Speaking Code: Euphoria

What is a game engine?

The most important aspect of most commercial video games in existence today is the game engine. You can think of the game engine like a car engine: the engine is what makes the car move, the different engines tell you how reliable the car will be, how fast it can accelerate, and its top speed. You could put a Volkswagon engine inside of a Ferrari and it would look good but run terrible. In essence, the visual appeal of the game is partially unrelated to the engine that makes it move.

Euphoria is one of those game engines… actually, it’s not really a game engine in the natural sense. Euphoria’s engine is made for dynamic character motion. In other words, the characters act and think like real people when it comes to being aware of things around it. In a classic game without Euphoria, a character would stand in front of a speeding car and not be aware of the consequences that standing in front of the car might entail. Even when the car hits the character, the character may just fall down limp and plop all over the place. When Euphoria is applied to that character it will know that the consequences of being hit by this really large object could be death; it will then try to get out of the way. If the character happens to actually get hit by that car, the character will do whatever he can to lessen the impact, like jumping to hit the top of the car first, or trying to grab on to some part of the car to keep it from running the character over.

What this means for Games

The same notion applied to game genres like shooters and sports results in much more realistic reactions than we’ve encountered in the past. A bullet hitting a character in the shoulder would traditionally require a separate animation that needs to be loaded to show the reaction to the bullet hitting the shoulder. With Euphoria, the bullet would hit the shoulder and, as a reaction to the bullet hit, the character will retract that shoulder and move his other hand up to the wound area. None of this requires separate animations that plague other shooter games like Modern Warfare 2 (where you may have noticed disappearing characters when they get killed – a result of the loading time for the new animations/models).

Games that use Euphoria

Game Developer Publisher
The Force Unleashed Krome Studios LucasArts
Grand Theft Auto 4 Rockstar North Rockstar Games
Red Dead Redemption Rockstar San Diego Rockstar Games
Backbreaker Natural Motion 505 Games

As time goes by there will undoubtedly be new games added to this list. As of E3 there have already been a handful of games announced that use Euphoria. So if there is a game that you know of that is not on this list, then just let us know in the comments.