Virtual worlds are set to offer new outlets for leading-edge casual games thanks to extensible middleware.

Qube software says that Near London™, a virtual world built on Qube's future generation middleware 'Q', showcases a new generation of virtual worlds that has the potential to widen the appeal of online gaming.  Near London™ was launched to potential business clients this week.

"Everyone knows the limitations of trying to write games to work within the current generation of virtual worlds; the graphics often just don't cut it" said Qube CEO Servan Keondjian.  "But in a virtual world built on Q developers get to access the rendering features of any cutting-edge game. On top of this, Q opens up the possibility of users  changing channel to other online games built with Q or even playing them within the VW environment itself.

"I am excited about Near because it gives game developers new outlets and business models for their skills without limiting them technologically," he said.

Keondjian made his name as the creator of Direct3D, and like Direct3D Q works for any real-time 3D graphics application: games, tools, virtual worlds. But Q's plug-in architecture means it can be extended to talk to any server backend, as well as supporting a multitude of rendering styles all in one unified client.

"Q is a serious development tool and allows studios to offer cutting-edge graphics and work with popular authoring tools like Max and Maya to produce games to work with or within those worlds," Keondjian said.  "Meanwhile Q's extensible architecture makes plugging the game into the world simple."

Near has used the latest technology to model central London to the highest degree of accuracy seen to date.  It is targeting retailers and other businesses who want to develop their online presence.  By functioning as a universal client Q removes a major hurdle to the development of the 3D internet as users will no longer have to download new pieces of software each time they visit a different virtual world.

"The way Q works is crucial to Near," said founder Alex Wrottesley.  "Near presents cities as virtual gateways– just as a real city street is a gateway to shops and restaurants and other experiences.  So if a retailer wants a visitor to Near London™ to be able to click on their shop door and be transported effortlessly to their own virtual world or custom game environment, with Q that becomes simple.  Near's cities will be able to host the most extensible content ever seen in a virtual world."

Wrottesley believes that games studios will have a new market for content with retailers and other businesses who want to lure visitors into their own 3D sites.  Meanwhile, by offering both the VW community and games developers a platform which works across genres and consoles, it will bring the two sectors closer together.

"Q's content capabilities and its out of the box renderers, shaders and background data streaming gave us the tools to build our world quickly and make Near™ a stunning visual experience," Wrottesley said.

Q was launched to the games industry in February and is already being used for games projects on multiple major console platforms and the PC.  Q's flexibility and potential for customisation mean that it's not only a universal client for the 3D internet but is also a powerful games engine compatible with all the main consoles and operating systems.

"We believe our job is to simplify the life of 3D developers. Be they game developers or virtual world builders, the problems are the same: the multitude of formats and delivery systems out there just add complexity and cost. Q takes this away with its unifying, genre-neutral, but extensible, approach."

To try Q today contact Jamie Fowlston on +44 20 7431 9995 or via info@qubesoft.com  Further details are available at www.qubesoft.com.

Near™'s new launch video can be seen at http://www.nearglobal.com/About.aspx.

For media enquiries contact Qube's Director of Communications, Jonathan Kent, on +44 (0) 1892 783018 or email jonathan@qubesoft.com or call Alison Beasley, Lincoln Beasley PR; +44 (0) 1608 645756, +44 (0) 7966 449130 (m).

Qube Software produces 'Q', the only truly cross-genre, cross-platform 3D game solution on the market today. Q is a complete game solution in a completely customisable and extensible framework. Q has been designed to revolutionise game development by offering a standard for developers to use across all projects. Qube Software is a privately held company that was founded in 1998 by Servan Keondjian and Doug Rabson, the creators of Direct3D, and is headquartered in London, UK.

Near's ambitions extend to modelling the world's most compelling city destinations and turning them into virtual environments for business, socialising and exploration.  CEO Tor McClaren has a background in advertising and television management while co-founder Alex Wrottesley enjoyed a high flying marketing career in Europe, Russia and Asia.  Having settled on Q as their preferred middleware Tor and Alex invited Servan Keondjian to act as their Technical Director.


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