Demonstrating the increasing convergence between the concepts and technology of game development and the commercial demands of training, simulation and serious gaming markets comes Worldweaverâ??s DX Studio.

TOOL FOCUS: DX Studio v3.0

Price: Pro Edition £375
Company: Worldweaver
Contact: +44 1753 656884

A Windows-based IDE, it’s designed for producing either standalone experiences, interactive content that can be embedded into Microsoft Office or Visual Studio-based applications or online via the DX Studio Player.

“DX Studio was developed to provide a single IDE for rapid 3D application development,” says Worldweaver’s Bob Sterling. “Most other tools are limited in terms of providing specific styles of game or simulation rather than providing a general purpose toolkit, and so their results are often disappointing. We wanted to make a professional grade 3D tool at a price point similar to that of Flash and other similar 2D tools.”

The package is available in various different forms. The Freeware edition is obviously the most limited, lacking features such as networking, the ability to export models, pixel and vertex shader effects, plus restrictions on the number of physics objects and meshes. The Standard Edition (£175) offers everything apart from networking, the integrated database client and the ability to re-brand the player, while the DX Studio Pro Edition at £375 offers a full commercial license, including re-publishing without further royalties. Site-based licensing is also available, with DX Studio being used in over 20 game education courses worldwide and even by one team from the 2008 Dare to be Digital competition.

The current version is 2.3, but major update version 3.0 is in beta and being prepared for imminent release. It includes new features such as live 3D and 2D editors, including real-time materials and lighting, a terrain editor, which includes procedural options, a Firefox plug-in and a 3D gizmo for manipulating content.

“We feel we offer the right balance in terms of high level and low level code,” Sterling explains.

DX Studio also supports the PhysX and Bullet physics libraries, along with the Thedora OGG video codec, and full SOAP and OLEDB clients. There’s an SDK too, but game logic can be written using JavaScript.

“This mean an amateur can get hands on quickly, while an advanced user can really fly. The modular design makes large projects easier to handle,” he continues.

“Applications made in DX Studio are also backwards and forwards compatible, so you continually benefit from upgrades. Not only that, but nothing is ever locked in, so all resources can be streamed in on the fly from disc or URL without interrupting playback.”

Of course, version 3.0 won’t be the end of the DX Studio story either. Future features on the to-do list include Mac and Linux players and live video and audio compression, which will be transmissible via the existing networking options. “We’re also looking to support some of the more exciting physical devices, such as amBX, multi-point touchscreens and dome projectors,” Sterling says. Not bad for under £400.

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