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Posts tagged ‘Bang’

10
Sep

Rob Fermier blogs about Age of Empires programming history

 

Hot on the heels of Ian Fischer’s blog about AOE-O design and Dave Kubalak’s blog about the vision behind the new Age of Empires game, long time Age of programmer come lead programmer at Robot Entertainment, Rob Fermier talks us through the history of the Bang engine which has powered each Age game since 3D graphics started with Age of Mythology. Before the bang engine came along Ensemble Studios were using another in house 2D engine called “Genie”. By around 1999 and before Ensemble acquisition by Microsoft, Ensemble were playing around with a new 3D engine which later became known as Bang. This engine was first used with Age of Mythology taking the Age series into 3D for the first time:

The first iteration of the Bang engine produced these graphics in Age of Mythology

The same Bang engine was used again for the expansion pack Age of Mythology - The Titans. When Age of Empires 3 came along the engine underwent significant improvements:

For Age of Empires 3 (2005) it received some major upgrades – a modern shader-based rendering system, physics integration, new particle effects, and numerous unit sim improvements.   Several expansion packs also were built to enhance those games, leveraging the extensibility and flexibility of the Bang engine.

After the extensive work put into the engine Age of Empires 3 turned out graphics looking more like this:

But its not all about graphics, a game engine comprises of many different parts which make up the whole thing. For example you have graphics, sound, music, UI, AI, scenarios, triggers, databases and more. There is alot going on behind the scenes of an Age game. In fact the engine is over 1.2 million lines of code. Although not all these lines are serious pieces of code, as Rob points out there is Ensemble humour buried in the code. -

(Click to enlarge)

I am certain this Ensemble style humour will continue into Robot Entertainment’s edits of the engine!

The blog finishes up with a few words about the future of the engine with Age of Empires Online and the new features it brings:

As you play Age of Empires Online (sign up for the Beta here), the technology powering your game experience is a mix of brand new online tech, new gameplay systems, and battle-tested core RTS mechanics that we have been constantly improving for over a decade.   It is always amusing to come across a comment from yourself in 1999.  Game technologies are often abandoned after a few years, so it has been very rewarding to work with this particularly robust game engine for so long.

As always, this is just a summary of the full blog post and I recommend everyone check out the full posting on the Robot Entertainment for more information and “fun facts”!

 http://www.robotentertainment.com/blog/detail/Brief-History-Time-and-Age-Engine

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28
Jul

Robot Entertainment chooses the Trinigy Vision Engine for next game

robotent1

Robot Entertainment’s lead programmer  Vijay Thakkar has today revealed that Robot Entertainment has signed an agreement with Trinigy to use the Vision Engine for the studios next original IP game. The licensing agreement with Trinigy grants Robot Entertainment the rights to develop a multi-platform game for its new IP using Trinigy’s Vision Engine. Robot’s Vijay Thakkar had this to say on the matter:

“The Vision Engine has clearly been designed with a focus on a powerful set of engine features that do not compromise full developer flexibility,” said Thakkar, in a statement. “Throughout our evaluation of the industry’s premium engines, the Vision engine consistently stood out in terms of performance and how quickly our developers could see their ideas running in game. The stellar level of support, integration of third-party technologies and robust architecture made choosing the Vision Engine an easy decision for our studio and has allowed us to quickly build momentum on our new project.”

One might wonder why Robot is choosing to go down an external engine route. In the past Ensemble Studios has written engines from scratch including The Age 1 & 2 Engine “Genie”, Age of Mythology and Age 3 engine “Bang” and the Halo Wars engine. With the closure of Ensemble Studios it is not known how much support Robot and other studios have been given with regards to the old Ensemble engines the team has created. As Microsoft own the rights to all engines and designs under Ensemble it is presumed that Robot would need to have reached an agreement with Microsoft to use these old tools.  However using a 3rd party engine is certainly not a bad thing as it reduces the time Robot has to spend developing a new engine. Instead they can get stuck right in with existing tools and framework allowing them to get the game ready more quickly than from scratch. – And we’re all looking forward to that!

