The top 10 game engines as selected by Develop continues today with Viscious Engine 2. We will be revealing a new entrant to the list every day until June 26th, so keep checking back to see which other tech providers you should be looking at for your next project…
Vicious Engine 2
Developer: Vicious Cycle Software
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3 (VE2); PSP, PS2, Wii (VE)
Browser support: No
Cost: Available on request
Published titles: Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard (Vicious Cycle), Dead Head Fred (Vicious Cycle), Hilton serious game (Virtual Heroes)
Titles in development: Unannounced
Ambitious independent developer turned engine provider Vicious Cycle is more than aware that it can’t compete with Epic in the super high-end AAA stakes. The niche it’s looking to fill are the smaller developers who have to move quick in order to survive; not those that can take three years on a project.
Version one of the Vicious Engine – which is geared to lower-end platforms such as the PSP, PS2 and Wii – is still available, but what the company is really crowing about is the new version, Ve2, launched at GDC 2009. Teased for a number of years, the engine takes the Vicious Engine’s philosophy – of enabling teams to rapidly prototype and shorten the development process – and brings it kicking and screaming into the PS3 and Xbox 360 territory.
The engine provides a fully-rounded toolset, including navmesh-based pathfinding, an easy editor for creating re-usable hierarchical state machines, and contextual point-and-click scripting for those who don’t want to get their hands dirty with code.
Also, according to the developer, the engine will convert your game to PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC ‘simultaneously at the push of a button’, which is quite the claim. It’s also got an in-built asset manager with a version control system to make sure that all assets are checked out when working on them and to ensure that assets remain frozen as milestones approach.
Ve2 also features a robust physics system that includes ragdolls, inverse kinematics, surface friction, hinge constraints and object buoyancy. A new lighting system also means that placement, colour and intensity of lights can be quickly prototyped in the editor without the need to bake lightmaps, but ambient occlusion maps can still be baked to improve real-time performance.