Using RenderWare Graphics in Prototyping and Producing Console Games

Finn Nielsen og Jacob Marner, Deadline Games

Deadline Games was founded in 1996 with the production of the multimedia game Blackout. Since then the company has produced a number of PC game titles for the Danish, Scandinavian and European markets, in that order. Titles include The Poison, The Angel, Suspect, Globetrotter 1 and 2 and Mike & Molly 1 and 2. In February 2003 Deadline signed with publisher Take2 to produce its first PlayStation2 title, developed and marketed worldwide on a AAA-type budget. The company is thus expanding to at least two production lines for console games.

RenderWare Graphics is a high-level cross platform rendering API, available for Xbox, PC (DirectX and OpenGL), PlayStation 2, and GameCube. This set of platforms is very disparate, making it an inherently difficult challenge to design such that it becomes both flexible yet efficient. The API is scene graph based, meaning that the intention is for the developer use the scene graph of RenderWare instead of making their own. This brings the rendering encapsulation at an abstraction higher level, allowing the system to improve performance in platform specific ways, but with the disadvantage of tying the engine closer to the RenderWare Platform. In our opinion the cross platform capabilities of RenderWare Graphics are also its main disadvantage. It is cross platform, but at the expense of on providing, more or less, the lowest common denominator among the platforms, making it hard to utilize the power of each platform to its full extent. At Deadline Games our primary motivation for choosing RenderWare Graphics was that it provided us with a significant head start in porting our game engine to the PlayStation 2. With the help of RenderWare we created a technical demo of our game on PlayStation 2 within 3 months of receiving our Development Kit.