The best graphics engines for videogames (II): payment solutions

5 min reading
10 February 2016
The best graphics engines for videogames (II): payment solutions
The best graphics engines for videogames (II): payment solutions


– The best graphics engines (I): open-source solutions

The image illustrating this article is proof enough of the performance of the graphics engines that we are going to talk about below. It’s not a real image; it’s not a tough guy smoking with the dome of the United States Capitol Building in the background. It’s an image processed by a video game engine. If we had to choose a field with meteoric development, a choice would be that of video games. This is even more so in the field of payment solutions.

Many millions of euros are involved in the computer graphics entertainment market. Especially today, when the performance of graphics engines is increasing accompanied by virtual reality and augmented reality solutions that dramatically enhance the realism of the user sensations. Graphics engines that are not free like Unreal Engine, MT Framework and Panta Rhei, Samaritan, Titanium, Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE), Frostbite, Havok, Anvil Engine or 4A Engine have made it possible to leap into a new world. 

Fee-based solutions: features and benefits

Here is a list of the features and benefits of some of the best fee-based graphics engines for next-generation video games:

1. MT Framework and Pantha Rei 

MT Framework was the graphics engine of Capcom, on which it began to work in 2004. The first version was an evolution of the Onimusha 3 graphics engine. MT Framework was the seventh generation and the engine designed for the graphics of all of the Japanese company’s video games. The latest video games with this graphics engine were for Play Station 3, the Xbox 360 and the Wii consoles, but also for the PS Vita and 3DS. This was a multi-platform engine.

But the eighth generation of consoles arrived and Capcom had to change. It developed a new graphics engine called Panta Rhei, especially for the PS4. The first video game that the Japanese company developed with this engine was ‘Deep Down’. Panta Rhei is compatible with the AMD API, MANTLE, which is one of the most widely-used application development interfaces in graphic design.

MANTLE can greatly reduce the CPU’s workload, squeeze the maximum out of the system’s performance and offer much more through the GPU without collapsing it. The API prevents bottlenecks on the side of the CPU. In the end, developers can provide greater performance with less.

Some of the key features of Panta Rhei:

– Full image HD 1080p.

– Fluid simulation: This is one of the reasons why Capcom changed the development environment. The importance of fluid movement in the new generation is huge.

– Global illumination.

– Integrated Development Environment.

– Tessellation.

– Scripting in C#.

– Resource-based development.

– Physically Based Rendering (PBR): this is a technique whereby the entire rendering graph is based on the elements of the physical world, especially the behavior of light. This is what makes it possible to give the game realistic details in its moving images. 

2. Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE)

Rockstar Advanced Game Engine is the graphics engine developed by the RAGE Technology Group to design the video games of the company’s studio in San Diego. The main objective of the graphics engine was developing video games for Microsoft Windows, the desktop operating system, and for PS3, Wii and Xbox 360 consoles. It was an evolution of Angel, which is an engine developed for the sixth generation of consoles by Angel Studios.

The latest generation of this engine, used in games like GTA V, allows a truly amazing graphic experience. There are some comparisons on YouTube where image quality and speed and realism in movement is displayed. An example is this comparative video of GTA V and Max Payne 3.  

Before the arrival of RAGE, Rockstar used RenderWare. When Criterion, the company that developed this engine, was acquired by rival Electronic Arts, Rockstar invested in developing its own technology.

3. Frostbite

Frostbite is a set of tools for developing software centered in the field of video games, exclusively by Electronics Arts Studios. It’s a graphics engine used to design animations not only for next-generation consoles but also mobile devices. Frostbite is a multi-platform graphics engine with three components:

– FrostEd is a desktop program (development environment) that developers, designers and programmers use to design video games. FrostEd has a unified interface, which greatly speeds up the work of the various teams.

– Back-end service: this provides developers with a data collection system called Blizzard and a cache storage service called Avalanche.

– Run time: this allows a system to be fully scalable and adaptable to all platforms (PS4, Xbox 360 and mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android).

Currently Frostbite is in its third generation (Frostbite 3). The evolution of the graphics engine has improved essentials aspects: workflows, run time, support for the next generation of consoles and mobile devices, and improvement of visual aspects typical of the new generation (the use of movement and light to create opportunities for greater realism). An example of its level of realism is Battlefield 4

4. Havok

Havok is a set of technologies and tools for designing and developing video games. This is a multi-platform graphics engine, aimed at creating games for consoles such as Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Playstation 4, PS Vita, Wii U; mobile operating systems like Android, iOS and Windows Phone; and desktop operating systems including Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. This is an all-rounder.

Here are the different technologies and tools for designing video games:

– Havok Physics: this is Havok’s simulator of the physical world. It is in charge of simulating the effect of light and movement.

– Havok Destruction. This is in charge of providing developers with the necessary tools to give more realism to the destruction or deformation of physical objects, which is common in action video games.

– Havok Fx. This has a debris simulation system.

– Havok Cloth. Tool designed to enhance the realism of the characters. Provides designers with a tool for making clothes and giving them a movement that is credible. This makes it possible to accurately reproduce the natural movement of skirts, shirts, pants and coats in a person’s body. Also body parts such as hair or belly; fabrics like flags or curtains; and nature and foliage.  

– Havok AI. This contains streaming tools, transversal analysis and features aimed at improving gameplay.

– Havok Animation Studio. This has a runtime SDK for developers and an animation SDK.

– Havok Script. This is a virtual machine that is compatible with Lua for developing video games for consoles. It’s twice as fast as the standard used in a Lua virtual machine.

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