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Insomniac: "We Have The Benefit Of Being Exclusive"

Insomniac has proven themselves time and time again; they've already produced several of the most impressive PlayStation 3 exclusives to date. Well, not surprisingly, a lot of that success came from the single-console focus; they didn't have to "wrap their head around something that would operate on the Xbox 360."

During a recent Videogamer interview, Insomniac community manager James Stevenson talked about how they had to "rebuild" their critically acclaimed Ratchet and Clank series for the PS3, and the initial learning curve was definitely steep. He makes an interesting point in saying that now is a very exciting time for the current generation of consoles; developers have worked past most of their struggles and by this time, we start seeing some truly awesome pieces of software. Stevenson then went on to talk about their reason for designing titles exclusively for the PS3, and it's an understandable explanation:

"It was going from old techniques where processing was single threading, to multiple parallel processors essentially - there are six, seven SPUs on the PS3. That's a complete paradigm shift. It makes it even harder. At least we have the benefit of being exclusive. We code everything for the PS3 engine. Trying to wrap your head around getting something that will work on an Xbox 360 processor and a PS3 processor - that makes it even harder. So we have the benefit of being able to not worry about having another console to develop for and focus our engine on running incredibly well on the PS3, and wringing all the power out of the SPUs."

Stevenson further stated that their first PS3 game - the launch title Resistance: Fall of Man - was a "tough game game to make," and actually, they had to first make the game on the PC and then "simulate the engine of the PS3 as best as possible until the dev kits start rolling out." That means Insomniac was working on the machine and their game before they even got a dev kit from Sony! That's gotta be difficult, to say the least. But they have certainly persevered and when a PS3 owner sees "Insomniac" on the label of a game, they should definitely consider a purchase. Plain and simple.

11/2/2009 10:21:19 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (45 posts)

Darwin1967
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 10:47:59 AM
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They really have done an outstanding job on R&C Crack in Time...started playing last night and what should have been a quick play session dragged out nearly 4 hours! Can't seem to put it down.

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Aftab
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 1:07:32 PM

I'm lovin' it. It's even more fun than TOD, this time around, if that's difficult to believe. It's because of this game and Uncharted 2 that I'm selling my 360.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 3:49:25 PM

Well aftab, might as well get some cash before the crash.

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Aftab
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 4:20:40 PM

"Crash", as in 360's finishing altogether? It kinda seems that way already, as I have hardly gotten a response to my CL ad.

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Dancemachine55
Tuesday, November 03, 2009 @ 3:12:13 AM

If the insane 360 deals going around are anything to go by, MS is scared and now relying on either low prices, insane deals where you get 4 games free with a console, or its Xbot fans who go through many consoles each year but continue to delude themselves that it is the better console.

With old DVD tech and few great games on the horizon (like Halo Reach, Gears 3 or Fable 3) people who are unsure are better off selling their 360 and going the PS3 route. If not, save your pennies, sell a few old 360 games and get a PS3 to sit next to your 360.
THEN let us know which one you use more in about a year's time.

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Jawknee
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 11:08:19 AM
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Well duh! The PS3 is the best. Why would any developer want to make games for the Xbox? Oh yea wait...

While I don't blame devs for wanting to make a gobs of money, it seems a lot of devs have sacraficed the quality and effort they put into a game because they can make easy money with the Xbox.

*coughcapcomcough*

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MyWorstNightmar
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 11:40:22 AM

In the end, it does boil down to business. If Microsoft pulls up a Brinks trunk to your building, and wants to shower you with cash, if it makes sense to do it, you are going to do it. After hearing how much commitment to the PS3 architecture it takes to make a quality game, if you weigh that financial investment to learn it, against the amount of PS3 units you can sell, weighed against the amount of money Microsoft pays some of these devs to not even bother with the PS3, I can understand.
After hearing Insomniac say they were dissapointed in how few units Resistance 2 sold, I am glad they are still making PS3 exclusive games (for now). However, that may not last. Lets see how Ratchet and Clank: A Crack In Time sells. Hopefully, it will be well supported by PS3 owners, because Insomniac churns how high quality games and it would be a shame to lose them.

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Bugzbunny109
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 6:25:42 PM

To some, aesthetics is more valuable than money. Even though it is buisness, money shouldn't be the driver of creations because your creation will end up with less quality than it would have had if the aesthetics were different. Unfortunately, money drives modern day work and that has resulted in mediocre work. For example, when Kojima created MGS4, he was looking towards creating something in-depth and involving, and was less concerned about the amount of money he would make with the game. As a result, he took his time and put all his effort into his work. That is why the game was good and recieved very high ratings. Effort is worth more than money.

