Apple of its eye

Apple of its eye
Will Freeman

By Will Freeman

March 24th 2011 at 8:00AM

Trinigy's vision engine now supports iOS; general manager Felix Roeken explains why

Tools company Trinigy has just revealed its Vision Game Engine is now supporting iOS.

The firm’s general manager Felix Roeken explains why he has embraced Apple’s platforms, and what else is in store for the engine...

Supporting iOS is a significant move. What motivated Trinigy to embrace iOS with the Vision Game Engine?

The core philosophy behind our technology is to provide developers with unlimited development freedom. One way we give developers that freedom is by supporting as many platforms out-of-the-box as we can. We’re now supporting PC, all of the major consoles, and most browsers. iOS is clearly one of the leading platforms for handheld games, so the move to iOS was a logical step in our development roadmap.

And what will the Vision Game Engine for iOS offer developers that makes the technology stand out from its contemporaries? A number of other high-profile engines now support the platform.

In keeping with our core philosophy, the Vision Game Engine is far more modular and open, which makes it super easy to extend and modify. Our game engine has never been a one-size-fits-all solution. If developers want to leverage any third party middleware or add in some of their own tools and pipelines, they can easily do so.

Secondly, it is highly optimised for each platform. Any time we extend the Vision Game Engine to support another platform, we go to great lengths to ensure that it maximises the unique hardware and operating system resources of that platform. iOS will be no different.

Thirdly, we strongly believe that our customers are our partners, and that when they’re in the midst of production, supporting them requires more than forums and emails. Our iOS customers will enjoy that same level of individual support.

Does Vision for iOS offer developers ways to distribute their games on the platform and optimise discoverability? Perhaps you have plans to do so?
That is something we’re currently looking at, but do not have anything concrete to share at this point.

What about the challenges you faced in moving to support iOS?
Technically, our goal is to enable developers to maximise the hardware resources of iPhone and iPads in order to pack the most punch in a game. At the same time, our credo is that our customers can utilise the Vision Game Engine for all platforms, leveraging basically the same source and asset base.

That, of course, has its challenges, but those are not insurmountable. Since the Vision Game Engine has a lean, optimised core, is extremely scalable, and already supports a very broad range of hardware platforms including Nintendo Wii, there is quite a lot we can do to enhance the iOS gaming experience, even with the limited shader performance of the current generation iOS platforms.

From a marketing perspective, supporting mobile devices does come with some business challenges for middleware providers, which Trinigy has been considering carefully.

Some competitors have gone to a cheap – or free – per-seat price in the short term. Others have opted for a straight royalty model, which represents an unpredictable expense variable for developers in the longer run. The Vision Game Engine has historically carried a very fair and straightforward pricing model for a feature-rich technology capable of supporting the development of such a wide range of games. We have been thoroughly looking at a number of options for Vision’s iOS market and plan to unveil more details at GDC.

How important is tech integration to Trinigy’s future roadmap?
This strategy is a direct extension of our philosophy of development freedom, and represents a new way of thinking about middleware. Ultimately, middleware solutions and internal toolsets are not just stand-alone products – they are parts of a unique development ecosystem that should work seamlessly together to streamline the development process. The modularity and flexibility of the Vision Game Engine embodies that concept.

It allows development teams to easily integrate their own internal toolsets, or to use many other commercial packages on the market. We currently support 20 third-party integrations with leading middleware products, with more planned.

In the case of FMOD and RakNet, it’s important to note that these were more than just technical integrations – they were bundles. So when developers purchase the Vision Engine, they actually get the full FMOD and RakNet solutions for all platforms with it. That not only allows developers to create their own unique solutions – it gives them three complete and leading middleware solutions for the price of one. Not a bad deal.

Looking to the forthcoming handheld gaming platforms from Sony and Nintendo, do you have any plans to support NGP or 3DS?
We are currently looking at both 3DS and NGP. As handhelds will be a core focus of ours in 2011 and beyond, we haven’t ruled out supporting either of them.
NGP looks especially intriguing, and really strikes me as a great platform for the hardcore gamers who want to have an immersive PlayStation 3 experience on a handheld device.

www.trinigy.net