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Here at the DIG, we're interested in innovation in all its forms. Within the gaming space, innovation often begins with insight and inspiration from a single person, be they a game developer, an engineer, a sociologist, or anything else within the industry.
That's why we're tracking down these thought leaders to give you a sneak peek of the digital arts future through their eyes.
To kick off the series, we sat down with Orion Granatir, a senior software engineer for Intel's Visual Computing Software division.
Granatir gave us his thoughts on the state of the industry and told us why he's excited to be working with games today.
DIG: First off, what are your responsibilities as a senior engineer in "visual computing"?
Orion Granatir: "Visual computing" is a fancy term for graphics-intense applications. There are people in this division working on media and other aspects of graphics, but for me, visual computing means games. Helping game developers also comes in the form of creating tech samples, writing articles and presenting at conferences.
DIG: You have a background in game development. How does that play into your current roll?
O.G.: Prior to my current job, I worked on PS3 games at Insomniac Games. Nowadays, game development is all about being cross-platform. Games are expensive to make -- and the more places you can sell your game, the better. It's grown to be a lot like the movie industry; large-budget movies go in theaters, are sold on DVD, and air on TV -- all in an attempt to make the most money possible. Games are targeting consoles, PCs and mobile devices. It's not uncommon for a game to support five or six platforms.
So, while I spend my time helping game companies get the most out of advanced hardware, it's also important to understand other platforms. Every platform has its strengths and weaknesses. The PC is easy to develop, but can be a challenge to validate. The PS3 is the other way around: It's a challenge to develop, but you only need to validate for a very specific hardware platform.
DIG: How do you see your own efforts in visual computing fueling innovation within the industry?
O.G.: Innovation in the game industry cycles between the PC and the game consoles. As the current generation of consoles passes middle age, the PC is now the leading place for innovation. We've seen this cycle several times.
However, there is something different this time. The mobile gaming space seems to have taken on a life of its own. People are now gaming in front of their computers, TVs and phones. Multicore processors are now available on phones and backed with powerful graphics. Wow. Writing games that properly scale to all the computing powers on a platform will continue to be important.
On a personal note, it's amazing how gaming is now such a mainstream hobby. My 69-year-old father just beat Dragon Age II -- before I got a chance to even start playing it. Geez, it must be nice to be retired! I remember when gaming was such a nerdy hobby. But it's not like you have to configure interrupts for your sound card any more. Gaming is everywhere! What an exciting industry.
Stu Horvath is the managing editor of DIG, as well as the man behind the geek culture website, Unwinnable.com. Previously, Horvath has worked at the New York Daily News, Wizard magazine, Random House, CrispyGamer.com, and Joystiq.com. He is also a founding member of the NYC Videogame Critics Circle.
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