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Lithtech
Jupiter Ex.PNG
Developer(s) Touchdown Entertainment
Stable release Jupiter Extended / 2005
Type Game engine
Website Official Lithtech Jupiter Engine website

Lithtech is a game engine which was initially developed by Monolith Productions in collaboration with Microsoft. Monolith later formed a separate company, LithTech Inc., to deal with further advancements of the engine technology and currently, after a change of its corporate identity, LithTech Inc. is known as Touchdown Entertainment. A number of different video game developers, including Monolith itself, have been using Lithtech to power their first-person shooter games, thus contributing to the success of the engine, establishing it as an alternative to other products, such as the Quake and Unreal engines. The Lithtech engine is continually being developed, and as of 2005, its latest incarnation has been codenamed Jupiter Extended or Jupiter EX for short.

As of December 2008, the Touchdown Entertainment website reverted to an 'Under Construction' state. As of October 1, 2009, the website appears to be a domain placeholder.

Contents

Development history

Originally the Lithtech engine was supposed to be called DirectEngine, as Monolith was developing it for Microsoft to be included as a 3D engine for use with Microsoft's DirectX technology, but that deal fell through. Nevertheless Monolith continued development on their own and were able to license the engine, officially renamed to Lithtech, to other companies. Later, after a corporate reorganization, the Lithtech team was split off into a separate company, LithTech Inc., which is now known as Touchdown Entertainment.

Lithtech 1.0

Lithtech 1.0 was used in the games Shogo: Mobile Armor Division and Blood II: The Chosen. It was noted for being easy for game developers to work with. The engine was considered by some reviewers to be the poor man's game engine, compared to the Unreal Engine or id Tech 2 [1][2]. However, it was considered to be easy to use because it was initially developed as part of DirectX.

Lithtech 2.0

Starting with Lithtech 2.0, Lithtech Inc. began the process of creating many different versions of the engine. Monolith released their game No One Lives Forever (NOLF) featuring this version of the engine, however it was later revised to Lithtech 2.2 whose fixes were included in the latest NOLF patch. The networking code in 2.0 was commonly considered to be buggy. The LithTech team then continued to improve version 2.2 for its licensees, creating first Lithtech 2.3 and eventually Lithtech 2.4.

Lithtech had a brief stint with Real Networks, developing a custom version of Lithtech which was partially based on Lithtech 2.2. The new engine was called RealArcade Lithtech (aka Lithtech ESD) and, among its features, it supported streaming media for in-game billboards/ads, and could be used with RealNetworks' gaming site. At one time, RealArcade Lithtech could be licensed by developers if they signed an agreement with Real Networks. This engine was used on an internally-developed title, Tex Atomic's Big Bot Battles.

Lithtech Talon

However, for use of Monolith, LithTech Inc. developed a different engine to be used specifically for the company's newest title, Aliens versus Predator 2. This release was called Lithtech Talon and was based on Lithtech 2.2, rather than Lithtech 2.4. Because of this choice, Lithtech 2.4, RealArcade Lithtech, and Lithtech Talon became largely incompatible with each other. However, reviewers still thought of it as inferior to Unreal or Id Tech[3][4][5].

Lithtech Talon's biggest selling point lay in its reasonably good multiplayer support, more efficient when compared to prior versions of Lithtech multiplayer that featured poor networking code. However, Talon was intended as only a partial step towards the true next-generation version of the Lithtech engine.

By 2003, Talon had become outdated, but was still being licenced[6].

Lithtech 3.0

Lithtech 3.0 was being developed concurrently with Talon, but, along with its revisions, Lithtech 3.0 would largely be considered an internal version of the engine. While it was sent to licensees, no games were finished on it. Lithtech 3.x was merely a "stop-gap" version only used as a demonstration of the (now vaporware) Monolith game, Shogo II. The primary feature announced for Lithtech 3.x was the Distributed Object System, a new system for MMORPGs and multiplayer[7]. Unfortunately, Lithtech 3.x was also plagued by a significant number of bugs and problems and all games developed with Lithtech 3.x would eventually convert to the newer Lithtech Jupiter or to Talon.

Lithtech Discovery

With the demise of the 3.x release, Lithtech Discovery was created as the true MMORPG version of Lithtech. Discovery improved upon the working technology from Lithtech 2.2, but also included the Distributed Object System which was the centerpiece of Lithtech 3.x. The only game title to be powered by Lithtech Discovery has been The Matrix Online, but it should be noticed that this version of the engine was never licensed to any other developer besides Monolith.

Lithtech Jupiter

Lithtech Jupiter was developed as an alternative to 3.x, but was not branched off of it, the engine instead being completely overhauled with the release of Jupiter[8]. In some ways, the original version of Jupiter was even more technologically advanced than its competitors, since it supported Shader Model 1.x and included a visualization tool, whereas at the time Unreal and Quake only supported CPU-based shaders. However, without the Distributed Object System of Lithtech 3.x, Jupiter started its life with virtually unusable multiplayer support.

A custom version of Jupiter was made especially for Monolith, for use with their Tron 2.0 game; this release was codenamed Lithtech Triton. Eventually, Lithtech Triton's new features were merged back into Lithtech Jupiter for licensees.

Lithtech Jupiter EX

As of 2005 the latest iteration of the Lithtech engine is Jupiter Extended (or Jupiter EX for short), which was featured in the highly rated games F.E.A.R. and Condemned: Criminal Origins[2], both developed by Monolith. Compared to its precursor Jupiter, the Extended version is driven by an all-new DirectX 9 renderer and has seen some other major advancements, including the addition of Havok physics to simulate realistic physics. Along with Havok's character dynamics, Jupiter EX includes also the "Havok Vehicle Kit", which adds support for common vehicle behavior.

