GDC 09: Attention Future Developers, Insomniac’s Got Your Back

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Hello from GDC 09! My name is Mike Acton and I’m the Engine Director at Insomniac Games. Last year at GDC we announced our Nocturnal Initiative and how we were going to use that to share some of the source code and research that happens here at Insomniac Games with the industry as a whole. I’m really pleased to say that over the last year we’ve seen a lot of good responses to that initiative. From individual students, to large studios and publishers, and even companies outside the industry, we’ve seen that people are interested in using what we have offered and contributing back ideas and changes.

Nocturnal is really about giving back to the industry. We know that we’re here because we learned from those that came before us and we have a responsibility to give back in turn. We take that responsibility very seriously and so we’ve worked hard to make sure we’ve added regularly to both our research documentation and source code over the last year. Just about every two weeks we release something new with the hope that we can help someone out there. Even when studios decide not to use our code or research directly, we know that we’ve at least been able to inspire conversation and discussion about our approaches within other studios. And getting people communicating and debating ideas is always a good thing!

Today, we’re adding something that I think is very neat to the Nocturnal code base. We’re very proud of the research we did and the final effect of the water system used in Resistance 2 and as of today both that code and documentation that describes the techniques in detail is available on – free to use for any purpose. I can only hope that one of you out there will take that and improve on it! (And you know if you want to share those improvements back with the community in turn, that would be awesome!)

Thanks to everyone in the community that’s checked out the source code on Nocturnal or read our R&D papers and given us feedback. Keep it up!

Comments are closed.


  • Really nice that you’re offering this up for free. Great job.

  • Open source programming isn’t something you see when it comes to gaming. Great job!

  • Assuming you are in business to make money how does giving away your hard work without a promise of participating in others’ improvements make any sense? I don’t understand the business case your making?

  • @3

    Is that your way of saying the only reason to do a good thing is if they will do you one in return?

    Its great what they are doing, lets give them credit for that.

  • what can I say other than you have my respect!

  • KSPRAYDAD – its that kind of mentality that hinders progression.

    Google are big players in open source, and look how that company pushes the boundaries of Web technology.

  • Nice, can’t wait to see what new games you guys are working on.

  • Wow, this is great, I’m on Computer Sciences, so I’ll def. have a look at it :D

    Now I just need a PS3 SDK…

    So it’s C++ what you use for making games on the PS3? What other languages can you use?

  • This is why I love and support IG. Because the make kick ass games and they help other developers out. Keep it up IG and I can’t wait to buy your next game when it is release.

  • If I could kiss every foot at Insomniac, I would.

    Unfortunately those feet are too far away.

  • I can’t wait till I get to the stage where I can take advantage of your generosity.

  • This is just another reason why IG are one of the top developers in the industry.

  • you guys @ insomniac are the best! one of my fav devs all time. way to support the industry and new comers. love the support guys.


  • COOL! You guys are so nice!

  • You guys get my respect for supporting aspiring developers. Thanks!

  • Very nice guys. The water effects were definitely one of the things that wowed me in R2. I loved the part where you were in it, bobbing up and down.

  • To much for me I will leave the games to Insomniac. When you got a job and a life it’s hard to keep up.. I haven’t even made a level in LBP yet. but have designed one on paper (getting there) But thanks for the offer…

  • Thanks for dropping the price on Ratchet & Clank Quest for Booty. I picked it up a few days ago. Hopefully you guys are going to make an announcement in the near future about the next installment of the series!

  • Coming from the company that said that there aren’t enough resources on the PS3 to manage custom sound tracks when full open worlds like Skate 2 managed it and to look better and Killzone 2 with its graphical prowess managed it as well. Its either a blatant lie or they’re simply incapable of actually programing efficiently.

    Also coming from the company that largely changed their series to focus strictly on profit ruining what started as a great game with a neat story into the COD rip off R2. Even the buying for skins is evidence considering that they were originally free in the first title. I don’t like to be bitter but I have to say that my original image of insomniac has been ruined, in my eyes, its just plain depressing how money grabbing they’ve become. So I personally believe this has to have some sort of financial gain for them as well. I’m curious.

