SlideShare a Scribd company logo
1 of 91
Hello, and welcome to Amazing Feats of Daring.


This talk is a post-mortem for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune which is Naughty Dog’s
first game for the PlayStation 3.


I’ll be giving you an overview of how we work at Naughty Dog, the challenges that
we faced in developing the game and the things that we struggled with, some of our
successes, and the things that we plan to do differently next time.
Who Am I?
                            Richard Lemarchand
                               G ame Designer




My name is Richard Lemarchand, and I’m a game designer, originally from the west
of England.


I’ve made character-action games the main focus of my career, although I’ve
worked on some other kinds of stuff - these are the games that I’ve helped ship.
Naughty Dog is a small game studio of about 80 people based in Santa
Monica, Southern California.


We were founded in the mid-’80s by those excellent chaps Jason Rubin and
Andy Gavin while they were still at high school.


We are the creators of Crash Bandicoot and the Jak and Daxter series of
games - the Jak games have sold over 7 million units worldwide.


We’ve been wholly owned by Sony Computer Entertainment since 2001, and
the studio is now headed up by Co-Presidents and long-time Naughty Dogs
Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra.
The Way We Make Games




So before we get going I want to tell you a bit about the way we make games at
Naughty Dog, because we think it’s a bit different from the way that a lot of people
in the industry do things.
Everyone Contributes to the Design




One of my favorite things about Naughty Dog is that it has an open, meritocratic
studio culture.


Ideas and constructive criticism about the design and production of whatever we’re
working on are always welcomed from absolutely everyone on the team.
No Producers In-House




We’re very management-light, and in fact no-one in-house at Naughty Dog has the
job title of Producer - though we do have some great external producers at Sony.


The game is produced by the team, by anyone who wants to step up and take some
responsibility for an aspect of the game.
Productive Chaos




Although it’s sometimes messy and chaotic, it’s messy in a good way, since the
people with the responsibility are the same people actually making the game, which
helps us stay very focused on quality and fun.
Concentric Development




We develop concentrically, which is to say that we implement the fundamentals first
to a good level of polish, working outward, iterating on secondary and tertiary
mechanics, building modularly and ditching stuff that fails as early as we can.
Design Iteration




We don’t do a lot of documentation – just enough to keep track of our basic ideas.


We come up with a lot of our design and polish our games iteratively, sitting down
together and trying things, and making incremental changes until we’re happy with
what we’ve got.
Healthy Code




We always try and keep the game code and content running healthily and as free of
crash bugs as possible, which allows the team to always be able to move forwards
with building the game, and has other advantages that we’ll get to later.
Deadline Driven




We’re very deadline driven, and we’ve never missed a ship date in the history of the
company.


Our presidents and game directors keep an eye on the big picture, and alert us to
things that are coming down the pipe.
Lots of Play Tests




We do a lot of play testing with statistically large-ish groups of new players, and we
try to be as scientific as possible with this process, extracting data from the play
testers’ save games, graphing it and studying it, mainly to tune the level of
challenge.


We also get our testers to fill out questionnaires that we tabulate and take note of,
which can be useful on an anecdotal level.
Method

                 • M Y T H 1 - “ You can schedule
                   and manage creation”

                 • M Y T H 2 - “ Working productively
                   means throwing out nothing”

                      G oogle “ Method G amasutra”



The way we makes games owes a lot to The Method – a game development
strategy laid out by Mark Cerny and Michael John in the mid-90s.


If you Google “Method Gamasutra”, you can hear a lecture by Mark Cerny on the
subject, which I strongly encourage you to listen to if you’re interested in ideas
about better ways of making games.
Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks
                 I CAN HAS LOOK IN YR GARBAGE, PLZ?




We were going to try and learn a lot of new tricks for Uncharted.


We were going to be using new types of production methodologies and
technologies, and even though we had a great PS2 code base, for a number of
reasons we set out to create an entirely new game engine and tools, starting from
ZERO lines of code!


This would come back to bite us in the butt later on.
Production Timeline
                       • O ne year of preproduction
                       • Two years of full production




Here’s a really quick overview of our production timeline:


1 year of preproduction
2 years of full production


This might seem like a lot of time, but we still found ourselves very crunched at the
end of the project, because of how long it took us to get everything going.
2005 - Preproduction




So as we got into Preproduction, at the start of 2005, we began to choose some
core design principles to base our game on.
Inspirations




We very soon decided that we wanted to set our game in a re-imagining of the
classic pulp action-adventure genre.


From the early adventure tales like Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island, and
cowboy stories…
Inspirations




…to the prototypical pulp heroes – Doc Savage from the 1930s in particular, who
was an evil-fighting scientist-adventure-explorer…


…and Tintin, Herge’s intrepid boy reporter, was a great favorite for many of us.
Inspirations




We looked at a lot of the early adventure movies and B-feature serials that so
famously inspired George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to make the great Indiana
Jones movies.
Inspirations




…and of course we grew up with Doctor Jones, and had loved more recent
explorations of the same themes, like The Mummy and the contemporary historical
mystery of National Treasure.
Action Stories and Action Games




As we studied these kinds of stories, we saw some common themes emerging.


All that action - running, jumping, hanging, climbing, and exploration of mysterious
places, gunplay and bare-fisted fights, and chases – either chasing someone or
being chased…
Action Stories and Action Games




…casts of great, interesting, often eccentric characters with shifting allegiances –
friends becoming enemies and vice-versa, cliffhangers and reversals of fortune and
out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire kind of situations.


These are all themes that provide a really great basis for an action game - “action”
being the operative word - the player’s participatory action in a dynamic world.
The Tone of the Game




Another major theme that we extracted from the classic pulps was a certain
lightness of tone - the feeling of a world that was bright and cheerful, colorful, and of
course humorous.


So we tried to express this in the game whenever it was appropriate, often through
the color palette.


Aside from being what we wanted, we felt that this could help us stand out in the
market , since a lot of games these days are so moody and overwrought and kinda
emo.
Our Gameplay



          •   Traversal
          •   Exploration
          •   Gunplay
          •   Hand-to-Hand Combat
          •   Problem Solving




So we eventually boiled down all this research into gameplay that we could all buy
into:


      Traversal (including vehicles)
      Exploration - a kind of expression of traversal
      Gunplay - our core combat mechanic
      Hand-to-Hand Combat - to add some spice to the combat
      Problem Solving - both traversal problem solving and puzzles


We didn’t really know exactly what mix of these things we’d end up with, but we
knew that these were the components and roughly what proportions of them we
wanted.
Cover-Based Gunplay




Cover-based gunplay had been a big part of our conception of the game from the
very beginning, because it’s such an important thing in the sources we were
drawing from.


We thought that kill.switch had done a great job of showing that a videogame could
have really top-notch cover-based gameplay, and so from the start we were
committed to the animation and control effort that pulling it off well would imply.
The Days of Automatic Lock-on Aiming




For a long time, in fact through the late winter of 2006 (through our first year of full
production), we’d planned to use an automatic lock-on aiming scheme.


We were skeptical that manual aiming could create the fast-paced kind of gameplay
we wanted to go for, and we were worried that the transition between the Mario 64-
style “follow” camera we were using for traversal
and the over-the-shoulder camera that manual aiming implies would be jarring.


We tried every possible lock-on auto-target selection mechanic and target-selection
control scheme perturbation that we could think of, and lock-on aiming didn’t give us
the visceral fun of taking a bead and loosing a round that we wanted to capture.
Also, it wasn’t challenging and interesting enough from a gameplay point of view.
Manual Aiming in our
                       E3 Teaser Trailer




A number of people on the team felt that manual aiming could work, and we were
already big fans of Resident Evil 4.


So in Naughty Dog’s spirit of experimentation and iteration, we tried it – and liked it!
We managed to solve the camera transition issues, making it nice and snappy so
that the game didn’t feel like it had two gameplay modes, and was one seamless
experience instead.


It seems like we were telling ourselves even back in the days of our first E3 teaser
trailer, then that manual aiming would be possible. Though we then had a lot of
new issues to puzzle over…
Aiming Was Harder
                                          Than We’d Thought
                                             It Would Be




Manual aiming in a Third-Person Character-Action Game proved to be a lot harder
than we thought it would be.


We knew that we would have to have an assisted-aiming, or Enemy Adhesion,
system that was as superb as that in Halo – so that when the player aimed near a
target, the game would have to subtly, almost imperctibly, move the reticle onto the
target, and travel with the target, to help the game be optimally fun.
Third-Person
                                            Manual Aiming
                                                Issues




We also knew that we’d have to overcome the issues associated with manual-
aiming in a third-person game as well as Gears of War had done (which is a game
that we really love, BTW) - issues like those arising from the differences between
the line of sight from gun-to-target and camera-to-target, among many other things.


So we studied those games a lot, and we eventually managed to get it right.
The Importance of Animation




Animation was very important for our game from the beginning - to make the player-
character’s humanity and vulnerability believable, since that’s such a big part of the
pulp adventures, and to help sell the reality of the world.


So we always planned to use a lot of complex animation techniques that I’ll talk
about when I show you a movie in a moment.
Facial Animation and Emotion




We also thought that excellent facial animation would be the key to depicting a
relatable hero that you’d really want to root for, with nuanced emotions for the
characters that are as recognizable as they are in our favorite movies.
A Simpler Animation Solution




With our first approach we set out to create a very complex animation system - we
were trying to solve the general problem of complex human animations with the
environment.


But ultimately, that approach proved to be too complex - we had gotten hung up on
esthetics, and wanted to find perfect solutions for everything.


So instead we implemented a simpler solution that had more in common with the
way we made the Jak games although it was much more complex and incorporated
a lot of new features, and we shifted our focus to the kinds of activities associated
with the type of character-action game we had in mind.
The Need for Great AI




AI was also always very important – both for the enemies and the friendly
characters that Drake would meet and play along side in his journey.


It was important in order to make the combat and traversal gameplay fun, and we
wanted to make sure to avoid the potential problems that we’d read about in the
post-mortems of developers who’d worked with AI for allied characters (Half Life 2,
in particular).
Targeted AI Approach




Our initial work in this area anticipated very sophisticated AI, with complex agents
that would play out their behaviors in a kind of general, systemic way in the world.


It helped us explore the space, but again, it would ultimately prove to be too
sophisticated for us, and so we adopted a somewhat simpler and more scripted
approach targeted more towards our game’s needs.
Choosing Maya




Early on, we chose to stay inside Maya for all of our animation – both for characters
and for events in the game world.


To stay in just one package, especially a great tool like Maya, was a good idea, and
we wrote a lot of Maya tools to make this possible.


Hopefully you caught Jeremy and Judd’s talk yesterday, where they went into great
detail about our tools and animation process.
Character Modeling




We used zBrush and some Mudbox to create our character models, which we then
imported into Maya for rigging and animation.


Catch Rich Diamant’s speech tomorrow morning at 10:30 on ‘Autodesk Mudbox and
its integration with Maya and Max’!
Lessons Learned




A recurring them in our post-mortem process has been that we often didn’t commit
to technological or implementation processes early enough, and that we should
have got more basic stuff in and working earlier.


This applies to very many areas of the game, but for example, in the case of the
enemy character models, we wanted to use a system of interchangeable body and
clothing parts for our enemies, to get greater apparent variety in their look. This
ended up holding up our whole enemy implementation process, until we finally
realized we didn’t have time to do it, and got on with making the great enemies that
are in the game – and a lot of players never noticed that we didn’t have a huge
range of subtlety different enemies.


