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    2021.11.05 R&D

    NCSOFT Publishing Coordination Function wins the Grand Prix in 2021 Arm Mali Graphics Championship in recognition of its game performance optimization skills

    NCSOFT makes efforts to optimize game performances so that its games would be played without any problem through diverse devices. More specifically speaking, it supports optimization of game performance based on three pillars, including mobile performance optimization, memory optimization, and game stabilization. Recently, Soo-wan Park, Team Lead of the GameDev Team of Publishing Coordination Office won the Grand Prix in 2021 Arm Mali Graphics Championship in recognition of successful performance. In this posting, we introduce the story of Soo-won Park, responsible for game performance optimization in NCSOFT, who recently won the Grand Prix in 2021 Arm Mali Graphics Championship.

    2021 Arm Mali Graphics Championship is a global developers’ competition to compete on performance optimization skills related to Arm Mali GPU (mobile). In the competition, a mobile game APK (a sample game) is shared with the participants and the participant discovering the largest number of performance optimization points and correcting the largest number of errors after analyzing the APK is selected as the winner. During Arm DevSummit, carried out between October 19 and 21, 2021, the winner of this year’s competition was announced, and Soo-wan Park of NCSOFT won the Grand Prix.

    “I wanted to prove the direction of my field work through the competition.”

    Congratulation on winning the Grand Prix in 2021 Arm Mali Graphics Championship. We are wondering what has prompted you to participate in the competition, since you would be very busy with your everyday business.

    I found out that 2021 Arm Mali Graphics Championship was held through social media. It was a competition where the world’s major game studios participated, and I thought it was an interesting opportunity for me to actually test the skills that I had developed at work, since the things that I did at work for performance optimization and the requirements of the competition were quite similar. Also, I decided to participate in the competition, because I wanted to prove and test the direction applied to the things that I did at the moment. It was an opportunity to know more about the performance optimization process and Arm Mobile Studio , and I am especially delighted to have achieved a good result.

    The detailed analysis of the 27 issue items submitted to 2021 Arm Mali Graphics Championship

    Which result do you think helped you win the Grand Prix?

    The major role of Publishing Coordination Office of NCSOFT is to carry out performance optimization through collaborating with Development Office with regards to diverse internal projects that are waiting to be launched. I believe that there was a good synergy, because the objectives of the Arm Mali Graphics Championship 2021 and the things that I currently do at work were quite similar. In particular, I am closely collaborating with many competent developers at NCSOFT to get new knowledge and experience every day. I believe the efforts have been accumulated to help me win this competition.

    Although the preparation time for this competition was not long, it was still enough for me to understand and review the tools and graphics required to address the issues. I also applied the materials provided by Arm Mali and the tips provided through the webinar on performance optimization that was held in the beginning of the year.

    Initial Profiling using Arm Performance Advisor

    Analysis #3 submitted to the competition (Removing discard syntax in enemy fragment shader)

    Analysis #14 submitted to the competition (Reduce 32bit precision (high) ratio)

    Performance optimization creates foundation and details for games.

    What is the role of the Public Coordination function, responsible for game performance optimization in NCSOFT?

    The Publishing Coordination function is divided into two parts: technology and development. The Technology Part is responsible for the management of projects related to the technologies required to launch mobile games in NCSOFT. The Development Part is divided again into the ones responsible for game performance optimization, Game Performance Analytics (GPA), and Global Trend Analytics (GTA) development.

    The major role of the Development Part of the Publishing Coordination function is to not only manage game technologies, but also shed light on the importance of development to contribute to the company’s games. Also, in the case of the Performance Optimization Team that I belong to, we carry out performance optimization through collaboration with relevant teams like the Development Team before the game is launched in order to secure stability in the game and to optimize its performance. We support game development through the Engine Team of the Game Development Office based on three pillars, including mobile performance optimization, memory optimization, and game stabilization. Some major projects that I have carried out and am carrying out will include ‘Trickster M’, ‘Blade & Soul 2’, and ‘Lineage W’.

    What is the role and importance of game performance optimization in the game development process of NCSOFT?

    I believe that performance optimization becomes a stepping stone for a game to be even more successful.

    Also, it is important in the sense that it enhances the game’s stability and adds more details to it. Even if a game has a solid story and attractiveness, playing it can never be satisfactory if its attractiveness fails to be delivered to the players due to frequent crashes, etc. Therefore, I believe that we may expand the user base only if we enable performance optimization to cover as many devices as possible through proper tuning.

    Aiming for an optimization that never compromises on quality

    Are there any personal directions and objectives in your journey to support stable game performance?

    Before I joined NCSOFT, I started my career working in performance optimization for a mobile device and a PC GPU manufacturer. At the time, I developed GPU drivers to learn about how the GPU worked and characteristics of the HW; I also was responsible for mobile and PC target service performance optimization and bug correction. Based on such experience, I took the role to support game performance optimization in NCSOFT. 

    I wish to continue to provide as much support to the performance and stability of the games of NCSOFT. People often believe that ‘optimization’ would mean a compromise on quality; however, our final objective is to maintain the best graphic quality, while further improving performance at the same time.