Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Game Engines

I have several fellow geek mates that programme games, but when they have tried to explain what that actually involves, my mind starts to shutdown, and my eyes go blank. If I’m honest, I’ve never thought about how a game works… technical areas like that have always stumped me, maybe it’s because I am a pretty visual person, I can’t get a hold on numbers to save my life.

My boyfriend is in the midst of completing a physics degree and is currently ploughing through pages and pages of code. I have sat there previously, eying up his furious typing suspiciously. I am now convinced that any human that can make symbols into games must be a wizard. Or a Cyborg.

So now I sit, researching game engines and how they work. I’ll admit, this is fascinating stuff! When I sit playing a game, I have never pondered on how the shadows are being cast; how the AI is being emulated or even how the clouds are moving above my head. This is all created using a game engine.

To create a level, the designer must first create an environment. An additive environment consists of an endless void. To create a level you must seal out the void by creating a hollow object to contain you world. The Unreal Engine uses a subtractive environment. In here exists, instead, an endless mass. To create a world, the solid must be chipped away to reveal a hollow, which is then manipulated to form your world :

Companies can choose to use a pre-existing game engine, or develop one themselves. A personalised engine creates the prospect of a wholly unique game. But developing such an asset is complicated and involves a lot of the green stuff resulting in the majority of small companies opting out. And so the big companies win again: in the end the games industry will be lacking in competition, variation and motivation.

Btw, how incredible would it be to see your own artwork implemented like this?!:

Cooli ooli.

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