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Bandit1
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 11:12:04 AM
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Everything Insomniac makes is awesome, I've played all of their PS3 titles and they are all truly outstanding.

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maxpontiac
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 11:27:53 AM
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Insomniac gets my money. Almost all exclusive PS3 devs do.

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Aftab
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 12:54:06 PM

Yeah, I have been buying all Insomniac games on day 1 at full price this generation, on principle. And I've never been disappointed.

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Trarman
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 11:43:09 AM
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Wait, we get all worked up when a company focuses exclusively on XBox360, citing things like "It's dumb business to restrict your market". Yet when the PS3 is the favoured console, it's a totally different story.

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WolfCrimson
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 12:05:03 PM

Is that a tauren I see?
Anyways, that never happened here, not as far as I know ( and I read articles here everyday for the past... 5 months? More or less). People get worked up here if a multiplat is biased towards a specific console, which is usually the X360. Not as you claim.

Last edited by WolfCrimson on 11/2/2009 12:06:55 PM

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jdt1981
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 12:49:49 PM

I get upset when a developer heartlessly cashes in on PS3 owners with a half-assed 360 port like Valve did with HL2: Orange Box. If a developer wants to make games exclusively for the 360 because it's easier to focus on one platform I'm fine with that.

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Trarman
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 12:50:25 PM

Hmmm... I was thinking of all the love we show Valve around here, for precisely this reason.
http://www.psxextreme.com/ps3-news/5629.html

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MyWorstNightmar
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 12:50:35 PM

Wolf, what are you talking about? Valve gets beat down quite a bit on this site. I am with Trarman on this one.

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Aftab
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 12:58:07 PM

Wolf agrees with you, that ps3 owners get frustrated when we get piss-poor ports. But he disagrees with Trarman, meaning, we don't get ticked off at not getting games like Gears (probably since we get better ones like Uncharted ;).

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johnld
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 2:14:13 PM

valve gets beat down because they showed complete disrespect for ps3 owners by bad mouthing the system and a crap port(didnt even try to make it themselves). If you arent even going to try to develop for a system, then just dont talk about how difficult it is to develop for, especially if you havent even tried to do it. They gained a bad reputation against ps3 users for thier own actions. I would put platinum games in the same category but they havent put their foot in their mouth yet.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 3:54:05 PM

Yeah nobody trashed Valve for restricting their market, we trash them for being immature, pigheaded d*cks. Not to mention lazy, they can't even be bothered to make a new engine.

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MyWorstNightmar
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 6:24:37 PM

Probably going to get a bunch of thumbs down on this, but... why is everybody so down on Valve and Gabe? Did he insult you because he doesn't like the PS3? As far as I know, he answers questions from interviewers. Shouldn't he be honest on how he feels? I prefer honesty over politically correctness any day of the week.
When asked why Valve doesn't develop for the PS3, I suppose he should just say "no comment"?

I sure you all have longer memories than me, and have much more ammunition against Valve than I know about.

Last edited by MyWorstNightmar on 11/2/2009 6:26:12 PM

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isaya85
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 1:45:34 PM
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Ok I thought we were talking about insomniac here not freakin 3rd parties stay on topic guys

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Hawkeye
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 1:56:06 PM

The title of this article is '"Insomniac: "We Have The Benefit Of Being Exclusive"'

Doesn't that mean we can talk about exclusivity?

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MyWorstNightmar
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 6:37:27 PM

Isaya, when you comment on articles, the direction of comments can weave in and out of the original topic, and onto other topics. I would bet that Ben gets a lot of ideas for future articles based on topics that get raised through other articles he writes. Not sure what the big deal is. No one is asking for cooking tips, just talking about developers. Article is about Insomniac, a developer. Perhaps other developers will get commented on while discussing Insomniac?

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Qwarktast1c
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 2:24:00 PM
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Insomniac is an awesome developer that knows what quality is

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LegendaryWolfeh
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 3:34:41 PM
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Hm, I wonder when the day a multi-system game will go all out. Putting two teams on the project and letting each one push w/e console they use as much as they can, wonder how the games would turn out in the end. Wish they would do that =(

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 3:55:13 PM

me too, they did that in the old days, or something damn near.

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Highlander
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 4:29:50 PM

See Criterion Games and Burnout Paradise - that game rocks, and the PS3 version was considered to be better despite having to wait for custom sound tracks to be patched in.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 3:50:00 PM
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Insomniac and Naughty Dog are way up there for me, does anyone have any sales figures on R&C acit?

