Tag Archives: unigine engine

Unigine Engine Looks To Wasteland 2

The Kickstarter-backed Wasteland 2 game that’s already had plans for a Linux client may be powered by the Unigine Engine.

Last month word came out that Wasteland 2 would have a Linux client as the sequel to Brian Fargo’s original Wasteland game from two decades ago. Via the crowd-sourced funding on Kickstarter, Wasteland 2 has raised over 2.4 million US dollars to fund its development by Fargo’s inXile Entertainment company.

Many Windows and Linux and OS X gamers are already looking forward to this title even though the game is still quite a ways out. One interesting bit of development news is that this multi-platform game is quite likely to be powered by the Unigine Engine.

Denis Shergin, the CEO of Unigine Corp, told me this morning about a proposal made to Brian Fargo regarding the game engine and subsequently there was a tweet by Denis to publicly confirm. Denis mentioned that after seeing the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter success they approached Fargo about the idea of using the Unigine Engine and subsequently provided them with an evaluation kit for their promising but not widely-used engine. There was a belief that Unigine’s technology would be a perfect fit for Wasteland 2, so Unigine Corp is willing to provide them a gratis license to their engine. This free license to the Kickstarter project comes a year and a half after they gave away free licenses in an indie game development competition.

The Linux support in the Unigine Engine is first-rate (screenshots in this article are of their Linux-supported Unigine Heaven tech demo) but certainly demanding on graphics drivers and hardware with its GL3/GL4 renderer and there also being a DirectX 11 renderer for Microsoft Windows. Unigine is also obviously quite taxing on the OpenGL stack for Apple’s OS X. It will be quite interesting to see this game built atop Unigine. In this Wasteland thread other engine options are talked about, among with are CryEngine3, Unreal Engine 3, and the GPL-licensed id Tech 4. For the Linux support to Unreal Engine 3, Epic Games would need to release their Linux support, which has been dead/blocked in the form of Unreal Tournament 3 without an official explanation (there’s rumors it was due to middlware licensing issues and/or Ryan Gordon not being paid by Epic for the Linux port). On the CryEngine side there is a native Linux port of CryEngine 3 with an OpenGL renderer, but hasn’t ever been used by Crytek licensees. Going with the open-source id Tech 4 engine would be interesting, but I don’t see it being a good matching technical fit for the game as it would require greater development time/costs for customizations.

Hopefully seeing Wasteland 2 running on Unigine could lead more game studios to license this great engine from the Russian-based company. Besides several yet-to-be-announced projects, some of the other games that are release or coming on the Unigine Engine include OilRush, Dilogus – The Winds of War, Relics of Annorath, Syndicates of Arkon, MMT Online, and Cradle.

The Unigine developers have also posted new screenshots of their visually-awesome-yet-Linux-friendly Valley to their development log. Unigine Valley will hopefully be released to the public in one month or so.

by Michael Larabel

Unigine Pushes Engine Changes; More Mesa Friendly

Unigine Corp has announced a set of improvements to their cross-platform and visually-stunning Unigine Engine. With the Source Engine on Linux finally looking to be imminent for entering the public spotlight, new improvements to Unigine couldn’t come at a better time.

The changes to the latest revision of the Unigine Engine can be read on their devlog. Some of the points that stick out include:

– Optimizations within the renderer.
– Configurable blending modes for terrain materials.
– Improved performance of dynamic vertex/index buffers on open-source drivers in Linux.
– Support for vertical synchronization on Linux.
– The renderer checks for EXT_texture_compress_s3tc on start-up to help the Mesa open-source drivers.
– Increased default shadow bias and slope parameters for light sources.
– Separate diffuse and specular color multipliers.
– Various Unigine Script improvements.
– GUI fixes.
– Many Unigine Editor improvements, including Maya 2012 plug-ins.
– Unigine Tracker has been introduced as a keyframe-based tool for creating sequences animated over time, to allow for “adding dynamic gameplay elements or making in-game cinematic cutscenes” with various benefits for the developers.

This is quite a healthy update to the already first-rate Unigine Engine. The Linux-specific work is also always pleasant to see, and especially the ongoing work to make this visually-stunning-but-demanding engine work with the open-source Mesa/Gallium3D drivers.

Seeing multiple Mesa-targeted improvements here is great. If enabling patented S3TC support via the external library, building Mesa with the patented texture-float support, and applying a few driconf options it’s becoming possible to run the Unigine Engine on a few open-source drivers with mostly-correct rendering. However, the performance is still at a snail’s pace, especially considering that even the proprietary NVIDIA/AMD graphics drivers tend to be stressed a lot by this engine (you can see a range of graphics cards running with Unigine benchmarks in my Radeon HD 7950 Linux review).

