Ninja Theory Case Study

Ninja Theory uses IncrediBuild to slash Unreal Engine build time by 90% from 56 minutes to 8 minutes, without any need to buy additional hardware.

About Ninja Theory

Ninja Theory is an AAA gaming studio lauded for constantly pushing the boundaries of the art of video games. The studio’s critically acclaimed games such as “Heavenly Sword”, “Enslaved” and “DmC” have blurred the line between gaming and cinema through the use of groundbreaking motion capture technology and the involvement of top Hollywood talent like actor Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings, King Kong, The Hobbit) and screenwriter Alex Garland (The Beach, 28 Days Later).

The challenge:

Being a studio that produces triple A quality games with a relatively small number of developers (30 programmers which are divided between 3-4 projects at any given time) means Ninja Theory has to make the most of its resources to deliver.

“We believe our programmers’ time is best spent focusing on our unique strengths, such as developing innovative combat gameplay, so rather than create our own game engine or have a large team of tools programmers, we make use of middleware such as Unreal Engine and IncrediBuild.” says lead programmer, Henry Falconer.

However, using Unreal Engine 4 has its disadvantages when it comes to build time and C++ compilations, which is where IncrediBuild comes to the rescue.

How IncrediBuild crunched it:

“Our main reason for using IncrediBuild is to compile Unreal Engine 4, so all programmers on our UE4 projects are using it.” says Falconer.

Fortunately for Ninja Theory’s fiscal reports, IncrediBuild helpsthe studio reduceUE4 build time by 90%, from 56 to 8 minutes, without any need to buy additional hardware.

According to Falconer, “In general we’ve found the impact on programmers’ machines of running the IncrediBuild agent to be fairly minimal, so although we have some dedicated build servers as well, I would say that you can still get a lot out of IncrediBuild without having a build farm” he concludes.

Mainly, IncrediBuild enables Ninja Theory programmers to enjoy a rare commodity in development: focus. “You can of course work on other things while waiting for your code to compile, but personally I find I’m significantly more productive if I can stay focused on a single task rather than having to switch to something else and then come back later.” shares Falconer.

As a bonus, some Ninja Theory developers are even using IncrediBuild to boost UE4’s graphics shader compilation, aside from “just” boosting C++ compilation.

The Bottom line:

Before IncrediBuild After IncrediBuild
Unreal Engine 4 Rebuild Time 56 minutes 8 minutes