Anyway, despite a few reservations, we felt that we developed a strong character
modeling pipeline, and got great results like those you see here.
Collaboration Is the Key




We were very happy with the way that all of our game animation, control and AI
turned out.


It was the result of lots of iteration and some very close collaborations between
programmers and animators (two of whom moved seats to sit with the programmers
they were working with!) and between the team and Lead Character Technical
Director.


It really highlighted for us how critical close collaboration between disciplines is for
us at Naughty Dog.


If you’re interested to hear more about the techniques we used, including a system
to provide a layer of indirection between control and animation, please go hear
Christian Gyrling’s talk, Creating a Character in Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, at 9am
tomorrow in Room 2001 in the West Hall.
Summer 2005
                        First Mo-Cap Steps




For Uncharted, we were going to be using motion-capture for the first time, in
combination with the kind of traditional hand-keyed animation we’d used for our
previous games.


In May of 2005 we did our first Motion Capture research, going to see different
studios and how they did things. We finally chose House of Moves, the well-known
mo-cap studio in Los Angeles, who were great to work with.


A couple of months later we did our first test shoot with a stunt performer we’d
chosen to play Drake.
The rest of 2005’s work involved a lot of concept art creation and design research,
and coming up with story ideas and moments like the Uboat-in-the-jungle you see
here which made it into the finished game, albeit in a different form…
…building character models, the programming of tools (animation tools in particular)
and of our core gameplay, and our first experiments with building environment art.
October 2005

                             Green Light M ovie




In October 2005 we prepared a Concept Movie”, using concept art and a temporary
soundtrack.


What’s remarkable is the way that this early concept movie accurately represents a
lot what’s in the final game that would ship two years later.


As a result of this movie, we received a Green Light from Sony.
Up until the fall of 2005, although we had already strong look for him dialed-in, our
hero Nathan Drake’s personality had been hard to get a handle on for a lot of the
team.


Around that time, someone had the idea that maybe Drake should be kinda like
Johnny Knoxville from Jackass. So we modified the character design for Nate
slightly to a design loosely based on Johnny, reflecting Knoxville’s cynical sense of
humor, which we eventually moved away from a bit, and also to reflect his essential
coolness and goodness.


We were all able to immediately grasp and get behind the tone that this idea
embodied and from then on people really started to understand Nathan Drake.
E3 2006 Teaser Trailer




So we entered full production at the beginning of 2006, and a few months into the
year we were asked to make an Uncharted teaser-trailer for E3, where Sony would
be unveiling a bunch for new stuff for the PlayStation 3.
E3 2006 Teaser Trailer




We only had four weeks to create it and at the time, given the relatively early state
of our tools, it seemed like an almost impossible challenge.


But we buckled down, and planned out a flow of action for the player-character in
the test levels we’d been building…
E3 2006 Teaser Trailer




…that would seem like a movie trailer, sort-of telling a short story about a
confrontation between Drake and the South Seas pirates on a tropical island.
E3 2006 Teaser Trailer




We thought carefully about all the things that Drake would do in the trailer…
E3 2006 Teaser Trailer




…and made sure that they were all things that we wanted him to do in gameplay, in
the game.
E3 2006 Teaser Trailer




We were in our engine by this point, although it was in its infancy, and we weren’t
running at full frame rate yet for one reason or another.
E3 2006 Teaser Trailer




So we captured it at lower frame rate and played it back at full speed, making sure
that we were confident that we would we would, pretty soon, be able to do all this in
real-time.
E3 2006 Teaser Trailer




And when we look back at it now (you can see it on the internet), we’re delighted
that nearly everything Drake does in the trailer, you can actually do in gameplay in
the game.


We ended up referring back to this movie all the way through development, to make
sure that we were staying on track with our initial vision.
E3 2006 Teaser Trailer




It was the first piece of major production coordination and intensely hard work that
the team pulled together to achieve, and as such, completing it was tremendously
inspiring, and helped us begin to gel as a team.
Tools Rethink




In June of 2006, the team faced a big crisis.


Creating the E3 trailer had exposed issues with the tools pipeline, and it was at this
time that that we realized that we were in deep trouble.


Like I said, we’d developed all-new tools for Uncharted, including BAM, our asset
management system, BuildBig, our first GUI build tool, and a shader and material
editor called Shmeditor.
Tools Rethink




But there were numerous problems with the tools – they were slow and had other
usability issues - and people were very frustrated by them. We realized that we’d
bitten off more than we could chew with our tools approach.


Basically we’d tried to be too clever – coming up with convoluted approaches that
were intended to solve every last problem that anyone had ever had with each kind
of tool.


To make it worse, we’d gotten distracted by our lofty aspirations, and left it very late
to implement a tools pipeline that let people build and play levels.
Tools Rethink




In many, if not most, cases, we went back to our old familiar Jak and Daxter ways of
doing things with tools.


And from then on, things got better and better, and we began to get really good
traction on building out the game.


Our takeaway from this experience was: don’t try to solve every last tools issue! It’s
good to aim high, but choose your battles.
Macro Design




Another thing that helped lift our spirits around this time was that the Macro Design
had firmed up a lot.


Lots of details about the gameplay had by now been decided - all the levels were
described and in the approximate order that they’d be in in the shipping game, and
most of the major plot points and key moments were fleshed out.


The macro continued to change throughout production in response to our schedule
and the way the gameplay and story evolved, but people on the team could now
see much more clearly where the game’s design was heading.
Level Layout




We were well underway by this time with the level layout effort that would make the
creation of the environment art possible. We like our mixed-media approach to
layout - whatever worked well for the designer of the level was OK with us.


A lot of people started with physical sketches, drawings or maps on squared paper,
but mostly we used a combination of Adobe Illustrator and simple prototype
geometry, letting us iterate on the levels quickly and easily, and allowing us to
easily add concept art or screen grabs as overlays to communicate our ideas about
each part of the level with each other.


Some of our layout was quite simple, but some was as complex as architectural
plans, like the one for the Fort you can see here.
Level Layout




We also have to plan at the layout stage for breaking the environments up into the
chunks, so that we can stream the parts of the level coming up and, as in our
previous games, get rid of load times.


If we hadn’t been so pressed for time in the last year of the project, we would have
taken an even more iterative approach with level layout, and that’s what we plan to
do in future, playing the levels in block mesh (or grey box) and rapidly making
changes until it’s right, before the final art gets made.
Environment Art Schedule
                                Summer 2006




By July 2006 our Environment Art effort had begun in earnest.


This is the way that we schedule environment art creation at Naughty Dog. We
don’t really believe in Gantt Charts - with a production approach like ours that
involves so much change, they really just make for busy-work, and for tasks that are
measured in weeks, this kind of schedule in a spreadsheet is perfect.


In fact, we use spreadsheets for a lot of things; for example, the Environment Leads
also used spreadsheets to track work and coordinate modelers and texture artists,
and probably more than half of our design documents are spreadsheets.
So, getting back to how we developed our Motion-Capture Production Flow: in the
summer of 2006 we cast our game, and ended up with a great group of actors,
including Nolan North and Emily Rose playing Nate Drake and his co-adventurer
Elena Fisher.


The actors would be working with Gordon Hunt, our motion capture director, who
has a tremendous amount of experience working in film, television and theater.


Because this was our first experience using motion capture, we had an open mind
about how to do things, and our approach ended up owing more to the way a movie
or theater production is staged than the way most people in the games industry do
mocap, often using different actors to do the voice and physical performances. We
used the same actors for both mo-cap and dialogue, at least for the cut-scenes (we
used stunt people for some of the in-game animation).
Motion Capture Process




In September 2006 - one year away from Beta - we did our first for-real cinematics
motion-capture shoot.


We started out doing table reads with the actors and directors, so that everyone had
a chance to discuss their characters and the situations they were in.
Rehearsals and Blocking




Then we blocked the scenes out on the stage, so that everyone could understand
how the physical space was going to work with the acting performances.


One great thing about this, apart from ending up with great performances, was that
it let us do a lot of improvisation with the actors.
Improvisation




Some of the best moments in the game were actually suggested by the actors, like
this moment when Elena punches Drake for having left her behind at the docks in a
previous scene, which Nolan and Emily came up with while they were rehearsing.
Mo-Cap Planning




We had to do a lot of careful planning, since we needed to build out some stages so
that the actors could interact with the environments properly, like the jail cell bars
you see here, or the airplane cockpit that we built out so that the actors would be in
the right places in the virtual scene.
Motion Capture Process




Overall, it was a process of trial and error. We had to struggle with the process,
learning from our successes and mistakes.


We were happy to hear from House of Moves that we running such a tight ship that
we managed to get more useful minutes of mocap data per day than many TV and
movie productions do.


But most of all, we were very happy with the authenticity and subtlety of the
performances we got.
Making the Cut-scenes




So when we got back to the studio, we set about making the cut scenes.


Another unusual aspect of the way we do things is that we have an in-house editor
– someone with movie-editing experience.


We’d start by having him cut together the video and audio that we’d recorded live on
the stage as the mo-cap was ‘shot’, into the kind of ‘quad view’ movie you can see a
still of here, to provide reference for our animators, and also to provide a guide track
for the dialog recording sessions where we got ‘clean’ takes of the audio.
Cut-scene Pipeline




We’d learned a lot from making the cinematics for the Jak and Daxter games, and
we have a terrific team of in-house animators, who worked with the mo-cap data
and did a lot of key-frame animation to finalize it.


So once we’d got a clean audio track cut together, the animators blocked the scene
out in animatic form, and then went back and forth with our editor, constantly
refining the cuts and timing of the scene until it was right, before finally fleshing out
the animation and creating the final movie.
Rendered in the Game Engine




The movies were rendered in the game engine, using the game’s characters and
environmental assets, although not in real-time.


We weren’t driven by a desire to “cheat”, but to be able to get into and out of the
movies quickly, which we couldn’t have done if we’d had to load a bunch of assets
from disc.
Hard Work to Get It All Done




We got a slow start and faced many tools and pipeline issues that required
workarounds, and it was very hard to get everything done in time.


We couldn’t have done it without outsourcing about half the animation to
Technicolor, who have a great animation team, and Technicolor also did the sound
design, editing and mixing for the cut-scenes.
Key-framed Facial Animation




Our facial animation was all key-framed – we decided not to do facial mo-cap for
Uncharted. Our animators studied hard to work with more realistic human
characters, and pulled off some amazing work.


So overall, we were very happy with our production methodology for the cut-scenes.


We localized our game into 8 languages for audio, and 13 for text (subtitles and
menus), and we have some great localization tools.
Lighting




Our lighting guys, both for in-game and the movies, did an amazing job. We lit the
cut scenes like you would a movie, setting up special sets of rim lights and fill lights
for virtually each and every shot.


The post-processing settings that we had to set up for each part of the game were
an order of magnitude more complex than anything we’d done on the Jak games,
and our course we were able to use a lot more run-time lights than before and use
more complex shadowing systems thanks to the PlayStation’s power.


I think the lighting is a very important part of the emotional tone of any game, and
worth putting a lot of effort into.
Implementation




            Task Graph


By the beginning of 2007 we only had about nine months left until Beta, and lots
and lots of game left to build - the environment artists were all insanely busy, up to
speed and kicking butt, and the game designers were implementing gameplay as
fast as they could.


