Autodesk is a name that’s familiar to architects and 3D artists. Its popular software includes well-known tools like AutoCAD, Maya, and Softimage. While the company has a strong reputation with content creators, there’s a good chance that Joe and Jen Gamer will think that Autodesk is a Transformer that hangs out at schoolhouses. The reality is that the company has been a part of numerous big-budget games and has recently been making a push to become a larger part of the mobile-games market.
There’s a good chance that most of you have played a game that was partially made with Autodesk tech. The company’s Gameware line of development tools has helped bring popular titles like Borderlands 2 and Mass Effect 3 to life. Numerous developers use Autodesk tools for advanced UI, pathfinding, lighting, animation, etc.
More recently, Autodesk has been aggressively pursuing the burgeoning mobile games market. To illustrate the power of its Scaleform Mobile SDK, Autodesk released Starforce Battlement for iOS as a proof-of-concept in Fall 2012. It’s a fun tower-defense style game with impressive graphics and entertaining gameplay. Check out the free game when you have a chance. I’m certain that most of you will agree that it’s a slick title that’s indicative of where mobile games are going.
Zynga’s immensely popular Farmville 2 features graphics powered by Autodesk’s 3ds Max product. The software helped bring Farmville from an isometric perspective to a more captivating 3D look. (At least with the mainstream audience Farmville enjoys. I love isometric-POV games!)
So where am I going with all this? Well, as I was thinking about Autodesk’s mobile game efforts, I was also thinking about hardcore gamers that dismiss mobile games as not being any good. Over the last few years, mobile games have improved immensely, both in terms of graphics and gameplay. While some of you might not dig mobile games, there’s no denying that the market is booming. When a company with as much stroke as Autodesk is paying special attention to the mobile market, you know it’s a big deal.
The thing that’s interesting to me is whether Autodesk will enjoy the reach of its other products. Every architect I’ve met uses AutoCAD. Every 3D graphic designer I know has 3ds Max, Maya, or Softimage in their virtual toolbox. The mobile-game developers I know use a wide variety of tools and I’m curious to see how much headway Autodesk will make with that crowd.
While I’m sure that most of you don’t care what tools games are made with, the good news is that you’ll get to enjoy better products. Large software companies like Autodesk, with its powerful development tools, will help game creators serve up the best mobile games yet.