Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Elements of Game Technology, part one: game engines

The 'game engine' is essentially, what makes a game work, it brings all the individual designs of characters, environments and throws them all together into a working world for people play. The use of game engine Editors allows us as game artists to take the artwork and 3d designs we create and apply them under game and playable conditions, and see how our concepts and ideas as games are ultimately adapted into a finished, interact able product. It allows us to apply our basic ideas as still objects to an interact able environment, where we can see our characters move about and our worlds come to life with lighting and weather conditions.
As the current stage of the course is how we adapt our creations to in-game engines, im going to look at a few examples of engine's used in the industry today.

The most popular and widespread games engine used in the industry today, beginning in 1998 it has been constantly updated and developed to meet the demands of each generation of software since. It is its ability to adapt to varying platforms that has made it so popular and as the multi-format engine of choice amongst developers, both in smaller and more renowned game studios. It is its adaptability that has made it so popular, and has been utilised by multiple companies in a varying genre of games, from shoot-em-ups to sports simulators. It is this adaptability for use in many types of game genre that sets it apart from other engines, and makes it both invaluable and affordable for games developers in the current gen market.

Demo showcasing the new elemental effects utilised in UNREAL 4

Fairly new on the scene compared to other engines, the CryENGINE has been incredibly impressive so far with revolutionary graphics and physics displayed in their shoot em ups, Far Cry and Crysis. The CryENGINE is notable that it was released while pc gamers were waiting for other big name pc releases, and so its release of such amazing looking games in the lull was what was needed for game developers to up their game and for Crytek to establish a name fro themselves. Though utilised in the FPS genre and its own games, the CryENGINE is being utilised more and more over other competitors, and the latest version, CryENGINE 3, is unique in that it is being developed with all current gen consoles in mind. Another advantage it has is that it handles all its own physics, animation and sound, without support from other third party developers, making it self reliant and have an advantage in an ever competitive field.

Demo showcasing the graphical power and physics of CryENGINE 3

RAGE Engine
Up until the current generation of consoles, Rockstar have always relied on other developers to supply their engine to power their brilliant run of games, such as GTA 3, Vice City, San Andreas and Bully (In the Form of Criterion's Renderware). It was with the high concept behind their sequel to red dead revolver that would lead them to developing their own in-house engine though, in the form of the Rockstar Advanced Games Engine. The RAGE Engine plays to the strengths to the games Rockstar specialise in, by being able to generate massively immersive streaming worlds, with smart A.I and weather effects thrown in for good measure. Its also notable for working incredibly well with other third-party engines, such as Euphoria which they have used to power their animations.

Demo of the world of Red Dead Redemption, brought to life by the RAGE Engine

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