Now, our general implementation approach at Naughty Dog is that as soon as we
have the tools and the assets to set up some part of the game, we do it. So, as
each level came on-line in even a rough state, we began to set up cameras, place
enemies and interactive objects, and write the scripts for the combat set-ups and
spot interactions.


As the levels changed in the process of getting polished we’d have to make tons of
tons of changes to the stuff we’d set up, but then that’s what we do anyway, in the
course of improving the gameplay, and the net result of getting more time to play
with what we were building made it totally worth it.


As part of this work, we had to set up our Task Graph, which is the thing that
provides the logical backbone of the game.
It controls the appearance of enemies and other in-game events, and also keeps
track of the game’s save state.


You can see that it gets quite complicated, and some of the tasks have to run in
parallel to let us get the kind of control we need.
Building Out The Gameplay




Some great tools had come together by this time that let us build and reload the
game’s content without re-running the game, letting us iterate more rapidly,
including Charter, our level editing tool that you can see here, which we used to
place objects in the game, as well at the signal regions that we used to trigger in-
game events and control the streaming of the levels.


We had a great scripting system – the first time we’d done scripting at Naughty Dog.
We got some excellent advice from the God of War team at Sony Santa Monica,
and one of our brilliant programmers created what we called our IGC (or In-Game
Cinematic) Scripting System.
We initially created the IGC system to script the behaviors of the player-character
and the AI-controlled characters during in-game events, but we ended up using it for
nearly all of the spot environmental interactions that you find in the game - like
turning wheels to open doors in the u-boat, and crumbling platforms, and puzzles -
and this let us set up a ton more gameplay that we would have otherwise been able
to.
Music




Music was of course very important in Uncharted, for creating mood and
heightening drama, and to make sure that the music reflected the events unfolding
the game very closely, we created an adaptive music system in-house at Naughty
Dog.


But for the first time we farmed out the work setting up the adaptive music to the
fantastic staff of the SCEA Sound and Music Group.
The Sony guys were very enthusiastic, and worked very closely with us, letting us
set the creative and technical agenda for the music.


They scripted the adaptive, interactive part of the whole game, and even came to
down to Naughty Dog at the end of the project to work in-house and finesse the
adaptive scheme and its triggers.
We were very lucky to work with Greg Edmonson, the composer for Joss Whedon’s
Firefly. We loved Greg’s work and the way he combines classical symphonic
elements, contemporary instruments, and unusual instruments from around the
world.


His work has an atmosphere that’s both familiar and other-worldly, which was
perfect for our game.
Greg hadn’t done an interactive project before, but he was very passionate from the
beginning about understanding our vision.


We showed him the game and he quickly got very much into its spirit.


He was already very technical, and so he was able to work closely with the guys at
SCEA to turn his linear scores into the branching systems that make up our
adaptive score.
We did our live recording sessions at Skywalker Sound, where they have a great
facility that lets them isolate different parts of the orchestra in soundproof booths
linked together with video feeds, so that everyone can follow the conductor. This
means that each part can later be muted or its volume changed, making the
adaptivity of the music possible.
Audio



Our audio process, setting up sound effects for the game, was very down-to-the-
wire, but both the Naughty Dogs and the Sony employees who helped us implement
the audio in-house worked very hard, and we were very happy with the results that
we achieved.


We took a data-driven approach to audio that was new for us, which let us
implement our audio very quickly and make changes without having to recompile
code. We ended up with over 1,200 lines of in-game dialogue, which we feel really
helps reinforce the reality of the game world!
Summer 2007
                             Demo Mayhem




In the summer of 2007 we made a lot of demos – maybe 5 demos and 6 playtest
builds.


We think that demos are something of a double-edged sword - it sucks having to
make them, and an unpolished early demo can leave people with a bad impression
of your game.


But aside from creating good buzz in the lead-up to a game’s release, demos really
help force the team to achieve concrete goals in terms of getting different parts of
the game finished to a good level of polish.
Summer 2007
            Demos Are A Double-Edged Sword




Also, the feedback we get from people who play our demos, both the gaming press
and the public, really helps focus our attention to the parts of the game that need
the most work - for instance, we got kinda dinged for our aiming scheme at E3 last
year - we weren’t yet happy with it at the time, but the constructive negative
feedback that we got ultimately helped us fix the issues we had.


I want to stress that we do very little throw-away work for our demos. Because of
the task graph and its modular nature, we can excerpt a section of it with a relatively
small number of script and code changes to the game. Always keeping the game
unbroken really helps with this too. But next time we think we’ll try to make a
smaller number of demos and use them for longer.
The Home Stretch




About six weeks out, we decided to move Alpha up by two weeks.


We’d scoped the last few of the game’s levels to get built as we approached Alpha,
reducing them in size and complexity, which actually helped the game’s pace a lot,
in retrospect.


We hit Alpha well, and we think that even though it was tough at the time, moving
Alpha up was extremely smart, since it gave us just enough time to polish what we
had.
Fall 2007
                            Massive A ttack Trailer




Finally, we hit Beta on September 14th, and from there on we were pretty much just
fixing bugs, adding the last few bits of bonus content, and doing a final pass of
gameplay tuning.


Just before Gold Master, we made a trailer using the track “Dissolved Girl” by
Massive Attack, of whom we’re huge fans - we’d liked all of our trailers a lot, but we
thought this one was something really special.
October 19 th , 2007
                              Gold Master




On October the 19th, we hit Gold Master, and this is pretty much how we felt!


We were very happy with the way that everything came together.
Naughty Dog’s
          BEST. GA ME. EVAR!!11one1




We’d said throughout development that we thought Uncharted would be Naughty
Dog’s best game ever, but we were certain that this was the case by the time we
shipped, and the critical and public reception we’ve received has been everything
we’d hoped for.
Summary




          • Timely, scoped planning is important
          • G etting on with making the game
            is the best way to make it




Timely, scoped planning is important. You have to come out of pre-production with
a strong plan for your game, and create the micro design right before it’s needed.
However, don’t over-plan, because you’ll make discoveries as you go along that will
lead to changes.


Getting on with making the game is the best way to make it. Build something bare-
bones that gets the job done, and then expand and refine the things that work well
or show potential. People become more creative within the structure of a limited
tool or game mechanic that's solid, simply because they can do work and iterate.
Summary




           • A flat hierarchy, an open-door policy
             and a meritocracy
           • Hard work, teamwork and mutual respect




A flat hierarchy, an open-door policy and a meritocracy are all really important to us.
The freedom of the team to participate, be constructively critical, and innovate –
when anyone can step up to the plate, get involved, and see an idea through to
completion – is always inspiring, investing and motivating.


And the flip side of that is hard work, teamwork and mutual respect. People at
Naughty Dog are generally very respectful of each other's design opinions, and that
culture, of listening, thinking and discussing respectfully, staying focused on the
objective merits of the game, propagates across all disciplines and parts of the
production.
Summary
           • When games have a tone that is nuanced,
             they become more immersive
           • We’re in a great position now
             – come and work with us!




We believe that when games have a tone that is nuanced, they essentially become
more immersive. Story games don’t have to take themselves so seriously, be so
melodramatic and be very long and difficult. Games can simply be charming and
transporting. I think that settling down with a game that takes you away to
somewhere amazing for a few hours is the kind of immersion that a lot of us are
always chasing.


Despite having worked on the PlayStation 2 for 6 years, we caught up in terms of
new technology (like shaders) and we hope that we’ve even done something to
raise the bar. We were able to preserve our company culture despite an increase in
team size, and we have better tools, play mechanics and AI code now than what
was comparable at the end of our first Jak game.


We haven’t announced our next project yet, but whatever it is, we’re excited about
it, and poised to make Naughty Dog’s next best-game-evar! In short, we’re in a
great position now – so why not come and work with us?
“ Amazing Feats of Daring”



                              Post-Mortem
                           Thanks for listening!

                         Richard Lemarchand
                            Lead Game Designer
                        Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
                                Naughty Dog



So that’s it – thanks for listening! Thanks to everyone who helped me make this
presentation, and who helped us make Uncharted: all the Naughty Dogs, past and
present, Sony Computer Entertainment, and all of our family and friends.

More Related Content

What's hot

NDC 2015. 한 그루 한 그루 심지 않아도 돼요. 생태학에 기반한 [야생의 땅: 듀랑고]의 절차적 생성 생태계
NDC 2015. 한 그루 한 그루 심지 않아도 돼요. 생태학에 기반한 [야생의 땅: 듀랑고]의 절차적 생성 생태계NDC 2015. 한 그루 한 그루 심지 않아도 돼요. 생태학에 기반한 [야생의 땅: 듀랑고]의 절차적 생성 생태계
NDC 2015. 한 그루 한 그루 심지 않아도 돼요. 생태학에 기반한 [야생의 땅: 듀랑고]의 절차적 생성 생태계Imseong Kang
 
中級グラフィックス入門~シャドウマッピング総まとめ~
中級グラフィックス入門~シャドウマッピング総まとめ~中級グラフィックス入門~シャドウマッピング総まとめ~
中級グラフィックス入門~シャドウマッピング総まとめ~ProjectAsura
 
이원, 절차적 지형과 월드 머신, NDC2011
이원, 절차적 지형과 월드 머신, NDC2011이원, 절차적 지형과 월드 머신, NDC2011
이원, 절차적 지형과 월드 머신, NDC2011devCAT Studio, NEXON
 
[IGC2018] 캡콤 토쿠다 유야 - 몬스터헌터 월드의 게임 컨셉과 레벨 디자인
[IGC2018] 캡콤 토쿠다 유야 - 몬스터헌터 월드의 게임 컨셉과 레벨 디자인[IGC2018] 캡콤 토쿠다 유야 - 몬스터헌터 월드의 게임 컨셉과 레벨 디자인
[IGC2018] 캡콤 토쿠다 유야 - 몬스터헌터 월드의 게임 컨셉과 레벨 디자인강 민우
 
영웅의 군단의 테크니컬 아트 - 황재철, 유나이트 코리아 2014
영웅의 군단의 테크니컬 아트 - 황재철, 유나이트 코리아 2014영웅의 군단의 테크니컬 아트 - 황재철, 유나이트 코리아 2014
영웅의 군단의 테크니컬 아트 - 황재철, 유나이트 코리아 2014NDOORS
 
[IGC 2016] 띵소프트 이득규 - 삼국지조조전 Online L10N 개발 Case Study
[IGC 2016] 띵소프트 이득규 - 삼국지조조전 Online L10N 개발 Case Study[IGC 2016] 띵소프트 이득규 - 삼국지조조전 Online L10N 개발 Case Study
[IGC 2016] 띵소프트 이득규 - 삼국지조조전 Online L10N 개발 Case Study강 민우
 
GDC 2014 - Deformable Snow Rendering in Batman: Arkham Origins
GDC 2014 - Deformable Snow Rendering in Batman: Arkham OriginsGDC 2014 - Deformable Snow Rendering in Batman: Arkham Origins
GDC 2014 - Deformable Snow Rendering in Batman: Arkham OriginsColin Barré-Brisebois
 
A Bizarre Way to do Real-Time Lighting
A Bizarre Way to do Real-Time LightingA Bizarre Way to do Real-Time Lighting
A Bizarre Way to do Real-Time LightingSteven Tovey
 
