Ubisoft unveils The Engine Room developers hub

Ubisoft has revealed to Gamasutra The Engine Room, a blog where game developers will be able to share insight into various game development practices.

Discussing the new initiative with Gamasutra, Olivier Gueydon, director of tools and middleware at Ubisoft, explained that the new website came about when it become clear that Ubisoft staffers wanted to talk more openly about the future of the games industry.

“The Engine Room was created as a result of Ubisoft’s employees’ desire to have an official channel to talk about technology with other professionals around the world,” he told us. “The technology and gaming industries evolve at greater pace every year, offering us new and exciting innovations to help enhance the player’s experience.”

“By sharing knowledge, best practices and insightful ideas, we hope it will serve to nourish insightful conversation within the technology community and maybe stimulate new innovations.”

The website will be completely open to comments from all programmers, developers and artists in the industry, while anyone wishing to contribute their own posts can send submissions into Ubisoft.

“What’s great about The Engine Room blog is that any subject related to technology in any way, shape or form can be addressed,”, continued Gueydon. “The site literally offers our best minds an official platform to explore and exchange on a wide variety of creative and technological innovations.”

The first few posts that will be opening up proceedings focus on crowd rendering, machine-learning, game telemetry in playtesting and data-driven AI. As the weeks and months go by, the blog aims to explore a wide range of subjects and angles.

Ubisoft also plans to use the blog as a complimentary posting ground for outside news and presentations. For example during GDC this week, the company will be posting information and videos relevant to the various Ubisoft speaker presentations, including posts from Alexandre Piche, Vincent Robert, Stephen McAuley, Alexander Hutchison and Jason Vandenberghe.

Turning briefly to the company’s upcoming releases and current technology, Gueydon noted that Ubisoft relies more on internally-developed tech than third-party engines, as it means that the technology can be created “with a specific purpose in mind.”

“Developing in-house technology requires in-depth comprehension of the overall game structure, and this can only be achieved if you have a direct link to the production team,” he explained further.

He noted, that the company does use a fair amount of externally-developed technology as well, but that “it’s important that Ubisoft internal middleware and tools stay competitive to ensure our games are built with the strongest foundations.”

“It’s also about mastering your own technology,” he added. “The Ubisoft Technology Group includes over a hundred experts who develop and produce middleware, online solutions, cross-media and various tools. Technology is not stagnant, so we ensure that all internal technology evolves and adapts to production needs.”

Pierre Blaizeau, director of pipeline technology at Ubisoft, agreed with Gueydon, noting also that each upcoming new games platform raises the question of staying ahead of the curve versus productivity costs.

“Technologically speaking, each new platform requires more investment than that of previous hardware generations,” Blaizeau explained. Looking at the actual AAA games’ end credits are scary enough. Then the nervous breakdown occurs while trying to size a team for the next big thing. As an industry that evolves at erratic pace, we have to be technically savvy without compromising productivity.”

He added that the company is hoping to carefully balance this back-and-forth by “combining our cutting edge gaming expertise with the advantages of having gathered extensive knowledge from surrounding and more mature industries.”

GAMASUTRA EXCLUSIVE

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