Criterion has two RenderWare products, RenderWare Platform and RenderWare Studio.
RenderWare Platform is a suite of truly multiplatform game production technologies. Platform provides a tailored set of open and extensible tools, allowing developers to focus on content and gameplay rather than reinventing the wheel. The API offers an open framework that aligns all the essential components of game production (graphics, audio, physics, and AI) into one single, powerful toolkit.
RenderWare Studio is the only complete game production system. It streamlines the entire development process by integrating all the essential tools and technologies (graphics, physics, audio, asset management, exporters, viewers) into a single unified production environment. By parsing the source code and generating an intuitive UI that controls all game attributes immediately, the entire development team is provided with a real-time link to all target platforms, ensuring that a live build of the game is immediately available. Geographically dispersed teams are able to share assets and collaborate on gameplay, engineering, and production in real time.
RenderWare is used extensively by the majority of developers and publishers within the game development community, such as Activision, Acclaim, Capcom, Rockstar, EA, Empire Interactive, Infogrames, Interplay, Konami, Lucas Learning, Midway, Sierra-Online, Eidos, Namco, Sony Computer Entertainment America, Sony Online, THQ, Titus, and Ubisoft. RenderWare is used in more that 250 titles and over 400 SKUs (multiplatforms) with released titles having generated over $1 billion in revenue for the publisher community to date.
RenderWare Platform provides developers with the following modules for PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, and PC and is behind chart toppers including Grand Theft Auto III, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, Burnout, Mortal Kombat 5: Deadly Alliance, and Pro Evolution Soccer.
RenderWare Graphics is the world’s leading high-performance, open and extensible, truly multiplatform 2D/3D graphics engine. RenderWare Graphics’ optional extras include RenderWare dynamic PVS (possible visible set) powered by Hybrid Graphics’ technology, plus the new FX Pack, which includes CrowdFX, TeamFX, and ToonFX.
Features of RenderWare Graphics 3.4 include multiplatform, portable API, powerful exporter framework, comprehensive art path tool chain, a comprehensive range of fast graphics capabilities, advanced multitexturing capability, optimized skinning, hardware-optimized point sprites, full scene anti-aliasing, configurable pixel format descriptor, new build manager, a component-based approach, and native geometry support.
RenderWare Graphics multiplatform, portable API allows high-level functionality to be the same for PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, and PC, with platform-specific optimizations to get the best from the hardware pipelines using PowerPipe.
RenderWare Graphics 3.4 has the Exporter Framework that allows you to make a whole range of modifications, additions, and replacements to the full feature art asset export process from 3D Studio Max 4.x and Maya 4. Consisting of a series of modular libraries and custom code hooks, you can introduce new common classes to the modeler, changing behaviors or creating new object handlers under our plug-in architecture.
Comprehensive Art Path Tool Chain includes a powerful, enhanced asset Visualizer, high performance light mapper, and PVS sector-editing tool. New for 3.4 are a pre-instancer tool for optimizing art assets to all platforms, a generic animation toolkit for both hierarchical and nonhierarchical animations, and a skin splitter toolkit that allows increasing the maximum bone limit to 256.
The comprehensive range of fast graphics capabilities include improved tri-stripping and Bezier geometry, lightmaps, polygon rejection, and scene management on all platforms. There are also platform-specific features, such as VU (Virtual Universe) code, pixel and vertex shaders, and TEV for maximum performance.
RenderWare Graphics’ advanced multitexturing capability exploits indirection on GameCube and Xbox. An offline tool also provides the creation/editing of multitexture effects for the fully integrated, advanced pipelines, including skinning and morphing.
Optimized skinning consists of a hand-optimized platform assembler supporting four-weight (points of influence) skinning on appropriate models (triangle and patch primitive).
Hardware-optimized point sprites give high-performance rendering of particle systems for console and PC when supporting hardware is available.
Full scene anti-aliasing allows for the softening of the jagged edges of polygons on screen and is enabled via support for multisampling.
Configurable pixel format descriptor allows the user to define the type of rendering environment to meet the needs of each application (e.g., the resolution of the Z-buffer depth).
New GUI-driven build manager simplifies SDK and application building on all platforms.
RenderWare Graphics’ architecture uses a component-based approach based around a thin-layer, core library supplemented by a number of plug-ins and toolkits. Plug-ins are the key to RenderWare Graphics’ power; they can extend existing objects and add new objects of their own that can also be further extended.
Support for all the native geometry formats reduces upload time and the memory needed for rendering.
RenderWare Graphics features and benefits:
Rigid body dynamics provides dynamic interactions between in-game objects, realistically resolved with appropriate Karma behaviors. You can achieve all the accurate and spectacular physics events you need for your development.
Flexible primitive and terrain collisions allows robust interactions between smooth or rugged landscapes and irregular objects within the game world to attain the best physics accuracy and immersion levels.
