Creating greater computer processing power in a restricted space

Next generation gaming technologies are making greater demands of developers’ processing power

From 8-bit classics to the very latest opportunities in immersive virtual reality, UK studios have always been global leaders in video game development. Whether creating the caverns and tunnels of Manic Miner for the ZX Spectrum or fashioning the mean streets of San Andreas to be explored by players of Grand Theft Auto V, UK developers are responsible for a host of the world’s most widely enjoyed and critically acclaimed video games.

From the early days of the 1980s bedroom coders to today’s AAA blockbusters, the UK’s video game industry has evolved to form a key part of the country’s creative economy. According to games industry association TIGA, the sector contributes over £1 billion to the economy, making the UK the world’s fifth largest developer of video games. Furthermore, game development is an export focused business with 95 per cent of UK studios exporting at least some of their games.

Whilst the days of gaming pioneers writing lines of code in suburban bedrooms might have been left behind alongside Chuckie Egg and Jet Set Willy, it’s still the case that game developers tend to be compact companies. The 2014 report ‘A Map of the UK Games Industry’, published by innovation foundation Nesta and UKIE (a trade body for the UK’s interactive entertainment industry), found that the “vast majority” of the 1,902 active games companies were “micro or small businesses”.

Aside from the UK’s world renowned AAA developers, most of our game developers tend to be small, agile teams that enjoy flexible working in a range of studio spaces and pop-up environments. However, whatever a company’s size and shape, game developers rely on unparalleled computer performance to deliver their visions.

It’s certainly an exciting time to be involved in the games development industry. On the one hand, the popularity of smartphone-based app games shows no sign of waning. Meanwhile, on the bigger platforms, a host of technological advancements are offering developers the chance to take their craft to the next level.

The advent of 4K ultra-high definition graphics allows developers to create unprecedently detailed worlds for players to explore with awe and wonder. Add to this the rise of virtual and augmented reality technology and it’s clear the industry is on the verge of providing even more immersive gaming experiences.

However, building games that take advantage of such technologies places further pressure on computer processing power within game development studios. Naturally, developers want optimal performance whilst maintaining a comfortable work environment that is conducive to cutting-edge creativity.

Computers crunching the huge amounts of data demanded by 4K graphics and VR worlds generate significant amounts of heat. A cooling system that is bulky or noisy simply won’t play in the gaming world. Developers need a reliable cooling solution that fits within a studio space and integrates with existing infrastructure.

For many studios, liquid cooling is seen as the technology that will give them an edge and allow them to take advantage of the new frontiers of game development. Gamers themselves have been reaping the benefits of liquid cooling for a while now in their quest for improved performance and a quieter gaming experience with cold blocks and reservoirs proving popular. For developers themselves, even more efficient cooling is needed to handle the CPU load required by modern gaming development. This has led to some studios adopting systems based around ultra-efficient ‘total immersion’ cooling.

Compact and modular, Iceotope’s total immersion liquid cooling technology is an ideal option for studios where space is at a premium. Furthermore, the technology is reliable, easily scalable, energy efficient and – crucially - operates in near silence. And as for installation? Much like comparing the speed of a modern gaming console to the long, nervous wait for your Commodore 64 to load – Iceotope’s liquid cooling is fundamentally a plug-and-play technology.

Immersive cooling is ready to enable game developers of all sizes to provide even more immersive gaming experiences without the noisy fans, wasted energy and space requirements associated with traditional cooling techniques.