Oxide Games, new studio formed by Firaxis and Microsoft ex-employees announced the definitive 3D engine for next-generation strategy games for console and PC. The engine, Nitrous, is a native 64-bit multicore game engine designed specifically for the hardware now common in PCs as well as PS4 and Xbox One.
According to its press release, what makes Nitrous unique is its support for Simultaneous Work and Rendering Model (SWARM). Specifically, the engine renders calls automatically from whatever CPU core is most available. This allows for a vastly larger number of high-fidelity 3D objects to be rendered to the screen at the same time.
Tim Kipp, co-founder of Oxide Games said:
“In most modern games, players may see a handful of unique, high-fidelity 3D models on the screen at the same time. 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.”
The founders, which include Dan Baker, Tim Kipp, Marc Meyer, Brian Wade, and Brad Wardell, have decades of industry experience between them have worked closely with AMD, Intel and Nvidia for the past several months to ensure Nitrous is able to take full advantage of the latest hardware.
Ritche Corpus, director of ISV gaming and alliances, AMD added:
“As the sole industry provider of technologies powering both PCs and major next-generation consoles, AMD is a natural fit for Oxide’s Nitrous engine, an evolutionary leap in PC and console gaming development. Oxide’s Nitrous engine supports thousands of high-detail animated models on screen simultaneously. Nitrous makes tomorrow’s designs come to life on today’s top hardware like AMD’s new AMD Radeon™ R9 Series GPUs, unrivaled APUs and powerful CPUs.”
In addition, with its unprecedented utilization of multiple cores, Nitrous is able to realize the potential of new architectures such as Intel’s Haswell CPU.
Mike Burrows, principal engineer and technical director for visual computing engineering at Intel Corporation also added:
“The Nitrous engine has made great progress on the fundamental substrate for parallel compute in PC games. Their tasking system shows near-linear scaling across Intel’s high-end desktop PCs, which translates into players being able to control an unprecedented 10,000 interactive units in their engine.”
By natively supporting 64-bit computing, Nitrous is able to support very high resolution texture models while its multicore capability enable vast numbers of light sources on screen simultaneously.
Ashutosh Rege, vice president, game content & technology at Nvidia added:
“Our existing and upcoming GPU architectures, such as Maxwell, fully leverage the memory capabilities of today’s PCs. Nitrous, having been designed with 64-bit gaming in mind from the start, should be able to deliver games with an amazing level of detail across entire scenes of incredible scale.”
A number of developers have already committed to using Nitrous for upcoming titles. Developer and publisher Stardock Entertainment, known for PC games such as Sins of a Solar Empire, Galactic Civilizations and Fallen Enchantress, provided the seed capital for Oxide Games as part of the Stardock Strategic Investment Fund.
Derek Paxton, vice president of Stardock Entertainment concluded:
“We see an enormous opportunity for developers with a 64-bit multicore engine. 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.”
Unfortunately Oxide Games has not unveiled any screenshots from this new game engine, so there is nothing more to say or show about this new engine. Let’s just hope that the team will release some new media assets (images plus videos) in the near future, otherwise it can all be considered mere hyping and nothing more.