Shotgun for Games
If you're familiar with Shotgun, then some of the first words that may come to your mind are: animation, visual effects, or television. But what about games? While it's true that Shotgun was born from VFX, it has evolved over the years and now hosts a suite of tools that are perfect for art departments within the game industry. That's why today we're announcing official support for game studios. The Shotgun Games Team and I will be working with studios 1-on-1 to help their artists, producers, and external teams all work together using our tools. Here's a quick tour of Shotgun for games:

About Me

As a technical artist and an associate producer for the PC game America's Army, I was in a strange position where I needed to produce pipeline tools in addition to manage the work being produced by our art and animation teams. These were complex and time consuming tasks on their own, each of which required separate softwares and tracking systems.

BCT did not fix my pipeline, but did shrink my hairline

Later, while working at Disney's ImageMovers Digital where Shotgun was being used in production, I remember being very impressed with how elegant the system was, and how it could tie into just about every facet of the studio. I imagined how I could have used Shotgun at my previous job to make life easier in both my production and technical artist roles. I resolved that for my next gig in game production I'd implement Shotgun to solve all the pain points I'd experienced before.

IMD Production Crew, Shotgun Pioneers

Ironically that opportunity came, but not in the form I expected. I joined Shotgun's Street Team in the summer of 2012 where I've had the privilege to help bring Shotgun not just to one game studio, but several. What started as a personal desire to make my own work more organized and efficient led me to help countless others across the game industry do that and much more.

Getting to Know Games

In speaking with game studios, we've quickly discovered they are experiencing many of the same issues as our friends in visual effects, feature animation, and television. They have the need to track high volumes of complicated production data and merge it with an evolving studio pipeline, all while staying agile enough to respond to the ever shifting needs of production.

The Street Team, learning to play League of Legends

Comparable to VFX, the production of art in game development follows a similar development cycle of design, iteration, review, and approval. Instead of appearing in shots and sequences, assets like characters, weapons, and vehicles are being placed in levels and cut scenes. At Shotgun we have been tuning our tools to make this workflow as fast and efficient as possible, as evidenced by the addition of features like Screening Room, and most recently, the Shotgun Pipeline Toolkit.

Much of the work that went into our most recent releases (5.0 and 5.1) was based on feedback from our game clients and other game developers. For example, artists and supervisors hated using the same spreadsheet-like tools as their producers and would either use them begrudgingly or abandon the system altogether. New features like the Inbox and My Tasks have interfaces that are friendlier and easier to parse than the data-centric views of the producers.

The first meeting of the Games Advisory Board at GDC 2013

With the public beta release of the Shotgun Pipeline Toolkit, there are now even more options for customization and integration of a game studio's pipeline with Shotgun. Another one of my tasks at America's Army was the enforcement of naming conventions and file locations. One of the wonderful things about the Toolkit is the ability to define a file naming and directory structure schema. That way artists focus on making cool art rather than memorizing archaic naming conventions, letting Toolkit take care of the rest.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. Toolkit also provides integration with a growing number of programs like Maya, 3D Studio Max, Motion Builder, and Photoshop, along with a host of apps to help artists work faster and smarter in those environments. Head over to the Shotgun Pipeline Toolkit page to learn more.

Though I've outlined a lot of tools and features here, there's still a lot left to build. We are continually learning more about game production every day, just like we're still learning from our colleagues in film and television. We have heard the call, and supporting game development has become interwoven into the tapestry of Shotgun.

So check out our new page dedicated to games, hear what our customers have had to say, and try it for yourself. It will be my pleasure to help you green light everyone in your studio.


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