Instant Action: Dead

What a shame. Pioneering online gaming portal Instant Action has ceased to be. We know this because of this message. There was some speculation that the service, which has been down for a while, might be saved, but it seems that only the Torque engine itself will still be available, and that will be up for sale. They previously sold off the Tribes licence to Hi-Rez.

Good luck, chaps.

(In other troubled game engine company news: Fallout 3-powering engine Gamebryo is being sold off by investors, because of, y’know, financial stuff. I blame the name, I mean seriously? Gamebryo?)


  1. Hunam says:

    I think we should all band together, buy Gamebyro and never licence it out again. For the good of gaming.

    • Pemptus says:

      Brother Jauffre finds your lack of faith… disturbing.
      link to

    • noobnob says:

      Bethesda will buy it before we can.

    • SirKicksalot says:

      It’s not Gamebryo’s fault that Fallout looks like arse, it’s platform and genre agnostic. Civ 4 is still beautiful.

    • Laser says:

      Yes because competition is a bad thing all hail Unreal Engine the Autocad of the games industry.

      Wikipedia’s entry on Gamebryo also mentions one of their offices closed in July this year & that overall staff has dropped by half. It doesn’t sound good for their prospects in the long run, Bethesda is surely going to move over to iD Tech internally.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      Just because Bethesda made a buggy mess out of it does not mean it is bad or that every other game made with it will be the same.

      Defense Grid: The Awakening, Star Trek: Bridge Commander, Freedom Force and Blood Bowl were all made with Gamebryo.

    • UW says:

      More like Gambry[i]old[/i], right?



      Hmm… tough crowd.

      Gambryo does have some impressive credentials though, and personally I didn’t really pay much attention to the horrible facial animations in the Bethesda games even after they were highlighted to me. I know that puts me in a minority, though.

    • UW says:



    • Baboonanza says:


    • Cooper says:

      Is it Gamebryo that’s fundamentally incapable of shadows on anything other than NPCs in Bethesda games, or are bethesda basically crap?

      I mean, Oblivion look flat, but you could let that go as it’s a bit dated. New Vegas is awful. It’s one of those things that, once you notice it, never goes away. When you see a tower that is not casting a shadow, that’s wonderfully uncanny.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      Divinity 2 is Gamebryo.

      The running and jumping animations are rather bad, but the visuals are gorgeous. And it can do shadows just fine.

    • Nallen says:

      Am I meant to gather from this that Oblivion and Civ 4 use the same engine?

    • Gehrschrein says:


      Indeed they do. Where is your god now?

    • KillahMate says:

      Gamebryo was, and still is, an excellently made and supported engine capable of great graphics with quite reasonable system demands.

      It’s Bethesda that sucks at graphics.

  2. Toby says:

    Aw what a bummer. I remember playing their games a bit. Was quite fun and the graphics were great for browser based games.

  3. James says:

    Gamebryo is pretty uninspired, yeah. I always try to picture the situations when people finally agreed on decisions like that.

    “So, Gamebryo it is then. Thanks everybody, I think we’ve got a winner with this one! Damn, we are clever.”

    • Zenicetus says:

      Well, sometimes it’s more like “Damn, this game engine doesn’t look all that great, but it has good frame rate optimization. We can sell twice as many copies of the game if people with slower computers can run it!” My first experience with it was Fallout 3, and I had an old computer at the time. I was surprised at how smoothly it ran on that old thing.

      With New Vegas it was probably just the shortest path to a release date, but I still don’t mind the engine that much, even on my blazing-fast new machine. Good writing trumps fancy lighting and photorealistic faces, every time.

    • bob_d says:

      It has Windows, Wii, PS2/3, and Xbox implementations. Various versions have been in use for years (so it has fully developed tools and documentation). Recent games include “Fallout 3,” “Bully,” “DAoC,” and “Warhammer Online,” so it has a proven track record for single player games and MMOs. The developers I know who have used it in the past love the thing. As far as middle-ware goes, you could do a lot, lot worse.

  4. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    So long and thanks for all the fish

  5. Land says:

    What a shame.

  6. Jonathan says:

    Sheez, people. Gamebryo’s fine. It doesn’t compare well to the latest engines, perhaps, but it had its day. I’m more concerned about the trouble Torque is in — Torque 2D and 3D are pretty good entry-level engines.

  7. Jack says:

    Hmmm. No is just a Good-Old-Games style publicity stunt, is there? I’m going to wait for the monk costumes, just in case.

  8. squareking says:

    I think I Instant Action’d maybe 7 times, but boy, what a cool service it was. Shame.

  9. Tei says:

    Ouch, sad news indeed.
    I think some friends worked there. Cool people.

  10. Cael says:

    Hopefully this means that TES V won’t be using it.

  11. Heliocentric says:

    A genuine shame about instant action, i never gave it much time but i could tell it was made with genuine attention to detail, if not on the amount of content sense, certainly when it came to design choices.

  12. Al3xand3r says:

    What happens to the games? I want my Fallen Empire Legions and Rockit Ball fix! Make them stand alone downloadable or something and put them on Steam XBLA PSN and the like! Legions at least!

