Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Game Engines

I've been a very keen gamer over the years and when I say that I don't mean just playing games. Its the way there made and how the industry has evolved over the years. Its about what the future holds and what technology will become available. How does this apply to game engines though? Well game developers want the best from there engine as it will ultimately determine is there game will any good or not. With the rate of witch games evolve these days its hard to stay ahead of the game ( no pun intended). For me there are two game engines that have most influenced my gaming. This is mainly down to there support for the modding community. I'm a big Valve fan boy and ill happily admit that. I've got a lot of respect for them and I've been a fan since the first Half Life game. It was many, many years after they finally released Half Life 2. The reason being that they decided to create an engine like non other that had been seen before. It made use of lighting, physics, particle effects and model animation in unprecedented and revolutionary new ways that these days has become a standard within new titles. But I feel a better engine became available. Epic games, the creators of unreal tournament develop the unreal engine and its still used by many top titles today. Including army of two, bioshock, gears of war, mass effect, boarderlands and many more. Main features of this engine include the same of the source engine by valve but add more in terms of larger scale maps and open environments, better use of vehicles and the tools make building games far more user friendly. Epics dedication to there engine surpasses anyone's expectations and appeals to all game developers needs no matter what game you may want to create.

This brings me to the point of creating your own engine. To tailor it to your own needs is the obvious reason to do so, but the time and effort needed may require to much time and money for most developers. Epic sold licence to use there engine commercially for around $1.000.000, not sure if it is that price now. Its a lot of money but given the long-term benefits I can see that It could reduce cost and time to deliver a finished game to shop shelf's by quite some time. Plus epic have always been at the forefront of technology working very closely with top gpu manufactures nvidia and ati to ensure maximum performance and reliability. Hence the reason why so many developer have bought the rights to the engine. Just recently they released the tools and engine to be used free of charge in the form of the UDK (unreal development kit) this allows developers to crate a game for free during development and only if they make a certain amount of money after realise per year they then pay royalties to epic games. Now is that a sweet deal or what. Some of you may be thinking this move is just to get the last scraps of cash from and old engine but there are many games still being released, even today on this engine and im sure epic will be maing sure thats the case for any years to come.

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