Professional Services
Order outsourcing

Streamline Studios on Outsourcing & Malaysian Gamedev Market

Director of Studio Operations at Streamline Studios Lalitha Krishnan has told us about the peculiarities of the Malaysian gamedev and 3D art market, explained what tasks studios outsource the most, and shared some tips for aspiring artists.


I’m Lalitha, I started my career at Streamline in 2015 as Operations Associate, and my initial responsibilities were maintaining the studio facilities and helping with employee engagement. In 2018, I moved to the HR department and led the team for close to four years. When I started in HR, we were only a team of two, and now the team has grown to eleven people globally. I love being in HR and making a difference in someone’s life.

Currently, I’m working as Director of Studio Operations, working closely with the Managing Director to run the company's production headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, jointly responsible for strategic planning and scaling business operations. 

Work Organization at Streamline Studios

At Streamline, we work on a large variety of projects, and at any given time, we generally have around 5-10 projects, if not more, running concurrently. These projects are a mix of our own internal IPs as well as work-for-hire projects we do for our partners.

The DNA of our company is the game we have worked on, titles such as Street Fighter V, Final Fantasy XV, Cyberpunk 2077, and Oddworld: Soulstorm, as well as our own original IPs such as Nightstream and Bake’n Switch. While having a strong focus on video games, our team of engineers, artists, game designers, quality assurance, and UI/UX designers also work on transmedia and beyond game projects. These are experiences like Genvid’s Rival Peak and Balenciaga’s Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow. The diverse range of projects is what keeps our team on their toes and keeps us up to date with the ever-changing field of games and entertainment.

Working on such a large range of projects is no easy feat. We use a variety of in-house tools to keep everything flowing. Ranging from your usual industry standards like Jira and Microsoft’s Office365 suite to our own self-made tool Streamframe. We have team members based all around the world, in the USA, Colombia, Japan, and Europe, not just Malaysia. This means that apart from just text and e-mails, we spend time on conference calls with each other to make sure we are all in sync. Not only that but now that travel restrictions have been relaxed around the world, we are starting to have team members travel and meet each other in person, sometimes for the first time in their careers! 

The Peculiarities of the Malaysian Gamedev Market

The game development community/market in Malaysia is just in its infancy. Indie studios have only started coming up in the last 3-5 years. Prior to this, the bulk of the industry in Malaysia was mainly focused on game art. This has to do with the fact that the 3D animation industry for films and television has been around longer, and it was a natural evolution to go from that to art for games.

What has been good is in the last five or so years, more universities and colleges offer courses in game design and game programming. Government agencies such as the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) have been supporting the growth of the industry. This has led to a lot of more homegrown studios coming and launching their own games to international acclaim. A lot more can still be done, and that is why Streamline does have strong relationships with schools to help bolster the growth of local talent through guest lectures, participating in portfolio and game reviews, and even internships at the company.

Working With New Clients

Here are the steps we usually take to build a common understanding with new clients:

  • We take client relationships seriously. We will do a due diligence/reference check before continuing with the engagement.
  • Having a contract and NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) in place.
  • For most relationships, we start with a smaller test or pilot. This is a way for both teams to get to know each other and familiarize themselves with each other’s tools, workflows, creative vision, and thought processes.
  • Understanding derives from clear communication and expectation from both sides. We will have a weekly cadence, and frequent engagement from the account manager to pulse check, and internally the client management process is clear and followed through.  

What Tasks Do Studios Tend to Outsource?

In general, game studios tend to outsource art the most. This is because in most modern games, the bulk of the content is the art, and it is also one of the easier things to outsource and have a large external team work on. However, as the complexity of games has increased over the last 10-20 years, a lot of other aspects ranging from game design, engineering, QA, and localization are also being outsourced.

At Streamline, we focus on where we can bring the most value to our clients. While we do have a strong foundation in art, where we excel and make our difference is in providing creative and technical solutions to our partners. This means we help them solve complex problems such as porting, optimization, or the creation of a wholly original experience. These are the problems that require a multidisciplinary team that can integrate with our partners’ teams and think like them. 

The Future of Gamedev

The future of gamedev is going to move towards interactive/immersive experiences. While no one has truly figured out the metaverse yet, what do know is that it will be built on the foundational tools and designs used in video games. The scale of experiences will continue to grow, and yes, AI tools will start becoming mainstream.

Even in-house, we are using tools like MetaHuman and Midjourney to speed up production. While these tools will help in productions and potentially make some production roles redundant, it does not take away from the fact that the human touch is still required to come up with ideas that make a visually appealing and engaging experience. 

Traits and Tips for Aspiring Artists

  • Portfolios must be strongly suited to the role you are applying for, and up-to-date.
  • Communication is key - brush up on these skills.
  • Continuous learning mindset - as the industry is ever-evolving.
  • Strong understanding of game engine technologies, for example, Unreal Engine and Unity with asset integration.
  • Experience and understanding of the game art asset pipeline.
  • Like to be challenged - creative production is temperamental, fast-paced, and team-based.
  • Autonomy - able to work in small teams with limited supervision/guidance.

Lalitha Krishnan, Director of Studio Operations at Streamline Studios

Interview conducted by Arti Burton

Join discussion

Comments 0

    You might also like

    We need your consent

    We use cookies on this website to make your browsing experience better. By using the site you agree to our use of cookies.Learn more