Rag-doll provides amazingly realistic character physics and is available for reactionary in-game behaviors. Impressive human impact responses to being “hit” by projectiles, and uniquely complex events like falling down stairs are now available to developers of all genre of game.
Comprehensive Joint and Constraint Library provides for natural laws that can be applied to “limbed” entities for believable movement of human and exotic characters alike. Restriction for hard and soft joints can be set to dampen and cap movements across all degrees of freedom in the simulation of muscle-driven movement. The possibility of animation-driven physics is also opened up with customizable joint attributes, such as velocity and position being exposed.
Time-slicing provides complex physics calculations that are broken down across several frames of processing to ensure that they don’t hit the frame rate.
Flexible architecture allows RenderWare Physics to either be quickly integrated or comprehensively extended, depending on the developers needs, thanks to the flexibility of its architecture.
Multiplatform solvers provides fast and stable physics solvers that are optimized to each platform’s processing capabilities. The user is given the ability to find the balance accuracy and fidelity of the simulation. In addition, we offer a small memory footprint and non-spiking performance. Solvers can also be switched between each other on a frame-by-frame basis.
RenderWare Physics is a portfolio of game/genre-specific physics effects built on a common underlying math library. It provides fast and stable physics modeling suitable for use in every genre of game and other interactive 3D applications. It provides the ability to add real-time dynamic behavior to your game objects. Now characters can roll down a set of stairs, vehicles smash into each other and into pieces, and structures collapse. RenderWare Physics adds realism to environments and introduces a new dimension of exciting gameplay opportunities. Everyday objects can move, fall, and even break in reaction to the player; furniture can be pushed over, and doors can be blown off their hinges!
RenderWare AI, powered by Kynogon, enables developers to have direct, customizable access to the most innovative AI tools to help them populate game worlds and deliver extremely high levels of life-like behavior and intelligent interaction between characters and game environments.
RenderWare AI uses a four-layered solution for the API, consisting of Architecture (the foundation layer), Services (the management layer), Agents (the actions layer), and the Brains (the thinking layer).
RenderWare AI features and benefits:
Powerful, multigenre core capabilities have several core service managers available within RenderWare AI: 3D Path-finding, Entities, Dynamic Avoidance, 3D Perception, Dynamic Objects, Racetrack, and Sound Sources.
Time-slicing is provided by the service managers that run optimally via clever use of time slicing in the AI core.
Core agents available in RenderWare AI are Go to, Follow, Flee, Hide (close and distant), Combat (close and distant), Speeder, Overtake, Fish-tailing, and Player cloning.
Custom agent and brain scripting allows developers to also script their own Agents and Brains to produce additional specialized behaviors.
Architecture configuration mechanism allows developers to configure the run-time parameters, such as memory allocation, average CPU consumption, NPC (non-player character) attributes, Agents, and Brains within an XML file.
Path and racetrack data calculation tools are provided in the service managers that rely on automatically precalculated path data and racetrack data, generated by two provided tools that model the static environments. These provide non-player characters and vehicles with the data they require to move intelligently, identify hiding points, and access paths after analyzing the topology of level environments and racetracks.
Player cloning tool allows a developer or a game designer to develop a behavioral agent without coding it. The developer or the game designer simulates the behavior that he wants, and the tool generates a clone reproducing his behavior.
RenderWare Audio is an extensible, data-driven, multiplatform, interactive audio engine with a light external API used to control the data-driven architecture.
RenderWare Audio 2.0 has a completely new streaming system with greatly increased performance, such as (1) support for interleaved substreams to enable instant switching between streams, (2) regions allowing a single file to be segmented into many separate streams, (3) quick stream (stream caching) allowing instantaneous seeking and playback, and (4) command queuing allowing beat matched switching between streams or interactive music applications.
Enhanced Wave Dictionary Editor with extended compatibility, functionality, and increased performance includes (1) the ability to edit parameters (bit-rate, frequency, target format, etc.) for each wave, (2) reduced wave import time, saving file links to waves and only building the wave dictionary on export, (3) wave data conversions to optimize audio data for your target platform, (4) wave conversions that can be implemented within the run-time RenderWare Audio API, (5) wave conversion that supports PCM and VAG (Sony ADPCM) for PlayStation 2, and (6) data contained within wave dictionaries that can now be converted to any supported format when a wave dictionary is either loaded or saved.
RenderWare Audio 2.0 also has analog and digital Dolby Surround Sound support dependent on the hardware, memory management extended enabling multiple management strategies, significantly reduced memory requirements, and platform-specific enhancements. RenderWare Audio for PlayStation 2’s new streaming system makes better use of the IOP processor, avoiding SIF DMA transfers between EE and IOP; the new DMA manager greatly increases the IOP <-> SPU2 transfer throughput, support for Dolby Pro Logic II and Dolby Digital 5.1 Playback, and Analogues and digital output (for Dolby and Stereo).