CryENGINE 3 Rendering Techniques
CryENGINE 3 Rendering TechniquesCryENGINE 3 Rendering Techniques
CryENGINE 3 Rendering TechniquesTiago Sousa
 
Naughty Dog Vertex
Naughty Dog VertexNaughty Dog Vertex
Naughty Dog VertexNaughty Dog
 
【Unite Tokyo 2018】『崩壊3rd』開発者が語るアニメ風レンダリングの極意
【Unite Tokyo 2018】『崩壊3rd』開発者が語るアニメ風レンダリングの極意【Unite Tokyo 2018】『崩壊3rd』開発者が語るアニメ風レンダリングの極意
【Unite Tokyo 2018】『崩壊3rd』開発者が語るアニメ風レンダリングの極意UnityTechnologiesJapan002
 
High Dynamic Range color grading and display in Frostbite
High Dynamic Range color grading and display in FrostbiteHigh Dynamic Range color grading and display in Frostbite
High Dynamic Range color grading and display in FrostbiteElectronic Arts / DICE
 
CEDEC 2020 - 高品質かつ低負荷な3Dライブを実現するシェーダー開発 ~『ラブライブ!スクールアイドルフェスティバル ALL STARS』(スク...
CEDEC 2020 - 高品質かつ低負荷な3Dライブを実現するシェーダー開発 ~『ラブライブ!スクールアイドルフェスティバル ALL STARS』(スク...CEDEC 2020 - 高品質かつ低負荷な3Dライブを実現するシェーダー開発 ~『ラブライブ!スクールアイドルフェスティバル ALL STARS』(スク...
CEDEC 2020 - 高品質かつ低負荷な3Dライブを実現するシェーダー開発 ~『ラブライブ!スクールアイドルフェスティバル ALL STARS』(スク...KLab Inc. / Tech
 
【Unite Tokyo 2019】〈七つの大罪〉をゲームで!高品質グラフィックを具現化するための技法と開発最適化のご紹介
【Unite Tokyo 2019】〈七つの大罪〉をゲームで!高品質グラフィックを具現化するための技法と開発最適化のご紹介【Unite Tokyo 2019】〈七つの大罪〉をゲームで!高品質グラフィックを具現化するための技法と開発最適化のご紹介
【Unite Tokyo 2019】〈七つの大罪〉をゲームで!高品質グラフィックを具現化するための技法と開発最適化のご紹介UnityTechnologiesJapan002
 
なぜなにリアルタイムレンダリング
なぜなにリアルタイムレンダリングなぜなにリアルタイムレンダリング
なぜなにリアルタイムレンダリングSatoshi Kodaira
 
Level Design Challenges & Solutions - Mirror's Edge
Level Design Challenges & Solutions - Mirror's EdgeLevel Design Challenges & Solutions - Mirror's Edge
Level Design Challenges & Solutions - Mirror's EdgeElectronic Arts / DICE
 
【Unite Tokyo 2019】Unityプログレッシブライトマッパー2019
【Unite Tokyo 2019】Unityプログレッシブライトマッパー2019【Unite Tokyo 2019】Unityプログレッシブライトマッパー2019
【Unite Tokyo 2019】Unityプログレッシブライトマッパー2019UnityTechnologiesJapan002
 
HDR Theory and practicce (JP)
HDR Theory and practicce (JP)HDR Theory and practicce (JP)
HDR Theory and practicce (JP)Hajime Uchimura
 
「原神」におけるコンソールプラットフォーム開発
「原神」におけるコンソールプラットフォーム開発「原神」におけるコンソールプラットフォーム開発
「原神」におけるコンソールプラットフォーム開発Unity Technologies Japan K.K.
 

What's hot (20)

NDC 2015. 한 그루 한 그루 심지 않아도 돼요. 생태학에 기반한 [야생의 땅: 듀랑고]의 절차적 생성 생태계
NDC 2015. 한 그루 한 그루 심지 않아도 돼요. 생태학에 기반한 [야생의 땅: 듀랑고]의 절차적 생성 생태계NDC 2015. 한 그루 한 그루 심지 않아도 돼요. 생태학에 기반한 [야생의 땅: 듀랑고]의 절차적 생성 생태계
NDC 2015. 한 그루 한 그루 심지 않아도 돼요. 생태학에 기반한 [야생의 땅: 듀랑고]의 절차적 생성 생태계
 
中級グラフィックス入門~シャドウマッピング総まとめ~
中級グラフィックス入門~シャドウマッピング総まとめ~中級グラフィックス入門~シャドウマッピング総まとめ~
中級グラフィックス入門~シャドウマッピング総まとめ~
 
이원, 절차적 지형과 월드 머신, NDC2011
이원, 절차적 지형과 월드 머신, NDC2011이원, 절차적 지형과 월드 머신, NDC2011
이원, 절차적 지형과 월드 머신, NDC2011
 
[IGC2018] 캡콤 토쿠다 유야 - 몬스터헌터 월드의 게임 컨셉과 레벨 디자인
[IGC2018] 캡콤 토쿠다 유야 - 몬스터헌터 월드의 게임 컨셉과 레벨 디자인[IGC2018] 캡콤 토쿠다 유야 - 몬스터헌터 월드의 게임 컨셉과 레벨 디자인
[IGC2018] 캡콤 토쿠다 유야 - 몬스터헌터 월드의 게임 컨셉과 레벨 디자인
 
영웅의 군단의 테크니컬 아트 - 황재철, 유나이트 코리아 2014
영웅의 군단의 테크니컬 아트 - 황재철, 유나이트 코리아 2014영웅의 군단의 테크니컬 아트 - 황재철, 유나이트 코리아 2014
영웅의 군단의 테크니컬 아트 - 황재철, 유나이트 코리아 2014
 
[IGC 2016] 띵소프트 이득규 - 삼국지조조전 Online L10N 개발 Case Study
[IGC 2016] 띵소프트 이득규 - 삼국지조조전 Online L10N 개발 Case Study[IGC 2016] 띵소프트 이득규 - 삼국지조조전 Online L10N 개발 Case Study
[IGC 2016] 띵소프트 이득규 - 삼국지조조전 Online L10N 개발 Case Study
 
GDC 2014 - Deformable Snow Rendering in Batman: Arkham Origins
GDC 2014 - Deformable Snow Rendering in Batman: Arkham OriginsGDC 2014 - Deformable Snow Rendering in Batman: Arkham Origins
GDC 2014 - Deformable Snow Rendering in Batman: Arkham Origins
 
A Bizarre Way to do Real-Time Lighting
A Bizarre Way to do Real-Time LightingA Bizarre Way to do Real-Time Lighting
A Bizarre Way to do Real-Time Lighting
 
CryENGINE 3 Rendering Techniques
CryENGINE 3 Rendering TechniquesCryENGINE 3 Rendering Techniques
CryENGINE 3 Rendering Techniques
 
Naughty Dog Vertex
Naughty Dog VertexNaughty Dog Vertex
Naughty Dog Vertex
 
【Unite Tokyo 2018】『崩壊3rd』開発者が語るアニメ風レンダリングの極意
【Unite Tokyo 2018】『崩壊3rd』開発者が語るアニメ風レンダリングの極意【Unite Tokyo 2018】『崩壊3rd』開発者が語るアニメ風レンダリングの極意
【Unite Tokyo 2018】『崩壊3rd』開発者が語るアニメ風レンダリングの極意
 
High Dynamic Range color grading and display in Frostbite
High Dynamic Range color grading and display in FrostbiteHigh Dynamic Range color grading and display in Frostbite
High Dynamic Range color grading and display in Frostbite
 
CEDEC 2020 - 高品質かつ低負荷な3Dライブを実現するシェーダー開発 ~『ラブライブ!スクールアイドルフェスティバル ALL STARS』(スク...
CEDEC 2020 - 高品質かつ低負荷な3Dライブを実現するシェーダー開発 ~『ラブライブ!スクールアイドルフェスティバル ALL STARS』(スク...CEDEC 2020 - 高品質かつ低負荷な3Dライブを実現するシェーダー開発 ~『ラブライブ!スクールアイドルフェスティバル ALL STARS』(スク...
CEDEC 2020 - 高品質かつ低負荷な3Dライブを実現するシェーダー開発 ~『ラブライブ!スクールアイドルフェスティバル ALL STARS』(スク...
 
【Unite Tokyo 2019】〈七つの大罪〉をゲームで!高品質グラフィックを具現化するための技法と開発最適化のご紹介
【Unite Tokyo 2019】〈七つの大罪〉をゲームで!高品質グラフィックを具現化するための技法と開発最適化のご紹介【Unite Tokyo 2019】〈七つの大罪〉をゲームで!高品質グラフィックを具現化するための技法と開発最適化のご紹介
【Unite Tokyo 2019】〈七つの大罪〉をゲームで!高品質グラフィックを具現化するための技法と開発最適化のご紹介
 
なぜなにリアルタイムレンダリング
なぜなにリアルタイムレンダリングなぜなにリアルタイムレンダリング
なぜなにリアルタイムレンダリング
 
Level Design Challenges & Solutions - Mirror's Edge
Level Design Challenges & Solutions - Mirror's EdgeLevel Design Challenges & Solutions - Mirror's Edge
Level Design Challenges & Solutions - Mirror's Edge
 
【Unite Tokyo 2019】Unityプログレッシブライトマッパー2019
【Unite Tokyo 2019】Unityプログレッシブライトマッパー2019【Unite Tokyo 2019】Unityプログレッシブライトマッパー2019
【Unite Tokyo 2019】Unityプログレッシブライトマッパー2019
 
HDR Theory and practicce (JP)
HDR Theory and practicce (JP)HDR Theory and practicce (JP)
HDR Theory and practicce (JP)
 
「原神」におけるコンソールプラットフォーム開発
「原神」におけるコンソールプラットフォーム開発「原神」におけるコンソールプラットフォーム開発
「原神」におけるコンソールプラットフォーム開発
 
Mask Material only in Early Z-passの効果と仕組み
Mask Material only in Early Z-passの効果と仕組みMask Material only in Early Z-passの効果と仕組み
Mask Material only in Early Z-passの効果と仕組み
 

Similar to Amazing Feats of Daring - Uncharted Post Mortem

Bica Studios Game Design Document and the Importance of Testing
Bica Studios Game Design Document and the Importance of TestingBica Studios Game Design Document and the Importance of Testing
Bica Studios Game Design Document and the Importance of TestingBica Studios
 
Developing your Agile skills through social Games
Developing your Agile skills through social GamesDeveloping your Agile skills through social Games
Developing your Agile skills through social GamesAgile Montréal
 
Game Jam Junkies - Casual Connect SF
Game Jam Junkies - Casual Connect SFGame Jam Junkies - Casual Connect SF
Game Jam Junkies - Casual Connect SFDave Bisceglia
 
Pixel-Lab / Games:EDU / Matt Southern / Graduating Games
Pixel-Lab / Games:EDU / Matt Southern / Graduating GamesPixel-Lab / Games:EDU / Matt Southern / Graduating Games
Pixel-Lab / Games:EDU / Matt Southern / Graduating Gamespixellab
 
Startup pitch Critique Gaming
Startup pitch Critique GamingStartup pitch Critique Gaming
Startup pitch Critique GamingAndrei Olaru
 
Task 7 – Evaluation
Task 7 – EvaluationTask 7 – Evaluation
Task 7 – EvaluationDeightonater
 