  • That’s pretty awesome of you guys, demonstrating even further your supremeness among developers. Still, I have to say, most of the time the water effects were pretty good, but I noticed on a number of occasions that it behaved incredibly erratically, jumping up to inexplicable levels. When I think on it, it may have been entirely restricted to multiplayer though. I’m certainly not complaining, since if I had to choose between better water effects and getting the game when I did, I would most certainly pick the latter. I admire the fact that we get at least one game from you guys every year. Maybe you should create an open-source work ethics page so other companies can get the right idea. :D

  • That’s really good to hear. I was amazed by the water effects of Resistance 2, and would love to see it used in other games.

  • off topic hay jeff i brought the residence gear for home and it not comin up it took my money thanks jeff

  • This is awesome. Before I graduated I took a course in game design where CS and Art students teamed up to create games and although I found a job outside the gaming industry I’m still very interested. I’ll have to check this out some time. I’ll make sure to share this with my old instructor as well so this knowledge can continue to be distributed.

    Also…am I the only one who though his name was Mike Action…?

    Thanks for the update Mike!

  • Bikant – When Insomniac said that, it was true….regarding soundtracks. Sony updated the PS3 firmware by a lot after and reduced the memory it takes.

  • Anyone up for making a game?

  • Nocturnal is an amazing idea.
    In fact im using some of the code on my project:
    u32 Crc32(u32 crc, const void* data, u32 count)
    bool IntersectsPoint(const Vector3& pos, const f32 err = LinearIntersectionError, f32* mu = NULL, Vector3* offset = NULL) const;

  • Are you guys gonna upload some of the GDC presentations at the R&D website ?

  • Insomniac demonstrating top developer practices as always.

    PS! The semi-announced R&C game coming this fall, you should do a dual bd/online release if possible.

  • yea this is great and all and you do great work on all your games but when i installed the 1.50 update to resistance 2 my compeditive stats stoped moving at all but i do still get coop stuff so did this happen to anyone else? is there a way to fix it ? i really need the 10000 kill trophy or this will be your first game that i dont get 100% or more in please help

  • This is such a GREAT idea and I hope it will benefit the industry as a whole. This is why Insomniac is on top and will always be there!
    What a great company and great bunch of people.
    Keep up the awesome work and thanks for everything that you do!

  • Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time just got announced!!!

    French PR is all there is at the moment.

  • Kudos to Insomniac!^^

  • Yes, Kudos to Insomniac!

  • Oh god, how come I never heard of this before?! Thank you Imnsomniac, it’s people like you who make the world better!

  • You know, with some modifications someone could take a robust physics-based water engine like this and turn it into the core gameplay feature for a nice little PSN game. Sort of like how blowing wind through leaves and a bazillion blades of grass is the core gameplay mechanic of flOwer. Somebody make it happen, please.

  • Ratchet and Clank: a Crank in Time , thats the new ratchet game???

  • You guys are heroes to us indie dev start ups!

  • Insomniac: GODS AMONG MEN!

  • Nice hopefully this will help other dev make better water and inspire new developers to programs for the ps3, good job guys!

  • Someone had to take this step and couldn’t expect less from Insomiac Games, nice to read that your initiative is more alive than ever!

  • Question: Do you guys share network code with other devs? If you don’t, that may be something to consider. It seems like Insomniac has nailed the proper way to setup online game lobbies, user interface, and handle the server infrastructure. The only other dev team that seems to come close are the guys at Incognito.

    I’ve always loved the attitude at Insomniac. Keep up the great work!

  • please make another music video, can you pitch that idea around mike?

  • Good to hear theres free help out there when ya need it.
    Resistance 2 is great, i play it everyday and currently downloading the aftermath map pack.
    Cant wait!

  • Insomniac are the best.

  • This is awesome. I am definitely going to check this out.

  • I felt that the water effects in R2 was great, but a little bit Jello’ish if you know what I mean. Almost perfect though

  • You guys rule so much Insomniac

  • i might as well set up a direct debit to my account for insomniac’s games. i never miss one. great devs always result in great games. people aren’t usually fans of devs, but i’m one.:) keep up the great work insomniac, and kudos for supporting the industry that you’re a part of. if only more devs would think like this.

  • this is great, you guys are awesome

  • dam gj for sharing this!

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