Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
PlayStation (Games)

Ratchet and Clank's Trek Towards Pixar Quality Visuals 91

MTV's Multiplayer Gaming site has up a discussion with Brian Allgeier, creative director on the latest iteration of the Ratchet and Clank series. The Ratchet games are made by Insomniac, who released Resistance at the same time the PS3 launched last year. That makes them unique, one of the first teams to have a second PlayStation 3 title out, and it shows in their amazing graphical presentation. The interview covers the team's trek towards an internal idea of 'Pixar-quality' graphics. "The new game is designed to sell itself at a glance. The hook is the image, the approaching-Pixar graphical quality. It's the product of 125 developers at Insomniac, a surprisingly small increase in team size from the 110 who made the third Ratchet game, Up Your Arsenal, for PS2. Allgeier conveyed some stats to emphasize the boost in graphical quality: 90 joints in Ratchet's face in the PS3 game compared to 112 joints in his whole body in the PS2 games; 'tens of thousands' of particle effects on the screen at any one time on PS3 compared to 3,000 in the PS2 Ratchet games. The game's action glides at 60 frames per second, double the rate of Insomniac's Resistance game. But, again, it's not numbers that count. It's just supposed to take a glance." Meanwhile, for more on the development process, the PlayStation blog has up a video post by Brian Hasting, Chief Creative Officer at Insomniac, on clarifying the vision of the game.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ratchet and Clank's Trek Towards Pixar Quality Visuals

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I thought we were supposed to get Pixar quality graphics with the PS2? []
  • Impressive stuff. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onion2k ( 203094 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @05:45PM (#21119941) Homepage
    I have to admit it ... the screenshots look gorgeous. They've nailed the look brilliantly. It's innovative, clearly very clever, it's sumptuous and lush and all manner of other adjectives. Those 125 developers have been hard at work, that's obvious.

    Thing is though, it's a game. It's not a film. Pixar only have to bother themselves with the look. These developers have to bother with the game too. So as delightful as it is, the real question any gamer asks isn't "how good does it look?" rather "how much fun is it to play?". Some of the most brilliant games I've ever played were written by 1 person working parttime in their bedroom on an 8 bit computer. "Fun" just isn't something that comes from pumping millions of dollars into a team.

    One day studios will realise this, and will realise that they could make a lot more money concentrating on games written by 5 people that are enjoyable even if they look a bit pants.

    I'm not going to hold my breath though.
    • Re:Impressive stuff. (Score:5, Informative)

      by caerwyn ( 38056 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @05:50PM (#21120051)
      The Ratchet and Clank games actually have a pretty good reputation for actually being fun as well. I played the first one on the PS2 and found it thoroughly enjoyable- fun puzzle-platform-action. The high production values really did add to it, as well.

      From what I've heard so far, this one's done the same, though I haven't been interested in throwing that much money down the drain to buy a ps3 just yet.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Astarica ( 986098 )
      If you had 1 brilliant guy who could make something really fun, he still can. Nintendo's staff is probably considerably bigger than what they had when they just started but Miyamoto is still the head guy to decide what kind of gameplay to implement. I'm sure Hideo Kojima is not held back by what the janitor or the graphic designer or the voice actor thinks of the next Metal Gear game. What makes a game 'fun' is not the result of throwing more manpower on it. History clearly shows having one guy that kno
      • by AuMatar ( 183847 )
        You forgot the most important thing- the game with sucky graphics but a lot of fun gets my $50. The one with great graphics and low fun doesn't.
        • You forgot the most important thing- the game with sucky graphics but a lot of fun gets my $50. The one with great graphics and low fun doesn't.
          The game with stale mediocre gameplay but a lot of marketting gets everyone else's $50(Madden 2008).

          Marketing > Graphics > Fun
        • What is described here does not follow the general trend of games. There are more cases of games that look great with little subsistence that did well compared to the other way around. Marketing is also dependent on graphics because it is easier to market something that looks cool. It is a lot easier to market a game like FF13 that looks totally awesome versus say, pong, regardless of the actual game content.

          But let's suppose people really do buy good games with poor graphics. Suppose the next Zelda jus
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by AuMatar ( 183847 )
            Games have a limited budget, in money and time. Graphics cost a lot of money, in both artist time and programmer time (pushing out new engines). I hate graphics because its a bad use of the money- there's so many better things they can do with it:

            *Cut prices on games
            *Polish the gameplay
            *Come out with the game earlier
            *Take a risk on a more original game, because its cheaper to produce
            *Make any story mode longer

            I'd rather they do any of the above than spend it on graphics. Graphics don't make the game any
          • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
            Marketing managed to sell Enter The Matrix. ETM was a fairly ugly game.
    • Ratchet & Clank are the *best* platformer games out there. By far. They have a great sense of humor, clever cut scenes, fun weapons, and an intuitive control.

      R&CF:TOD is the reason I purchased a PS3. Sure, Warhawk is fun, and Haze looks like it'll be a good FPS, but I have been a fan of the R&C series since the first one came out years ago. I highly recommend them.

