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