In partnership with Vision On AV Systems, Kramer’s range of AVoIP solutions were recently selected to bring seamless connectivity and interactivity inside games developer Facepunch Studios’ new state-of-the-art Birmingham HQ, encouraging collaborative meetings for its 50-strong international team.

Founded in 2004 and based in Birmingham, Facepunch Studios is one of the world’s fastest-growing independent game developers, with sales of close to 40 million games to date, including Garry’s Mod and Rust.

As part of its continued expansion, and now with a 50-strong international team of gaming specialists located around the world, Facepunch Studios required a major AV/IT upgrade to deliver seamless joined-up collaboration between employees, with flexible and reliable BYOD wireless presentation capabilities in the boardroom and across all office spaces in its new Colmore Row home. 

In addition, further reflecting its success, Facepunch wanted its new offices to deliver a ‘wow’ effect, giving staff an inspiring and dynamic working environment, while also showcasing its credentials to visitors. This included two imposing 3 x 3 video walls in the reception area showing larger-than-life game footage, along with a large interactive screen enabling dynamic product advertisement content.

To achieve its ambitions, Facepunch teamed up with Vision On AV Systems – a specialist in engineering, design and installation of bespoke AV systems – with Kramer becoming the provider of choice to ensure all AV requirements, both with today and the future in mind, were able to be delivered on time. 

“Facepunch had a very clear vision of what they wanted and needed,” explains Mike McHale, Country Manager for Kramer UK. “This included a fully automated boardroom with wireless presentation and multi-platform VC (Video Conferencing), interactive displays, zoned audio, and high-end executive offices with BYOD conferencing capabilities. A key target was to minimise hardwiring, so preference was given to an IP-based solution which fitted with Facepunch’s leading technology ambitions.”

A key requirement for any IP-based solution is a stable and secure network for solid wireless access. Ubiquiti Enterprise Layer 3 switches were selected by Vision On AV Systems, and the AV network installation was carefully planned to ensure minimum disruption to service.

Using a networked solution allows for total flexibility for control, which sees the AV system split into four zones: Media Wall No.1, Media Wall No.2, Boardroom, Office Audio and Remote Control Stations. 

The central communications room serves as the hub of the AV solution, comprising the Kramer KC-BRAINware-5 for overall control. Kramer BRAINware is a user-friendly software application that enables users to execute all room control actions straight from a computer without installing a physical Brain between the user interface and the controlled devices. 

Using Kramer BRAINware enables users to operate multiple devices over a network. For Facepunch these devices include encoders, audio-video sources and multi-zone audio amplifiers/mixers, with all devices connected via Ubiquiti Enterprise network switches with fibre links.

Individual rooms have Kramer VIA wireless collaboration and conferencing platforms, interfaces, decoders and local amplifiers. BYOD video conferencing was implemented in most rooms using the VIA Connect2 collaboration platform and VIA Versa virtual camera drivers, while the fully automated boardroom uses Kramer’s VIA Campus2 presentation hub for streaming at up to 4K UHD resolution via HDMI, plus a camera-speaker bar. Additional decoders were added to the meeting rooms, the boardroom, the game development area, the bar and interactive spaces.

To create the wow factor for the 3X3 video walls in the reception area, an encoder/decoder solution was chosen for its flexibility and because it allowed setup, easy source and audio changes and remote device control using RS-232. 

One of the main challenges was readying the system for testing before the main network was fully operational. Using a simple router and a single SL-240C, Vision On AV Systems was able to commission the floor space-by-space, before moving over to KC−BRAINware once the network was fully commissioned, with external access to the Kramer servers.

Completed on time, the new Kramer-based AV solution has been instrumental in improving collaboration across Facepunch Studios, facilitating simple and seamless video conferencing that is essential for the success of an international team. 

Feedback from everyone involved in the project has been “exceptional” – from Facepunch Studios management and employees alike, as well as other companies involved in the build and visitors to the new premises.

Leigh Holmes, Operations Manager at Facepunch Studios comments: “It’s now very easy to set up a room for a BYOD meeting, and easy to set up a fully hosted meeting in the boardroom and similarly, wireless presentations are also simple and productive.”

She continues: “The new technology allows for the level of communication required for working on some of the most cutting-edge gaming technology around – enabling creative juices to flow while enhancing meaningful interactions that foster productivity. With full BYOD compatibility and excellent image and sound quality, conferencing is quicker, easier, and more fluid, helping employee engagement wherever they are in the world. The intuitive interface and automated start-up, resets, and shutdowns of the AV system in each room make using the AV system simple to use and reduce unnecessary power use for improved sustainability.”

Alex Bird, Business Development Manager, at Vision On AV Systems adds: “Facepunch is delighted with the end result and now benefits from seamless wireless presentation, flexible conferencing, and a reception area with a real wow factor.”

“We are proud to have supported Vision On AV Systems with this fantastic project,” concludes Mike. “The team at Facepunch now have reliable, future-proof technology that will enhance operations for many, many years into the future. Our UK support team thank Alex [Bird] and his team at Vision On AV Systems for their great work and we now all look forward to seeing what great games will come from the creative team at Facepunch Studios.”

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