      This is a fun exercise: play the first R&C game. Then play the last one for the PS2. Compare the visuals. That's the result of a
      • by LKM ( 227954 )

        Ratchet & Clank are the *best* platformer games out there.

        R&C is more of a third-person shooter than a platformer. If you want platforming, try a Mario game.

        This is a fun exercise: play the first R&C game. Then play the last one for the PS2. Compare the visuals.

        Yeah, do that. I'll wait. Done? Now compare the gameplay. That's the result of a competent programming team which knows how to take advantage of some great hardware, but has no vision at all. It's the same damn game, just this time

        • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
          I agree, R&C is more shooting than platforming. While it does have its share of platforms I'd estimate more than 50% of the time is spent on shooting things. And seriously, Earth Defense Force 2 is the best Third Person Shooter, at least until they make a second EDF game for the 360 and include Pale Wing (second character with her own weapon arsenal) again.

          I'm not saying R&C is bad but I'm currently playing through R&C2, the first R&C game I've played and it has already started to feel kinda
          • by LKM ( 227954 )
            Sadly, I have to admit that the new R&C didn't even hold me long enough to finish the demo. I was looking forward so much to it, only to find it's really nothing new, apart from the looks :-(

            Super Mario Sunshine was the same way after about half the game, but at least it introduced the water cannon, which made the first half of the game fresh even for people who already played through Mario 64. Galaxy introduces a whole host of new things, so I have high hopes for this; maybe I'll make it over the 50% m
    • The demo was the typical, derivative platform/action game that the first R&C game was, just prettier and easier. A great buy for $30 or so, but IMO not so much for $60.

      For the time being I'll continue playing Zack and Wiki, which reminds me of old point & click adventure games, and is only $40. But knowing how things are, it'll get dismal sales, just like Psychonauts and Beyond Good and Evil did.
    • Only true to the extent that the magazine reviewers and message boards won't give a 10, a 9 or probably even an 8 to a game that has subpar visuals. They are looking for something to nitpick, and modern games written on the Quake 1 engine won't rate very highly.

      We like to think ourselves as being purists and say that it's all about gameplay, but we're also looking for executive of a total gaming experience, one that takes advantage of modern hardware and high def visuals that we spent so much money on.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ucblockhead ( 63650 )
      Actually, Pixar's success is due to the fact that they worry about the story first, and the look second.
      • They worry about mass appeal first, look second, story third.

        Unless you can tell me that Shrek 2 was a great story.
      • Actually, Pixar's success is due to the fact that they worry about the story first, and the look second.

        Something that has amazed me when watching DVD commentaries/special features for many good CG films is the incredible number of rewrites that take place. Very often the story they were working with when the animation process began has little or no resemblence to the story of the finished film. I guess that's one of the benfits of making movies this way.

    • by Khuffie ( 818093 )
      I played the demo, and one thing that pissed me off about the graphics? There was too much going on, to the point where you couldn't focus on the action. Basically, every enemy explodes into hundreds of pieces of little screws that you pickup, and after you kill a couple, well, it's pretty much hard to see. I hate this whole "Hey! Let's see how many particles we can push!" thing most next-gen games try to do.
  • But no screenshots or video. Are we supposed to take their word for it? How is this supposed to be interesting? This is just an ad for their new game.
    • by tieTYT ( 989034 )
      there's a small screenshot on the first link. Although that could be a screenshot of FMV.
    • Try this: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tony ( 765 )

      There are several screenshots. There're also three trailers out, and have been for a while. If you own a PS3, the R&CF demo came out a few days ago. It'll give you a good flavor of the game.

      I've loved the R&C franchise so far. The first two games were fantastic. The later two were more weapons-oriented, which was fine, but missed some of the storyline feel of the first two.

      R&CF:TOD is supposed to be a return to the cinematic feel.

      All I can say is, bo
    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      But no screenshots or video. Are we supposed to take their word for it? How is this supposed to be interesting? This is just an ad for their new game.

      FFS just visit,,,,, or any other games oriented website and you will be overwhelmed by trailers and screenshots.

      The game does look beautiful, arguably one of the best looking games to have appeared on any platform. It's also a good game that has received wide acclaim. Metacritic has

  • Anyone write a raytracing engine for PS3 that takes advantage of all those SPEs?
    • how about one that does real time raytracing? []

      and yes i know it's not even remotely usable as a game engine but that wasn't the question
    • Renderman, Pixar's renderer, is not a raytracer.

      It's a rasterizer.
      • <graphics-geek-pedantry>Actually, RenderMan most accurately refers to a scene description standard, the RenderMan Interface Specification. The renderer commonly referred to as 'RenderMan' is PRMan (Photorealistic RenderMan), Pixar's implementation of their own spec. Another well known implementation was Blue Moon Rendering Tools (BMRT) by Larry Gritz, although that disappeared amid legal fisticuffs and company acquisitions.</graphics-geek-pedantry>
    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      Anyone write a raytracing engine for PS3 that takes advantage of all those SPEs?

      IBM have a distributed raycasting engine that harnesses 3 PS3s to do real time tracing / casting. I seriously doubt any realtime game will ever utilise raytracing. A single PS3 may be powerful but it's not that powerful.

