-wise, the flexibility is unparalleled. You decide the specifications – the number of CPU cores, RAM size, SSD capacity, and the Nvidia generation to use. Starting from an average workstation, scaling up is straightforward. Thanks to our global points of presence, proximity to the end user is effortlessly achievable, which is crucial for a superior user experience. In most regions, we can achieve under 50 ms latency in display protocol streaming technology. For instance, a user in Stockholm connecting to our Stockholm hub experiences less than 10 ms latency, making it virtually indistinguishable from working on a local graphics workstation.

Customer: "Initially, some artists were hesitant to adopt the new cloud-based workflow. Concerns ranged from unfamiliarity with the platform to worries about performance and security. However, as they began to engage with Remāngu's intuitive interface and experienced the power and flexibility of remote workstations, their reservations turned into enthusiasm. The ability to work from anywhere, on any device, particularly the ability to stream Windows applications smoothly on Macs, revolutionized their workflow and opened up new possibilities for collaboration and creativity."

Moreover, our display protocol transcends traditional desktop streaming. It allows for full integration of your local devices with the remote desktop. Let's explore some practical applications and success stories to illustrate the transformative impact of virtual production tools in game development.

Use Case 1: License Dongles for Licensed Software Running on Virtual Workstation

When a particular customer with a specialized motion capture suite required collaborative access to licensed software for a virtual workstation, we implemented NiceDCV's USB redirection. This solution enabled the remote use of their hardware dongle, maintaining software compliance and security while eliminating the need for physical dongle transfer (sure, it is surrealistic to imagine moving your dongle to an AWS data center). This approach allowed their team to operate seamlessly and efficiently, ensuring that their sophisticated motion capture work continued without interruption or compromise on legal and operational standards.

Use Case 2: Custom Pointing Devices in 3D Modeling

The precision required in 3D modeling is immense. Custom pointing devices, specifically designed for this task, offer features like pressure sensitivity, tilt recognition, and more. With NiceDCV's USB redirection, 3D artists can utilize their preferred tools remotely without compromising on the quality or efficiency of their work. This not only maintains the integrity of the creative process but also allows for a flexible work environment. Studios and individual artists can collaborate over distances, bringing together talent from across the globe, all while working on intricate 3D models as if they were in the same studio.

Customer: "Integrating Wacom tablets into a cloud-based workflow was crucial for storyboard artists like Ivan in Paris. The team managed to configure tablet settings to enable pressure sensitivity and precision, ensuring that artists could work as naturally in the virtual environment as they would in a physical studio. This solution exemplified the studio's commitment to maintaining the integrity and quality of the artists' work, regardless of location."

Use Case 3: Motion Capture Systems Processing on Remote Workstation

Motion capture technology is pivotal in creating realistic animations and virtual environments. However, the data processing requirements are significant. By using NiceDCV's USB redirection, the physical location of these powerful workstations becomes irrelevant. Artists can capture movements in one location while the data is processed in real-time on a remote, more powerful workstation. This not only speeds up the workflow but also allows for the leveraging of high-grade processing power without the need for physical proximity. It's a boon for film studios, game developers, and animators, providing them flexibility and efficiency in their creative processes. Another plus is the principle of Cloud-centric data ingestion. Because you ingest data directly into the cloud storage, it is immediately ready for use by other artists and roles. This is exactly how our customers are using it.

Use Case 4: Gamepads for Development, Gameplay, and Playtesting

Game development and playtesting are critical phases in the lifecycle of any game. With NiceDCV's USB redirection, developers and testers can use their preferred gamepads or other controllers directly in the remote session. This ensures that the game's feel and response can be accurately assessed and refined, just as if the game were running on a local machine. It's particularly useful for remote teams or when accessing powerful development workstations from lightweight client devices. Whether it's refining the gameplay or conducting extensive playtest sessions, the need for physical presence is removed, streamlining the development process. You can say that playing the game from the cloud feels laggy. This can be successfully eliminated by starting your Remāngu workstation in the AWS region as close to your physical location as possible. Our customers can achieve <10 ms latency with the right decision and setup.

Use Case 5: MIDI Keyboards & MIDI Control Surfaces for Remote Collaborative Music Composition and Sound Mixing

For our client's complex post-production and sound mixing setup, Remāngu embarked on developing a custom driver adapter, tailored to integrate a wide array of MIDI devices, including sophisticated keyboards, mixing tables, and various control pad surfaces. This endeavor required meticulous technical planning and programming to ensure compatibility and real-time responsiveness through NiceDCV's USB redirection. Our team dedicated numerous hours to fine-tuning and testing, addressing each device's unique characteristics, and ensuring stable, synchronized performance across all MIDI equipment. This intricate process underscored our commitment to delivering a robust, artist-friendly remote collaboration environment.

What is your next step to get your remote team on the same page? If you're using Perforce, you're probably aware that setting up and managing Helix Core can be quite challenging, especially when you need to provide global reach for your teams while supporting your workflows. By simplifying deployment and offering Perforce as a managed service, we've connected the dots for your virtual collaboration. With Perforce available at all times, you don't have to worry about managing it; Remāngu takes care of that for you. Alongside the build farm in the same environment, you get a complete system for game development in the cloud.

You might be wondering when the best time is to start with Remāngu. Since the setup is effortless, you can begin whenever you're about to start a new project or need to integrate a remote team into an ongoing project. For existing projects, you'll need to extend your current setup into Remāngu's system. We support multiple integration scenarios. Remāngu can connect with your existing network via a site-to-site VPN. Deploying a Perforce replica enables your remote teams to access data as if it were on the same network segment. Our build farm builds your Unreal project in a distributed manner, potentially halving your game build times. Once the game build is complete, Remāngu streams it directly from the cloud to your testers, eliminating the need for repeated downloads and installations.

Customer: "The transition to Remāngu's cloud platform was not without its challenges. Initially, the team grappled with software installation issues and network latency, particularly in the AWS Region Frankfurt. These obstacles were surmounted through a strategic shift to the Stockholm AWS region, which offered better connectivity and performance. The studio's perseverance and quick adaptability turned these early hurdles into valuable learning opportunities, setting a precedent for problem-solving and innovation."

Virtual production and cloud-based game development are the new normals. Prepare yourself and gain access to global talent. Test it today.

The Remāngu Team

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