2017 Year End Note

The games industry continues to amaze us with its innovation and continued ascent towards becoming the dominant medium of consumers around the world. This year has proven that the appetite for games cannot be satisfied and opportunities across platforms and countries have only just begun. Whether it was the release of the Nintendo Switch that stormed through the industry or Sony’s 70M install base and groundbreaking program to cultivate AAA games in China, through its China Hero Project, video games are on the rise as an industry, profession, and medium.

From our corner of the world in Malaysia, Streamline has taken part in the explosive growth of Southeast Asia’s games industry. Currently valued at US$2.2B*. We’ve witnessed the transformation of the region from a consumer to a development market. Ushered in by savvy studios, government support, and a large talent pool. This growth has translated into net positive value for our partners worldwide, and we are honored to have worked with the brightest in the industry like Square Enix, Sony, and Capcom.

Streamline has led the co-development movement that’s now speeding across external development studios. We are happy to see other studios take note through their own efforts to grow or acquire development teams. What’s clear is that co-development isn’t a tip-in, but a fundamental rebalancing of development resources globally. With top publishers and developers continuing to devour talent in their markets, external development becomes the only sane way to scale while keeping development KPIs and consumer expectations inline.

In 2014, we identified co-development as the next evolution of external development and pioneered the process with forward-thinking publishers and developers. Streamframe, the industry’s first external development platform was built and refined with co-developments in mind.

Streamline’s phenomenal growth continues with co-developments, AAA content creation, and original games. As a leader in AAA development, we’ve become more integrated with our partners than ever before. This translates into turnkey teams that are constantly advising, developing, and executing on our partner's most ambitious projects. This means full source and SVN access while defining development plans together in concert. It is the only way to make co-developments work.

History and experience show signs of early preparation for the upcoming platform transition. This is led by an incredible uptick in merger and acquisition activity in the external development sector. Consolidation is good if value remains and hopefully, it doesn’t mean the commoditization of engineering and design talent the way it took place for artists over the past decade. Fingers crossed.

As 2017 comes to a close, we wish to thank our wonderful partners, colleagues, and friends for their support and wish everyone a great holiday season. May 2018 be the best year yet for your team, studio, and family.

Best,
Alexander L. Fernandez,
CEO, Streamline Studios


*Source: Newzoo Report: $1.1bn Southeast Asian Games Market To Double By 2017


Streamline Joins Forces with Square Enix for Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV

Streamline Joins Forces with Square Enix for Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV

Kuala Lumpur, November 21st 2017 – Streamline Studios, the largest game developer in South East Asia, today announced its creative collaboration with Square Enix on the PlayStation VR title, MONSTER OF THE DEEP: FINAL FANTASY XV.

Continuing the collaboration which started with Final Fantasy XV, Streamline worked with Square Enix advanced proprietary software suite, solving creative and engineering problems for a modern VR experience. Focus included UI/UX design and implementation, as well as extensive content support based on photogrammetry, and creature creation including the famous “Boss Fishes.”

“We’re honored to continue our long-term collaboration with Square Enix for MONSTER OF THE DEEP: FINAL FANTASY XV” commented Stefan Baier, Chief Product and Solutions Officer at Streamline Studios. “We appreciate the support and guidance from our partners in Tokyo, and continue to learn more about the vast Final Fantasy XV universe.”

Tabata Hajime, Director, Final Fantasy XV said “MONSTER OF THE DEEP: FINAL FANTASY XV is the first genuine VR game developed by the FFXV team. In an extension of their work for the FFXV main game, Streamline’s development team provided us with the essential details of this VR project. Once again, the Streamline team provided us high-quality support for this title during our most critical moments to help improve the overall game experience.”

The project utilized Streamframe, a cutting-edge management production tool which provides full workflow transparency, and rapid real-time feedback between studios. Daily workflow between Streamline and Square Enix is facilitated by dedicated, onsite bilingual project managers, and Streamframe is fully localized in Japanese for partners in the region.

Check out the latest trailer here!


Recapping DNA Serverware – A Gathering of Gamers

With hundreds of participants flooding the scenes of Four Points by Sheraton Puchong, DNA Serverware achieved their set aims to reach and unite key players of the gaming scene in Malaysia by showing strong numbers at the second edition of the gamers’ gathering.

