BLOGCAST

It’s been forever since I last wrote. No excuses. Just got busy. Maybe that is an excuse in itself- but I’m really working on getting back into the blogging game, and sharing a bit of my small corner in Insomniac Games with the rest of you. This one should be exciting- especially for my first post in over a year (ouch!).

When I say to people that working in HR in the entertainment industry, let alone in games, is always entertaining, it’s ALWAYS entertaining. There is never a dull moment, and there is never a day that is the same. When one works with creative souls, there are always interesting events. But, let’s set the stage for this nugget of information. We had a candidate come in for an on-site interview. This person had passed a test, and had already phone screened with a member of the team. We had high hopes for this candidate! I met with said candidate, thought they were lovely, and very excited (maybe a bit nervous) about the interview. Not bad things in the least. As a footnote – being a bit nervous about an interview is a good thing… it keeps you on your toes. What you want to avoid is the paralyzing nerves that give you sweaty palms and make you stutter when you try to talk. But, back to the candidate. He interviewed well with the next group of interviewers. Then things started to go south…. There was an off color comment. Then a few f-bombs, followed by a few more inappropriate comments about the previous set of interviewers (ie now potential new coworkers). And just to add a cherry on top- a few more f-bombs – just for fun. What happened? Where was this going? What happened to the pulled together candidate that was presented at the beginning? MAYDAY! We are going down in flames. BIG TIME.

Needless to say – the candidate took himself out of the running, due to his complete lack of professionalism in an interview setting, and for his unprofessional comments. If he felt THAT comfortable in an interview – what was he going to be doing or saying if hired? I’ll be the first to admit- and if you have worked with me- I have dropped a few f-bombs in my time, but I would never do that in an interview. And neither should you. There is still such a thing as interview etiquette and it has its place. We work in a creative space, and with that comes a certain amount of latitude. I would jump out of a window if I worked in a corporate environment, as would many of my co-workers, but there are still a few boundaries. Treating your interview and your interviewers with respect is one of them.

Until next time…

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We recently gave many media outlets a chance to play a preview build of Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus. Some of the outlets also conducted interviews with Creative Director Brian Allgeier. We wanted to share some of those previews with you, and more will be added as they are published.

Everyone who has played the game seems excited about what they saw and we couldn’t be happier with how the game has shaped up! Into the Nexus drops November 12th in North America (13 through 15th Worldwide) for only $29.99!

IGN (video preview):
“It retains its humor and feels and looks like a Ratchet game… but there is an extra presentational layer that differentiates itself.”
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GameTrailers (video preview):
“This is your classic Ratchet & Clank”
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Polygon:
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Gamespot (video with Brian Allgeier):
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GamesRadar:
“Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus doesn’t just rely on old ideas to woo the gamer… it was obvious that the development team of this project is really trying to keep the series fresh.”
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TheSixthAxis:
“It’s the colourful, fun and explosive adventure that Ratchet & Clank fans have been asking for, and perhaps a perfectly suited final outing for the duo on PS3”
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GodIsAGeek:
“The platforming is tight, and the camera is responsive and easy to maneuver to where you want it. In fact, in many ways this is vintage Ratchet & Clank, and so easy to fall into and lose hours on end. In actual fact, when the preview build ended, I was desperate to play more, which isn’t something you can always say of an early build of a game. It’s just so addictive, familiar, and yet new. I cannot wait to play more.”
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ShopTo:
“To me Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus feels like a real fan service, a way of thanking loyal fans for sticking with the series through good and bad. But the best thing of all from what I’ve played so far is that it focuses very much on the good.”
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We hope you’re excited for Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus. Everyone here at Insomniac has been working really hard to bring you Ratchet and Clank’s latest adventure, and we’re happy to announce that it will be available in-stores and online on November 12th, 2013! An epilogue to the Future games (Tools of Destruction, Quest For Booty, A Crack in Time), Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus is packed with an all-new story, an all-new arsenal, and all-new gadgets – and it’s only $29.99.

Some of you have asked us why we made a shorter Ratchet game. The truth is, we relished this ability to tie a bow on the PS3 era of Ratchet with a shorter title. All of us love the Ratchet universe – and after 12 years developing the series, it feels like a very close friend. We have a lot of stories to tell, some longer, some shorter. This one felt just right. It’s a very polished self-contained return to the Ratchet adventures of yore. It’s impactful, too; filled with planet-hopping, guns blazing, joke-cracking Ratchet & Clank, and events happen here that will change Ratchet forever. Think of it as a small epic.

Another question we get asked a lot is how Ratchet & Clank games get created. We unearthed this excellent VHS promotional tape all about the Insomniac Gamatorium, detailing the process. Check it out:

We’ve also been asked if we’ll be offering a pre-order bonus for Into the Nexus. We’re happy to reveal that we will have a pre-order bonus at participating retailers. Ratchet’s Volcanox Armor is inspired by Gadgetron’s popular Infernox Armor. This lightweight durable suit is for the fashion-conscious adventurer. Besides granting a 5% damage-reduction, it also all-but guarantees “Best-Dressed” awards at high-school reunions.

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Additionally, we’re including a large package of R&C-themed avatar content for PlayStation Home, a $30 value.

That’s all for now. The wait for more classic Ratchet & Clank is almost over! As always, keep up with the latest R&C news and tidbits by Liking Insomniac Games on Facebook and following us on Twitter.

Remember that poster we posted on Instagram a few days back? Well we wanted to give people a heads up on where to get it, along with some local east coast love.