Pig-faced Orcs: What designers can learn from old-school role-playing games (...
Pig-faced Orcs: What designers can learn from old-school role-playing games (...Pig-faced Orcs: What designers can learn from old-school role-playing games (...
Pig-faced Orcs: What designers can learn from old-school role-playing games (...Jamie Reffell
 
Presentation sanlab workshops
Presentation sanlab workshopsPresentation sanlab workshops
Presentation sanlab workshopsArtur Roszczyk
 
Educational Games Design (STEG10 Keynote)
Educational Games Design (STEG10 Keynote)Educational Games Design (STEG10 Keynote)
Educational Games Design (STEG10 Keynote)David Farrell
 
Mr monocle marketing campaign
Mr monocle marketing campaign Mr monocle marketing campaign
Mr monocle marketing campaign Chalkboard Cosmos
 
Educational games overview
Educational games overviewEducational games overview
Educational games overviewDavid Farrell
 
Thierry Platon: 2Dark, how do we get our neo-pixel unique look?
Thierry Platon: 2Dark, how do we get our neo-pixel unique look?Thierry Platon: 2Dark, how do we get our neo-pixel unique look?
Thierry Platon: 2Dark, how do we get our neo-pixel unique look?DevGAMM Conference
 
coding games with scratch for using in school
coding games with scratch for using in schoolcoding games with scratch for using in school
coding games with scratch for using in schoolMelina Maurer
 
Games Fleadh Presentation - One Crazy Year
Games Fleadh Presentation - One Crazy YearGames Fleadh Presentation - One Crazy Year
Games Fleadh Presentation - One Crazy YearPaddy Murphy
 

Similar to Amazing Feats of Daring - Uncharted Post Mortem (20)

Bica Studios Game Design Document and the Importance of Testing
Bica Studios Game Design Document and the Importance of TestingBica Studios Game Design Document and the Importance of Testing
Bica Studios Game Design Document and the Importance of Testing
 
Developing your Agile skills through social Games
Developing your Agile skills through social GamesDeveloping your Agile skills through social Games
Developing your Agile skills through social Games
 
Little Big Planet
Little Big PlanetLittle Big Planet
Little Big Planet
 
Game Jam Junkies - Casual Connect SF
Game Jam Junkies - Casual Connect SFGame Jam Junkies - Casual Connect SF
Game Jam Junkies - Casual Connect SF
 
Ninja rush pipeline
Ninja rush pipelineNinja rush pipeline
Ninja rush pipeline
 
Pixel-Lab / Games:EDU / Matt Southern / Graduating Games
Pixel-Lab / Games:EDU / Matt Southern / Graduating GamesPixel-Lab / Games:EDU / Matt Southern / Graduating Games
Pixel-Lab / Games:EDU / Matt Southern / Graduating Games
 
Startup pitch Critique Gaming
Startup pitch Critique GamingStartup pitch Critique Gaming
Startup pitch Critique Gaming
 
2. initial plans
2. initial plans2. initial plans
2. initial plans
 
Task 7 – Evaluation
Task 7 – EvaluationTask 7 – Evaluation
Task 7 – Evaluation
 
Q cards
Q cardsQ cards
Q cards
 
Finding The Fun
Finding The FunFinding The Fun
Finding The Fun
 
Pig-faced Orcs: What designers can learn from old-school role-playing games (...
Pig-faced Orcs: What designers can learn from old-school role-playing games (...Pig-faced Orcs: What designers can learn from old-school role-playing games (...
Pig-faced Orcs: What designers can learn from old-school role-playing games (...
 
Presentation sanlab workshops
Presentation sanlab workshopsPresentation sanlab workshops
Presentation sanlab workshops
 
Educational Games Design (STEG10 Keynote)
Educational Games Design (STEG10 Keynote)Educational Games Design (STEG10 Keynote)
Educational Games Design (STEG10 Keynote)
 
Initial Plans
Initial PlansInitial Plans
Initial Plans
 
Mr monocle marketing campaign
Mr monocle marketing campaign Mr monocle marketing campaign
Mr monocle marketing campaign
 
Educational games overview
Educational games overviewEducational games overview
Educational games overview
 
Thierry Platon: 2Dark, how do we get our neo-pixel unique look?
Thierry Platon: 2Dark, how do we get our neo-pixel unique look?Thierry Platon: 2Dark, how do we get our neo-pixel unique look?
Thierry Platon: 2Dark, how do we get our neo-pixel unique look?
 
coding games with scratch for using in school
coding games with scratch for using in schoolcoding games with scratch for using in school
coding games with scratch for using in school
 
Games Fleadh Presentation - One Crazy Year
Games Fleadh Presentation - One Crazy YearGames Fleadh Presentation - One Crazy Year
Games Fleadh Presentation - One Crazy Year
 

Recently uploaded

Free and Effective: Making Flows Publicly Accessible, Yumi Ibrahimzade
Free and Effective: Making Flows Publicly Accessible, Yumi IbrahimzadeFree and Effective: Making Flows Publicly Accessible, Yumi Ibrahimzade
Free and Effective: Making Flows Publicly Accessible, Yumi IbrahimzadeCzechDreamin
 
Extensible Python: Robustness through Addition - PyCon 2024
Extensible Python: Robustness through Addition - PyCon 2024Extensible Python: Robustness through Addition - PyCon 2024
Extensible Python: Robustness through Addition - PyCon 2024Patrick Viafore
 
THE BEST IPTV in GERMANY for 2024: IPTVreel
THE BEST IPTV in  GERMANY for 2024: IPTVreelTHE BEST IPTV in  GERMANY for 2024: IPTVreel
THE BEST IPTV in GERMANY for 2024: IPTVreelreely ones
 
Demystifying gRPC in .Net by John Staveley
Demystifying gRPC in .Net by John StaveleyDemystifying gRPC in .Net by John Staveley
Demystifying gRPC in .Net by John StaveleyJohn Staveley
 
Structuring Teams and Portfolios for Success
Structuring Teams and Portfolios for SuccessStructuring Teams and Portfolios for Success
Structuring Teams and Portfolios for SuccessUXDXConf
 
Introduction to FDO and How It works Applications _ Richard at FIDO Alliance.pdf
Introduction to FDO and How It works Applications _ Richard at FIDO Alliance.pdfIntroduction to FDO and How It works Applications _ Richard at FIDO Alliance.pdf
Introduction to FDO and How It works Applications _ Richard at FIDO Alliance.pdfFIDO Alliance
 
IESVE for Early Stage Design and Planning
IESVE for Early Stage Design and PlanningIESVE for Early Stage Design and Planning
IESVE for Early Stage Design and PlanningIES VE
 
The UX of Automation by AJ King, Senior UX Researcher, Ocado
The UX of Automation by AJ King, Senior UX Researcher, OcadoThe UX of Automation by AJ King, Senior UX Researcher, Ocado
The UX of Automation by AJ King, Senior UX Researcher, OcadoUXDXConf
 
PLAI - Acceleration Program for Generative A.I. Startups
PLAI - Acceleration Program for Generative A.I. StartupsPLAI - Acceleration Program for Generative A.I. Startups
PLAI - Acceleration Program for Generative A.I. StartupsStefano
 
Connecting the Dots in Product Design at KAYAK
Connecting the Dots in Product Design at KAYAKConnecting the Dots in Product Design at KAYAK
Connecting the Dots in Product Design at KAYAKUXDXConf
 
Choosing the Right FDO Deployment Model for Your Application _ Geoffrey at In...
Choosing the Right FDO Deployment Model for Your Application _ Geoffrey at In...Choosing the Right FDO Deployment Model for Your Application _ Geoffrey at In...
Choosing the Right FDO Deployment Model for Your Application _ Geoffrey at In...FIDO Alliance
 
How we scaled to 80K users by doing nothing!.pdf
How we scaled to 80K users by doing nothing!.pdfHow we scaled to 80K users by doing nothing!.pdf
How we scaled to 80K users by doing nothing!.pdfSrushith Repakula
 
Enterprise Knowledge Graphs - Data Summit 2024
Enterprise Knowledge Graphs - Data Summit 2024Enterprise Knowledge Graphs - Data Summit 2024
Enterprise Knowledge Graphs - Data Summit 2024Enterprise Knowledge
 
Custom Approval Process: A New Perspective, Pavel Hrbacek & Anindya Halder
Custom Approval Process: A New Perspective, Pavel Hrbacek & Anindya HalderCustom Approval Process: A New Perspective, Pavel Hrbacek & Anindya Halder
Custom Approval Process: A New Perspective, Pavel Hrbacek & Anindya HalderCzechDreamin
 
Oauth 2.0 Introduction and Flows with MuleSoft
Oauth 2.0 Introduction and Flows with MuleSoftOauth 2.0 Introduction and Flows with MuleSoft
Oauth 2.0 Introduction and Flows with MuleSoftshyamraj55
 
Designing for Hardware Accessibility at Comcast
Designing for Hardware Accessibility at ComcastDesigning for Hardware Accessibility at Comcast
Designing for Hardware Accessibility at ComcastUXDXConf
 
Integrating Telephony Systems with Salesforce: Insights and Considerations, B...
Integrating Telephony Systems with Salesforce: Insights and Considerations, B...Integrating Telephony Systems with Salesforce: Insights and Considerations, B...
Integrating Telephony Systems with Salesforce: Insights and Considerations, B...CzechDreamin
 
AI presentation and introduction - Retrieval Augmented Generation RAG 101
AI presentation and introduction - Retrieval Augmented Generation RAG 101AI presentation and introduction - Retrieval Augmented Generation RAG 101
AI presentation and introduction - Retrieval Augmented Generation RAG 101vincent683379
 
Speed Wins: From Kafka to APIs in Minutes
Speed Wins: From Kafka to APIs in MinutesSpeed Wins: From Kafka to APIs in Minutes
Speed Wins: From Kafka to APIs in Minutesconfluent
 
AI revolution and Salesforce, Jiří Karpíšek
AI revolution and Salesforce, Jiří KarpíšekAI revolution and Salesforce, Jiří Karpíšek
AI revolution and Salesforce, Jiří KarpíšekCzechDreamin
 

Recently uploaded (20)

Free and Effective: Making Flows Publicly Accessible, Yumi Ibrahimzade
Free and Effective: Making Flows Publicly Accessible, Yumi IbrahimzadeFree and Effective: Making Flows Publicly Accessible, Yumi Ibrahimzade
Free and Effective: Making Flows Publicly Accessible, Yumi Ibrahimzade
 
Extensible Python: Robustness through Addition - PyCon 2024
Extensible Python: Robustness through Addition - PyCon 2024Extensible Python: Robustness through Addition - PyCon 2024
Extensible Python: Robustness through Addition - PyCon 2024
 
THE BEST IPTV in GERMANY for 2024: IPTVreel
THE BEST IPTV in  GERMANY for 2024: IPTVreelTHE BEST IPTV in  GERMANY for 2024: IPTVreel
THE BEST IPTV in GERMANY for 2024: IPTVreel
 
Demystifying gRPC in .Net by John Staveley
Demystifying gRPC in .Net by John StaveleyDemystifying gRPC in .Net by John Staveley
Demystifying gRPC in .Net by John Staveley
 
Structuring Teams and Portfolios for Success
Structuring Teams and Portfolios for SuccessStructuring Teams and Portfolios for Success
Structuring Teams and Portfolios for Success
 
Introduction to FDO and How It works Applications _ Richard at FIDO Alliance.pdf
Introduction to FDO and How It works Applications _ Richard at FIDO Alliance.pdfIntroduction to FDO and How It works Applications _ Richard at FIDO Alliance.pdf
Introduction to FDO and How It works Applications _ Richard at FIDO Alliance.pdf
 
IESVE for Early Stage Design and Planning
IESVE for Early Stage Design and PlanningIESVE for Early Stage Design and Planning
IESVE for Early Stage Design and Planning
 
The UX of Automation by AJ King, Senior UX Researcher, Ocado
The UX of Automation by AJ King, Senior UX Researcher, OcadoThe UX of Automation by AJ King, Senior UX Researcher, Ocado
The UX of Automation by AJ King, Senior UX Researcher, Ocado
 
PLAI - Acceleration Program for Generative A.I. Startups
PLAI - Acceleration Program for Generative A.I. StartupsPLAI - Acceleration Program for Generative A.I. Startups
PLAI - Acceleration Program for Generative A.I. Startups
 
Connecting the Dots in Product Design at KAYAK
Connecting the Dots in Product Design at KAYAKConnecting the Dots in Product Design at KAYAK
Connecting the Dots in Product Design at KAYAK
 
Choosing the Right FDO Deployment Model for Your Application _ Geoffrey at In...
Choosing the Right FDO Deployment Model for Your Application _ Geoffrey at In...Choosing the Right FDO Deployment Model for Your Application _ Geoffrey at In...
Choosing the Right FDO Deployment Model for Your Application _ Geoffrey at In...
 
