GDC '08: Insomniac opens up toolshed

Ratchet and Clank developer's "Nocturnal Initiative" offers bits and pieces of code to game makers around the world free of charge.

by

SAN FRANCISCO--Some companies share their technology between different teams as a way to get the most out of their programmers' work. Insomniac today announced it too will begin sharing its technology with other development teams--all of them.

Dubbed the Nocturnal Initiative, Insomniac's program will make bits and pieces of its technology code free to all developers on the official Web site. Insomniac reps characterized the move as a way to encourage communication with other developers and to give something back to the industry that has treated them so well.

The code will not be an engine, or middleware, or a licensed development solution of any kind. It will, instead, help handle common chores with benefits like memory-management templates, debugging utilities, and other basic functions that every developer has a need for when making a game. The utilities are also so basic that they could be adapted easily for any platform.

Discussion

63 comments
GOAT_DUDE
GOAT_DUDE

ChuckNorris82 "I want Insomniac games to come to the 360!!! I would never leave my house If they started making Ratchet and Clank for the 360!!!!!!! OMFG!!!!" NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

CStheGreat
CStheGreat

That is actually a very cool thing for Insomniac to do. That means games made for the PS3 from other companies have the possibility of running better, releasing sooner, and having better content. I'm happy.

littlestreakier
littlestreakier

Insomniac is a great company and i respect them a lot. Plus their games are really fun too.

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

This is nice. It kind of reminds me of Soft's ModToo;. Ooh reminds me...

FireNForget
FireNForget

Just another reason why Insomniac is regarded as one of the best/most respected places to work in the industry; they consistently turn out the best games, know how to treat their people, and they turn around give back hard earned knowledge to the industry without any "strings" attached.

ChuckNorris82
ChuckNorris82

I want Insomniac games to come to the 360!!! I would never leave my house If they started making Ratchet and Clank for the 360!!!!!!! OMFG!!!!

Space-Q
Space-Q

"They've always done this." I think you're right, but now it is on their official web site.

Space-Q
Space-Q

that's cool of them. activision could learn a thing or two from this before karma bites them in the ass. coughcoughghIIIpatchcoughcough

Trashcan_Man
Trashcan_Man

The rest of the industry (or at least smaller developers) could learn from this. Smart choice, and hopefully with a company that has a little weight behind 'em like Insomniac, other publishers inches away from closing their doors will follow suit.

Viral-venom13
Viral-venom13

Nice move, i can relate to this as i love it when artist tend to share their techniques with other artist to maximize the approaches of how they would attempt to bring forth a new work of art or in this case, a Game!!!

Rhubarb9
Rhubarb9

wow I wish gaming was less about money :] kudos to these guys

normsta
normsta

I see this as on big step towards great games and new ways of thinking which will then hopefully teach people that if we all work together instead of against, the world will be on hell of a better place! This is the start of somthing BIG! THE UNITED WORLD!

Arcanum
Arcanum

Very altruistic move on the part of Insomniac. This should be good for the developers and we the gamers!

Latinbro1
Latinbro1

Cool that they are sharing some of the codes that help their engine work. More developers should do that.

mikewalsh69
mikewalsh69

its a very nice thing for them to do. it also helps new developers make there games a bit better. i know i would of loved gaelic games(i think it was ireland only) to have been better. btw mjc0961 they are owned by sony. never going to happen unless they split up. that wont happen either. i hope they bring all there classics to the psn store

svenskamerikan
svenskamerikan

I posted a couple of months ago wondering why more sharing isn't done. Why everyone develops their own game-matching / server room system, talk system, buddy system and party system etc. Hopefully this is the first step towards making some stuff common across most games - making it cheaper on the developers and easier and better for the consumers.

Loucetios
Loucetios

mjc0961 sorry but that will never happen

dukerav
dukerav

Very nice move by Insomniac, helping out the industry as a whole. I would hope to see things like this become more commonplace. Kudos to Insomniac, and cant wait for Resistance 2.

