Editor's note: Please see Part One and Part Two of our interview with Emergent Technologies as well.


One of the things Emergent has been focusing on most with Gamebryo is flexibility. When you get a license, you are provided with example techniques and shaders to toy with, but everything has been engineered with the goal of being able to changes things as much as possible and as easily as possible for both artists and programmers.

While, on the surface, this might seem true of most engines out there, it really isn’t – and that’s very much a design and business decision. If you are id Software or Valve for example, you’ll make most of your revenue out of the single game you make your engine for, such as Doom 3 or Half-Life 2. So it makes sense to tailor it as much as possible around your specific game’s needs, and focus on a few things you want to showcase (think stencil shadows for Doom 3, for example!), making that as efficient as possible.

Emergent Technologies (and to a lesser extent a company like Epic Games) are much more reliant on engine licensing revenue, however. That means it’s more sensible for them to engineer their engine with more inherent flexibility and more options, rather than focusing too much on specific features. This allows them to extend their addressable market, because pretty much every developer out there would benefit (in terms of time to market, and possibly also costs) from using such engines, compared to doing something on a small budget in-house.

At the same time, more “generic” and customizable engines allow you to be much less limited in terms of art direction. Obviously, if you wanted the same kind of art direction as Doom 3, then that might be a better and simpler choice; but for a fair bit of games out there, that’s just not the case. Gamebryo, just like Epic’s Unreal Engine, also has the advantage of supporting both PCs and every console out there – which is a nice way for a developer to maximize a game’s revenue potential, while only having to port their own code rather than that of third parties.

All of this also means there is no defining look for games based on Gamebryo; any game made with id Software’s latest engine will have hard stencil shadows and a multitude of point lights. It’s unlikely, on the other hand, that you’d be able to recognize a Gamebryo game based on any single feature – which might actually make this overview article look like an exercise in futility. Quite the contrary, however!

We’ll review the “out-of-the-box” feature-set of the engine, as well as quickly explain some of the few described extension mechanisms. Also, because one of the key advantages of such an engine is to minimize a game’s time to market, we’ll examine the toolset (which comes with the source code, interestingly) and two other related products: Metrics Elements and Metrics Automation.