Tag Archives: game engines

One Of The New Valve Linux Employees Is…

Here’s one of the names that many Linux gamers and Phoronix readers should know for his past open-source work, who since the beginning of May has been employed by Valve Software for their Linux enablement efforts.

One of the first people I recruited for Valve when they were looking for good Linux referrals was Forest Hale, or better known within Internet communities (including the Phoronix Forums and Phoronix IRC) as LordHavoc. He was the lead developer on the DarkPlaces engine, which is the Quake-derived engine that was used by the open-source Nexuiz game and is now used by Xonotic as well. As can be seen when firing up the old Nexuiz or when running Xonotic, DarkPlaces is both technologically and visually impressive, especially for being a non-commercial GPL-based engine. Under contract he additionally was the lead on the Mac OS X and Linux ports of Quake Live. He’s also done other Linux contract work, but for the work on the open-source DarkPlaces engine is where he’s arguably most known.

A New Game Engine Comes To Linux

Confirmed yesterday was a new version of a popular but proprietary game engine that will work on Linux with its next release.

The crew at Terathon Software yesterday working on the C4 Engine tweeted, “The next version of the C4 Engine (version 2.9) runs on Linux.”

For those not familiar with the C4 Engine, it’s a popular 3D game engine (ranked as number one among commercial game engines on DevMaster.net, an engine review web-site) and was first made available in 2005. The game engine up to this point has supported Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS X, and Sony PlayStation 3 platforms. With C4 Engine 2.9, it looks like Linux is being added to the list. Already for Windows (and under Mac OS X, obviously) the graphics library in use for its renderer has been OpenGL.

Among the games known to be using the C4 Engine include World of Subways, City Bus Simulator, Lego Wolf3D, and Quest of Persia: Lotfali Khan Zand.

The C4 Engine isn’t free and open-source, but is commercial licensed via four different license types. The engine isn’t as visually as impressive as the Unigine Engine or Source Engine, but nevertheless it’s always nice to see new (post-idTech3) game engines working their way to Linux.

For more information on the C4 Engine, visit the Terathon C4 page and there’s also the Wikipedia page. Embedded below are some videos of the C4 Engine in action.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSyW6zbw6eU&w=480&h=274]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AMVnISfhtg&w=480&h=274]

If you were hoping this “A New Game Engine Comes To Linux” news item was going to be about Valve’s Source Engine, in hopefully a few hours I’ll be allowed to share some great Linux gaming news….

by Michael Larabel

Ryan's Tools For Linux Game Porting, Development

Last week at the Chicago Flourish conference, well known Linux game porter/developer Ryan “Icculus” Gordon shared some of his recommended open-source tools and libraries for Linux game development.

The tools and libraries he recommended for game development are all open-source and available for Linux — most of them are cross-platform as well. Below is the list of Ryan’s recommendations along with a few notes from his talk that I attended.

Library Recommendations:
SDL – Enough said… SDL 2.0 is finally on the horizon with many improvements over SDL 1.2. SDL 2.0 details will be saved for another Phoronix article.
OpenAL – The OpenGL of audio.
PhysicsFS – One of Ryan’s many open-source projects, a library for virtual file abstraction/access. He also explained the name of PhysicsFS (as it has nothing to do with physics), but it came when he was writing a game engine but he pulled it out as it was the only usable thing from the unreleased engine.
Open Dynamics Engine
Ogg Vorbis – No licensing burden like MP3. Ryan hates software patents (obviously).
Ogg Theora / TheoraPlay
Lua – “JavaScript with all the shitty parts taken out… And much faster.”
MojoShader – Another Icculus project.

Tool Recommendations:
Google Breakpad
Valgrind – “Improve your life tonight!”
Clang – “State of the art in compilers… Static analyzer… Compiles two or three times as fast.” Ryan really enjoys Clang for its static analysis abilities and other features not supported by GCC. Even though the binaries they end up shipping are still built with GCC, he and other game developers have begun taking advantage of LLVM/Clang internally.
Blender – “I dont know anything about Blender.” Ryan doesn’t have experience with Blender but just had to recommended it as an open-source alternative to Maya.
Git – “It’s like coming to Jesus… It’s so much better.”