YourDaddy88
YourDaddy88

Cool - help out with the needed nuisances - more effort towards the real code!! Good deal guys.

carljohnson3456
carljohnson3456

Insomniac is so cool man. The best games, coolest devs. All around awesome. Check out the Playstation Blog and listen to their song about working there. Something like, "So come and hang out with Ratchet and Clank, or rock Resistance in Burbank" and then something like, "We'll even let you play with our pinballs" lol. The coolest. Sony better not ever let them go. I know their actually independent, but Sony better keep good ties.

sancezz
sancezz

Calmed Fury; If you read the article, they are not licensing any sort of engine. It's extremely basic tools that every developer needs. And not having to build these basic tools saves time. Developers can still build their very own engine; just with incorporating small tools such as these will make it quicker and easier.

flavort
flavort

I think this is great for the gaming world. I love the insomniac games and if it will help other companies make better games cool. I always want better games.

Calmed_Fury
Calmed_Fury

thats interesting becuase they just talked at gdc about how making your own engine is better than liscensing one...

AGMalicious
AGMalicious

That is definitely useful to all the smaller developers out there and may make others interested join the ring of small timers out there.

prioritymail
prioritymail

Sweet, this may open doors for smaller developers, this will eventually increase creativity in the industry

Loucetios
Loucetios

Insomniac is so awesome, i do not think there is any other developer around that can crank out so many great games so fast, Resistance 06, Ratchet 07, now resistance 08, btw heres a youtube video they made its basically just a funny video that shows their office and stuff, but there are little info on resistance 2 on screens that the devs are working on http://blog.us.playstation.com/2008/02/20/work-at-insomniac-play-life-sized-chess/ If you don't want to bother it says there are 12 new chimeran enemies and something about 0708

Sokol4ever
Sokol4ever

That's great to hear. Working as a team will benefit all the companies and gamers alike. I wish more developers would exercise the sharing. :)

jyoung312
jyoung312

Should help exponentially with ps3 development bc no one knows it better than Insomniac. Sony is trying to make development easier for developers with insomniacs help, psedge tools, cutting costs on development kits, free engine for psn title development, and helping epic optimize UE3 for ps3. Hopefully we will see the continued improvement of 3rd party and multi-platform games on ps3 bc we are tired of shoddy ports. However, developing for the ps3 might still be problematic for some developers who choose to 360 lead instead bc they don't really understand and have ps3 in mind. Many commentators have said that it would be easier on developers if they lead on ps3 and then port to 360.

footfoe2
footfoe2

insomiac is awesome now they are trying to give other companys a handicap. isomniac should make their own consule hey id buy it

kratos_karmakar
kratos_karmakar

if this contributes to faster game development im all for it! great job insomniac!

kratos_karmakar
kratos_karmakar

if this contributes to faster game development im all for it! great job insomniac!

afilgueirasjr
afilgueirasjr

jacob-goodlich Insomniac is not a first party company owned by Sony they are a thrid party they just have contracts with sony the same way Bioware and Buggie have with Microsoft. just thought i would clear that up but not to rain on the parade but why dont they make an engine that everyone can use i mean the few stand outs for the PS3 have come from Insomniac they should make some money off their engine that way we can see alot more titles for the ps3 because the only reason for the lack of games is because company just find in too hard to make them but Insomniac has cracked the code so they should share that not just parts

somberfox
somberfox

Insomniac is definitely one of the most respectable companies in the business. Keeping not only their fans happy, but their employees too. And now sharing the love with the industry as well.

NorthernRT
NorthernRT

Everyone's saying it, Insomniac are truly one of the best in the dev business. And who came up with the name 'Nocturnal Initiative' - that's awesome. Although, I think Insomniac are still a fairly small company (maybe that's why they are good). But compared to the likes of Rockstar, who have bases in Edinburgh, Toronto, Leeds etc. I think they could easily set up a shop for us here in the UK :).

rasterror
rasterror

If this tool set can compete with or compliment the unreal 3 engine, which it could with insomniac designing it, on a small scale design, this would mean a great to video game designers in both, time, resources, and ease of programming.

bsin94
bsin94

Another reason why Insomniac is one of my most respected development teams.

jacob-goodlich
jacob-goodlich

isnt insomniac an in-house sony developing company? i think it is and this is really really great that theyre helping other devs too, the future is looking pretty bright, especially for the ps3.

netolic
netolic

i want them to remake DISRPTOR!!! lol. their first FPS ever

Maersyndel
Maersyndel

I hope there's a template in there for their comms system.....every other FPS on PS3 could use that system for sure.

Rafinator
Rafinator

Insomniac truly is a great company.