Judd Simantov presented a seminar on his involvement in the games industry to students and staff at Wits Digital Arts on Wednesday 20th May 2015. Judd has worked in the computer graphics industry for over 10 years and currently works in South Africa as an independent contractor focusing on tools development and rigging for the gaming industry. Some of his clients include Naughty Dog, Crytek and Blizzard Entertainment. Prior to moving back to South Africa, Judd was the lead Character Technical Director at Naughty Dog and was one of the early members on the Uncharted: Drakes Fortune research and development team. Judd has been an integral part of the Uncharted series during his time at Naughty Dog.
Judd spoke to the students about his experience in the production of animation tools for games focusing on how he got recognized and broke in to the international gaming industry. He took the students through the research and development phase (process and pipeline) for Uncharted as an example of what it takes to produce a AAA game. He showed how each member of their team was responsible for different parts of the pipeline and how it all comes together to form the final game experience. He closed his talk with a comparison between bigger and smaller studio environments, focusing on the advantages and disadvantages of each. Understanding and hearing Judd’s experience in the gaming industry both locally and internationally is very valuable to aspiring local game designers that will be soon entering the workplace.