New 64-bit Cross Platform 3D Engine Announced by Newly Formed Oxide Games


Comprised of industry veterans from Firaxis and Microsoft, new studio Oxide reveals next-generation 3D engine for console and PC gaming

Top industry engineering talent spanning decades of experience with companies such as Firaxis and Microsoft have formed a new independent company, Oxide Games. In addition to making cutting-edge games, Oxide is dedicated to making the definitive 3D engine for next-generation strategy games for console and PC. The engine, Nitrous, is a native 64-bit multicore game engine designed specifically for the hardware now common in PCs as well as the Sony PlayStation® 4™ and Microsoft’s Xbox® One™.

What makes Nitrous unique is its support for Simultaneous Work and Rendering Model (SWARM). Specifically, the engine renders calls automatically from whatever CPU core is most available.  This allows for a vastly larger number of high-fidelity 3D objects to be rendered to the screen at the same time.

Tim Kipp, co-founder of Oxide Games said, “In most modern games, players may see a handful of unique, high-fidelity 3D models on the screen at the same time. That’s because current 3D engines are 32-bit and rely on a ‘main thread’ to talk to the GPU. Nitrous, by contrast, was designed from scratch to be a 64-bit, multicore engine. Nitrous will render epic numbers of units and light sources on a screen at any given time.”

The founders, which include Dan Baker, Tim Kipp, Marc Meyer, Brian Wade, and Brad Wardell, have decades of industry experience between them have worked closely with AMD, Intel and Nvidia for the past several months to ensure Nitrous is able to take full advantage of the latest hardware.

“As the sole industry provider of technologies powering both PCs and major next-generation consoles, AMD is a natural fit for Oxide’s Nitrous engine, an evolutionary leap in PC and console gaming development,” said Ritche Corpus, director of ISV gaming and alliances, AMD. “Oxide’s Nitrous engine supports thousands of high-detail animated models on screen simultaneously. Nitrous makes tomorrow’s designs come to life on today’s top hardware like AMD’s new AMD Radeon™ R9 Series GPUs, unrivaled APUs and powerful CPUs.”

In addition, with its unprecedented utilization of multiple cores, Nitrous is able to realize the potential of new architectures such as Intel’s Haswell CPU.

“The Nitrous engine has made great progress on the fundamental substrate for parallel compute in PC games. Their tasking system shows near-linear scaling across Intel’s high-end desktop PCs, which translates into players being able to control an unprecedented 10,000 interactive units in their engine,” said Mike Burrows, principal engineer and technical director for visual computing engineering at Intel® Corporation.

By natively supporting 64-bit computing, Nitrous is able to support very high resolution texture models while its multicore capability enable vast numbers of light sources on screen simultaneously.

“Our existing and upcoming GPU architectures, such as Maxwell, fully leverage the memory capabilities of today’s PCs,” said Ashutosh Rege, vice president, game content & technology at Nvidia. “Nitrous, having been designed with 64-bit gaming in mind from the start, should be able to deliver games with an amazing level of detail across entire scenes of incredible scale.”

A number of developers have already committed to using Nitrous for upcoming titles.  Developer and publisher Stardock Entertainment, known for PC games such as Sins of a Solar Empire, Galactic Civilizations and Fallen Enchantress, provided the seed capital for Oxide Games as part of the Stardock Strategic Investment Fund.

“We see an enormous opportunity for developers with a 64-bit multicore engine. The challenge in developing next-generation strategy games is that players expect the world to have visuals comparable to high-end first person shooters while still expecting hundreds or thousands of units, buildings, and other elements on screen at the same time,” said Derek Paxton, vice president of Stardock Entertainment. “With Nitrous, we’ll be able to have visuals and performance with a fidelity never seen before in a strategy game.”

Oxide Games is based in Timonium, Maryland.

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Dan Baker, Partner. Dan started at Microsoft where he helped design the DirectX 9 standard while working as a key member of the High Level Shading Language Team. He led the technical development of HLSL for DirectX10. While at Firaxis, Dan developed the first multithreaded DirectX 11 3D engine for Civilization V.

Tim Kipp, Partner. Tim has been a technology lead in the game industry for over a decade and has shipped over 15 titles. His experience in architecting multi-core processing was critical in designing and implementing the Nitrous SWARM technology.

Marc Meyer, Partner. Marc is a veteran of the game industry whose expertise in UI design ensures that Nitrous provides a robust user interface feature set for developers.  Building on his experience of having built the Civilization V user-interface system from the ground up, Marc is developing tools and systems to enable easy third-party modding and user interface support into Nitrous.

Brian Wade, Partner. Brian has been in the game industry for nearly three decades.  As the lead developer of Civilization V, Command and Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: Rise of the Witch-king, Brian is no stranger to the challenges of bringing diverse technologies together.

Brad Wardell, Partner.  Brad has two decades of experience in the game industry and is also the CEO of Stardock Corp. Brad programmed the first commercial multithreaded 32-bit PC games in the 1990s. At Oxide, he provides business and management logistics for the company.

Nathan Heazlett, Art Director. Nathan has more than 15 years of software and game development experience as a lead and technical artist for a variety of AAA titles. Nathan’s experience in developing shaders and tools is critical in ensuring that Nitrous provides intuitive support for art asset integration.