Karl Hilton on Crytek, CryENGINE & The Games Industry

The talk today was definitely one for the computer games students as the speaker was Karl Hilton, currently the MD at Crytek UK. The talk covered a brief history of Karl’s career before looking at the structure of the gaming industry. The presentation was interesting, well delivered and packed with stunning videos and images, as you would expect from a media industry professional.

I found Karl’s background interesting as he had initially studied Part 1 in Architecture, but due to his interest into the computer visualisations used in Architecture and the lack of job opportunities at the time decided to return to University and study Computer Visualisation and Animation. I have had several years’ experience working both for and with Architectural practises and am familiar with the visualisation techniques used, so was able to appreciate the similarities between the two industries. I feel it is quite fitting that one of Karl’s current ventures is to sell CryENGINE (a games development environment) to Architects as a visualisation tool. Karl pointed out that most Architects are far behind computer games when it comes to visualisations and my experience coincide with this.

After finishing his studies in Computer Visualisation and Animation Karl started his computer games career working for Rare (a company that had the biggest contribution to my childhood gaming) before reaching where he is today. Having been in the industry over fifteen years and reached such a high position, Karl was able to explain in great detail how the industry is structured, Crytek operates and where the UK stands in relation to the rest of the world. Karl also explained how that structure is changing, in particular how the pricing structure is changing from purchasing games to micro-transactions where the game itself is available for free and users purchase additional elements for use within the games: items, upgrades, etc.

Despite not studying games computing I still found the talk very interesting and relatable. The Architectural angle of the talk highlighted the fact that the tools used by the games industry are not only also suited to other industries, but are also better than many of those currently in use.

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