Two Insomniac engine developers join Unity

Two engine developers at Insomniac Games have left to join Unity to work on new projects relating to data-oriented programming. Mike Acton and Andreas Frederiksson, who were both working on Insomniac’s in-house engine, will move to the new Unity office in Burbank, not far from Insomniac Games’ current location.

The pair worked for Insomniac for a number of years, helping the studio work on projects such as the Resistance series, Ratchet and Clank, Sunset Overdrive and the new Spider-Man game. The news of their departure was made on the Unity blog.

Data-oriented programming is a development approach that allows developers to optimise games to work on lower powered processors. The practice was very common during the previous generation of consoles. Frederiksson presented a talk on optimisation for the current Jaguar processors in the PS4 and Xbox One at GDC in 2016 and Mike Acton has talked in previous years about his enthusiasm for the subject. Unity’s project, although in the early stages, is an effort to democratise the process.

"Being the Engine Director at Insomniac Games is a position very few could walk away from, but when Joachim showed me what he and his team at Unity had been working on to take data-oriented programming and make it accessible to everyone, I knew that this was an opportunity to not only change how games are built, but set a new bar for engineering across large-scale projects everywhere," said Acton on the blog post. "And that was an opportunity I just could not ignore."

"Joining Unity is an ideal and logical next step for me," added Frederiksson. "Working on Frostbite and Insomniac Games’ internal engine was very rewarding and challenging but, ultimately, the number of developers I could directly help was limited. Unity is everywhere. It is impossible to have a conversation about engine tech and game development without someone bringing up Unity. This means a much bigger stage for me to inspire and lead from, which is exciting."

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