The event united prominent game developers, exotic cosplayers, famous gaming personalities that brought vibrant energy to the event. Some key players in the games scene shared their journey in games and provided interesting perspective citing where the industry is headed to. Among the participants, Streamline Studios was represented by Learning & Development Manager, Azlan Ismail who rocked the stage with strong energy while he shared about key opportunities that exist in the games industry with an attentive audience.

All in all, the event served as a great platform where many business relationships were built, great ideas and knowledge shared. More importantly, we witnessed a strong sense of unity between the different players in the industry that came together to grow, play and share which was the big win overall.


 


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https://www.streamline-studios.com/events/


Recapping Gamescom 2017


With hundreds of thousands of gamers, journalists, developers and exhibitors descending on Cologne, Gamescom is a must-attend in the video game industry. This year was no exception.

We love going to the convention. It’s great place for us to take the pulse of the industry. And this year we sensed something exciting.

Games are in full dev. Incredible titles are in the pipelines of studios worldwide. Technology is advancing in huge leaps. An industry is rapidly evolving right before our eyes and rising to new heights.

Europe’s development scene is in full-up mode, including a strong focus on mobile. Products are starting to flow into the marketplace. As the complexity of games increases, co-development projects are starting to become the norm, partnerships forming to create solutions from multiple levels of expertise.

We’re also seeing the emergence of new players entering the space. Brands and industries are sensing opportunities to use games to forge connections with consumers and expand the scope of games in multiple directions. The focus is not so much on how to get into games, but how to join game projects as a multi-touch experience, increasing a game’s value by creating experiences around a game. An example would be Rockstar’s promotion tie-in with Gears of War.
As these ideas flowed across our Gamescom meetings, the idea of co-development emerged as a logical response to industry trends. There appeared no better way to alleviate risk and promote participation than by redefining partnerships in the external development space. Streamframe, our development management software system, is custom built to ease the workflow in the co-development process and response to the platform at the show was terrific. It confirmed our thinking on the evolution of the industry and made us excited at the possibilities on the horizon for the entire industry.

With the games industry heading north of $100 billion dollars, the technologies and stories to be told are boundless. And so was the palpable sense of excitement on the floor of Gamescom 2017.

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Gamescom Official Website: http://www.gamescom-cologne.com/gamescom/index-9.php


The Promise of South East Asia

The promise of South East Asia is a big lofty title. Like we’re going to unveil some earth shattering revelation, or we’re writing a romance novel, something like that. But this is a lot more sober than that. We’re talking about the road ahead for our industry, the video games industry, and the growing markets here. Not just growing, but expanding in leaps and bounds, like a game hero powered-up and ready to fly. That’s what the growth charts show us, and that’s why we’re so excited about the promise before us.

Because of some policy changes in China, rollbacks on a 14-year ban on console games, South East Asia is now teed up for significant opportunities ahead. Revenue is surging past the $1 billion mark.

“The Southeast Asian games market is often compared to that of China, and we can see that it is following behind China by a few years,” says Lisa Hanson, managing partner of Niko Partners. “Gamers in Southeast Asia embrace massively online battle arena games, shooters, and mobile games just as they do in China. However, older Chinese gamers still embrace higher revenue generating MMORPGs [massively multiplayer online role-playing games], a segment that many Southeast Asian gamers shy away from. Therefore, the challenge to developers is to compel an increase in the level of spending on the type of games for which Southeast Asians have shown enthusiasm.” Fortune

Yes, there are many challenges ahead, but nothing will stop the surge of the video game industry, powered by the white-hot fuel of love of games. Gamers are committed. And the governments of Southeast Asia recognize that.

Hasnul Hadi Samsudin, MDEC’s vice president of Creative Content & Technologies Division. Sees incredible growth in Malaysia, as much as 30% in the last two years.

