Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart’s Streaming Tech Allows for “More Density, Content and Quality in Every Corner” – Insomniac

Insomniac's Mike Fitzgerald also discusses ray tracing and the benefits of the PS5's SSD.

Posted By | On 12th, May. 2021

ratchet and clank rift apart

Several previews went live for Insomniac’s Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, showcasing the opening and some combat with Rivet in her home dimension. Additionally, The Verge spoke with technology director Mike Fitzgerald about some of the more technical aspects of the game. Some interesting bits include how the world streaming that was essential to the Marvel’s Spider-Man franchise ended up affecting the world design of Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart.

As an example, Fitzgerald states, “Spider-Man is an open-world title. We built all of this tech to stream that open world as you go through it. When you’re downtown, there’s not much Midtown in memory. You can see it from a distance, but then as you go farther north, we pull in those areas. No Ratchet game has ever been constructed that way. They’ve always been: here’s a level, load the level, now you’re in that level and you play it.

“But by switching over the Ratchet world to use that same streaming architecture, we can pack more and more density and content and quality in every corner of a Ratchet and Clank world, because we’re happy to ditch the west side of Nefarious City when you go to the east side, and that type of thing.”

The PS5’s solid state drive also allows for some very impressive things, like unloading objects from behind the player’s camera perspective. “With the SSD, it’s easy to say there are no load times, and look how fast we can load this other area, but it has all sorts of knock-on effects. We don’t need to be as careful with how we package our data. All of the assets for an area don’t need to be collated on the spinning hard drive to get the right streaming speed out of it. It makes the game smaller on your hard drive; it means we can patch it more easily. That’s a nice bonus.

“We unload the things literally behind you from a camera perspective. If you spun the camera around, we could load them before you see that. That lets us devote all of our system memory to the stuff in front of you right now, that you need to experience in that moment.”

Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered and Miles Morales featured some very impressive uses of ray tracing and Insomniac is looking to repeat this success with Rift Apart. However, it’s more than just making things look “shiny”. “The ray tracing is nice and shiny — well, literally shiny — and it’s very obvious when it’s working. But it does have a really subtle effect on the materials. There’s a part where you’re in the spaceship with Rivet and Clank, for example, and you’re not actually looking at a reflective surface per se, but just all of the metal things in that cabin, which are all curved in different ways, are all showing the effect of those characters shifting position in a realistic way. It takes us a long way toward getting the same feeling of an animated film.”

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is out on June 11th for PS5. For even more gameplay, check out Sony’s State of Play showcase here.


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