Glass Egg Digital Media lives up to its sleek and modern name. Taking up two floors, Glass Egg’s employees sit in circular cubicles with two screens. The two screens are vital to the operation, as one screen displays a real image of the object (usually car) they are trying to replicate, while the other has 3-D design software for the artist to recreate the image. The circular cubicles were designed to encourage teamwork while the artists work on a specific project. While there work is not exactly a secret, the nature of their work meant that we could not take any pictures of the studio adding to the mystical nature of the company.
During the presentation and Q and A session, their COO was incredibly helpful telling us how the company operated. He talked about polygons, a unit that describes how detailed a model is, and that Glass Egg is able to create incredibly detailed designs, with hundreds of thousands of pixels. These are not actually made as the systems on which the games operate are not currently capable of loading such complex models in real time.
He also helped describe why the company was located in Vietnam. The obvious reason is inexpensive labor, but the untapped artistic workforce in Vietnam is also a key resource. He also went on to explain some of the challenges. As what they do is heavily dependent on client relationships, it is difficult to establish new ones in Vietnam. Markets such as China and Japan are huge for this industry, but the deficit of similar companies in Vietnam means that some clients are hesitant to make the extra trip to visit Glass Egg and potentially create a new contract.
Despite this, Glass Egg does not appear to be leaving Vietnam any time soon. The COO mentioned that they had discussed this possibility, but decided against it (mainly that it is simply too expensive). Instead, Glass Egg is turning its attention to expanding its scope of work. They specialize in creating cars and other vehicles, but such a niche market leads to trouble expanding. So Glass Egg is now focusing on creating environments as well, beginning with race tracks and working its way into the broader market. To this extent they are hiring more than 40 new artists, almost exclusively to join the environmental design teams.
Some highlights of today (not related to Glass Egg) also included eating Korean Barbecue (we had octopus), followed by walking Times Square, enjoying the famous Vietnamese Peach Tea.