How we scaled to 80K users by doing nothing!.pdf
How we scaled to 80K users by doing nothing!.pdfHow we scaled to 80K users by doing nothing!.pdf
How we scaled to 80K users by doing nothing!.pdf
 
Enterprise Knowledge Graphs - Data Summit 2024
Enterprise Knowledge Graphs - Data Summit 2024Enterprise Knowledge Graphs - Data Summit 2024
Enterprise Knowledge Graphs - Data Summit 2024
 
Custom Approval Process: A New Perspective, Pavel Hrbacek & Anindya Halder
Custom Approval Process: A New Perspective, Pavel Hrbacek & Anindya HalderCustom Approval Process: A New Perspective, Pavel Hrbacek & Anindya Halder
Custom Approval Process: A New Perspective, Pavel Hrbacek & Anindya Halder
 
Oauth 2.0 Introduction and Flows with MuleSoft
Oauth 2.0 Introduction and Flows with MuleSoftOauth 2.0 Introduction and Flows with MuleSoft
Oauth 2.0 Introduction and Flows with MuleSoft
 
Designing for Hardware Accessibility at Comcast
Designing for Hardware Accessibility at ComcastDesigning for Hardware Accessibility at Comcast
Designing for Hardware Accessibility at Comcast
 
Integrating Telephony Systems with Salesforce: Insights and Considerations, B...
Integrating Telephony Systems with Salesforce: Insights and Considerations, B...Integrating Telephony Systems with Salesforce: Insights and Considerations, B...
Integrating Telephony Systems with Salesforce: Insights and Considerations, B...
 
AI presentation and introduction - Retrieval Augmented Generation RAG 101
AI presentation and introduction - Retrieval Augmented Generation RAG 101AI presentation and introduction - Retrieval Augmented Generation RAG 101
AI presentation and introduction - Retrieval Augmented Generation RAG 101
 
Speed Wins: From Kafka to APIs in Minutes
Speed Wins: From Kafka to APIs in MinutesSpeed Wins: From Kafka to APIs in Minutes
Speed Wins: From Kafka to APIs in Minutes
 
AI revolution and Salesforce, Jiří Karpíšek
AI revolution and Salesforce, Jiří KarpíšekAI revolution and Salesforce, Jiří Karpíšek
AI revolution and Salesforce, Jiří Karpíšek
 

