GDC Day 1-2 and why FileCatalyst is here

by , March 26, 2009
In my 9 years as co-founder and president of FileCatalyst, nothing is more exciting than going to an industry-specific trade show and talking to the visitors in our booth about file transfer. At first glance most visitors dismiss the need for a file transfer solution. Most people don’t realize that problems with FTP, large email attachments and shipping of physical media are actually the same one problem... inefficient File Transfer. Game development is probably one of the most advanced domains in computer science. It requires the latest technology and tools to bring the best games to the consumer. Modern game development studios employ (in addition to developers) an army of Producers, Audio and Graphic artists, and QA/test teams to release games on ever tightening schedules. As much as the gaming industry has matured over the years, it’s still sometimes hard to believe that the file transfer process hasn’t changed in the gaming industry since 1970’s. Most game producers, audio artists and graphic artists don’t realize that the weakest link connecting them remains file transfer. Below is a short list of how FileCatalyst is relevant to most GDC attendees:

Game Producer

At first glance at our booth a Game Producer dismissed the need for an efficient file transfer solution. His main reasoning behind it was that they don’t need to transfer files because they develop the entire game in-house. However after a few minutes of explaining what we do, it became apparent that slow and unreliable file transfer is actually one of the reasons why some games are not released on time. You see, every game has to through a QA BETA-testing phase. In his case, the delay of sending the BETA build to QA was 48 hours… This producer actually had to wait at least 48 hours before learning about any bugs. If a critical “blocking” bug was discovered at an early testing stage, the entire 48 hour waiting cycle had to be repeated. In a few minutes this producer realized the power of fast file transfer and the importance of eliminating bottlenecks associated with slow FTP or courier-delivered media.

Audio Artist

When I asked a music producer if they use file transfer, their initial response was “no.” However, a few minutes later his questions started to reveal that file transfer is actually at the core of how he delivers audio files to his clients. His experience seemed to indicate that every music producer uses FTP to send out their work (in the form of digital audio files), and all the changes and corrections are also exchanged via FTP. FTP is in fact the main communication medium between music studios and the game producers.

Visual Artist

The portfolio is probably one of the most important assets for a graphic artist. Without a portfolio, a graphic artist would not be able to find new contracts. Most graphic artist continually struggle with the simple task of sending out their portfolio to a potential client. Most of the time the portfolio is sent as an email attachment; the problem is that most corporate email systems will reject file attachments larger than 15MB. 15MB is a respectable enough size for a porfolio, but imagine what else could be included if there was virtually no limit to the size of the delivery. More graphics? Higher resolutions? Perhaps fully developed storyboards for a new game concept?

Come visit us at GDC

If you are in San Francisco or attending GDC, drop by our booth (#6333) and we will show you how our File Transfer solution can help streamline and speed up the game design workflow.

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