The Unigine Engine advancements are also important as when it could soon be facing much competition or interest from those interested in high-quality Linux game engines. Assuming the Source Engine with its Linux launch titles are shipping soon (should have more details to hopefully be able to share publicly on that when I’m out there at Valve in just over two weeks), the Unigine Engine will finally have some competition for being the most high-end Linux game engine. It will be interesting to see how the Source Engine and Unigine Engine battle it out under Linux in terms of performance and visual richness, of course with many Phoronix Test Suite benchmarks in the process.

If Valve’s Linux efforts go well and reach a fair amount of success, it could finally push id Software to getting its idTech5-based Rage Linux client out the door. Who knows, if the Linux gaming experience was really lucky, maybe Unreal Engine 3 would make its long-awaited Linux debut, but for now that’s a pipe-dream. Valve’s native Linux play could as well end up being a last-stand for the viability of AAA games on Linux.

It will be interesting to see how Unigine moves forward in the multi-platform space. Next week I’ll also be following up with them concerning Unigine Valley that I’m already quite excited about.

by Michael Larabel

Unigine Tests Key Enhancements To Unigine Engine

Unigine Corp is reporting today several key enhancements to their visually-impressive Unigine Engine.

Among the enhancements they have reported on their development log for their proprietary engine is improved support for NVIDIA 3D Vision, improved support for Intel HD 3000 (Sandy Bridge) graphics, better GLX_ARB_create_context extension support (benefiting Mesa on Linux), performance improvements to its renderer, improved shadows quality, and much more. The list of changes is quite extensive so be sure to check out their development log posting for details in full.

This is the first major advancement we’ve seen to the Unigine Engine since the recent release of Unigine OilRush. Still coming up from Unigine Corp is their Unigine Valley tech demo, updates to their existing Unigine Heaven benchmark, and other announcements from their partners.

Tomes of Mephistopheles Alpha Released

Kot In Action, the developers behind the Steel Storm series, has announced the alpha release of their forthcoming Tomes of Mephistopheles title.

For those where this is the first time hearing about this new Kot In Action title, the developers describe the game as “a first-person action-RPG dungeon crawler. With its fast-paced fluid combat, a multitude of medieval and magical weapons, an in-depth custom spell system, and randomly generated persistent worlds, ToM is a pinnacle of the genre.”

Like Steel Storm, this new game is also using the DarkPlaces engine. DarkPlaces is the very advanced open-source Quake Engine modification that also powers Nexuiz, Xonotic, and other games.

Those interested in trying out Tomes of Mephistopheles can try out the alpha for $10 USD, which the developers are using to fund the game’s development. More details about the game can be learned from the ToM web-site or from the alpha trailer video embedded below.

Alexander Zubov, the founder of Kot in Action, wrote an email to Phoronix with additional details. Zubov wrote, “We are really hoping that with the help of Linux gamers we can raise the money needed to continue game [development] full time for at least few month so we could make bigger advancements with Tomes of Mephistopheles and Steel Storm 2. To accomplish that we need to sell 3,000 copies of Tomes of Mephistopheles (Steel Storm 2 hasn’t made it into alpha yet as we are still digging up Unigine to determine whether it will be feasible to make the game using Unigine vs DarkPlaces).”

It certainly would be interesting to see Steel Storm 2 running off the Unigine Engine, which is far more advanced than DarkPlaces, but we’ll save that for another article.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py7HJiOeJjw&w=480&h=274]

Cradle trailer shows off Ukranian indie adventure game

[Update] This story originally said developer Flying Cafe was Russian, when it was in fact Ukranian.

For many years, Eastern Europe’s only real known contribution to gaming was Tetris, but the area’s getting more international attention in recent years through strange and wonderful games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Pathologic.

Which is to say, hey you, watch the first gameplay trailer for Ukranian indie sci-fi adventure game Cradle. At the very least, it certainly is strange.

“The story is built around the relations of the protagonist and a mechanized girl, who by enigmatic circumstances find themselves together in a yurt among the desert Mongolian hills,” developer Flying Cafe for Semianimals explains. “The player is to restore the lost functions of his companion’s mechanical body parts and together reveal the mystery of the neglected entertainment park found not far from the yurt.”

Built upon the Unigine engine (as seen in Oil Rush), Cradle is slated to launch on PC this spring. Flying Cafe plans Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android editions too. Check out the official site for more.

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

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