Amazing Feats of Daring - Uncharted Post Mortem

  • 1. Hello, and welcome to Amazing Feats of Daring. This talk is a post-mortem for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune which is Naughty Dog’s first game for the PlayStation 3. I’ll be giving you an overview of how we work at Naughty Dog, the challenges that we faced in developing the game and the things that we struggled with, some of our successes, and the things that we plan to do differently next time.
  • 2. Who Am I? Richard Lemarchand G ame Designer My name is Richard Lemarchand, and I’m a game designer, originally from the west of England. I’ve made character-action games the main focus of my career, although I’ve worked on some other kinds of stuff - these are the games that I’ve helped ship.
  • 3. Naughty Dog is a small game studio of about 80 people based in Santa Monica, Southern California. We were founded in the mid-’80s by those excellent chaps Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin while they were still at high school. We are the creators of Crash Bandicoot and the Jak and Daxter series of games - the Jak games have sold over 7 million units worldwide. We’ve been wholly owned by Sony Computer Entertainment since 2001, and the studio is now headed up by Co-Presidents and long-time Naughty Dogs Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra.
  • 4. The Way We Make Games So before we get going I want to tell you a bit about the way we make games at Naughty Dog, because we think it’s a bit different from the way that a lot of people in the industry do things.
  • 5. Everyone Contributes to the Design One of my favorite things about Naughty Dog is that it has an open, meritocratic studio culture. Ideas and constructive criticism about the design and production of whatever we’re working on are always welcomed from absolutely everyone on the team.
  • 6. No Producers In-House We’re very management-light, and in fact no-one in-house at Naughty Dog has the job title of Producer - though we do have some great external producers at Sony. The game is produced by the team, by anyone who wants to step up and take some responsibility for an aspect of the game.
  • 7. Productive Chaos Although it’s sometimes messy and chaotic, it’s messy in a good way, since the people with the responsibility are the same people actually making the game, which helps us stay very focused on quality and fun.
  • 8. Concentric Development We develop concentrically, which is to say that we implement the fundamentals first to a good level of polish, working outward, iterating on secondary and tertiary mechanics, building modularly and ditching stuff that fails as early as we can.
  • 9. Design Iteration We don’t do a lot of documentation – just enough to keep track of our basic ideas. We come up with a lot of our design and polish our games iteratively, sitting down together and trying things, and making incremental changes until we’re happy with what we’ve got.
  • 10. Healthy Code We always try and keep the game code and content running healthily and as free of crash bugs as possible, which allows the team to always be able to move forwards with building the game, and has other advantages that we’ll get to later.
  • 11. Deadline Driven We’re very deadline driven, and we’ve never missed a ship date in the history of the company. Our presidents and game directors keep an eye on the big picture, and alert us to things that are coming down the pipe.
  • 12. Lots of Play Tests We do a lot of play testing with statistically large-ish groups of new players, and we try to be as scientific as possible with this process, extracting data from the play testers’ save games, graphing it and studying it, mainly to tune the level of challenge. We also get our testers to fill out questionnaires that we tabulate and take note of, which can be useful on an anecdotal level.
  • 13. Method • M Y T H 1 - “ You can schedule and manage creation” • M Y T H 2 - “ Working productively means throwing out nothing” G oogle “ Method G amasutra” The way we makes games owes a lot to The Method – a game development strategy laid out by Mark Cerny and Michael John in the mid-90s. If you Google “Method Gamasutra”, you can hear a lecture by Mark Cerny on the subject, which I strongly encourage you to listen to if you’re interested in ideas about better ways of making games.
  • 14. Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks I CAN HAS LOOK IN YR GARBAGE, PLZ? We were going to try and learn a lot of new tricks for Uncharted. We were going to be using new types of production methodologies and technologies, and even though we had a great PS2 code base, for a number of reasons we set out to create an entirely new game engine and tools, starting from ZERO lines of code! This would come back to bite us in the butt later on.
  • 15. Production Timeline • O ne year of preproduction • Two years of full production Here’s a really quick overview of our production timeline: 1 year of preproduction 2 years of full production This might seem like a lot of time, but we still found ourselves very crunched at the end of the project, because of how long it took us to get everything going.
  • 16. 2005 - Preproduction So as we got into Preproduction, at the start of 2005, we began to choose some core design principles to base our game on.
  • 17. Inspirations We very soon decided that we wanted to set our game in a re-imagining of the classic pulp action-adventure genre. From the early adventure tales like Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island, and cowboy stories…
  • 18. Inspirations …to the prototypical pulp heroes – Doc Savage from the 1930s in particular, who was an evil-fighting scientist-adventure-explorer… …and Tintin, Herge’s intrepid boy reporter, was a great favorite for many of us.
  • 19. Inspirations We looked at a lot of the early adventure movies and B-feature serials that so famously inspired George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to make the great Indiana Jones movies.
  • 20. Inspirations …and of course we grew up with Doctor Jones, and had loved more recent explorations of the same themes, like The Mummy and the contemporary historical mystery of National Treasure.
  • 21. Action Stories and Action Games As we studied these kinds of stories, we saw some common themes emerging. All that action - running, jumping, hanging, climbing, and exploration of mysterious places, gunplay and bare-fisted fights, and chases – either chasing someone or being chased…
  • 22. Action Stories and Action Games …casts of great, interesting, often eccentric characters with shifting allegiances – friends becoming enemies and vice-versa, cliffhangers and reversals of fortune and out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire kind of situations. These are all themes that provide a really great basis for an action game - “action” being the operative word - the player’s participatory action in a dynamic world.
  • 23. The Tone of the Game Another major theme that we extracted from the classic pulps was a certain lightness of tone - the feeling of a world that was bright and cheerful, colorful, and of course humorous. So we tried to express this in the game whenever it was appropriate, often through the color palette. Aside from being what we wanted, we felt that this could help us stand out in the market , since a lot of games these days are so moody and overwrought and kinda emo.
  • 24. Our Gameplay • Traversal • Exploration • Gunplay • Hand-to-Hand Combat • Problem Solving So we eventually boiled down all this research into gameplay that we could all buy into: Traversal (including vehicles) Exploration - a kind of expression of traversal Gunplay - our core combat mechanic Hand-to-Hand Combat - to add some spice to the combat Problem Solving - both traversal problem solving and puzzles We didn’t really know exactly what mix of these things we’d end up with, but we knew that these were the components and roughly what proportions of them we wanted.
  • 25. Cover-Based Gunplay Cover-based gunplay had been a big part of our conception of the game from the very beginning, because it’s such an important thing in the sources we were drawing from. We thought that kill.switch had done a great job of showing that a videogame could have really top-notch cover-based gameplay, and so from the start we were committed to the animation and control effort that pulling it off well would imply.
  • 26. The Days of Automatic Lock-on Aiming For a long time, in fact through the late winter of 2006 (through our first year of full production), we’d planned to use an automatic lock-on aiming scheme. We were skeptical that manual aiming could create the fast-paced kind of gameplay we wanted to go for, and we were worried that the transition between the Mario 64- style “follow” camera we were using for traversal and the over-the-shoulder camera that manual aiming implies would be jarring. We tried every possible lock-on auto-target selection mechanic and target-selection control scheme perturbation that we could think of, and lock-on aiming didn’t give us the visceral fun of taking a bead and loosing a round that we wanted to capture. Also, it wasn’t challenging and interesting enough from a gameplay point of view.
  • 27. Manual Aiming in our E3 Teaser Trailer A number of people on the team felt that manual aiming could work, and we were already big fans of Resident Evil 4. So in Naughty Dog’s spirit of experimentation and iteration, we tried it – and liked it! We managed to solve the camera transition issues, making it nice and snappy so that the game didn’t feel like it had two gameplay modes, and was one seamless experience instead. It seems like we were telling ourselves even back in the days of our first E3 teaser trailer, then that manual aiming would be possible. Though we then had a lot of new issues to puzzle over…
  • 28. Aiming Was Harder Than We’d Thought It Would Be Manual aiming in a Third-Person Character-Action Game proved to be a lot harder than we thought it would be. We knew that we would have to have an assisted-aiming, or Enemy Adhesion, system that was as superb as that in Halo – so that when the player aimed near a target, the game would have to subtly, almost imperctibly, move the reticle onto the target, and travel with the target, to help the game be optimally fun.
  • 29. Third-Person Manual Aiming Issues We also knew that we’d have to overcome the issues associated with manual- aiming in a third-person game as well as Gears of War had done (which is a game that we really love, BTW) - issues like those arising from the differences between the line of sight from gun-to-target and camera-to-target, among many other things. So we studied those games a lot, and we eventually managed to get it right.
  • 30. The Importance of Animation Animation was very important for our game from the beginning - to make the player- character’s humanity and vulnerability believable, since that’s such a big part of the pulp adventures, and to help sell the reality of the world. So we always planned to use a lot of complex animation techniques that I’ll talk about when I show you a movie in a moment.
  • 31. Facial Animation and Emotion We also thought that excellent facial animation would be the key to depicting a relatable hero that you’d really want to root for, with nuanced emotions for the characters that are as recognizable as they are in our favorite movies.
  • 32. A Simpler Animation Solution With our first approach we set out to create a very complex animation system - we were trying to solve the general problem of complex human animations with the environment. But ultimately, that approach proved to be too complex - we had gotten hung up on esthetics, and wanted to find perfect solutions for everything. So instead we implemented a simpler solution that had more in common with the way we made the Jak games although it was much more complex and incorporated a lot of new features, and we shifted our focus to the kinds of activities associated with the type of character-action game we had in mind.
  • 33. The Need for Great AI AI was also always very important – both for the enemies and the friendly characters that Drake would meet and play along side in his journey. It was important in order to make the combat and traversal gameplay fun, and we wanted to make sure to avoid the potential problems that we’d read about in the post-mortems of developers who’d worked with AI for allied characters (Half Life 2, in particular).
  • 34. Targeted AI Approach Our initial work in this area anticipated very sophisticated AI, with complex agents that would play out their behaviors in a kind of general, systemic way in the world. It helped us explore the space, but again, it would ultimately prove to be too sophisticated for us, and so we adopted a somewhat simpler and more scripted approach targeted more towards our game’s needs.
  • 35. Choosing Maya Early on, we chose to stay inside Maya for all of our animation – both for characters and for events in the game world. To stay in just one package, especially a great tool like Maya, was a good idea, and we wrote a lot of Maya tools to make this possible. Hopefully you caught Jeremy and Judd’s talk yesterday, where they went into great detail about our tools and animation process.
  • 36. Character Modeling We used zBrush and some Mudbox to create our character models, which we then imported into Maya for rigging and animation. Catch Rich Diamant’s speech tomorrow morning at 10:30 on ‘Autodesk Mudbox and its integration with Maya and Max’!
  • 37. Lessons Learned A recurring them in our post-mortem process has been that we often didn’t commit to technological or implementation processes early enough, and that we should have got more basic stuff in and working earlier. This applies to very many areas of the game, but for example, in the case of the enemy character models, we wanted to use a system of interchangeable body and clothing parts for our enemies, to get greater apparent variety in their look. This ended up holding up our whole enemy implementation process, until we finally realized we didn’t have time to do it, and got on with making the great enemies that are in the game – and a lot of players never noticed that we didn’t have a huge range of subtlety different enemies. Anyway, despite a few reservations, we felt that we developed a strong character modeling pipeline, and got great results like those you see here.
  • 38. Collaboration Is the Key We were very happy with the way that all of our game animation, control and AI turned out. It was the result of lots of iteration and some very close collaborations between programmers and animators (two of whom moved seats to sit with the programmers they were working with!) and between the team and Lead Character Technical Director. It really highlighted for us how critical close collaboration between disciplines is for us at Naughty Dog. If you’re interested to hear more about the techniques we used, including a system to provide a layer of indirection between control and animation, please go hear Christian Gyrling’s talk, Creating a Character in Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, at 9am tomorrow in Room 2001 in the West Hall.
  • 39. Summer 2005 First Mo-Cap Steps For Uncharted, we were going to be using motion-capture for the first time, in combination with the kind of traditional hand-keyed animation we’d used for our previous games. In May of 2005 we did our first Motion Capture research, going to see different studios and how they did things. We finally chose House of Moves, the well-known mo-cap studio in Los Angeles, who were great to work with. A couple of months later we did our first test shoot with a stunt performer we’d chosen to play Drake.
  • 40. The rest of 2005’s work involved a lot of concept art creation and design research, and coming up with story ideas and moments like the Uboat-in-the-jungle you see here which made it into the finished game, albeit in a different form…
  • 41. …building character models, the programming of tools (animation tools in particular) and of our core gameplay, and our first experiments with building environment art.
  • 42. October 2005 Green Light M ovie In October 2005 we prepared a Concept Movie”, using concept art and a temporary soundtrack. What’s remarkable is the way that this early concept movie accurately represents a lot what’s in the final game that would ship two years later. As a result of this movie, we received a Green Light from Sony.
  • 43. Up until the fall of 2005, although we had already strong look for him dialed-in, our hero Nathan Drake’s personality had been hard to get a handle on for a lot of the team. Around that time, someone had the idea that maybe Drake should be kinda like Johnny Knoxville from Jackass. So we modified the character design for Nate slightly to a design loosely based on Johnny, reflecting Knoxville’s cynical sense of humor, which we eventually moved away from a bit, and also to reflect his essential coolness and goodness. We were all able to immediately grasp and get behind the tone that this idea embodied and from then on people really started to understand Nathan Drake.
  • 44. E3 2006 Teaser Trailer So we entered full production at the beginning of 2006, and a few months into the year we were asked to make an Uncharted teaser-trailer for E3, where Sony would be unveiling a bunch for new stuff for the PlayStation 3.
  • 45. E3 2006 Teaser Trailer We only had four weeks to create it and at the time, given the relatively early state of our tools, it seemed like an almost impossible challenge. But we buckled down, and planned out a flow of action for the player-character in the test levels we’d been building…
  • 46. E3 2006 Teaser Trailer …that would seem like a movie trailer, sort-of telling a short story about a confrontation between Drake and the South Seas pirates on a tropical island.
  • 47. E3 2006 Teaser Trailer We thought carefully about all the things that Drake would do in the trailer…
  • 48. E3 2006 Teaser Trailer …and made sure that they were all things that we wanted him to do in gameplay, in the game.
  • 49. E3 2006 Teaser Trailer We were in our engine by this point, although it was in its infancy, and we weren’t running at full frame rate yet for one reason or another.
  • 50. E3 2006 Teaser Trailer So we captured it at lower frame rate and played it back at full speed, making sure that we were confident that we would we would, pretty soon, be able to do all this in real-time.
  • 51. E3 2006 Teaser Trailer And when we look back at it now (you can see it on the internet), we’re delighted that nearly everything Drake does in the trailer, you can actually do in gameplay in the game. We ended up referring back to this movie all the way through development, to make sure that we were staying on track with our initial vision.
  • 52. E3 2006 Teaser Trailer It was the first piece of major production coordination and intensely hard work that the team pulled together to achieve, and as such, completing it was tremendously inspiring, and helped us begin to gel as a team.
  • 53. Tools Rethink In June of 2006, the team faced a big crisis. Creating the E3 trailer had exposed issues with the tools pipeline, and it was at this time that that we realized that we were in deep trouble. Like I said, we’d developed all-new tools for Uncharted, including BAM, our asset management system, BuildBig, our first GUI build tool, and a shader and material editor called Shmeditor.
