Computer graphics, especially since the turn of the century, have come a really long way. The other day at the mall, when I stumbled upon a football match being played on a large screen, it took me a good two minutes to realise that a couple of kids were actually controlling the players. Cristiano Ronaldo’s Mohawk was almost too life-like to be true. As the industry moves forward with more sophisticated artwork, we caught up with Vitek Goyel of Pixeltek, to know more about their inputs into the gaming industry.
Pixeltek is a company based in Mumbai that specializes in outsourcing 3D artwork for the gaming industry. It was started off in 2004, by Vitek after he completed an undergraduate course in Electronic Media, Arts and Communications from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in NY. “My focus was mainly in the interactive arts. I also share a deep love for video games which I have been playing since I was an infant! Working in the industry has been like a dream come true for me,” he informs.
Instead of diversifying into different domains, the company’s focus is on sticking to their guns and honing skills in a specific field, like that of 3D artwork, has served them well. “I decided that 3D artwork would be a good niche to focus on within the gaming industry. Since then, we have not really strayed from it. It's what we do best.”
The company is served by a dedicated team of about 15 3D artists, who are mostly based in Mumbai.
Current trends in the Indian gaming industry
Since 2004, the gaming industry has experienced a bitter sweet time. Although there are several companies in India who have been around for a long time, there are quite a few that have wound up and shut down. “For a while, ‘gaming’ was a buzz word that people poured a lot of money into, but didn't get much in return. We are yet to see a killer game designed in India for the global market that can stand on its own feet as a work of art. Hopefully, Pixeltek can spark that change with the forays we are making into original IP with our partners Phoenix Online Studios,” adds Vitek.
As the industry trend shifts from the PC games era to mobile games, companies are looking to outsource in different segments. “We get a lot of work for Facebook games, mobile games, etc. As the industry shifts, Pixeltek is right there, ready to adapt. This has been the key to our survivability.”
Functioning and obstacles faced
Pixeltek has a revenue model that focuses on service providing. “We provide high quality art work at very competitive rates. We have some long term clients as well, that we have been working with for almost 6 years,” asserts Vitek.
The company’s marketing is single-handedly managed by Vitek, as he puts into play his vast experience having attended his 7th Game Developers Conference this year. “Having been around and worked with so many companies and individuals, I feel I have a good grasp on the who's who in this industry. A lot of time people approach us, instead of it being the other way around.” adds Vitek.
The dearth of and the difficulty in locating great artists has been Vitek’s biggest obstacle thus far. “Though we have some artists who stay with us for many years, it's still one of the realities of the business. The second biggest obstacle is the stiff competition we face from countries such as China where they also offer high quality and competitive rates. “
Having said that, the company can boast of a pretty accomplished resume, having worked on a number of high profile games including Ghostbusters (PS3), Assassin's Creed 2 (PSP, DS) and Spellforce 2 (PC). “One of our oldest clients, iRacing Motorsport creates probably the best car racing simulation in existence. My current personal favourite is the work we are doing for Cognition which has some amazing concept art by Romano Molenaar, who worked on comic books like Xmen, Witchblade and Darkness. Also, I am a part owner of the company that is making Cognition, so I am biased!” Vitek says, signing off.
Venture into the virtual world, and check out a few of their life-like creations here.
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