April 22, 2012 12:59 PM | John Polson
In a new postmortem, Simon Oliver, founder of HandCircus (Rolando) writes that creating the engine for the PlayStation 3 game Okabu "really led us to reflect on the effectiveness of our initial tech plan."
"The game started life as a PC/Mac prototype, leveraging the power of great open-source libraries such as Ogre and Bullet Physics. This gave us a real head start, and allowed us to get a playable prototype up and running quickly, but as the project progressed (and we moved from preproduction to full production) we hit some major problems," Oliver writes.
The team quickly realized that to get the game up and running at 60 frames per second on the PS3, it would need to use the system's SPUs -- something Ogre could not easily do.
"...after much deliberation, we decided that our best option was to leverage the PS3-oriented power of PhyreEngine to get the performance we needed," Oliver writes.
"Developing a stable, performant engine that delivered all the required features on PS3 was a lot of work."
"While we had learned a great deal from rolling our own engine, the resources that the engine development process consumed may well have been better spent on other areas of development," Oliver suggests.
"Our major takeaway on the tech side is to put more thought into the benefits of building your own tech, particularly for small teams like ours. Does rolling your own engine really makes sense, or are there existing engines that would be a good fit?"
"The widespread adoption of flexible engines like Unity has opened up some really interesting opportunities, not only in the ability to reduce the tech burden on small studios, but also building a standard toolset that programmers, designers, and artists are familiar with," writes Oliver.
The full postmortem, in which he discusses other major hiccups in the production of Okabu, as well as successes in its development, is live on Gamasutra now.