Middleware firms show support for Microsoft's next-gen console
A plethora of the game industry's top middleware providers have pledged support for Microsoft's new Xbox One console.
Already backed by powerful hardware that features 8 cores, 8GB of DDR3 RAM and 500GB worth of memory storage, a number of development tools are set to be made available for developers working on the system.
Tools announced as compatible with the new Xbox currently include CryEngine 3, IKinema RunTime, Enlighten and Substance Engine.
We will continue to add new tools and tech as they are announced, so be sure to check back for further additions.
Crytek has revealed that its powerful triple-A-centric game development platform CryEngine 3 is already primed and ready for Xbox One development. The engine has powered a number of titles in the past including FPS Crysis 3.
“We offered assurances over two years ago that CryEngine 3 was ready for the next generation of consoles, and time has revealed that promise to be true,” said Crytek director of global business development Carl Jones.
“As developers begin to create new games for Xbox One, our technology and unparalleled support will ensure CryEngine 3 users remain at the forefront of the industry now and well into the future.”
IKinema is bringing its real-time full-body animation solution IKinema RunTime to the Xbox One. The company's tech allows developers run-time control of characters during game play, and allows manipulation of bones at every frame as well as providing a solver designed to produce "life-like" motion distributed automatically over a full body.
“Receiving feedback by studios that experience firsthand the qualities that IKinema delivers is what inspires and excites us to offer next generation animation and believability in games on the next gen of consoles," said IKinema CEO Alexandre Pechev.
"IKinema reduces development time and brings movie realism and subtle detail to motion for a much improved gamer experience."
Geomerics is set to support the Xbox One with its Develop Award winning lighting tech, Enlighten.
The tech, which has been used in titles such as Battlefield 3, Eve Online and the upcoming Dragon Age 3 and Battlefield 4 offers a solution designed to deliver full dynamic lighting in-game.
The middleware firm said that with a "dramatic" increase in memory and compute resource on the new console, developers would be able to implement much more dynamic lighting into their titles and "extend cinematographic film practices to dynamic immersive worlds".
“We are delighted to be working on Xbox One,” said Geomerics founder Chris Doran.
“The hardware is perfectly balanced for a next generation console and a huge step forward from the current generation. Real-time global illumination was a big deal for games running on the current generation of hardware, but it required developers to make some compromises. With Xbox One, those days are behind us.
"We can finally unleash the full power of Enlighten, and allow game developers working on Xbox One games to bring far deeper levels of dynamism and quality to game lighting. We cannot wait to see what developers produce with Enlighten.”
Allegorithmic will be bringing a customised version of its parametric texturing solution Substance Engine to Microsoft's next-gen console. The tech is designed to help developers with runtime generation of parametric textures to reduce download size and improve performance.
“Substance helps you create next-gen ready textures without sacrificing quality or productivity,” said Allegorithmic CEO Sebastien Deguy.
“You want millions, or billions of them? Same story, same small download size.”
Foliage middleware tool SpeedTree for games will be compatible with Xbox One development.
The tool, which is set to be used in Bungie's new IP Destiny, is designed to help developers create real-time trees and plants with "seamless" LOD transitions, as well as offering lighting, physics and wind effects.
The tech also includes an SDK that can be programmed to support any level of engine integration.
"Our team's early involvement with this platform has enabled us to support Xbox One game developers from the beginning," said SpeedTree developer interactive CEO Chris King.
"As with the Xbox 360, the Xbox One development environment is a pleasure to work with. We hit the ground running from the moment we got our first dev kit."
Israeli-based middleware company Xoreax is the latest company to pledge support for the Xbox One with its development acceleration solution IncrediBuild.
The tool takes advantage of unused processing power to help speed up rendering, image processing, code build, lighting, shading, compression and encoding. The tech has previously been used by developers and publishers such as Disney, EA, Ubisoft and Crystal Dynamics.
“A new game developed for Xbox One needs to be dynamic and visually engaging,” said IncrediBuild CEO Eyal Maor.
“For developers, each step takes a significant amount of time and creativity. With IncrediBuild, they can reduce down time to maintain the intensity they bring to create exciting, intense games and, most importantly, get to market as soon as the console is available.”
Naturalmotion’s Morpheme 4 tech is an animation middleware designed to offer developers advanced prediction modelling capabilities to help build complex integrations between animation and AI systems, while a new ScatterBlend parametric blend node has also been introduced to the tech to help streamline animator workflow.
“Morpheme has been designed to produce the triple-A character animation that next generation games demand”, said Naturalmotion CTO Simon Mack.
“We’re excited to see how our customers are already taking advantage of the power of Xbox One to create more advanced characters than ever before.”
Nvidia PhysX and Apex
Nvidia’s PhysX tools are now compatible with the Xbox One. The tech aids game designers with collision detection, simulation of rigid bodies, fluids and particle systems.
PhysX is a solution for designing real-time, real-world effects into interactive titles, while Apex builds on this by allowing artists to expand the quantity and visual quality of destructible objects, make smoke and other particle-based fluids and more “life-like” clothing.
"We are excited to extend our PhysX and Apex technologies to Microsoft's Xbox One console," said Nvidia PhysX SDK product manager Mike Skolones.
"We look forward to the Xbox developer community taking advantage of PhysX and Apex along with Xbox One's processing power, programmability and next-generation features to design cutting-edge games that deliver an unparalleled and ultra-realistic experience."
Umbra Software’s occlusion culling system is coming to Xbox One. The tech, used by developers such as Bungie, Eidos Montreal, Remedy Entertainment and CD Projekt is designed to help generate occluders automatically, as well as helping improve rendering performance and the creation of detailed and dynamic environments.
Silicon Studio is bringing its next-gen post-redering middleware Yebis 2 to the Xbox One. The tech, which its creator says can be used by both large scale production teams and indie developers, offers multi-colour customisable glare ffects, depth of field effects, motion blur and bokeh.
“Silicon Studio has been on the bleeding-edge of middleware development,” said Silicon Studio CEO Takehiko Terada.
“Our partnership with Microsoft is going to result in groundbreaking games for the generation ahead.”