We've Moved

The blog has been retired - it's up for legacy reasons, but these days I'm blogging at blog.theodox.com. All of the content from this site has been replicated there, and that's where all of the new content will be posted. The new feed is here . I'm experimenting with crossposting from the live site, but if you want to keep up to date use blog.theodox.com or just theodox.com

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sony's Open Source Toolset

I noticed on Gamasutra (hat tip +Jon Jones ) that Sony is open-sourcing its Authoring Tools Framework.  

This is an interesting idea and I'm a big fan of putting this sort of thing out there - not only does it provide people a good starting point for their own projects, it also allows the curious to see what's going on even if they aren't actually using the code.  I'm sure I'll be poking around in it even if I never use a line of C#.  It's a goodwill gesture, a community service, and a nice way of asking people to fix your bugs for you for free. A win-win!

I am curious as to where the tools are actually pitched. The blurb clains the ATF is used in 
Naughty Dog's level editor and shader editor for The Last of Us, a sequence editor for Killzone, an animation blending tool for God of War, and  a visual state machine editor for Quantic Dream among other things. That's a pretty broad palette for a single toolkit.  Overly-tight coupling between particular games and particular tools is one reason why game production advances in fits and starts: we have to choose between the completely generic, one-size-fits-all solutions ("Let's just make our level editor in Maya!" or "Just make the particle system UI look like Max's") and tools that can only do a very specific job for a very specific project. The middle ground between these extremes is, I think, fertile territory to explore if you're interested in game toolsets that don't suck.

I'll be curious to see what's in Sony's toybox. I'm especially curious to hear from anybody who has actually worked with this code -- comment away!

The project is available for cloning on github.