Gaming Industry: Art of the Future
Vera Velichko is an artist having more than 20 years of working experience in different fields. Today, computer graphics is the main area of her world. Ms. Velichko has been creating virtual worlds and characters for 10 years already. During the interview, the Global Women Media and the artist discussed the development of the gaming industry market, the features of digital art, and the impact of virtual reality on people.
CEO and Art Director of OWL-Studio
Vera Velichko has been fond of painting since her childhood. She graduated from the art school and the Moscow State University of Printing Arts specializing in artistic graphics. Although Vera Velichko paid much attention to traditional and classical art during her studies, she decided to devote her professional life to the gaming industry, one of the most modern creative spheres at that time. She saw great prospects and opportunities for growth in that.
Today, Vera Velichko is the co-founder and Art Director of the studio creating graphics for mobile and computer games. Her team creates entire virtual worlds. It animates magic heroes and visualises fascinating stories. Although game development can take several years, the studio has already created the graphics for several major projects. A visual novel, the plot of which depends on the choice of its reader, is at the stage of release now. The first chapter of the novel was released in 2016 and the last (fifth) chapter was presented in 2018. The visual novel’s title is One Day in London.
– Your profession has an interesting name: game artist. What is the difference of your profession from that of usual artists?
– A game artist is an independent profession, which appeared not so long ago. It is based on the same theoretical and practical principles necessary for any artist. However, it requires knowing special techniques and tools.
A graphic artist must know the nuances of working with a pencil, black chalk and ink. A painter must be good at oil painting and know how to use brushes. For a game artist, it is important to understand how the games and various programmes are arranged, how the computer code works in terms of visualisation.
When I studied at the university about 10 years ago, many teachers considered digital graphics something poorly serious. At that time, society did not perceive the gaming industry as something promising and highly professional. Now the attitude to that branch has changed significantly and continues to do so.
Creating a computer game is a huge work with the participation of highly qualified specialists from various fields. The time of project development depends on the genre. The creation of a simple but well-designed mobile game can take from a few months to two years. If we talk about large-scale multiplayer computer projects, their fulfilment takes 4-5 years. In some cases, that period may last up to 10 years. That proves how seriously and responsibly the developers approach their product today. There are many examples of developing major computer games for 15 years and mobile games for more than 2 years.
Some modern computer games can be compared with interactive pieces of art.
– What countries are today’s leaders in the gaming industry?
– The development of this field first began in the USA and Europe. Their gaming culture has a rich history that began with video slot games and gaming consoles that have gained popularity worldwide, including Russia. Today, America and Europe have many advanced training courses and colleges alongside higher education programmes training a variety of gaming industry specialists.
Asia, mainly China, is another active ‘player’. This country widely develops large-scale computer projects and multiplayer online games.
As for Russia, we are at the beginning of the industry development. However, our growth can already be called dynamic and promising. When I started being interested in the gaming field, it was very difficult to find useful professional information. It was presented mostly in small fragments in English scattered on the net. Today, there are quite a lot of advanced training courses making it possible to get a quality additional education.
– There is an opinion that computer games are a waste of time. Many adults believe that this activity harms their children. What is your attitude to that position? Can you share your opinion as an expert working in the gaming industry for many years?
– We talk about that at many conferences and forums. I often remind the listeners of my reports that any abuse is evil. That concerns not only computer games. A few hundred years ago, parents scolded children reading novels too much. That was considered as a waste of time and the entertainment that distracts one from more serious activities. Today, parents are happy when seeing their child reading a book. It is considered an intellectual activity now.
In my opinion, the situation with games is very similar. If they are played too much and chosen irresponsibly, they will give nothing but addiction and other negative consequences. However, games can bring benefits if you approach them consciously.
When a person controls the time he or she spends on games and approaches the process consciously, it becomes not only interesting entertainment but also a way to communicate and even acquire new knowledge and skills.
For example, I gained the first experience of leadership thanks to a game. In the virtual space, I gathered a team to attain common goals and solve specific tasks. Later, when we opened our studio, the experience that I had got during the game was very useful to me.
– You often compare games with entire worlds. Are such virtual spaces important and safe for society?
– This is a very interesting question. Many people think that immersion in the game reality harms a person. However, the virtual worlds are a cross-section of our society and everything that happens there reminds our own lives in a certain way. We face good and bad people, success and failure, positive and negative situations every day. Much depends on how we feel about what is happening and whether we are ready to learn from that.
I can’t say that games are more dangerous than everything that surrounds us in everyday life. Yes, they have an impact on us just like our real social environment does.
It is important to understand that something new and perhaps even dangerous things for previous generations are already a familiar part of life for modern children. Now people communicate a lot in the online space. A child who is not allowed to do that can become an outcast from society because of going out of interests of all his or her peers.
The digital reality today is already a real independent world. The task of the adult generation is to learn to understand and accept the interests of their children helping them use their hobbies for good. You can teach your child anything through games: mathematics, history, or logical and strategic thinking.
A game is an effective tool that makes even the most boring disciplines exciting.
It is important that the older generation is not afraid of new technologies and does not treat any computer game innovations negatively. Games seriously involve a person in their process but the task of adults is not to prohibit children from using the computer but to help them find new opportunities for development in the game. The younger generation will only be grateful for that.
– What is your social mission in terms of the development of the game industry?
– What I aspire to today is to create a community of game artists. I want to believe that my talent and abilities will be enough for that. That’s a challenging but very important task.
By creating such a community, we will be able to popularise game art in the artistic environment. That is how we will contribute to solving several problems at once. Firstly, many students of creative fields of training will discover new promising ways to fulfil themselves in art. Secondly, by attracting more and more specialists in this area, we will improve the quality of the products.
Today, people perceive the gaming industry and digital art as entertainment. Many teachers of art universities consider computer graphics poorly serious. However, I believe that everything depends on the meanings that the author puts into his or her work.
In my opinion, in 5 or maybe 10 years, museums or any new innovative platforms will be presenting strong and valuable digital artworks. I am sure that this field will leave its important trace on our future.
The gaming industry is one of the embodiments of the art of the future.
Today, bringing together game artists and providing them with professional training are ways to contribute to future art. I will be happy if I manage to make at least a step towards that goal.
Viktoria Yezhova, Global Women Media news agency
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov