When it comes to trends in middleware game engines, the focus for many vendors seems to have shifted from the high-end to chasing the increasingly numerous downloadable games and Serious Games customers.
Dag Frommhold, MD of German engine outfit Trinigy, has certainly experienced impressive company growth as such markets have come on stream, but remains adamant concerning Trinigy's focus when it comes to its cross-platform Vision 7 technology. The most recent release saw the addition of support for largescale, open worlds, thanks to a new stream process engine and improved terrain editing tools.
"Both from a market and technical perspective, we always try to be somewhere in the middle," he explains. "Our focus is different from competitors such as Epic and Emergent. I think we have a package that's significantly more modular than Unreal. Of course, it's not as complete but we have a pretty competitive price, and if you compare us to Gamebryo, we have a more complete featureset. We're in a relative sweetspot."
Perhaps Trinigy's only problem is its relative lack of media exposure. Located near Stuttgart, in southwest Germany, the company's core business has generally been with central European developers. The recent opening of an office in Austin, Texas, combined with client wins such as Ubisoft's internal studio Blue Byte and London developer Firefly Studios, has gone some way to change this state of affairs however.
"The US office has been very important for us in terms of business development. You have to be available to support your American customers when they have important questions that they can't wait around to have answered when Europe's asleep," Frommhold continues. "Opening that office also generated a lot of interest from the Serious Games market, but we haven't done any specific modifications in the Vision engine to support them. From that point of view, our main focus will always been the gaming industry."
To that extent, even potentially interesting new platforms such as iPhone aren't yet on the Vision 7.x To Do list either. "Actually Apple was in touch with us a couple of months ago but regardless of the technical aspects, we've not yet been asked by any customers for iPhone support so it's not a priority for us," reveals Frommhold. "We are definitely following the market though and watching the reaction to 3D iPhone games. If there is an opportunity there, we will move."