inFAMOUS: Second Son to Conquer GDC with Four Panels; Will Explain the PS4 GPU’s Asynchronous Compute Features

on February 5, 2014 6:20 AM

If you want to know more about the upcoming PS4 exclusive inFAMOUS: Second Son  the Games Developers Conference that will happen between March 17th and March 21st in San Francisco seems to be the perfect place.

A whopping  four panel focused on the upcoming PS4 exclusive have been announced, mostly focusing on its advanced engine. Below you can read a list of the panels, the official summary of each. Of particular interest will be the panel on the particle system, that will focus on the console’s GPU asynchronous compute features, that are still a mystery for many.

All dates and times are still marked at TBD, and will probably be communicated over the next month or so.  There are no information yet on whether the panels will be livestreamed, but many of them often gets filmed and shared on YouTube afterwards.

Sucker Punch’s Performance Capture for inFAMOUS: Second Son

Spencer Alexander  |  Managing Technical Director, SuckerPunch

This talk will present the techniques and technology behind Sucker Punch’s impressive facial animation as seen in inFAMOUS: Second Son. Learn how we set out to capture the subtle, nuanced performances and emotions of our actors, while taking advantage of the newest hardware to meet the high expectations of next-generation content. Learn how we were able to retarget and carry these performances over to our game characters for real-time playback in engine. We will discuss the technical details and decisions that were made to meet these demands at a reasonable cost. We will also open up our facial performance pipeline to offer details into the capture process, facial rig setup and workflows that were key to our success.


Attendees will learn intimate details about Sucker Punch’s unique approach to facial performance capture, as was implemented for our next-generation title, inFAMOUS: Second Son. You will gain a thorough understanding of our pipeline and gain insights into the key decisions that made it all happen.

Intended Audience

This presentation will cater to both a technical audience, as well as to those who want to gain a broad, yet through understanding of our facial pipeline and gain valuable insights into the decisions that led us to this approach. Technical directors, riggers, motion capture and animation artists/supervisors, producers and character artists.

Engine Postmortem of inFAMOUS: Second Son

Adrian Bentley  |  Lead Engine Programmer, Sucker Punch Productions

Have you ever wanted to make an urban open world super hero game? Push boundaries on emotive cutscenes? Render awesome particle effects? Or maybe you just want to make your game really cool on the PS4? In this talk, we’ll describe how Sucker Punch designed the inFAMOUS Second Son engine to take advantage of the power of the PS4. We’ll cover our threading approach, its pros and cons, how we made content easier to tweak and create, and how we utilized compute and the PS4’s GPU to achieve new levels of visual fidelity.


Attendees will come away from this session with an idea of how inFAMOUS Second Son’s engine works, and numerous tips on optimizing game engines for the PS4.

Intended Audience

The talk is intended for programmers with some familiarity with game engine concepts, especially concerning rendering.

The inFAMOUS: Second Son Particle System Architecture

Bill Rockenbeck | Coder, Sucker Punch Productions

Particle effects play a central role in Infamous: Second Son, with superpowers including “smoke” and “neon.” Particle systems are authored in a powerful, text-based expression language which provides great flexibility for effect artists to create complex behavior. This language is compiled into PSSL and run on the asynchronous compute queues of the PlayStation 4 GPU. This talk will describe the particle system runtime and authoring environment, with numerous examples of how simple features can be combined to create interesting effects. We will also describe our solutions to various challenges that arose when trying to run efficiently on the highly-parallel GPU.


Attendees will learn about the components used to create particle effects in Infamous: Second Son, including curl noise, animated meshes and parent/child systems, as well as the expression-based framework that allows them to be combined in many variations. They will also learn how we leveraged the PS4 GPU for asynchronous compute-based effects processing.

Intended Audience

This talk is aimed at FX programmers and technical artists interested in how the Infamous: Second Son particle systems are implemented under-the-hood, and programmers who are interested in leveraging the power of compute shaders.

The Visual Effects of inFAMOUS: Second Son

Matt Vainio | Senior VFX Artist, Sucker Punch

This session will cover the processes behind the visual effects development of inFAMOUS: Second Son, from breakdowns of specific effects to discussions of our tools and workflow. We will discuss the challenges of creating a diverse set of visual elements, such as smoke and neon super powers. We’ll share how we used concept art during production to meet the challenge of defining a visual language for the effects. A new generation of engine and tools were created during the course of development – we’ll take a look at how this gave us increased lighting accuracy, an expression-based particle editor and real-time curl noise that allowed us to create a unique suite of visual effects. We’ll conclude with a few hard lessons that we learned along the way about the changes to our workflow.


Attendees will learn how Sucker Punch tackled the complex problems of a visual effects-heavy superhero game. Attendees will also gain insights into our visual effects development process and toolset.

Intended Audience

This session is intended for visual effects and technical artists, but should be accessible for anyone interested in the visual effects creation process. The intended audience should have a basic understanding of pixel shaders and vector math to get the most out of the presentation.

 /  Executive News Editor
Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.