Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Game Engines

Ok this is a rather tedious blog and I have no idea how to make it interesting but here it is...

A game engine is the software intended to create and develop video games. With game engines, functions such as rendering for 2D or 3D graphics and collision detection are used.
Furthermore, game engines also provide the use of: animation, sound, networking scripting, artificial intelligence and memory management all of which are needed to make the game as realistic as possible.

Additive and subtractive environments relates to the way which the 3D world in games are created. Where the player can interact with the surroundings in a game, the ‘world’ is everything which the player can see and the type of environment determines what is outside of the world.

Additive environments consist of a void, empty area. When an element is created such as a room, a space within the void is sealed off to create the area for the room. This may be a hollow cube shape. In order to create landscape with the sky, the terrain, buildings and trees are designed first then the scene is surrounded by a ‘skybox’ which is a large hollow box with the inside showing the sky. The hollow shapes must keep the void out as the world and void must be separated. A hole in the world is a “leak.”

The 3D engine ‘LithTech’ used additive environments to create ‘Alien vs. Predator.’

In a subtractive environment, there is no void. Instead, before a world is created, there is only an infinite solid. The world is created by subtracting sections from the infinite solid, thus creating hollow spaces for the player to exist in. There are less likely to be leaks in the world this way.

The additive environment is easier to manipulate so some designers may work their way around the subtractive style of editing by subtracting a large cube, for example, then creating a void in the middle of the large cube (infinite solid) then working in the middle of the (fake) void.

The 3D engine ‘The Unreal Engine’ uses subtractive environment which created ‘Unreal Tournament and Deus Ex.’

An advantage into buying proprietary technology is that it is a way of gaining more income. For example, Unreal Engine 3 has given a licensing agreement to EA games. However, the disadvantage to this is that EA plans to modify the engine and if the turnout of their games are not successful, Unreal Engine 3 may lose reputation, therefore losing the chance to licence to other gaming companies.

Next generation games now have the challenge of successfully meeting consumer demand and expectations. There has been a vast improvement in games with graphics and gameplay being very realistic, but how far can consumer anticipations go?

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