Microsoft and Game Engines *branch*

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by fehu, Jan 29, 2021.

  1. fehu

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    What is the potential purchase with a scalable engine that can be shared between other Xbox studios?
     
  2. liams

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    the closest thing to a multipurpose engine that microsoft could realistically purchase is crytek with cryengine. Crytek would IMO be a good purchase, even if they arent what they once were. Cryengine would need some work to get it up to snuff but they could do it. The con to this is that Amazon has a licensed version of Cryengine in Amazon Lumberyard, so if Amazon and Microsoft got into a game engine fight there wouldnt be much differentiation between them (tbf, thats probably not a concern right now)



    But the good news is they have already purchased a scalable multipurpose engine! with the zenimax purchase they got id who make/use idtech, in the 2000s they were building idtech to become what unreal engine is now, the only reason (according to some interviews I have seen) that unreal beat idtech is that the id team took too long getting the engine 'perfect' and coincided engine updates to games that id were releasing, by the time that they released a new version it was 1-2 years old (because they updated the engine, then used it to build the games they were shipping, to ensure that it was up to snuff, and then coincided the release of the engine with the game release).

    Idtech is a multipurpose engine at heart (or atleast it was when zenimax acquired id), so with some investment it would likely be a very capable multipurpose engine. I half think zenimax was working this way on its own, intending to release a commercial engine offering eventually. I mainly think this because they opened a dedicated engine team for id in frankfurt, and it seems like a lot of investment to have a dedicated engine team for idtech, that serves a handful of internal clients. id has also made a lot of investment into tooling for the idtech engine too, with a bunch of usability improvements (there was a game industry panel thing were they talked about this)
     
  3. eastmen

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    They have ID why would they need another engine company ?
     
  4. liams

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    They wouldn't, I was answering Fehu's question about what companies they could buy to get a multipurpose engine



    Some very interesting comments from an interview that windows central did an interview with James Gwertzman who is the Microsofts gaming cloud general manager.

    The interviewer asked about the possibility of integrating the technologies that come with zenimax acquisition, such as the id tech engine, and James replied that although he couldn't comment because the acquisition was ongoing,

    "he did note that PlayFab's Chief Technology Officer Travis Bradshaw was formerly Lead Programmer at id Software, working on the id Tech engine. Also, it's worth noting that DOOM Eternal uses PlayFab for its online systems."

    Travis Bradshaw joined playfab directly from id software in december.

    Reading between the lines id Tech is going to be microsofts answer to Amazons lumberyard, I would imagine it would be a much easier sell to get a 3rd party to use id tech than lumberyard

    link to article below
    How Microsoft's Azure PlayFab empowers game developers, with James Gwertzman | Windows Central
     
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  5. BRiT

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    Didn't they pick up like 4 to 5 engines from all the studios under Zenimax, not just idTech?
     
  6. liams

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    Yeah they did get a couple, just from memory

    1.id tech
    2.creation engine
    3 arkane's engine
    4 . the engine tango used for Evil within (I think this was a seperate thing)



    As far as I know aside from the creation engine used by bethesda all the other engines are deriviates/forks of idtech. I know for certain this is the case for the game engine arkane uses, its a fork of either id tech 5 or 6 irrc.


    I wonder if they will make an overarching RPG engine? that would be used for most first party RPGs, would be helpful, you could share assets and game code between projects, and be able to easily have the studios work together if needed.

    I would imagine that it would just be creation engine, but I am very curious about the engine fable is using, which is rumoured to be a version to forza tech, maybe that will see wider use
     
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  7. ChuckeRearmed

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    I wonder if any engine could be as good as Creation. Despite all its shortcomings it has undeniable charm and functionally.
     
  8. Tkumpathenurpahl

    Tkumpathenurpahl Oil Monsieur Geezer
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    As great as that might sound in theory, EA's misadventures with Frostbite are a strong indication that it's not a good move.

    It's good enough really that MS's studios have relatively easy access to a bunch of engines. I've loved the look and feel of the Doom games and the Wolfenstein games, so I'd love to see idTech get used more widely, but presumably even that engine has certain limitations that wouldn't suit certain developers.
     