  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Thursday October 25, 2007 @05:54PM (#21120109) Journal
    My general take on Sony's strategy for this round of the console wars... which hasn't been producing many results to day... is that they're hoping that in the longer term, their superior hardware will give them a clear technological advantage, attacting both consumers and developers. Right now, both the Wii and the PS3 are still stuck in the release-desert that comes in the year or so after launch, when your shiny new console is mainly used to play old games and gathers a lot of dust. The 360 is the only machine attracting games actually worth playing.

    Ratchet and Clank seems to be the first sign that the PS3 is actually moving out of this early stage; the first true "second generation" game for the system. It's basically the first chance we've had to measure a "mature" PS3 game against its Xbox 360 equivalents and seeing whether Sony's strategy is likely to pay off. Once the game comes out in the UK, I'll be looking forward to picking it up and taking a look for myself.

    The reviews at least make it clear it won't be money wasted.
    • by Nossie ( 753694 )
      if they keep gimping the PS3 due to cost there wont be much left of the console to take advantage of. At the end of the day the games publishers will make the games for the least equipped version of the console.
      • You are very misinformed. The only thing that has been removed in the 40GB version is related to PS2 backwards compatibility, some USB ports, a card reader, and the ability to read SACD's. Everything that is needed to play PS3 games is the same. Sony has been very clear about this. Unless someone creates a new game that requires the emotion engine(PS2 Chip), 4 USB ports, or 80GB of hard drive space it isn't going to happen. The only console where different hardware is an issue for developers is the 36
        • Indeed. And while I love my 360 (currently more than either of the other two consoles), I really can't help but feel that the decision to make the HDD "optional" was a huge mistake on MS's part. The "Core" version of the 360 never sold particularly well, from what I've seen. It's only ever going to account for a small proportion of the installed base. And yet, because it exists, we're never going to see much in the way of games that actually require the use of the HDD, which brings along all kinds of techni
        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by Nossie ( 753694 )
          Dank... I said IF they gimp it anymore.

          I was thinking about getting a ps3 once it came down in price... but after shafting us euros so hard initially (software emulation) and now taking it out completely (dont think it will ever come back btw) I dont think I'll bother now especially when all the original hype is about features they are now cutting out of the initial console. If I wanted a 360 I'd buy a 360 at the price of a 360. I'm certainly not going to buy a shafted ps3 at the price of a real ps3 with
  • Ratchet and Clank looks great. Yet I can't help but think when I hear "Pixar Quality" that the first time I heard that teerm was when Sony was touting the Playstation 2's power :P
    • "Yet I can't help but think when I hear "Pixar Quality" that "

      The thing I hate about "Pixar quality" is that pixar quality is not even that good, I mean it's a STYLE. When I think "pixar" I think toy story, the incredibles and finding nemo.

      Pixar quality is not bad but let's face it there are better styles then the rubbery-cartoon-playdough world of pixar.
      • the quality of Monster Inc's Sully was incredible with his fur looking extremely real.
        • Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc and The Incredibles are beautiful on an HD set. Having said that, I own a Wii and a PC. Gameplay over beauty and all that.
  • This game is great. To me it looks like Pixar meets World of Warcraft. Slightly cartoonish, but detailed. Blizzard should be taking cues from the look...
  • I just had a look then at at video for it and I must say it does look very impressive... I think they are actually close to Pixar level quality during in game scenes. But I am still going to reserve final judgement till I see it up close and running in HD. Since my scholarship's second half pays soon I might actually be tempted to get a PS3 based on the game.
  • In a word: ridiculous. This is really short of nothing but a marketing gimick, and if anything it should speak of the possible lack of quality of the game.

    This isn't 1995 anymore - you know, when high-end gaming stations were still doing 2.5D and the graphics in games like Carmagedon taxed the machine? Even a relatively small (movie) shop can produce the polygon/render quality of Toy Story without much problem, in terms of computing quality; a single gaming computer of today has probably close to 10 times (
    • by nonos ( 158469 )
      The abstract (didn't read tfa, sorry...) said "pixel quality graphics", nothing more. Keep quiet!
    • by Jim Hall ( 2985 )

      Hey, I've seen the screenshots and played the demo, and demos speak louder than words. In a word, the demo is AWESOME!! Loads of fun, looks just like the screenshots. Definitely on my must-play list ... I'll be in line on release day, thanks. And Insomniac has a history of having good animators, storytellers, and gamemakers. Check out their track record sometime. But clearly you've never played any of the Ratchet and Clank titles on the PS2, because otherwise you wouldn't try to claim this is representative

      • Hell, I am in no way a Sony fanboy in the least, and even *I* know Ratchet and Clank is FINE gaming - Insomniac is a jewel in the rough
    • by G Fab ( 1142219 )
      because you can't possibly have a fun and gorgeous game at the same time, and video games aren't better if they have great graphics.


      nothing about this amazing game diminishes the 360's great lineup, though I think my family will have a lot more fun playing this than we do with our wii paperweight (seriously, ratchet is a better family experience for my family than wiisports).

      fun and graphics. Expensive, but nice.

"I think trash is the most important manifestation of culture we have in my lifetime." - Johnny Legend