RenderWare Studio enables the faster development of new concepts and full working levels, validating game designs at a much earlier stage in the game’s life cycle. There is no need to invest man-years developing tailored tools and technology for each game or platform, as RenderWare Studio provides the full data-driven framework, so developers can hit the ground running and get straight on to developing critical gameplay and features from the outset.
RenderWare Studio is a major risk reducer for a number of reasons. Not only is it a proven, integrated AAA game delivery system, but the greater visibility that the team has across the entire game’s production cycle means that should new team members be added or replaced, it can be done so without causing disruption to the workflow. More importantly, this visibility enables both developer and publisher to manage the games’ production at a more commercial level, being able to share and forecast progress and creative direction earlier in the cycle.
Unlike conventional games development methods, RenderWare Studio empowers all team members to import and modify their own work independently, without relying on the activity and progress of the other elements of game production, resulting in faster progress and ensuring heightened development efficiency. The final phase of the development life cycle is also less problematic, with tuning and testing being dispersed throughout the entire development cycle. Bandwidth and productivity therefore become easier to control, resulting in more efficient resource management across the entire studio.
As a result of the faster development capabilities of RenderWare Studio, developers can improve the quality and reduce the cost of their playable game concept. With a game demonstrator immediately available on all game platforms, developers are able to maximize the product pitching, reviewing, and focus testing processes.
By improving the overall efficiency of the team and catalyzing significantly reduced development times, RenderWare Studio gives the team greater confidence and more valuable time to focus on delivering truly innovative and unique gameplay ideas to make the game stand out from the crowd.
RenderWare Studio has a real-time communications link to PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, and PC, with regular updates for immediate, continuous play testing.
Developers can look forward to fast, easy integration of RenderWare Studio into their current working environment, and the high scalability of the RenderWare architecture means that developers can effect a seamless integration of their existing tool chains and assets. Asset importer plug-ins link RenderWare Studio with your preferred art package, and developers can extend the coverage of any import path, as all are open and well documented.
With the latest build of the game available to both developer and publisher, concepts and ideas can be easily shared throughout the duration of the project. Progress updates can be facilitated quickly and easily, and mutually agreeable and realistic milestones can be set.
RenderWare’s mission is to help developers and their teams deliver your game project to market on schedule by minimizing the technical challenges that can accompany the development of games. By licensing RenderWare, customers not only buy the best tools and technologies, but they unlock the door to a developer relations operation that puts you on a traffic-free route to a finished game, giving peace of mind throughout the game production cycle and guaranteeing the timely delivery of the game.
RenderWare Developer Relations is comprised of three disciplines: support, consulting, and training. It is purely focused on meeting the needs of the developer community and helping tackle the challenges developers face on a day-to-day basis.
RenderWare’s APIs can be purchased separately or as a group (“platform”). The APIs are royalty-free, distributable to the entire team (TCP/IP designed), and licensed per title having multiple platforms (RenderWare Graphics must be purchased for each platform being developed on). There are free educational licenses and preproduction licenses and various methods of breaking up the purchasing fees.
RenderWare has several methods of support, including fully web-managed support where developers report their needs and are given a ticket for the response. RenderWare guarantees an answer within 24 hours (their technical support is 24 hours, seven days a week) but often responds within an hour. Second is their phone support, and they frequently visit developers on site and give on-site training and tutorials. RenderWare has extensive documentation and free weekly builds (updates). Most developers will be up to speed within a week (the learning curve).
NetImmerse is an object-oriented C++ software toolkit, a comprehensive set of tools, plug-ins, and run-time libraries that saves 3D game and application developers time and money, while delivering the features and effects that 3D game developers require. The generality of NetImmerse’s 3D game development solutions has led to the development of successful games in a wide range of genres.
NetImmerse provides end-to-end support for Windows (98/Me/NT/2000/XP), Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube platforms, and it enables developers to start, from day one, to develop real-time games and other interactive 3D content specifically optimized for each platform’s power and unique capabilities.
NetImmerse consists of three main components that are typically used in sequence: a set of plug-ins that easily move content from a modeling package into the engine, a set of tools that make it easy to optimize and use that content, and the C++ run-time API that constitutes the core real-time graphics engine. NetImmerse also includes readable source code for the engine and tools, sample code, and complete documentation for the engine, tools, and samples. Finally, NDL offers full support for the engine via e-mail, telephone, and its developers’ web site.
The NetImmerse toolkit includes plug-ins for all of the popular content creation packages. These plug-ins allow the user to easily view content in real-time and export content to the NetImmerse Engine. Plug-ins are available for Discreet 3D Studio Max and Alias-Wavefront Maya. Licensees receive full source code for all plugins as well.