Game Engine Recommendations:
Ioquake3 / iodoom3
Crystal Space

That’s the list of his recommendations from the hour-long talk. His 2012 Flourish slides are available from Icculus.org (PDF). There was a video recording of his talk by the Flourish staff, but it’s not yet been uploaded to YouTube.

When talking to Ryan after his Flourish talk was when he commented on the remarkable improvements of open-source GPU drivers. That’s also when he said he’s talked with Valve but not at all interested in taking up a job with him to work on their Linux client ports as he doesn’t want to relocate to Washington.

Essential Game Engines: Marmalade

We examine the inner workings of Ideaworks’ mobile development platform

Creator: Ideaworks 3D
Platforms: iOS, Android, Symbian, Bada, Blackberry, LG Smart TV
Games: Pro Evolution Soccer (iOS and Android), Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (iOS and Android

Smartphone and smart TV platform Marmalade abstracts the mobile OS at a low level, enabling cross-platform mobile game creation to look like vanilla C++ game development.

“Any pre-existing C/C++ code can be re-used with little or no changes – that includes open source or proprietary code modules, including physics engines like Box2D/Bullet, and database engines like sqlite – or large parts of pre-existing games engines or games,” explains Ideaworks CTO Tim Closs.

Marmalade has been used for games such as Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer on IOS and Android, as well as Hotgen’s runner-up Apple Game of the Year To-Fu.

Games ported for wider development also include PopCap’s Plants Vs Zombies, and Electron Arts’ Sim City Deluxe.

Closs says that with modern developers needing to realise maximum performance of their apps whilst also targeting a wide variety of platforms, Marmalade was created to help alleviate these issues and provide a smooth solution.

“Our approach has always been to provide as open and flexible an environment as possible; hence the emphasis on standards such as C/C++ standard libraries and OpenGL ES,” says Closs.

“Other engines focus on providing drag-and drop tools, but force the developer to lock themselves into an entirely proprietary environment.

“That’s our differentiation, and one that many games developers understand and value.”

As well as providing support for current mobile OS’s and smart TV’s such as iOS, Android and LG Smart TV, Closs says Ideaworks is currently working on support for other TV platforms and devices that the it believes will see success within the next year.

#androidapps #androidgames #essentialgameengines #gameengines #gamemaker #ideaworks #marmaladex

Essential Game Engines: Havok Vision Engine

We look at the inner workings of the versatile multi-platform tool

Creator: Havok
Platforms: Windows, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS Vita, iOS, Android
Seen in: Stronghold 3, Orcs Must Die!, The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom

Formerly known as the Trinigy Vision Engine, Havok acquired the platform in August 2011, integrating its own software into the tech.

The tool provides a ‘versatile’ multi-platform runtime technology that its creators say is capable of rendering complex scenes at smooth frame rates, whilst having a set of integrated features such as streaming, scripting, audio and physics solutions.

Product management head Andrew Bowell says that both runtime and tools have “clean, well-structured” plug-in API’s, which he explains allows for feature

“With regard to optimisation, developers still do not want to relinquish control of the hardware to the engine. With that requirement they are looking for flexible, modular and open game engines coded in C++ they can easily customise where needed, but also rely on already provided highly optimised code,” says Bowell.

“In terms of tools and workflow, it’s clear that rapid iteration, fast build times and on-target editing are also key requirements.”

The tech firm supports both big budget titles and small development teams through its Havok Strike Program, and Bowell believes that supporting everyone in the development community is a key part of the company’s success.

“We have seen some really great games being developed by independent developers and small studios over the past couple of years,” he says.

“With the evolving needs of the games development community, we are always looking for ways to help developers push the game-play experience to its limits.

“Last year, Havok developed the Strike Program as a way to offer small studios innovative licensing options, enabling them more freedom to execute their creative visions, regardless of their budgets.”

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