  • 54. Tools Rethink But there were numerous problems with the tools – they were slow and had other usability issues - and people were very frustrated by them. We realized that we’d bitten off more than we could chew with our tools approach. Basically we’d tried to be too clever – coming up with convoluted approaches that were intended to solve every last problem that anyone had ever had with each kind of tool. To make it worse, we’d gotten distracted by our lofty aspirations, and left it very late to implement a tools pipeline that let people build and play levels.
  • 55. Tools Rethink In many, if not most, cases, we went back to our old familiar Jak and Daxter ways of doing things with tools. And from then on, things got better and better, and we began to get really good traction on building out the game. Our takeaway from this experience was: don’t try to solve every last tools issue! It’s good to aim high, but choose your battles.
  • 56. Macro Design Another thing that helped lift our spirits around this time was that the Macro Design had firmed up a lot. Lots of details about the gameplay had by now been decided - all the levels were described and in the approximate order that they’d be in in the shipping game, and most of the major plot points and key moments were fleshed out. The macro continued to change throughout production in response to our schedule and the way the gameplay and story evolved, but people on the team could now see much more clearly where the game’s design was heading.
  • 57. Level Layout We were well underway by this time with the level layout effort that would make the creation of the environment art possible. We like our mixed-media approach to layout - whatever worked well for the designer of the level was OK with us. A lot of people started with physical sketches, drawings or maps on squared paper, but mostly we used a combination of Adobe Illustrator and simple prototype geometry, letting us iterate on the levels quickly and easily, and allowing us to easily add concept art or screen grabs as overlays to communicate our ideas about each part of the level with each other. Some of our layout was quite simple, but some was as complex as architectural plans, like the one for the Fort you can see here.
  • 58. Level Layout We also have to plan at the layout stage for breaking the environments up into the chunks, so that we can stream the parts of the level coming up and, as in our previous games, get rid of load times. If we hadn’t been so pressed for time in the last year of the project, we would have taken an even more iterative approach with level layout, and that’s what we plan to do in future, playing the levels in block mesh (or grey box) and rapidly making changes until it’s right, before the final art gets made.
  • 59. Environment Art Schedule Summer 2006 By July 2006 our Environment Art effort had begun in earnest. This is the way that we schedule environment art creation at Naughty Dog. We don’t really believe in Gantt Charts - with a production approach like ours that involves so much change, they really just make for busy-work, and for tasks that are measured in weeks, this kind of schedule in a spreadsheet is perfect. In fact, we use spreadsheets for a lot of things; for example, the Environment Leads also used spreadsheets to track work and coordinate modelers and texture artists, and probably more than half of our design documents are spreadsheets.
  • 60. So, getting back to how we developed our Motion-Capture Production Flow: in the summer of 2006 we cast our game, and ended up with a great group of actors, including Nolan North and Emily Rose playing Nate Drake and his co-adventurer Elena Fisher. The actors would be working with Gordon Hunt, our motion capture director, who has a tremendous amount of experience working in film, television and theater. Because this was our first experience using motion capture, we had an open mind about how to do things, and our approach ended up owing more to the way a movie or theater production is staged than the way most people in the games industry do mocap, often using different actors to do the voice and physical performances. We used the same actors for both mo-cap and dialogue, at least for the cut-scenes (we used stunt people for some of the in-game animation).
  • 61. Motion Capture Process In September 2006 - one year away from Beta - we did our first for-real cinematics motion-capture shoot. We started out doing table reads with the actors and directors, so that everyone had a chance to discuss their characters and the situations they were in.
  • 62. Rehearsals and Blocking Then we blocked the scenes out on the stage, so that everyone could understand how the physical space was going to work with the acting performances. One great thing about this, apart from ending up with great performances, was that it let us do a lot of improvisation with the actors.
  • 63. Improvisation Some of the best moments in the game were actually suggested by the actors, like this moment when Elena punches Drake for having left her behind at the docks in a previous scene, which Nolan and Emily came up with while they were rehearsing.
  • 64. Mo-Cap Planning We had to do a lot of careful planning, since we needed to build out some stages so that the actors could interact with the environments properly, like the jail cell bars you see here, or the airplane cockpit that we built out so that the actors would be in the right places in the virtual scene.
  • 65. Motion Capture Process Overall, it was a process of trial and error. We had to struggle with the process, learning from our successes and mistakes. We were happy to hear from House of Moves that we running such a tight ship that we managed to get more useful minutes of mocap data per day than many TV and movie productions do. But most of all, we were very happy with the authenticity and subtlety of the performances we got.
  • 66. Making the Cut-scenes So when we got back to the studio, we set about making the cut scenes. Another unusual aspect of the way we do things is that we have an in-house editor – someone with movie-editing experience. We’d start by having him cut together the video and audio that we’d recorded live on the stage as the mo-cap was ‘shot’, into the kind of ‘quad view’ movie you can see a still of here, to provide reference for our animators, and also to provide a guide track for the dialog recording sessions where we got ‘clean’ takes of the audio.
  • 67. Cut-scene Pipeline We’d learned a lot from making the cinematics for the Jak and Daxter games, and we have a terrific team of in-house animators, who worked with the mo-cap data and did a lot of key-frame animation to finalize it. So once we’d got a clean audio track cut together, the animators blocked the scene out in animatic form, and then went back and forth with our editor, constantly refining the cuts and timing of the scene until it was right, before finally fleshing out the animation and creating the final movie.
  • 68. Rendered in the Game Engine The movies were rendered in the game engine, using the game’s characters and environmental assets, although not in real-time. We weren’t driven by a desire to “cheat”, but to be able to get into and out of the movies quickly, which we couldn’t have done if we’d had to load a bunch of assets from disc.
  • 69. Hard Work to Get It All Done We got a slow start and faced many tools and pipeline issues that required workarounds, and it was very hard to get everything done in time. We couldn’t have done it without outsourcing about half the animation to Technicolor, who have a great animation team, and Technicolor also did the sound design, editing and mixing for the cut-scenes.
  • 70. Key-framed Facial Animation Our facial animation was all key-framed – we decided not to do facial mo-cap for Uncharted. Our animators studied hard to work with more realistic human characters, and pulled off some amazing work. So overall, we were very happy with our production methodology for the cut-scenes. We localized our game into 8 languages for audio, and 13 for text (subtitles and menus), and we have some great localization tools.
  • 71. Lighting Our lighting guys, both for in-game and the movies, did an amazing job. We lit the cut scenes like you would a movie, setting up special sets of rim lights and fill lights for virtually each and every shot. The post-processing settings that we had to set up for each part of the game were an order of magnitude more complex than anything we’d done on the Jak games, and our course we were able to use a lot more run-time lights than before and use more complex shadowing systems thanks to the PlayStation’s power. I think the lighting is a very important part of the emotional tone of any game, and worth putting a lot of effort into.
  • 72. Implementation Task Graph By the beginning of 2007 we only had about nine months left until Beta, and lots and lots of game left to build - the environment artists were all insanely busy, up to speed and kicking butt, and the game designers were implementing gameplay as fast as they could. Now, our general implementation approach at Naughty Dog is that as soon as we have the tools and the assets to set up some part of the game, we do it. So, as each level came on-line in even a rough state, we began to set up cameras, place enemies and interactive objects, and write the scripts for the combat set-ups and spot interactions. As the levels changed in the process of getting polished we’d have to make tons of tons of changes to the stuff we’d set up, but then that’s what we do anyway, in the course of improving the gameplay, and the net result of getting more time to play with what we were building made it totally worth it. As part of this work, we had to set up our Task Graph, which is the thing that provides the logical backbone of the game.
  • 73. It controls the appearance of enemies and other in-game events, and also keeps track of the game’s save state. You can see that it gets quite complicated, and some of the tasks have to run in parallel to let us get the kind of control we need.
  • 74. Building Out The Gameplay Some great tools had come together by this time that let us build and reload the game’s content without re-running the game, letting us iterate more rapidly, including Charter, our level editing tool that you can see here, which we used to place objects in the game, as well at the signal regions that we used to trigger in- game events and control the streaming of the levels. We had a great scripting system – the first time we’d done scripting at Naughty Dog. We got some excellent advice from the God of War team at Sony Santa Monica, and one of our brilliant programmers created what we called our IGC (or In-Game Cinematic) Scripting System.
  • 75. We initially created the IGC system to script the behaviors of the player-character and the AI-controlled characters during in-game events, but we ended up using it for nearly all of the spot environmental interactions that you find in the game - like turning wheels to open doors in the u-boat, and crumbling platforms, and puzzles - and this let us set up a ton more gameplay that we would have otherwise been able to.
  • 76. Music Music was of course very important in Uncharted, for creating mood and heightening drama, and to make sure that the music reflected the events unfolding the game very closely, we created an adaptive music system in-house at Naughty Dog. But for the first time we farmed out the work setting up the adaptive music to the fantastic staff of the SCEA Sound and Music Group.
  • 77. The Sony guys were very enthusiastic, and worked very closely with us, letting us set the creative and technical agenda for the music. They scripted the adaptive, interactive part of the whole game, and even came to down to Naughty Dog at the end of the project to work in-house and finesse the adaptive scheme and its triggers.
  • 78. We were very lucky to work with Greg Edmonson, the composer for Joss Whedon’s Firefly. We loved Greg’s work and the way he combines classical symphonic elements, contemporary instruments, and unusual instruments from around the world. His work has an atmosphere that’s both familiar and other-worldly, which was perfect for our game.
  • 79. Greg hadn’t done an interactive project before, but he was very passionate from the beginning about understanding our vision. We showed him the game and he quickly got very much into its spirit. He was already very technical, and so he was able to work closely with the guys at SCEA to turn his linear scores into the branching systems that make up our adaptive score.
  • 80. We did our live recording sessions at Skywalker Sound, where they have a great facility that lets them isolate different parts of the orchestra in soundproof booths linked together with video feeds, so that everyone can follow the conductor. This means that each part can later be muted or its volume changed, making the adaptivity of the music possible.
  • 81. Audio Our audio process, setting up sound effects for the game, was very down-to-the- wire, but both the Naughty Dogs and the Sony employees who helped us implement the audio in-house worked very hard, and we were very happy with the results that we achieved. We took a data-driven approach to audio that was new for us, which let us implement our audio very quickly and make changes without having to recompile code. We ended up with over 1,200 lines of in-game dialogue, which we feel really helps reinforce the reality of the game world!
  • 82. Summer 2007 Demo Mayhem In the summer of 2007 we made a lot of demos – maybe 5 demos and 6 playtest builds. We think that demos are something of a double-edged sword - it sucks having to make them, and an unpolished early demo can leave people with a bad impression of your game. But aside from creating good buzz in the lead-up to a game’s release, demos really help force the team to achieve concrete goals in terms of getting different parts of the game finished to a good level of polish.
  • 83. Summer 2007 Demos Are A Double-Edged Sword Also, the feedback we get from people who play our demos, both the gaming press and the public, really helps focus our attention to the parts of the game that need the most work - for instance, we got kinda dinged for our aiming scheme at E3 last year - we weren’t yet happy with it at the time, but the constructive negative feedback that we got ultimately helped us fix the issues we had. I want to stress that we do very little throw-away work for our demos. Because of the task graph and its modular nature, we can excerpt a section of it with a relatively small number of script and code changes to the game. Always keeping the game unbroken really helps with this too. But next time we think we’ll try to make a smaller number of demos and use them for longer.
  • 84. The Home Stretch About six weeks out, we decided to move Alpha up by two weeks. We’d scoped the last few of the game’s levels to get built as we approached Alpha, reducing them in size and complexity, which actually helped the game’s pace a lot, in retrospect. We hit Alpha well, and we think that even though it was tough at the time, moving Alpha up was extremely smart, since it gave us just enough time to polish what we had.
  • 85. Fall 2007 Massive A ttack Trailer Finally, we hit Beta on September 14th, and from there on we were pretty much just fixing bugs, adding the last few bits of bonus content, and doing a final pass of gameplay tuning. Just before Gold Master, we made a trailer using the track “Dissolved Girl” by Massive Attack, of whom we’re huge fans - we’d liked all of our trailers a lot, but we thought this one was something really special.
  • 86. October 19 th , 2007 Gold Master On October the 19th, we hit Gold Master, and this is pretty much how we felt! We were very happy with the way that everything came together.
  • 87. Naughty Dog’s BEST. GA ME. EVAR!!11one1 We’d said throughout development that we thought Uncharted would be Naughty Dog’s best game ever, but we were certain that this was the case by the time we shipped, and the critical and public reception we’ve received has been everything we’d hoped for.
  • 88. Summary • Timely, scoped planning is important • G etting on with making the game is the best way to make it Timely, scoped planning is important. You have to come out of pre-production with a strong plan for your game, and create the micro design right before it’s needed. However, don’t over-plan, because you’ll make discoveries as you go along that will lead to changes. Getting on with making the game is the best way to make it. Build something bare- bones that gets the job done, and then expand and refine the things that work well or show potential. People become more creative within the structure of a limited tool or game mechanic that's solid, simply because they can do work and iterate.
  • 89. Summary • A flat hierarchy, an open-door policy and a meritocracy • Hard work, teamwork and mutual respect A flat hierarchy, an open-door policy and a meritocracy are all really important to us. The freedom of the team to participate, be constructively critical, and innovate – when anyone can step up to the plate, get involved, and see an idea through to completion – is always inspiring, investing and motivating. And the flip side of that is hard work, teamwork and mutual respect. People at Naughty Dog are generally very respectful of each other's design opinions, and that culture, of listening, thinking and discussing respectfully, staying focused on the objective merits of the game, propagates across all disciplines and parts of the production.
  • 90. Summary • When games have a tone that is nuanced, they become more immersive • We’re in a great position now – come and work with us! We believe that when games have a tone that is nuanced, they essentially become more immersive. Story games don’t have to take themselves so seriously, be so melodramatic and be very long and difficult. Games can simply be charming and transporting. I think that settling down with a game that takes you away to somewhere amazing for a few hours is the kind of immersion that a lot of us are always chasing. Despite having worked on the PlayStation 2 for 6 years, we caught up in terms of new technology (like shaders) and we hope that we’ve even done something to raise the bar. We were able to preserve our company culture despite an increase in team size, and we have better tools, play mechanics and AI code now than what was comparable at the end of our first Jak game. We haven’t announced our next project yet, but whatever it is, we’re excited about it, and poised to make Naughty Dog’s next best-game-evar! In short, we’re in a great position now – so why not come and work with us?
  • 91. “ Amazing Feats of Daring” Post-Mortem Thanks for listening! Richard Lemarchand Lead Game Designer Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune Naughty Dog So that’s it – thanks for listening! Thanks to everyone who helped me make this presentation, and who helped us make Uncharted: all the Naughty Dogs, past and present, Sony Computer Entertainment, and all of our family and friends.