This is the fastest growth of any geographical region. In comparison, the global growth rate is estimated at 7% for the same period. Today, the region video games market represents approximately 4% of global consumption, and the numbers are projected to climb rapidly in five years’ time. Vulcan

The promise of South East Asia is a surging wave of new talent, both in quantity and quality. The promise of South East Asia is watching that talent mature as it takes in new experiences and conquers new challenges. The promise of South East Asia is an influx of top international game developers setting up shop and building studios, hiring and nurturing young artists and programmers and creating some of the world’s greatest games.

All this is the promise of South East Asia, and it’s happening right now. Hang on, because if you’re part of this amazing community of gamers, either a player or a creator, you’re riding a rocket into the future.

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MDEC Official Website: https://www.mdec.my/


Streamline Studios hosts Digital Holiday Ninja Program

Kuala Lumpur, August 7th, 2017 - Streamline Studios hosted 3 promising talents from MDEC’s My Digital Maker for 10 days and put them through a rigorous, exciting program to design a video game from scratch using Unreal Engine 4 technology.

The initiative by MDEC gathered a pool of 40 bright young talents from across the country and took them through a series of programs with an emphasis on “innovation.” The students’ work earned them tickets to a life-changing experience in Silicon Valley. In the Mecca of Technology, they pitched their innovations to a panel of judges and returned home with the mission—partake in a 10-day internship program with guidance from industry leaders such as DiGi, Les Copaque and Streamline Studios.

Streamline Studios, an avid supporter of the Malaysian education initiatives was honored to be selected as a partner for the project. The young talents were introduced to the very basics of video game development and were brought together into a game design team, where they worked on building a game of their choice. They crafted all elements of the game, including gameplay, characters, environment and AI (artificial intelligence.)

The interns built a game they dubbed “Outbreak,” which put them in the role of a protagonist, whose mission is to save a group of scientists from a horde of zombies and escort them into a “safe zone,” where they can be rescued.

Azlan Ismail, Learning and Development Manager at Streamline Studios, commented on the Digital Holiday Ninja Program; “It is exciting to be a part of an initiative targeted at raising a generation of digital savvy youth. Witnessing these talents take on a real challenge and successfully creating a functional and relatively complex game in a span of ten days was a true delight.”


MDEC Official Website: https://www.mdec.my/


Startup Grind hosts Alexander Fernandez

Streamline Studios CEO, Alexander Fernandez Wows Malaysian Entrepreneur Community

Kuala Lumpur, July 17th, 2017 – Streamline Studios’ very own powerhouse CEO, Alexander Fernandez was recently selected as a guest speaker at the Special Edition: Startup Grind
talk series in Kuala Lumpur; a collaborative initiative by Endeavour Malaysia, a high-impact global movement that has groomed and shaped the entrepreneur community.

The talk captivated an audience packed into the exquisite design space at Common Ground, Kuala Lumpur, a collaborative partner of Endeavor Malaysia.

Alexander Fernandez, an avid philosopher and a tenacious force to be reckoned with in the games industry, shared his personal journey from the humble beginnings to the powerful state of success Streamline Studios experiences today; “If you have the drive and ambition, you will make it happen! Talent is a piece of it, but it’s the willingness to learn that defines if you will be successful.”

Startup Grind is the largest independent startup community, actively educating, inspiring, and connecting 1,000,000 entrepreneurs in over 200 cities. We nurture startup ecosystems in 98 countries through events, media, and partnerships with organizations like Google for Entrepreneurs. The cornerstone of our global community is monthly events featuring successful local founders, innovators, educators and investors who share lessons learned on the road to building great companies. Founded in Silicon Valley, Startup Grind has now hosted 5,000 fireside chats since its founding in 2010. To date, Startup Grind has helped millions of entrepreneurs find mentorship, connect to partners and hires, pursue funding, and reach new users.

Endeavor is leading the high-impact entrepreneurship movement around the world, with the support of a unique network of seasoned business leaders. Endeavor works to catalyze long-term economic growth by selecting, mentoring and accelerating the best of the best entrepreneurs worldwide. The movement includes, but not limited to, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Japan, and Indonesia.


Internet Of Things Turns Nasty. 3 Ways To Protect Yourself

October 21st, 2016. Take note of the date. Something extraordinary and scary happened.

The Internet of Things turned nasty. Hackers used Internet-connected devices, like CCTV devices and printers to take down sites like Twitter, Spotify, and Reddit. First off it’s extraordinary they were able to get my printer to work. That thing has a mind of its own.

