Q&A with SIGGRAPH 2012 Games Chair Naty Hoffman

by | 17 July 2012 | Animation, Gaming, Graphics, Interactive Techniques, Real-Time, Visual Effects

Naty Hoffman – the 2012 Games Chair
Following is a brief conversation with Naty Hoffman, the SIGGRAPH 2012 Games Chair and Technical Director at Activision, regarding games and SIGGRAPH 2012. Please check back later this week for an article summarizing all the game industry content at SIGGRAPH 2012.

How does games content fit into SIGGRAPH and what are the can’t-miss sessions for this year?

Games are a core SIGGRAPH constituency, just like animation, VFX, fine arts, and research. As such, game content can be found in all the SIGGRAPH programs. There is a lot of great games industry content this year – please check out the full list. If I had to pick just one or two key sessions from each program, I would mention the “Advances in Real-TIme Rendering” Course, the “Game Worlds” and “Surf and Turf” Talk sessions, Ninja Theory’s Production Session on “DmC Devil May Cry: Breathing Life Into Video Games“, the “Battle for Motion-Controlled Gaming and Beyond” Panel, the “Big Game” Studio Talk session, the “VFX for Games: Pre-Baked Destruction” and “Building a Game Level” Studio Workshops and the SIGGRAPH Dailies! and Real-Time Live! sessions. 

Given the increasing convergence between the industries, I also recommend that game industry attendees check out some of the amazing and relevant content from the film industry, such as courses on cinematography and matte painting presented by legends in their respective fields, as well as Talks and Production Sessions by companies such as Dreamworks, ILM, and Pixar.

What are your thoughts on the growth of casual and mobile gaming, particularly as it relates to the new SIGGRAPH Mobile program?
Casual and mobile gaming are an immense growth area and we have been making special efforts (such at the Mobile Symposium) to bring related content to the conference. I hope we will continue to see more content in these areas at future SIGGRAPHs.

What do you think is the next big technology that will be featured in mainstream games? In your opinion, what is the key to next-gen success for console gaming?
While cutting-edge technology will always be a big part of game development, I feel that the next generation will bring a renewed emphasis on the importance of art – supporting talented artists with solid and powerful tools, workflows and best practices will be no less (and probably more) important than having the latest whiz-bang engine feature.

The industry has been buzzing about free-to-play games recently. How do you think this will affect game development? 
I think it’s always good to have new ways to reach customers and fund development, though I believe that the traditional models will continue to thrive for a while yet.

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