Sony’s Secret Super Development Team
We’ve known for some time now that, just like a bunch of grandmothers who like to meet up and swap knitting patterns and complain how young people “just don’t listen anymore”, the talented and creative folk from a number of Sony’s studios also like to get together and share their stories and experiences.
These guys aren’t swapping cookie recipes however. Instead, they’re trading coding techniques, tips, tricks and other arcane knowledge; like various kung fu masters collaborating together and helping each other to unlock the secret power of the PS3.
Now we’ve learned of an integral clique of developers who are diligently working away on core development tools and sharing them with the wider Sony creative circle.
While at E3 and speaking to Naughty Dog’s Richard Lemarchand, Co-Lead Game Designer of Uncharted 2, Aussie Gameplayer writer Chris Stead discovered that, hidden deep within the cavernous depths of the Naughty Dog lair, lurks a clandestine cadre of Super Sony Developers, known only in myth and song as The Ice Team. Attentively focusing their skills on improving a core set of development technologies, these super coders are charged with getting their hands dirty with the PS3’s Cell processor and producing stellar shaders, renderers, physics engines and all the other weird and wonderful things that makes coding games a challenge. Known collectively as Edge Tools, these technologies are then shared among the larger Sony development community to ensure that all first-party games are at the absolute cutting edge.
Having such a level of cooperation between studios and the use of a central “hub of excellence” makes perfect sense as, apart from not having to re-invent the wheel every time a particular task needs to be performed, utilising a dedicated core team of experts whose sole purpose is to improve techniques and technologies ensures that knowledge is constantly progressing. It also means the wider developing community instantly know where to go with issues, suggestions or simply want some cool new code to play around with.
Finally, we can’t help but feel that, considering The Ice Team’s location within Naughty Dog’s own backyard, the Uncharted developer must be seen as the uber-studio in Sony’s crown. But we pretty much knew that already.