Game engines are collections of modules of simulation code that developers come up with to create and develop video games. They offer a software setup that handles sound, 2D or 3D graphics, language (more often known as scripting), artificial intelligence, memory management, streaming, threading, generic physics and/or dynamics for the gaming environment among others. The game engines have not always been here; their development has progressed with time and with them come various factors, that is: a) Their origin and history, b) The concept of reusability and middleware, c) The major types available today, ) Their uses of game engines, e) Their effects to the person, f) and Their effects to the society. Historical research has shown that game engines development began in the early 1989 with developing Ultima Underworld. Followed in 1993 by Doom Engine developed by ID software with the ability to represent objects in 2D but creating illusion of a 3D title. Before invention of game engine developers had to start developing from the beginning every time they produced a new game. Introduction of Doom and invention of the reusable engine, time spent coding the basic reduced significantly (Lilly, 2009).
In 1993, there was development of Nuke Nukem 3D in 1993 with help of Build Engine and it created 3D illusions in 2D interface through varying sectors with different heights. In 1995, the first 3D engine developed in DOS base was the XnGine that used high-resolution graphics. In 1996, ID Software came up with Quake engine. It had very little processing requirements and a less-strained CPU (Kaufmann).
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In 1996, developers introduced Renderware and it became a very popular engine for various multiplatform games among them GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation 3, and PSP.
In 1997, there was development of Quake II also known as ID Tech 2 engine it supported OpenGL (Open Graphics Library), colored light effects, DLL and the command in C. Introduction of GoldSRC in the market marked a new turning point since it had OpenGL and Direct3D. Next was Unreal engine in 1998 with its own language and map editor, UnrealScript and UnrealEd respectively. Quake III was an edition Quake II developed in 1999. With the second year of the 21st century (2001) came Geodmod engine (short for Geometry modification).
Also in the same year, there was a creation of a new engine, the Torque engine; it offered change of the game, FPS Tribes 2. It came with fly rendering, fewer polygon counts, and a world map editor (Maurina).
Later in 2004, developers introduced Doom 3 engine, it had a special feature of allowing light surfaces processing in real-time but with soft shadows. The next major game engine creation was the Unreal engine (2007) and Frostbite (2009) which raised the bar for game engines. An example of a game using the latter engine is the Battlefield: Bad Company.
Finally, the most recent engine by Crytek is the Cry engine being a cross-platform engine and allows commanding in C and C++. Prior to older times where developers would come up with game engines, most game developers today prefer to use the already existing engines only that they put unique features in their work. At the same time, firms that develop game engines find it more economical to build game engine components as opposed to use a number of programmers to come up with new game engines. The reusability of game engines is possible due to the concept of middleware in-game engines.
Middleware is software enabling a given number of programs to interact with one another. It can also be in a single application providing an opportunity for separate aspects of a program function concurrently. Now with this, they give developers a custom API allowing them to make use already existing functions and commands instead of developing their own. Therefore, the firms we had mentioned earlier are fondly called middleware providers. The engines came in different aspects, flavors, functionality and so on. We will single out eight that are easy to work with and more common in the developers’ world today.
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First, we have the RPG Maker that pretty simple to use. It has versions for PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and Windows PC. However, it becomes cumbersome to program anything other than RPG when using it. Second, MUGEN mostly used in the fights class and is actually strong though rigid and does not allow deviating much in the design mechanics. Thirdly, the Adventure Game Studio mostly used in the easy to play games where you change direction and click, for instance in games such as Myst and Grim Fandango and has its latest update in April 2011. Unfortunately, not all Mac OS and Linux users can use it.
In addition, the Gamemaker is another type that is more flexible with design compared with the rest although it involves a lot of programming. Unity comes as the fifth type and is mostly used in mobile electronics such as the iPod, iPhone, PC and Mac. It has really gained a foothold in the game industry. Next one is the Gamebryo that is simple and easy to use though it requires good coding knowledge. XNA Game Studio by Microsoft that enables a game developer to make a game no matter its size though it is Xbox related thus giving some level of hardship. Finally, the Unreal Engine makes any genre of games no matter the financial ability.
Most developers view it as the current best engine available. Apart from being used for developing games, game engines cater for poststroke patients as suggested by Flynn, Sheryl PT, PhD; Palma, Phyllis PT; Bender, Anneke PT in their Case Study Report, Feasibility of Using the Sony PlayStation 2 Gaming Platform for an Individual Post stroke: A Case Report. To add-on that, they are used in visualization as suggested by Dieter Fritsch and Martin Kada in their study Visualization Using Game Engines. Game engines have varied impacts on people depending on the same. First, we look at the positive impacts on an individual.
Video games are something I have become very accustomed to. I am constantly running to the store to purchase whichever is the current hottest video game out for my husband and children. I do not purchase anything that I would classify as a violent video game. However, I do purchase wrestling and fighting games; which to some, those games may actually be qualified as violent. Many times children ...
Thanks to the engines, developers have come up with games that offer an opportunity for people to cool off from their daily activities and move on to a new world with controlled events. Additionally, games are a source of entertainment and could develop into a hobby. However, it can lead to addiction reducing creativity in people, affects their social lives, and have problems relating with other people because of dealing with inhuman characters all the time. The subject has positive impacts on the society; developing a game engine generates a significant amount of money that translates to an improved society livelihood.
Furthermore, people develop hobbies from playing games. This significantly reduces the crime levels in the society; this is because idleness can lead to crime when people look for ways to keep themselves busy. Game engines also have its negative impacts to the society. As stated earlier, addictions to the games make people less creative and have problems on people. This culminates in societies stagnating with little or no development at all. People have more disagreements, conflicts, and disputes due to lack of well-developed social skills because of the above mentioned.
In conclusion, a game engine is a toolkit with various functions and commands modified by the game developers with various features to create games. They have developed over the years from the use of vector graphics and evolving to creating illusions of 3D using 2D sprites and most recently developments of fully 3D graphics games. The benefits of the game engines are that they are pre-written and thus many users can use them to come up with different games. There are many types of the said engines but a few are very common with Unity being the favorite among many developers.