  13. Torgen says:

    Well, I supported Torque, bought TGE 1.5, but life conspired to bust up our nascent dev company. I’ve since moved on to Unity, which is where I suspect a goodly portion of Garage Games’ customers have gone.

    • Ogun says:

      It’s the Torque customers that I feel sorry for – they’ve invested a lot of time and effort in those engines and it must be a real ballbag-shrinking moment to see the engine provider going out of business. hell, it must’ve been bad enough knowing that they looked like they were going out of business the moment they revamped the website.

    • Al3xand3r says:

      This doesn’t affect engine customers outside the potential for some specific bugfix, update or whatever some may have been expecting. Those who have put years in the engine and their projects still have all the work they did whether remains afloat or not.

    • Al3xand3r says:

      If that wasn’t clear I’m asking what’s there to be sorry about if the engine they bought helped them with their projects and goals, which it probably did otherwise they wouldn’t have bought it since there were demos available to see exactly what it offers.

  14. MadTinkerer says:

    Aw man, I knew about InstantAction ages ago and wanted to give their games a try. But my internet connection was crap. Then my hard drive failed and I lost all my internet shortcuts. Then I got a good internet connection and am regularly backing up my system. And I completely forgot to check out InstantAction.


  15. rebb says:

    I wish Legions had gone the whole way, not just remaking certain elements of the Tribes-y goodness. Maybe that would have attracted some more players to IA. But that’s just a theory of course.

  16. Eric says:

    That’s really too bad. :( I talked to them at PAX East and they seemed very enthusiastic and optimistic about their prospects in the coming year – and obviously, yeah, at a convention what else are they going to say?, but I believed them. Obviously it didn’t work out that way.

    I never really knew what to think about the Tribes stuff or their Instant Jam experiment, but I thought their game streaming tech had real potential, if they could get publishers on board.

  17. DarkFarmer says:

    Torque will be OK, it has exchanged hands several times and to be perfectly honest the IA team was not really as pro as they needed to be. They made a sincere effort but T3D was largely a disaster at what is was trying to be, which was a competitor for Unity (a game maker program). The comparisons between Unity and anything where you get source for less than 30 grand is ludicrous, a game-maker can do nothing but make banal shooters, MMO and FPS clones. If you want to do something unique, original, and powerful, you need source.

    That being said, the T3D core tech source is QUITE good, and I have been using it for 4 years now and am more or less pleased with it. A game maker it is not, but, at the same time it is much more highlevel than something like OGRE and much more featureful than some of the newer, cooler engines out there.

    I hope the IA team the best, and also hope Torque finds a home that will focus on what it needs to be, and does best: a solid source-vailable, low cost game engine for people like me. Also T2D is an excellent 2D game maker, i hope it lands on its feet too.

    • DarkFarmer says:

      Well, let me qualify this a little. After

      it should say “WITH CODE”… if you have art skillz, or a good artist, you can make really awesome things with unity, no doubt. Not trying to say that game-makers dont make great games because they do.

  18. adonf says:

    “I blame the name, I mean seriously? Gamebryo?”

    Still better than its previous name: “Netimmerse” (most random use of the word net ever)

  19. Kryopsis says:

    “It’s not Gamebryo’s fault that Fallout looks like arse, it’s platform and genre agnostic. Civ 4 is still beautiful.”

    First of all, the comparison is unfair. Second of all, Civilization 4 has severe optimization and graphical issues and I am not sure Fireaxis is to blame for all of them. Gamebryo is an awful, awful engine.

    • Bhazor says:

      Maybe so.

      Just remember don’t base an engine solely on the games. If you did Black Isle’s Infinity Engine would be perfection rather than a glitchy ugly mess.

  20. The Dark One says:

    I was going to make a snarky remark about Lithtech, but it turns out the thing never died. Every single FEAR game to date and a bunch of titles from some Polish developer have used the thing.

  21. bill says:

    Does everyone forget that Oblivion looked pretty amazing on launch? And morrowind too, if that also used gamebro.

  22. Naked says:

    RIP InstantAction.

    Sad to see them go, had some friends there and Lou Castle is a great guy. Wonder what happened, thing seemed alright.

  23. Pinky G says:

    Really sad news, games of this quality in a browser was very cool. To anyone out there, where are you going to play jetpack games now. Im lost on where to go and I really like jetpack games.

  24. CaseytheBrash says:

    I work across the street from Garage Games, nice bunch of kids. Talked to one guy who worked on Tribes back when the whole crew had an office here. Some of them are still around working at small developing companies, making cellphone games and such. This is sad.

  25. Pinky G says:

    Well I have done some research. Tribes 2 is free to play.

    link to

    I spent the evening playing the single player training missions and they are frustrating and poor but dont be put off. This video is a good one to get excited and involved:

    • Pinky G says:

      Fallen Empire: Legions will also be realeased without needing a browser soon.

      link to

      And an update to my Tribes 2 experience: its fantastic. Im actually ashamed I hadn’t played it sooner!