In case your wondering what types of games have been developed using this engine here’s a brief sample:

Helldorado Spellbound / dtp & Playten PC
The Show 16Tons / Take 2 PC
Dungeon Hero Firefly Studios PC, Xbox360
ZedCity Zed Group PC (MMO)
Warlord Neowiz Corp. PC (MMO)
CrossRoads Nassons Entertainment PC, Xbox360
Wii Relax Frame Studios PC, Wii

One might notice there is alot of PC titles in the list! Perhaps a hint? You can find more details about the engine on the companies official website. They are handily have an office located in Austin, Texas – perfect for Robot Entertainment based near by.

The whole press release can be found below and a link at the bottom to the GamesIndustry.biz article – well worth checking out for those interested!

Austin, TX – July 28th, 2009 – Trinigy, an industry leading 3D game engine provider with over 100 licensees and offices in Germany and Austin, TX, today announced a licensing agreement with Robot Entertainment, Inc., a world-class independent entertainment software company located in Plano, TX. Robot Entertainment will use the Vision Engine on a new, undisclosed IP currently in development.

Started by many of the original founders of Ensemble Studios, Robot Entertainment has a staff of 45 developers comprised entirely of former Ensemble employees. The new company’s team developed the hit franchise Age of Empires™, which sold over 20 million units worldwide, and the recently released hit Halo Wars for Xbox 360™. Robot Entertainment recently announced it will continue working with Microsoft Game Studios to create additional Halo Wars content and support online gaming and communities for both Age of Empires and Halo Wars. The company also announced ambitions to create its own original IP, though no specifics are available yet.

The licensing agreement with Trinigy grants Robot Entertainment the rights to develop a multi-platform game for its new IP using Trinigy’s Vision Engine. In doing so, Robot Entertainment joins a growing list of outstanding developers worldwide that have licensed the Vision Engine, including Ubisoft, Take 2, Firefly and the recently announced MunkyFun, Nitro and Spellbound.

“The Vision Engine has clearly been designed with a focus on a powerful set of engine features that do not compromise full developer flexibility,” said Vijay Thakkar, lead programmer at Robot Entertainment. “Throughout our evaluation of the industry’s premium engines, the Vision engine consistently stood out in terms of performance and how quickly our developers could see their ideas running in game. The stellar level of support, integration of 3rd party technologies and robust architecture made choosing the Vision Engine an easy decision for our studio and has allowed us to quickly build momentum on our new project.”

“Robot Entertainment has the experience and talent to make groundbreaking games that set new standards in the industry,” said Daniel J. Conradie, president and CEO at Trinigy Inc. “Our success and momentum continue to be validated by distinguished AAA teams like the one at Robot Entertainment. We are excited to support this extremely talented team on their next eagerly awaited title.”

About Trinigy

Based in Southern Germany, and with an office in Austin, TX, Trinigy is a privately owned company committed to selling groundbreaking game engine technology and first-class support to video game and serious game development studios across the globe. Engineered to provide more creative and technical freedom, the company’s Vision Engine is currently in use in more than 100 commercial game productions by well-known companies such as Ubisoft, Take 2, Dreamcatcher, NeoWiz, Spellbound, Nitro Games and more. The Vision Engine has proven its versatility in a multitude of game genres, including real-time strategy, racing, first-person shooters, role-playing games and massively multiplayer online (MMO) games. It is available and optimized for performance on PC (DX9, DX10), Xbox360™, PLAYSTATION®3, Nintendo Wii™, XBLA™, PSN™ and WiiWare™. For more information about Trinigy, its Vision Engine or its technology partners, please visit: www.trinigy.net.

About Robot Entertainment

Based in Plano, Texas, Robot Entertainment is a world-class independent game development studio owned and operated by many of the founders of Ensemble Studios. With a team that has proven experience and expertise in creating games that appeal to massive audiences, Robot Entertainment is focused on titles that set new standards for their respective genres as well as groundbreaking original IPs. Robot can be found on the web at www.robotentertainment.com.

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/robot-entertainment-selects-trinigys-vision-engine-for-new-ip

Looking forward to hearing more about the games development!!

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