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tes37
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 4:09:41 PM

I bought one, if that helps any.

Last edited by tes37 on 11/2/2009 4:11:53 PM

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Highlander
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 4:28:38 PM

Me too.

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Qwarktast1c
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 4:54:36 PM

i bought one as well

got it on friday, and i finished it saturday night. late nights baby ;)

i must say it was a another great installment in the series

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chucknasty
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 6:20:59 PM

me too so four copies at least:)

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Highlander
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 4:28:31 PM
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Insomniac also had some interesting things to say about whether a game should be 60 frames per second or 30 frames per second.

According to their own internal consumer research and analysis of reviews, sales and what not compared against frame rates of games, the frame rate isn't a determining factor in terms of reviews of actual sales, in ther words, according to their research, the frame rate matters far less than you think so long as it's steady and at least 30frames per second.

So, they're saying that perhaps it's better to lock a framerate at 30 and do more per image, in other words quality over quantity.

If you think about it, this is interesting because the amount of work taken to render a game at 720p is approximately half that of rendering at 1080p. Certainly, 1080p30 will look better than 720p60 for games that do not require the higher framerate. So why not? It's worth exploring. I mean, look at Uncharted 2, didn't it render at 30 frames per second? I haven't noticed a huge number of complaints about it.

Interesting.

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Aftab
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 4:41:20 PM

I probably represent a minority when I say I prefer faster frame rate, than to texture detail, or resolution. And maybe COD4 is an exception to the rule, but even it's sub-HD, it's the only fps on consoles to run at 60fps.

And if you want to see what 1080p plus a silky smooth frame-rate of 60 fps looks like, check out Wipeout HD/Fury or Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 for some real retinal ecstasy. Still images don't do justice to these games.

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Aftab
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 4:54:30 PM

It's also note-worthy that for TV's 40inches and below, 1080p and 720p are indiscernible to the human within reasonable sitting distance. However, 60fps makes 30fps look like a slide-show, and you'll see the difference even on a PSP screen.

I'm not underrating 1080p resolution (even though very few games actually natively support that), I'm just saying that even if most games that were 720p were also animating at 60fps, it would be a sight to behold. Because as of now, most are at 720p and 30fps. R&C:ACIT, for example, is 720p at 60fps, while Uncharted 2 is 720p at 45fps, with a slower framerate, and identical resolution, but more texture detail.

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Highlander
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 5:15:58 PM

@Aftab

You're wrong about the size of screen and whether a human can discern a difference between 720p and 1080p. You're overstating the importance of frame rate, TV and movies offer frame rates below 30, TV runs just under 30 and movies at just under 25.

30frames per second will never look like a slide show unless you're being particularly argumentative. Granted it's not going to be as 'smooth' as 60fps in a fast moving game. However, please tell me how many games running on PS2 hardware you think ran at 60 frames per second. I'm pretty sure you'll find the answer is zero. So, were we playing slide shows in the days of the PS2?

Uncharted is stated in numerous locations to run at 30fps. Setting the framerate at 45fps would be insane because then you'd have frame doubling of some frames but not others and it would give the constant appearance of stuttering.

I've played both Wipeout HD/Fury and NGS2 at 1080p and NGS2 uses simplified textures and reduced enemies on screen to manage the polygon count at the higher resolution, the game looks great, but the workload was managed by reducing other elements on screen. In Wipeout HD, there are an awful lot of elements on screen that are generated and not loaded as textures, not only that by the game alters it's resolution dynamically to maintain the frame rate so it's not always rendering at 1080. With Wipeout, the graphics are not in the same class as those in games such as Uncharted or even Ratchet and clank, it's a completely different genre with different priorities graphically. The 1080p graphics in Wipeout look fantastic, but in terms of complexity are not even close to those in other games such as Uncharted 2 or R&C.

Human eyes perceive visual information continuously, so technically (biologically?) 60frames per second is like a slide show as well. But, just as we do at lower frame rates our brains knit the images together and provide the mind with a continual image.

I'm not saying that faster frame rates at the same resolution are not better, but I am saying that 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second looks damn fine. I have no problems watching TV or movies at 1080p, they move just fine without any of the uncomfortable clicking noise that would accompany a slide show running at 30 slides per second. How about you?

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Aftab
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 8:40:09 PM

It would be erroneous to say that human vision is continuous because that would imply the speed of the signal traveling the optic nerve, and the time at which the brain can process the signal and convert it in to an image would be as fast as light reaching the eye. Ofcourse, nothing is as fast as light, not even close.