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  9. liams

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    I agree they shouldn't go the EA/frostbite route, and didn't mean that they should make Creation Engine PRO or whatever it would be called and force all the first party RPGs to use it, I just meant that having an overarching RPG engine could be a good idea.

    Someone from obsidian, pre acquisition, talked about using the creation engine for fallout new vegas, he said that it was incredibly for iterating quickly on ideas but was a bit too tailored for *a single game*, and that some features could only be implemented by changing the engine. With a bit of investment into making it a somewhat more general RPG engine it could be awesome for larger open world type games too, even if not strictly RPGS

    One thing to keep in mind with having a 'first party' engine is that it would offer something that can be improved/augmented/researched by the larger microsoft research division, they have already dabbled in doing novel things with audio technology in games for the hololens/VR and have implemented it in unreal engine. There was also that machine learning texture generation thing that is used instead of compression that someone at xbox talked about. Im sure its a much easier sell to the higher ups at the research organisation at microsoft to research things for a first party id tech engine that can presumably be purchased by third parties than it is to further improve unreal engine.

    A big focus of research at microsoft is machine learning and AI, which could potentially be used for asset generation, or style transfer of game objects

    World/Asset generation that can be used as a starting point for a game designer would really be a cornucopia, if you can get 75% of the work done with 10-20 people instead of 200 it really speeds things up, and if its baked into id tech they would have no shortage of interested 3rd parties lining up to license the engine.
     
  10. eastmen

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    Lumberyard is a mess , its a fork of an old version of crytek and even Chris roberts has forked that for star citizen

    I think MS would have a really easy time at pushing ID tech.

    I'd image that MS would be pushing id tech for most games and gamebryo for their rpgs while also keeping some franchises on unreal ?
     
  11. liams

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    Could make sense to divide it by game type rather than strictly genre, maybe creation engine/gamebyro for open world type games, and id tech less open ones. maybe not though

    But yeah I don't imagine them dictating which engine to use per se, but I could certainly see them encouraging it going forward, I suppose it depends in part on if they have some sort of bulk license from epic for unreal engine, if there is no incremental cost for first party to make games using unreal the encouragement might not be that persistent.

    Apparently bethesda's engine overhaul this time round is their biggest engine upgrade since morrowind, so for all we know the creation engine could already be pseudo decoupled from an individual title, bethesda has been bulking up the headcount dramatically in recent years (adding multiple satellite studios) and I can only imagine that the growth is not just for assisting the main studio, but to allow multiple projects to be worked on concurrently, which would require the engine to be somewhat more general than it would have to be if it was tailored for each individual game in turn.

    Could be it just needs a modest investment push to make it more general (and if its just first party theres no reason you couldn't have the creation engine team have 'daughter' teams that assist each first party studio with their implementation/usage of the creation engine, so for instance there would be a small obsidian team at bethesda HQ working on the creation engine, implementing whatever changes obsidian need for their specific title)
     
  12. liams

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    Its off topic so I didn't include it in my other reply but I am honestly surprised at how much Amazon has failed at the game market so far, with so many just dumb decisions, why on earth did they start with so many massive projects at once, shoveling $500 million per year into the furnace only to cancel basically everything when it was almost done, and for the stuff that has been released its all been poorly received. Bezo's for some stupid reason requires that all the games they are working on have to be big 'billion dollar franchises like COD', like what the hell? And the guy running amazon games has been running it since 2012 with nothing but disappointment to show for it. Why did anyone let the dumbass running the show over there to require all the internal projects to use lumberyard even when it hadn't even finished being rewritten yet.

    According to a dev on Resetera, so heresay and all that, amazon game studios is known in the industry for being the place to go if you dont care about making games anymore and just want a (admittedly very good) paycheck



    Just in case you missed it Jason Schreier did an article that released today

    Amazon Game Studios Struggles to Find a Hit - Bloomberg
     
  13. eastmen

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    I'm not a engine designer or game designer but I would have thought it be easier for A company to move to just one engine , wouldn't they be able to reuse model and assets that way?

    I mean think about it , lets say they use the newest ID tech and all Microsoft developers switch over to it and all content is designed on that , all models are made for it wouldn't say Fable 4 be able to use all the work done for say star field , avowed , elder scrolls , fallout and outerworlds 2 ( in this universe lets say they were all on id tech) vs one game using unreal , one game on gamebryo , one game on id tech and so on ?


