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High Impact's Matheson: Build, Don't Buy Game Engines

Talking as part of an in-depth Gamasutra interview, High Impact Games' design director Lesley Matheson (Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters) has been advocating f
Talking as part of an in-depth Gamasutra interview, High Impact Games' design director Lesley Matheson (Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters) has been suggesting that developers should build their own game engines, advocating for "the advantages of doing something custom", and suggesting there's no such thing as an "off-the-shelf solution." Matheson formerly worked at Insomniac Games, and was one of the employees who span off High Impact Games to work on titles such as Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters for PSP/PlayStation 2 - and the upcoming Secret Agent Clank for PSP. When asked about the 'build vs. buy' argument for engines, Matheson noted: "We use all our own tools and technology, short of Maya, and maybe Perforce... If you build your own engine, ultimately, you're not only getting the advantages of doing something custom for your game, but you're spending roughly the same amount of time. I think that people who have weaker engineers tend to go towards third party because they think it will save them time -- and maybe it will, but if you have solid, veteran people, you're always better off building your own engine and tools." In addition, when asked about third-party game engines that are being pitched as an all-purpose tool to game developers, Matheson commented: "Well that's the thing; I don't really believe there is, in terms of engines, anything truly that is an off-the-shelf solution. Unless you're making a game that is so uniform, and in line with the original purpose of the engine, you're going to have to adjust it, and repurpose it. That's just the reality. I think that working on your engine is really the best approach. And also, when you're approaching your studio, that's the part of the team that you want to be the most senior: your tools guys, and your engine guys." You can now read the full Gamasutra interview with Matheson, including lots more detail on working on the Ratchet & Clank franchise, the Los Angeles development scene, and much more.

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