Regarding the knitting effect, or frame buffering, I suggest going to a dance hall, or club, somewhere a strobe light is being used. Sooner or later, you gotta step out for a break because your eyes just never get use to that, otherwise you'll get a headache, nausea, or, God forbid, a seizure (if one has epilepsy).

There are various thresholds cited for framerates discernible by the human eye (30 fps, 60fps, 90fps, 120fps), but I suggest going to your local BestBuy and checking out the LCD TVs that use "motionflow"/"automotion" tech. The difference is quite apparent to me between 60hz and 120hz. And, even 240hz is discernible from 120hz.

Then, I suggest watching a game or a movie at 720p and 1080p. Standing nose-distance from the screen, you should be able to see the pixels in each screen, however, the 720p should be looking more blocky. But, standing 10 feet away from a 40" screen, I'd probably have to ask a sales associate to determine whether the signal is 720p or 1080p, and even then I wouldn't know for sure, because we all know that not every one at BestBuy is always in the know (though that doesn't stop them from citing numbers or making insistent suggestions).

So, I would say based on viewing distance and screen size, resolution can be less discernible than framerate.

Regarding Wipeout HD, or Gran Turismo 5: Prologue, (or even Ninja Gaiden Sigma 1 or 2), it is true they all have dynamic resolutions. Depending on what's on the screen, the games will run from anywhere between 1920x1080 to 1280x1080 resolutions. Horizontal lines are always 1080, but the vertical lines vary, in order to maintain frame rate, and reduce pop-in and screen tearing. Even still, either of these games running at 1280x1080p still are supporting a resolution 50% more than a resolution of 720p (1280x720). But still, I wouldn't put either of these games in a different graphical class than Ratchet & Clank. And, I especially wouldn't put Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 in a seperate class than R&C. But, I would put Uncharted 2 (even though it is only 720p at 30fps) in a different class and that has to do with polygon count and texture resolution and quantity (which is not to be confused with regular "resolution"). This is what we are both agreeing upon, I believe. Also by the way, watch Drake swing on a rope in and out of the screen (or z-axis). The game hits 60fps at times.

What I would like to know, what game(s) have you played that support 1920x1080p at even 30fps?

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Aftab
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 9:00:15 PM

Oh, btw, Wipeout Fusion, and DMC's ran at a fairly constant 60fps. So, did MGS2 and MGS3, which even MGS4 didn't do that, but that's admittedly an extreme jump in both resolution, polygon count and texture resolution.

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Highlander
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 10:01:09 PM

Human vision is a biological faculty, the signaling from the eye to the visual cortex is a direct connection from each part of the retina to a corresponding part of the brain, there is no timing signal, no clock, the image continuously streams from the retina in a massively parallel asynchronous manner. There is no 'frame rate' for the capture of images by the brain. 120Hz and 240Hz screens do not increase the frame rate except by frame doubling or quadrupling. The TV cannot provide the 'inbetween' frames without introducing a multiple frame delay to allow the video processor to create the extra frames. The source is still 60fps (at best) and a good 60Hz screen will be just as pretty and smooth as a 120Hz one. An average 60Hz TV will always be average, and an average 120Hz TV will look a bit better than an average 60Hz. But since there are no additional frames, the TV is simply increasing the number of times a given frame is re-displayed.

At 6-10 feet you can easily see the difference between a 720p and 1080p TV at sizes in the 40 inch range. I'll agree as you decrease the size it becomes harder, but at anything above 30-inches I can see it from across my living room.

Strobe lights have very low persistence, and the human eye is capable of detecting the decrease in luminosity even if the specific detail is not observable.

I couldn't tell you if I've played a game at 1080p30, but I have played games at 1080i which is close (but no cigar). I'll take the increased resolution over frame rates for a lot of games. But as I've said before, there are also a lot of games where I've rather keep the 60 frames per second. Here is an example. I'd rather have Madden NFL at 1080p30 than 720p60, increased image quality would by far offset the loss of frame rate in that game. But in Burnout Paradise, I'd never accept less than 60fps because of the speed of the game.

In principle I think we agree across the whole issue, answer me this. Would you rather play a game with 4xAA and 4xAF at 30fps or a game with poor quality 'quick' AA and no AF but at 60fps? It's that trade off of resolution, frame rate and quality. For me personally, I would rather have the quality in most games, followed by resolution and then frame rates. But, for racing games, and fighting games and titles that demand the fluid frame rate I'd put the frame rate and image quality above resolution. What do you say?

