Activeworlds to Change Rendering Engine
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Chrispeg offered information on a huge change in the development of Activeworlds, with the focus on implementing a brand new rendering engine to take over from the now defunct Renderware.

Chrispeg announced that one of the new goals for the next stage of Activeworlds development would be to replace the current version of Renderware with a more modern and powerful rendering engine and that this change would be a very large task to complete, but that no decision had yet been made on exactly which engine would be utilised.

He stressed that the rendering engine chosen would be portable and able to run on multiple systems such as Windows, MACs, Linux and possibly even handhelds and that it would be released as a "second product" from Activeworlds, Inc alongside the main windows based browser.

It was mentioned that when viewing demos of new engines the Activeworlds modelling staff were excited about the graphical capabilities of the new formats and features that would be available. It was mentioned that Activeworlds would attempt to ensure as much backwards compatibility as possible with the old RWX and COB formats which are used for the vast majority of existing paths.

[wcimg=Could one of these powerhouse programs be the future engine of Activeworlds?][/wcimg]
Chrispeg mentioned that because of portability constraints it would not be possible to use any Windows specific GUI features and that an initial release would likely be a form of Activeworlds Lite browser with cut down functionality in exchange for the ability to run on a more diverse group of systems.

Talisan questioned if the current worlds, object path servers etc would become obsolete at the point that a new multi platform browser was released.

Chrispeg replied that they expected to use the same version of SDK and same world servers for the new client, and that only the client side front end would be effected, however as time went on and to get the most benefit out of the new rendering engine and its capabilities there would need to be additional changes to the world servers which may create incompatibilities between Activeworlds and Activeworlds Lite - but any such event would be far down the line.

[wcimg=Support for multiple operating systems may be available within a year][/wcimg]
As the new rendering engine will be completely different from Renderware there may be several major differences in the visual style of certain elements such as the lighting but there would however be support for multiple back end technologies such as DirectX 8, 9 and 10, OpenGL and Software Rendering.

It is expected that a beta tool would be available for testing within approx half a year of starting the development.

It has not yet been decided exactly which engine will be used. However the most powerful of these, CryEngine has good ods, having already seen action in real time environments performing a function similar to Activeworlds.

More details will be released later on what sort of platforms will be able to be targeted.

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