Firaxis and Microsoft vets form new game engine firm

Firaxis and Microsoft vets form new game engine firm
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

October 24th 2013 at 12:51PM

Oxide Games working on 64-bit multicore development platform Nitrous for PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Former development veterans at Firaxis and Microsoft have formed a new middleware company creating a 3D engine for next-gen consoles and PC.

The new development platform, called Nitrous, is a native 64-bit multicore game engine for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The development platform is specifically designed for next generation strategy titles.

The tech will come with support for Simultaneous Work and Rendering Model (SWARM), and is designed to render a "vastly larger" number of high-fidelity 3D objects on screen at once.

Founders at the firm, called Oxide Games, include ex-Microsoft and Firaxis dev Dan Baker, former Firaxis engine architect Tim Kipp, ex-Firaxis senior programmer and lead programmer Marc Meyer and Brian Wade and Stardock president and CEO Brad Wardell (pictured).

The team said it had worked closely with tech firms AMD, Intel and Nvidia for the past several months to ensure the new engine could take full advantage of new hardware on the market.

"In most modern games, players may see a handful of unique, high-fidelity 3D models on the screen at the same time," said Kipp.

"That’s because current 3D engines are 32-bit and rely on a ‘main thread’ to talk to the GPU. Nitrous, by contrast, was designed from scratch to be a 64-bit, multicore engine. Nitrous will render epic numbers of units and light sources on a screen at any given time."

Sins of a Solar Empire and Galactic Civilizations developer and publisher Stardock Entertainment has provided seed capital for the firm as part of its strategic investment fund.

“We see an enormous opportunity for developers with a 64-bit multicore engine," said Stardock VP Derek Paxton.

"The challenge in developing next-generation strategy games is that players expect the world to have visuals comparable to high-end first person shooters while still expecting hundreds or thousands of units, buildings, and other elements on screen at the same time. With Nitrous, we’ll be able to have visuals and performance with a fidelity never seen before in a strategy game.”