R&D in the Video Game Industry

Driancourt Remi
Miyake Yoichiro
Advanced Technology Division, Square Enix Co., Ltd

We are proud to have a keynote speech by the Advanced Technology Division of Square Enix Co., Ltd. on the topic of “R&D in the video game industry”.
In recent years, the virtual space of digital games has gradually become “bigger”, “more dynamic”, and “more realistic”. As a result of this evolution, there has also been a steady increase in the complexity of the technology necessary to create AAA titles, as well as the cost of development. Consequently, it has become a necessity for top video game companies such as Square Enix to invest in Research and Development.
The Advanced Technology Division represents Square Enix’s efforts at the forefront of research and development in the fields of rendering, animation, simulation, artificial intelligence (AI), data analysis, networking, workflow, virtual reality (VR) and sound. The mandate of the division is to confront the complex issues of the game development process by working with a focus on and beyond the state of the art in game content and technology.
During this keynote, the challenges and benefits of pursuing R&D within the constraints of game productions will be presented. The possibilities for future academic and industry collaboration will be also discussed.

Bio: Remi Driancourt is the General Manager of the Advanced Technology Division in Square-Enix, Tokyo. He joined Square-Enix in 2009 after a decade of experience in Cognitive Science, Robotics and Natural Language Processing. There, he rapidly fell in love with Animation and Computer Graphics. After two years working as a R&D engineer, Remi became the Graphics Lead on the “Agni’s Philosophy” tech demo showcased at E3 2012. Beginning 2014, Remi handed back his programmer’s hat and took the head of the Advanced Technology Division, whose main mission is to perform R&D and supply state of the art technology to Square Enix game projects.

Youichiro Miyake ( Lead AI Researcher , SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD.)
Youichiro Miyake has been in development of video game titles while researching game AI technologies as the lead AI researcher at SQUARE ENIX. He developed the technical design of AI for the following game titles: CHROME HOUNDS, Demon's Souls, Armored Core V developed by FROM SOFTWARE, and FINAL FANTASY XIV, FINAL FANTASY XV, and Kingdom Hearts 2.8 developed by SQUARE ENIX. Furthermore, he is the chair of the SIG-AI in International Game Developers Association Japan Chapter, and also the board of Digital Game Research Association Japan and the Society of Art and Science. He is the author of the four books "Stories on Philosophy for Artificial Intelligence" "Artificial Intelligence pictures book" "Making a game AI method" (2016) and “Why can AI talk with human? ” (2017).

Square Enix (Japanese)

Creative Animation Production by STUDIO4°C

Naoya Amata
Kenichiro Akimoto

Abstract: STUDIO 4 ℃ is an animation production studio based in Japan. In this industry, there have been various technological innovations such as the digitization of paintings due to the appearance of image scanners, and the appearance of 3DCG. On the other hand, traditional animation drawing methods using paper and pencil are also still the mainstream of production. In this lecture, we would like to talk about the basic workflow of animation production and how each analog and digital method coexists.

Bio: Naoya Amata Production manager.
Amata’s career at STUDIO4°C started with the film “BERSERK Golden Age Trilogy”, and since then he has participated in many titles at the company.
He also worked on "Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox", a Japan-U.S. coproduction project with Warner Bros. Animation. Recently he played active in a wide range of genres including the promotional movie of the video game “TOUKIDEN: THE AGE OF DEMONS” and the official promotional video for The Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation: "The Reason She Likes Kanji." Currently he is working on a certain feature film yet to be officially announced.

【Major Titles】
2010 OVA Halo Legends: The Babysitter (Production Manager)
2012 Movie BERSERK : The Golden Age Arc I - III (Assistant Line Producer)
2013 OVA Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (Production Manager)
2014 Promotional Video TOUKIDEN: THE AGE OF DEMONS (Production Assistant)
2015 Short The Reason She Likes Kanji. ( Line Producer)
2016 Short Chiryokumaru (Animation Producer)

Kenichiro Akimoto CGI director, 3D animator, and artist.
In “BERSERK Golden Age Trilogy”, which was theatrically released in 2012-2013, Akimoto greatly contributed in many sections such as CGI character modeling, rigging, CGI animation, description development, and storyboarding as one of the main creators. Also the CGI modeling and animation of Zodd, one of the most popular characters, was done by Akimoto. As a CGI director, he has fully displayed his abilities in “Koshin” (2013), a music clip for Akai Ko-en, short film “TIME MASTER” (2013) and animation part of the feature film “Kawaki (The world of Kanako)” directed by Tetsuya Nakamura.
Akimoto is an ambitious creator with innate talent, highly developed technical ability, aptitude, and more recently, directional skills.