Lithtech implementations

The following is a partial list of computer games built with the Lithtech engine. If not otherwise stated the game was/is developed by Monolith Productions.

Lithtech 1.0

Lithtech 1.5

Lithtech 2.0/2.2

RealArcade Lithtech/Lithtech ESD

Lithtech 2.4

Lithtech Talon

Lithtech Jupiter

Lithtech Discovery

Jupiter Extended (EX)

Lithtech Engine with Third Law Modification

  • Elite Forces: WWII Normandy by Third Law Interactive (2001)
  • WWII: Iwo Jima by Third Law Interactive (2001)

Unknown Version

  • Vietnam: Black Ops by Fused Software (2000)
  • Vietnam 2: Special Assignment by Single Cell Software (2001)

Lithtech Engine unknown Version

  • Crisis Team: Ambulance Driver by Antidote Entertainment (2001)
  • Alcatraz: Prison Escape by Zombie (2001)
  • Elite Forces: Navy SEALs by Jarhead Games (2002)
  • Navy SEALs: Weapons of Mass Destruction by Jarhead Games (2003)
  • Arthur's Quest: Battle for the Kingdom by 3LV Games (2003)
  • Wolfteam by Softnyx (2007)

References

  1. ^ "Doom to Dunia: A Visual History of 3D Game Engines". Maximum PC. 2009-07-21. http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/3d_game_engines?page=0%2C4. Retrieved 2009-09-20. "Early on, Lithtech could best be described as the poor man's game engine. (...)With the notable exception of No One Lives Forever, Lithtech is the engine of choice for cheap, quick games. It says to the customer, 'This game wasn't worth the effort of paying for Quake or Unreal.""  
  2. ^ a b "Graphics Technologies in Games: F.E.A.R". ixbtlabs.com. 2006-10-20. http://ixbtlabs.com/articles2/video/tech_fear.html. Retrieved 2009-09-20. "When Lithtech 1.0 was released, it couldn't compare with more famous engines like Quake and Unreal. It lacked support for some modern graphics technologies, which were supported by the above-mentioned engines. In return, it was very easy to use, because it was initially developed as part of DirectX, to facilitate game development by third-party companies"  
  3. ^ "AvP2: Primal Hunt Review". planetavp.com. 2002-11-08. http://www.planetavp.com/features/articles/sub-editorial-18.shtml. Retrieved 2009-07-06. "It’s built on the same engine, LithTech’s Talon, so don’t expect much in the way of graphical upgrades. PH retains the sharp, colorful look of AvP2, with clean textures and effective lighting, but doesn’t quite hold up to some other recently released high-profile games"  
  4. ^ "Aliens vs. Predator 2". Eurogamer. 2002-01-10. http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/r_avp2. Retrieved 2009-07-06. "The same engine that powered No One Lives Forever, Lithtech 2.5, is employed to handle the activities, but it's an odd choice. It isn't as visually stimulating as Quake III Arena - a game which is already well past its second birthday(...)and combined with some less than dramatic scenery (which is par for the course on Lithtech apparently(...)"  
  5. ^ "No One Lives Forever". gaming-age.com. http://www.gaming-age.com/cgi-bin/reviews/review.pl?sys=pc&game=nolf. Retrieved 2009-07-06. "While Lithtech 2.5 isn't as graphically stunning as the Quake and Unreal engines, it still is an attractive game that runs well even on modest hardware, which, in this reviewer's opinion, is the proverbial 'bottom line' when it comes to graphics"  
  6. ^ "Purge Review". gamingexcellence.com. 2003-05-08. http://www.gamingexcellence.com/pc/games/129/review.shtml. Retrieved 2009-07-06. "As for the graphics, Purge is not in any way revolutionary. It uses the outdated Lithtech Talon engine (with slight modifications), and delivers graphics accordingly. The textures are low quality and fairly bland"  
  7. ^ "GDC 2001: Looking at LithTech 3.0". GameSpot. 2001-03-24. http://www.gamespot.com/news/2700842.html. Retrieved 2009-07-05. "The engine's multiplayer has been overhauled to add client-side prediction(...)As seen in games like Quake III, such prediction routines make network games much more playable for modem users"  
  8. ^ "LithTech Jupiter powering NOLF sequel". GameSpot. 2001-11-12. http://www.gamespot.com/news/2824026.html. Retrieved 2009-07-06.  
  9. ^ "Western Outlaw: Wanted Dead or Alive Review". GameSpot. 2003-12-22. http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/westernoutlaw/review.html. Retrieved 2009-07-06. "According to the manual, Western Outlaw's graphics engine is the Lithtech Talon system, which is the same one used in Aliens Versus Predator 2."  

External links


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Lithtech is a game engine which was initially developed by Monolith Productions in collaboration with Microsoft. Monolith later formed a separate company, LithTech Inc., to deal with further advancements of the engine technology and currently, after a change of its corporate identity, LithTech Inc. is known as Touchdown Entertainment. A number of different video game developers, including Monolith itself, have been using Lithtech to power their first-person shooter games, thus contributing to the success of the engine, establishing it as an alternative to other products, such as the Quake Engine and Unreal Engines. The Lithtech engine is continually being developed.

Subcategories

This category has only the following subcategory.

L

Pages in category "Lithtech"

The following 2 pages are in this category, out of 2 total.

B

  • Blood II: The Chosen

C








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