Assuming that Wipeout Fusion, DMC, MGS2 and 3 did (I'll have to take your word for it) run at 60 frames per second, it was a waste of time since no TV (at the time) would display at anything better than 30 frames per second progressive scan.

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Aftab
Tuesday, November 03, 2009 @ 6:23:31 AM

Young man, I just explained why it would be impossible to have a infinitely, continuous neurological signal. That would defy Physics, meaning that the combined time of the nerve impulse traveling down the optical nerve and the brain processing would be as fast as light. Our nerve impulses are actually much slower than standard electronics. And even electronic signals are much slower than light. By magnitudes of thousands, if not millions.

What you are referring to is digital signals versus analog signals...

Everything living has "clock". That is how we can measure brain waves and heart waves, and even nerve impulses at the molecular level, and even the "heart beat wave" or spark of life in an embryo. That is how body is able to regulate and synchronise it self.

And regarding 60hz/120hz/240hz and strobe light examples, or even flipbooks for that matter, ofcourse they are not video game framerates, but they were examples of how the eye can discern a difference between frame rates, in general. Please understand this.

And regarding this point about TV's only refreshing at 30hz or 30fps...if that was true, then if you played Wipeout HD on a old CRT TV, it would have a frame rate like Uncharted's (since you're saying the old TV's can't refresh quicker than 30hz and therefore 60fps would be wasted). Ofcourse, you will not experience that. Please, try this experiment out, and see for yourself.

Bottom line, I would much rather see MGS4 at 720p and 60fps than at 1080p and 30fps. That's not gonna happen this generation, most likely in the next one it will be more common.

The eye can easily discern between a video game texture and a real texture, but the eye can't tell the difference between 60fps, and real motion. So, I rather have life-like animation, than super rich textures that aren't going to fool my eye, anyways. And let's not forget how important art-direction which is not even quantifiable.

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Highlander
Tuesday, November 03, 2009 @ 2:45:45 PM

Aftab,

Now you're putting words in my mouth. No one said anything about the speed of light being a requirement for a continual stream of visual perception. Well, no one that is, until you did.

What I was pointing out, and you haven't refuted, is that human vision is not frame based. The eye does not capture vision one complete frame at a time, but instead sends a continuous stream of nerve impulses (analogous to a video data stream) to the brain along a massively parallel asynchronous pathway. I say it this way in order to relate it to modern digital technology. It's massively parallel because of the sheer number of nerve pathways in the optic nerve sending visual information simultaneously. Asynchronous, because each nerve impulse is triggered as soon as it's ready, not in lock step with the others. There is no system clock driving the optic nerve.

However, since you've chosen to take this discussion to rather absurd lengths, I'll simply stop there. As for calling me a young man, why thank you old chap, makes me feel quite the lad - despite my years.

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Aftab
Tuesday, November 03, 2009 @ 9:24:55 PM

Touche, but as for this conversation and it's absurd length, it takes two hands to shake, so it's bit late to use that line, padawan.

And, I was not putting words in your mouth, rather, I was describing the real world implications of your assumption. If it is as you say, that visual perception is infinitesimally continuous, instead of sampling as if with a clock, that would mean that we see at an infinite frame rate. Neither our brains work that fast, nor to do even nerve impulses travel that fast, which I'm sure you agree with. And even if we could see at an infinite framerate, which we obviously don't, that would imply that we could discern between 1000fps and 10,000fps for example. But as we both know, there is a limit and a threshold beyond which we can not discern. But 30fps is not even close to that. 60fps is all the better. And as racing fans that we are, that's something we can both agree on.

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SILVERAMMO
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 11:41:27 PM
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give me resistance 3 already

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___________
Monday, November 02, 2009 @ 11:59:53 PM
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oh sony and insomniac how can you do this to your #1 fan?
i really can not believe they have done this.
they release this bloody thing in the US and make me wait 10 days for my favorite series.
than 3 days before release date they delay it from the 5th to the 12th, EVEN THOUGH ITS SITTING IN THE BACK OF THE STORE TODAY THE 3RD!

what the %$#@ is the point of delaying a game 7 days if its already in stores for bloomin out loud.
ps3 games sell like sh*t at the best of times, let alone releasing 2 days after MW2.
insomniac, sony ARE YOU FU**ING INSANE?
they really dont want this to sell, do they?
ive always been wondering whats sonys logic, assuming there is some logic to it, and trying to find that out.
but now its official.
sony is run buy a bunch of chimpanzees!

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kevinater321
Tuesday, November 03, 2009 @ 3:27:07 PM

But smart chimpanzees!

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