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At Insomniac, we pride ourselves on being open and having a two-way conversation with our community. Most recently, we have been listening and making changes to Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus based on feedback and discussion over the past year. Because of this and, well, just because we love you, we are producing a Community Day event to celebrate YOU! For the first time, the event will take place on the east coast in Durham, North Carolina. Community Day will be open to fans of all ages and will showcase Into the Nexus and the Ratchet & Clank franchise. Hear directly from our North Carolina team, ask questions to Ratchet veterans, and play the game before it comes out (well a small part of it anyway)! Also, did we mention barbecue? What would be a North Carolina Community Day without some good ol’ fashion NC-style barbecue. So come, join us Thursday, October 24, 2013 at the Durham Armory. Doors will open at 5:30pm and the event will run from 6:00pm to 9:00pm EDT. Please visit our event page here and get your tickets. Tickets are free, but will be limited to 200 total. First come, first serve! Everyone who comes will get at least a poster and have a chance to meet the dev team. Please note that a ticket is required for each person and the “purchaser” of the ticket must be present with a photo ID. Children will also be required to have a ticket and must be accompanied by someone with a photo ID.

If you can’t make it to Community Day and are planning on attending the Escapist Expo this year (also in Durham), you are in luck! Into the Nexus will be playable on the show floor Friday, October 4th through Sunday, October 6th. We will be showing off our demo from Gamescom and PAX, as well as, giving away posters to anyone who plays (while supplies last). So swing on by the Insomniac Games booth at the Durham Convention center. More Escapist Expo details here.

If you are in or around North Carolina (or just want to make the trek) we hope to see you at one of these two events.

Peace, love, barbecue, and of course… Ratchet & Clank!

- IG

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The wait is finally over! Ratchet: Gladiator HD is now available in EU regions via the PlayStation Store. If you played Ratchet & Clank: Q-Force while signed in to your PSN account prior to May 21st you should be receiving a download code from SCEE to get your FREE copy of the game. The code will come to the email associated with your PSN account. If you do not receive a code, please contact SCEE Customer Services directly.

For those who don’t own Q-Force, you can still pick up Gladiator HD on PSN for £11.99/€14.99! Ratchet & Clank HD Trilogy and Q-Force are also available.

Look for more Ratchet & Clank this holiday on PSN with Ratchet & Clank: Nexus.

-IG

At Insomniac we pride ourselves on making great games like Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus and Sunset Overdrive. However, we take even more pride in being a Great Place to Work. Without happy employees we would never be able to entertain and inspire our fans. We are honored to be named a Great Place to Work in partnership with Fortune for the 4th consecutive year. Our 9th consecutive workplace award and 14th total award at either the national, state, or local level!

Want to work for us? Check out our available openings and what makes Insomniac so great on Great Rated!.

Hey folks,

Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus is a return to the classic single-player Ratchet gameplay and story you’ve all been asking for. But you don’t need to take my word for it, Insomniac will be hosting a live stream on our Twitch.TV channel with Creative Director Brian Allgeier. We’ll play through the Gamescom demo and answer YOUR burning questions about the game. Join us Wednesday, August 28th, at 4pm EDT/1pm PDT at www.twitch.tv/insomniacgames for what should be an awesome hour of Ratchet fun.

If you want to submit your questions for the live stream, you can do so right here. And we’ll do our best to answer as many of them during the livestream as possible. Submit your questions by leaving a comment below.

For a little taste of what you’ll see during the live stream, you can check out this demo highlights video that features commentary from Brian Allgeier.

Many gamers got to go hands-on with the Lombax’s latest adventure last weekend at Gamescom. And those of you heading to Seattle and PAX this weekend will get a chance to play too. Be sure to swing by the Sony booth and experience Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus! After you play, let us know what you think via our Twitter or Facebook account.

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We know you have been dying for more info on Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus. Many of you can’t wait to get your hands on it. We don’t blame you! It IS a back to the FUTURE return to form for the duo. We have good news on both fronts!

Into the Nexus (or Nexus in EU regions) will be playable at both Gamescom AND PAX in the Sony booths at each show. Not only that, but we will be dropping some additional information very soon.

So if you are heading to Cologne and Gamescom this week, be sure to check it out. If you are planning on making the trek to Seattle for PAX Prime you should probably do the same. There are bolts that need collecting and NEW weapons that need shooting.

For everyone else, stay tuned for additional information and content very soon. We may even have a live stream somewhere in that Gamescom/PAX sandwich!

In the meantime, check out this screen from the game. And follow us on Instagram for more photos, art, and screens from around the office!

Auf Wiedersehen für jetzt!

We use Perforce for revision control at Insomniac. Most significantly, we manage a large number of large binary assets and there are very few other RCSs that would handle that well. However, we are always interested in looking at other systems and we have a few people here who are fans of git for source code control specifically. Jonathan Adamczewski (Engine Programmer) is among those and presented the following to interested programmers as an introduction to git (and comparison to Perforce).

An Introduction to the Git Revision Control System

As part of our Core team internal training, Mike Day (Sr Engine Programmer, working on our Render team) has been guiding small groups of other engine programmers (specifically those NOT on the render team) to read an academic paper and assist them with whatever background is necessary so that they can explain it. With any specialized discipline, there is a lot of domain knowledge presumed in the explaination of an idea and helping others pick up that background is part of the goal of this exercise. Academic papers in particular also tend to be extremely hard to parse, unnecessarily verbose and missing details crucial for replicating results. Filling those gaps is another goal. Finally, getting folks that don’t normally work together every day to discuss ideas which interest them but does not have an immediate impact on their work has real value.

In this installment, Mike picked the 2001 paper, An Efficient Representation for Irradiance Environment Maps (PDF) by Ravi Ramamoorthi and Pat Hanrahan.

Below is the presentation from the group on their understanding of that paper.
Mike Day Paper Exercise – An Efficient Representation for Irradiance Environment Maps