Nov. 24, 2015

SCEE Advanced Technology Group

It struck me recently that the group I work in has an extremely low profile. Google for “SCEE ATG” and you won’t find much more than the odd passing reference in the gaming sites. It’s not on the SCE Wikipedia page, for example.

ATG” stands for Advanced Technology Group. It’s part of the SCE (Playstation) Worldwide Studios group, which is the bit that creates the so-called first-party games you buy, the games exclusive to Playstation.

ATG is a little different than the normal games studios, because it also has heavy links with what we call “Platform Development”, that is, building Playstation itself. So ATG has a dual identity: by day the mild-mannered creator of some of Playstation’s System Software and developers tools; by night, wild experiments on some of the runtimes and tools to push games beyond where they have been before. This puts it in quite a unique position in the console world.

That’s the marketing schtick, anyway. Ultimately it boils down to around 20 extremely experienced programmers and one technical artist, based inside the studios in London and Cambridge, behind some anonymous locked doors, building stuff.

Every now and then they let us out to present at conferences, or visit Playstation game developers, or travel to our Sony counterparts in Japan and the US. We also do a lot of (often hidden) developer support on the Playstation developer website.

So what do we make? A good proportion of the team work on graphics and GPUs. On Playstation 4, in the past 3 years, we’ve built the new shader compiler, large parts of the new version of Razor GPU — Playstation 4’s standard tool for GPU debugging and performance analysis, plus the GPU (shader) Debugger. On the CPU side we’re responsible for the vectormath libraries, plus many of the audio tools. We also do a lot of performance analysis to ensure that many games really hit their performance marks.

On Playstation Vita we worked on the runtime rendering API (libgxm) and shader compiler. We also worked with SN Systems to create the GPU part of Razor for Vita. We also did a lot of work making sure that hardware shipped in the first place, tracking and solving hardware problems before the console was released.

And that’s just part of what the group does. There are more projects that ATG squirrels get up to, many of which never get mentioned in public.

I hope that clears it up a little.