Film-game convergence has become an increasingly hot topic lately, and at a Thursday morning SIGGRAPH panel, technical leads from LucasArts and ILM discussed how they have now made convergence a reality.

The panelists – ILM’s Steve Sullivan and David Bullock, and LEC’s Nick Pavis and Nick Porcino – discussed the process of integrating their successful feature film and video games divisions, and outlined the challenges and successes of the first large-scale studio convergence.

While Sullivan has previously discussed this process with Gamasutra, and there was additional background at the recent Hollywood & Games Conference, this is a notable milestone in that key technical staff from both sides of the integration have discussed current progress in public.

Collaboration between the film and game divisions has always been a goal of the two companies, the speakers said, and both sides knew they would benefit from the eventual cross-pollination of ideas, sharing of the talent pool, and integrating of the toolsets and pipelines.

It’s only been in the last two to three years, however, that collaboration has become a reality, in large part due to the company’s move to the Letterman Digital Arts Facility (pictured above in LucasArts’s Xmas card!) in San Francisco. Employees from both divisions now share office pods, cafeteria tables, and common space, and the time has ripened for true integration of the two studios.

Moreover, console technology is finally "getting interesting," and the potential for both divisions to learn from each other began to fructify over the last few years. Tools are now developed jointly between LEC (short for LucasArts) and ILM, and the visual effects folks are learning as much from the game developers as vice versa. (Case in point: more and more run-time technology from LucasArts is being used at ILM, especially in the realms of real-time physics, motion capture, and rendering.)

More: Gamasutra



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