    Oh i worked at amazon I know how shit they can be. They have the every day is day one mantra and they are bringing in so much money and eyes through their core product that they think anything they do will be a success. So you get a whole bunch of higher ups doing whatever they want because they think it will succeed. They had one of their first employees come back and they let her launch a mall book store in like 2015... The whole thing failed because books don't sell enough at high enough costs to pay mall rent. Then they though well lets pepper in some high rated items that no one wants to buy and we will pay people to ship it , advertise it , put it out on the floor , pack it up and ship it back when it doesn't sell. Its such waste. Knew many good people who supported that project
     
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  14. liams

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    I think its one of those it makes sense on paper things, yeah there would be plenty of synergies if they all moved to one engine, but a single engine cant be the best fit for all games, you just have to look at EA and their forced use of frostbite to see how that can be an issue, sure frostbite is a great shooter engine, but its not the best for other types of games (without a lot of work on the part of the devs)

    plus there are teams that are really good at working with a particular engine, such as the coalition who use unreal engine, I'm sure they would make some amazing games if they transitioned to id tech, but I'm sure there would be some level of dissent within the studio about the forced switch. And a transition period where quality and production timelines would suffer

    Plus all their existing tooling and pipelines wouldn't necessarily work after switching engines and you can see how it may be easier said than done for some teams


    it almost seems that amazon is pretty poorly run, and thinking about it their only good ideas really are online shopping (the initial idea anyway) and more significantly, AWS. Once you have the baseline online store that they had way back when the things you have to do to expand are obvious, improve selection and shipping times while keeping prices low through whatever means you can. Everything they do is subsidized by AWS

    saying a company seems poorly run when they have a market cap of 1.6T with the original founder at the helm feels weird, they must be doing something right
     
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  15. eastmen

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    maybe but look at how many diffrent types of games are made with unreal

    as for amazon , thats what happens when you dominate an industry so well.
     
  16. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Akrane used Unreal for Dishonoured, rolled their own 'Void' engine for Dishonoured 2 then switched to CryEngine for Prey.

    Deathloop is supposedly using Void, which spells may be bad news for PC players as the the Windows port of Dishonoured 2 was a bit of a mess technically.
     
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  17. cheapchips

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    I can't think of an snappy title, but shouldn't we have a "should Microsoft studios switch to an in-house engine(s)" thread by now. It keeps cropping up as a discussion point.
     
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  18. ChuckeRearmed

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    They said the same thing when Skyrim was released no?

    It is pretty much similar to Xbox One era no?
     
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  19. liams

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    I did say apparently :runaway:
    I dont think they are equivalent, the problems with the xbox one gen first party games wise are a result of under investment during the 360 era, (and going balls deep with kinect games that no one wanted) there are so many game studios that microsoft worked closely with during the 360 era that are now world class devs under other publishers or are no longer working exclusively/mainly with xbox, theres DICE, Bioware, bizarre creations, Remedy, supergiant games got their start with xbox live arcade, but now rarely release stuff on the platform. If even half of those studios were now first party the xbox one gen would have been an entirely different story.


    Even the closure of lionhead was a result of under investment, apparently the budget to run lionhead came from the windows team because terry myerson wanted to have a game that would show all the benifits of windows live gold and UWP, when all that got brushed aside the budget got cut and the xbox org couldnt afford to run an additional team without any additional funding.

    The difference is, imo, that the leadership at xbox (after Don mattric's exit anyway) knew what needed to happen but just werent given the opportunity too, Phil has even talked about how he wanted to invest in first party when he was the head of first party during the 360 era.

    In comparison Amazon seems to be shoveling untold amounts of money into gaming and haven't had any success because of their bad leadership

    I'm not excusing any of their mistakes to be clear, I just think theres a difference between knowing what needs to be done and not having the funding, and having the funding but not knowing what needs to be done.
     
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  20. ChuckeRearmed

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    What I mean that no matter how they overhaul their engine it always shows its age. Though the ability to pick every single thing will never get old.

    I do wonder why TES is so buggy each release. It is literally the game that is designed to be finished by the community:mrgreen:
     
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