Industrial Talk 1
Challenges in Graphics Development for Mobile Devices
My focus in this talk is on the development of mobile phones as gaming platforms, the increased power that is available with them, and the challenges involved in harnessing that potential. By delving into the performance gaps between different generations of hardware, and the unique challenges presented by the mobile ecosystem, this talk will explore some of the issues to be faced, and possible solutions for overcoming them.
David graduated from University of Wales, Swansea in 2004 with a BSc in Computer Science and has worked in the games industry since 2007. He has published titles across multiple platforms including both handheld and regular consoles, PCs and mobile devices.
Industrial Talk 2
"Soft Skills" Considered Harmful: Growth, Change and Adaptation in the Graphics Industry
The term "soft skill" is frequently used to describe any non-technical ability that is nevertheless considered valuable in an organisation. These skills range from mindfulness, to social and emotional intelligence, to the capacity to think and act holistically. Despite playing a quintessential role in our day-to-day lives, soft skills are often significantly undervalued compared to the technical proficiencies that are universally recognised as mission-critical. In this talk, I argue that hard and soft skills are merely two sides of the same coin, and that treating them as a dichotomy impairs an organisation's resilience and its ability to react to change. To illustrate this point, I share some of my personal experiences working in the film and games industries, and describe how my most rewarding and empowering moments came through the synthesis of technical expertise and an empathetic, people-focused mindset. I also advocate for the value of systems thinking in the tech and entertainment sectors, whose rapid growth and immense reach have combined to make them powerful changemakers with a profound social responsibility. I conclude with a discussion of my recent time at Unity, and how I continue to draw upon these patterns to help the organisation grow while maintaining its founding principles of independence, empowerment, and a deep commitment to its users.
Ben Spencer is a senior software engineer with an academic and industry background in physically based rendering. He began his career at Swansea University where he studied for a PhD in computer science, and later as a post-doctorate researcher in photorealistic rendering and visualisation. In 2013, he moved to California to join the team at Disney Animation where he helped develop the studio's in-house renderer in time for its debut production, Big Hero 6. Later, he joined Double Negative (now DNEG) where he worked on upgrading the company's rendering pipeline to deliver complex visual effects shots for films including Star Trek Beyond, Annihilation, Pacific Rim 2, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He now works at Unity Technologies where he continues to apply his expertise in rendering to the next generation of games and real-time applications.