【Major Titles】
2010 OVA Halo Legends: Origins Part1 (CGI)
2010 OVA Halo Legends: Origins Part2 (CGI)
2012 Movie The Golden Age Arc I - The High King’s Egg (CGI: Modeling/ Rigging/ Animation/ Description Development)
2012 Movie BERSERK : The Golden Age Arc II - The Battle for Doldrey (CGI: Modeling/ Rigging/ Animation/ Description Development)
2013 Movie BERSERK : The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent (CGI: Modeling/ Rigging/ Animation/ Description Development/ Storyboard)
2013 Music Video Koshin music by Akai Ko-en (CGI Director)
2013 Short TIME MASTER (CGI Director)
2015 Movie KAWAKI (The world of Kanako) Animation Part (CGI Director)
2015 Movie HARMONY (CGI: Modeling/ Set-up Chief/ Description Development)

STUDIO4°C Co., Ltd

Kansei, Brain Science, and Entertainment

Toshimasa Yamanaka

Abstract: Kansei is an advanced function of the brain that can be the source of emotion, inspiration, intuition, pleasure/displeasure, taste, curiosity, aesthetics and creation. At the University of Tsukuba, we are working on research to understand those functions of mind through experimental work as well as practical design works. An extremely wide range of disciplines collaborate together not only on how to measure the state of mind and the physical qualities of products, but also on understanding the Kansei as brain and neural function. The approach also includes the effort of defining the Kansei. The Evoked Metaphor (which is not explained here, but resources for further information can be found in the appendix) offers a new comprehension of Kansei processes. Other aspects such as creativity, feelings, intuitive cognition, the asobi gap in communication, and delay are also relevant to understand this subconscious brain function. But first of all, the importance of our research lies in the fact that our entire life is influenced by Kansei processes. Therefore we would like to introduce the concept to a broader international audience and start the discussion. In this small introduction book, the author looks at this cross disciplinary research from a designer’s viewpoint. I appreciate Ms. Beuttel’s elegant observation and friendly writing that illustrates how Kansei research can be connected to our daily life. A worthwhile reading.

Bio: Toshimasa Yamanaka
Executive officer at the University of Tsukuba,
Provost of the Faculty of Art and Design, University of Tsukuba
Professor at the Faculty of Art and Design, University of Tsukuba
Doctoral Program in Kansei, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, University of Tsukuba

Date of birth: 18, Oct, 1957

1980.4-1982.3: Graduate school of Industrial Design at the Chiba University
1982.4-1994.1: Industrial Design Section at the Asahi Opt. Co., Ltd. (PENTAX)
1990.10-1991.9: Research Associate at the Design Processes Laboratory of the Illinois Institute of Technology.
1994.2- present: Faculty of Art and Design of University of Tsukuba (2005-present: Professor)
2002.4-2003.1: Invited Researcher at the School of Industrial Design at the Delft University of Technology.
2015.4-present: Provost of the Faculty of Art and Design and Executive officer, at the University of Tsukuba

PhD (Kansei Science)

Academic activities and Jury
・ Associate President, Executive Board of International Congress of the International Association of Societies of Design Research, 2013
・ Executive Board Member of International Association of Universal Design (2013-present)
・ Jury at the Kid’s Design Awards (2014-present)
・ President of the Japanese Society for the Science of Design (2012-2016)
・ Advisor of the Japan Society of Kansei Engineering (2011-present)
・ Board member of the International Association of the Societies of Design Research (IASDR) (2005-present)
・ Executive Board member of the Kansei Engineering and Emotion Research (KEER) (2007-present)
・ Jury at the Good Design Awards (2001, 2003)