NetImmerse is a cross-platform 3D game engine for the PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube that allows developers to begin creating content immediately, saving more than six months of development time and years of engineering costs. NetImmerse provides plug-ins that integrate seamlessly with Discreet 3D Studio Max and Alias-Wavefront Maya, the most popular modeling packages for game developers. The plug-ins directly export whatever geometry, textures, texture effects, animations, particles, and skin/bones information that the specific modeling package can create to the NetImmerse native file format (known as NIF files).
NetImmerse Core Technologies includes components such as scene graph, culling and sorting, portals, rendering, lighting, textures and transparency, level of detail, animation, particle systems, skinned character, dynamic collision detection, 3D sound, physics using the Havok physics engine and special effects like fog (modes include range-based, Z-based, and texture-based volumetric), lens flare, and dynamic shadows.
The NetImmerse hierarchical scene graph is optimized for high performance real-time applications, particularly 3D games. Multiple types of geometric primitives are supported, including lines, particles, indexed triangle sets, and indexed triangle strips.
NetImmerse automatically culls any geometry that will not appear on the screen using standard view frustum culling, leaving more CPU cycles for drawing visible objects.
The NetImmerse Portals module or “room-to-room visibility system” is designed to enable applications to render and manage large interior datasets.
A fully general camera model is supported so that the view frustum need not be symmetric (this is useful for oblique cameras, mirrors, and other effects). Multiple, simultaneous, independent cameras are supported, which may be used for split-screen rendering, inset windows, or offscreen texture rendering.
NetImmerse supports dynamic RGB lighting. These dynamic lights can be any color and may be point, infinite, or spotlights. Specular highlights and prelit vertices are also supported.
NetImmerse supports a wide range of texture effects, including (1) multitextures, such as light maps, dark maps, gloss maps, decals; (2) projected textures, including projected lights and shadows (for interesting lighting effects); (3) animated textures, for effects such as fog, fire, smoke, and explosions; (4) environment maps (spherical environment maps are supported on all platforms, with cubic environment maps supported on DX8 and Xbox); (5) rendered textures, which may be used for television screens in the scene, dynamic shadows, mirrors, and other advanced effects.
NetImmerse supports multiple levels of detail for any object in a scene, including direct import of 3D Studio Max and Maya levels of detail. NetImmerse incorporates full support for almost all animation methods that are produced from 3D Studio Max and Maya.
NetImmerse supports an efficient system for implementation of particle systems.
Skinning, a deformable mesh of “skin” and “bones,” enables moving characters to have superior visual quality at reduced computational cost.
NetImmerse provides a powerful collision-detection system.
NetImmerse eliminates the need for both building and maintaining a 3D game engine. It’s like having an in-house development team that stays up-to-date on all the latest graphics algorithms, techniques, and hardware. The NetImmerse team is committed to applying the latest leading-edge technologies to help developers create high performance, visually compelling AAA games.
NDL offers e-mail/phone support as well as regular software updates. The NetImmerse team also maintains a public online forum for the NetImmerse customer community, which focuses on developer issues and news on a platform-specific basis. In addition, the NetImmerse toolkit ships with over 500 pages of comprehensive manuals on programming and content creation to help developers and artists ramp up quickly on the product. Customized training is also available, although most NetImmerse customers discover that, with the quality of the NetImmerse source code and documentation, they don’t need it. NetImmerse has over 40 up-to-date source code tutorials, and samples are included for each of the significant NetImmerse features and programming concepts.
All licenses include full source code and are royalty free.
Here are the license fees as of January 2003:
NetImmerse for one platform
NetImmerse for two platforms
NetImmerse for three platforms
NetImmerse for four platforms
All licenses include complete source code to all NetImmerse libraries, modules, and plug-ins for the platform licensed.
Support includes e-mail access to NDL technical staff and two enhancements/updates per year. Unlimited use support fees assume support for no more than three simultaneous projects per year; support for additional projects in the same year incur an additional support fee.
More than 30 titles have shipped using the NetImmerse 3D Game Engine, such as MMRPG Dark Age of Camelot, Freedom Force, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Project Entropia, and Star Trek: Bridge Commander.
The Quake 3 Arena Engine is the current top engine from id Software available for the PC (Windows), the Macintosh, and Linux operating systems. The Dreamcast port of Quake 3 Arena is also available.
The Quake 3 Arena license includes a one-time, full-day question and answer session with John Carmack on the engine and level design and shader construction issues with id’s artists and level designers. Additional time can be arranged with id’s expert programming staff to address particular needs.
The world editor, Q3Radiant, and shader guide are also included with the Quake 3 Arena license. Current best-selling games using the Quake 3 Arena Engine are Star Trek: Elite Force, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and Quake 3 Arena.
For a single title license, id Software charges a $250,000 guarantee against a 5 percent royalty of the wholesale price.