The attack was against a company called Dyn, which directs users to sites. It affected users in the densely populated east coast of the US, all the way through the Midwest, parts of the west coast, and to a lesser extent parts of Europe. I was in the middle of working on a recipe in my kitchen and the Internet just disappeared. Totally ruined my frittata. But there are serious issues here.
Like power stations. And hospitals.

And nuclear missiles.

There’s an abiding suspicion a state actor is behind it. And the news is filled with stories of the US launching retaliatory strikes against Russia for messing with the election. Maybe Putin doesn't like the threat. (He doesn't strike me as a live-and-let-live guy.)

There’s this lingering shadow--this is just beginning.

Which got me thinking about my record collection.

It doesn’t exist anymore.

I don’t have any drawers filled with snapshots either.

Or even many bookshelves.

Books and albums used to be a big part of home decorating. Now I mainly live in a digital monastery. Minimalist decor. No large sprawling media center. Just a big screen on the wall connected to the Big Internet. There’s an abiding vulnerability there.

We built this grand digital city, but did we build it on sand? How much there is there? It can disappear in a nanosecond. The Internet of Things, the ultimate realization of the ultimate virtual dream, is making it worse.

Security experts have been sending up alarms about the Internet of Things for quite some time. Over a year ago Jon Bruner, editor-at-large, O’Reilly Media said this:

There is an enormous security risk in IoT. IoT can scale up the attack surface for any kind of a cyberattack. The risk is going to be a distributed attack on a lot of things. We haven’t seen consumer products connected to the Internet in very wide scale yet, but there’s certainly a risk that once everyone has a connected door lock or a connected car, that that will present a bad security situation.

Bruner comes off like Virtual Merlin after Friday’s massive cyber-attack. Your little home router turned into an ICBM.

So is there anything you can do to stop your webcam being co-opted as an element of the next cyber Death Star launch?

Not easy. Here are three ideas.
1.   Turn off and on your smart devices. Sometimes that's enough to debug the hidden code waiting for visiting attack bots.
2.  Change default passwords on your devices - even if it is not on the list of hijacked devices, many share the same chips and code.
3.  Update device software. Hardware makers are reacting to hacking issues. Updates will begin to plug loopholes hackers exploit.

So the next time SMITE on Steam is hanging you out to dry with severe latency problems, beware, it may be a sign your smart sprinkler is being activated by Sergio in Vladstock to open values on your local municipal dam.


How Do You Become A Video Game Designer?

How to be a video game designer? Play games. Don’t play games. A contradiction? No. Here’s why.

Play

First the yes. Playing games is where you begin for a very simple reason. You’re going to be designing games people play. So a basic understanding of what is good gameplay and what is bad gameplay is critical. An ugly game with great gameplay will do a lot better than a great looking game with mediocre gameplay. So understanding the difference is step number one and the best way to learn is break out the controller and play. And play. And play.

Okay, you played all the way through school and became a game ninja, and now you have to pay the rent. Bummer. What are you going to do? Become a video game designer, right? Okay, but what does that mean?

Well, in a very fundamental sense it means stop playing video games.

Confused?

Let me explain.

Don't Play

The goal is not to become a video game designer, but to become the absolute best video game designer you can possibly be and to do that you need the very broadest range of skills you can possibly get.

But not only skills, knowledge. Knowledge of art, design, architecture, music, writing, planning, thinking. Thinking is the most important thing, understanding conceptual thinking, how artists think, how filmmakers think, how they pose and answer conceptual problems. How business people think, how they budget, forecast, work financial deals across global borders. What don’t you need to know? You need to know everything, so start opening yourself up to all sorts of things. If you can do that and play games be my guest, but most likely you can’t, and increasing your knowledge base is critical if you ever hope to conquer the world of video game design.

Trust me. Every skill you acquire will be put to use in your career. Nothing is ever wasted. It’s just the way it works. So put down the controller and experience things, travel, sing, walk, run, learn what is meant by the phrase abstract thinking. It separates the bees from the wannabees.

That’s what I meant by yes and no. Play games and don’t play games. You need to do both.

So, you’re cramming all this wide world of things into your head (that never stops, btw) now what?

T-pose

Let’s talk t-pose for a sec. T-pose is a concept that in any career you need one fundamental skill you can build on and rely on as you go forward. See? Like standing on one solid leg and all your other skill spread out from there. It looks like the letter T. So you begin there. Master one thing. Art. Programming. Producing. Writing. Wherever your career takes you (and if you’re talking video game designing it can bring you to a million different places,) you have that one core skill that anchors your entire career. Whatever that skill is master it. Not only will it provide stability in your career, but it will also serve as a key to get you going, to get you in the door, and ultimately, that’s your first goal: To get a job.

I guess that’s another way of saying master your tools. Learn several code languages, find out how to use Unity, learn how to build a budget in Excel. Like I said, what do you need to know? Everything.

 

The Magic Tool

I like to end with a little story. I met this guy at GDC earlier this year, nice guy, an old hand like me, and we were talking about designing, the difference between working in games and maybe something else, like graphic design. This guy had done both and more. In fact, at one point he’d been a draftsman in the Navy. He’d done a lot of stuff, so I asked was there one fundamental thing that worked across all designing disciplines? He thought about it a moment and then grabbed a pad out of his bag and threw a pencil on top. “Always start by working things out with pencil and paper.”

Don’t get hypnotized by technology. Great design is more fundamental. The most awesome design tool ever invented is a #2 pencil. Master that first.


Using Video Games To Change The World

Is it crazy to think video games might save the world? Read on.

There’s only so many hours in a week. I think about this stuff all the time. Tick tock. Life slipping by. So what do we do with all this precious time? Well, for one thing, we’re spending billions of hours a week playing games. Nice. Really. Why not kick back with a good old video game and conquer the world? Or the galaxy? We all love a good romp through the Outback in Horizon or embarking on a journey, as they say, without limits in Final Fantasy XV.

Remember the 60s? I didn’t think so. But between Beatles and Dick Nixon they started doing something no one else but a research scientist would find interesting. They started tracking our leisure time. How did they do that? I have no idea, but Jane McGonigal does. Check out her TED talk here. Cool stuff. I do know since that time we’ve gained about 8 hours a week. Does that sound like a lot? Research scientist say yes and who am I to argue with them?

Hey, you know what? I bet in the entire history of everything we’ve never had this much leisure time. Think about it. You can slay a wild slurpie any time you want at the local 7/11 (or global equivalent.) Try that in the Stone Age. We had bigger things to worry about back then. Or even the 1940s. They weren’t playing games. But now? The state of the art VR game almost defies imagination. And where it’s going is beyond belief.

But wait a sec. We’ve got big problems in the world, right? Hunger, obesity, poverty, wealth inequality, climate change, climate denial, the god and the godless, a world of clashes, and we collectively spend almost 20 billion hours a week playing games? You look at that long list of global woe, and you go, yeah, let my pull out the RPG and get lost. Reality sucks. I get it.

But the point McGonigal makes is this: We harness all that insane focused gamer-power and use it to do good. I mean if you can work your way through Dark Souls you might be able to work on world hunger. Or climate change.

People get into games. They take to them in a profound way. They connect with them; the stories, the characters, the environments; the subtexts, the colors, the music. It all matters. And it’s a fantastic opportunity.

I'm not suggesting mind-control. I’m suggesting mindfulness. And focus.

When people enter a world of games, when they begin the journey you’ve designed for them, the experience, they are surrendering to you. They are yours. And something else. They are leaving the real world behind.

Online they are entering a world of co-operation, problem-solving, and challenge. In many ways, in the world of games, they raise their game beyond what they do in the real world. And this becomes an opportunity to raise their awareness. Game playing, in a very fundamental way, can affect life playing in a very positive way. What if there was a way to harness gamers’ superpowers?

The team McGonigal worked on, Institute for the Future, put together a game called Superstruct. They got 8000 gamers to play. Their job was to ‘invent the future of energy, the future of food, the future of health, the future of security and the future of the social safety net.’ The solutions they came up were ‘insanely creative.’

Can video gamers save the world? Why not? Somebody has to.