LithTech

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LithTech
Jupiter Ex.PNG
Developer(s) Touchdown Entertainment
Stable release Jupiter Extended / 2005
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Type Game engine
License proprietary
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 used LithTech to power their first-person shooter games, establishing it as an alternative to other products, such as the Quake and Unreal engines. The LithTech engine's latest incarnation is Jupiter Extended (or Jupiter EX).

As of February 2011, the Touchdown Entertainment website reverted to an 'Under Construction' state. As of March 1, 2011, the website appears to be a domain placeholder.

Version history[edit]

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. After failing to secure the deal, Monolith continued development on their own and were able to license the engine, officially renamed to LithTech, to other companies. In the following years, the LithTech team was split off into a separate company, LithTech Inc., which is now known as Touchdown Entertainment.

LithTech 2.0[edit]

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. The game received an upgrade to LithTech 2.2 in a patch release. The LithTech team then continued to improve version 2.2 for its licensees, resulting in the 2.3 and 2.4 iterations.

LithTech cooperated with RealNetworks in developing a custom version of LithTech 2.2 called RealArcade LithTech (or LithTech ESD). 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 RealNetworks. This engine was used on an internally developed title, Tex Atomic's Big Bot Battles.

LithTech Talon[edit]

LithTech Inc. developed a different engine specifically for Monolith's title, Aliens versus Predator 2. LithTech Talon 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.[1][2][3]

LithTech Talon's biggest selling point lay in its capable multiplayer support, more efficient when compared to prior versions of LithTech multiplayer that featured poor networking code. Aliens versus Predator 2 features comprehensive multiplayer gameplay utilizing these improvements.

By 2003, Talon was still being licensed.[4]

LithTech 3.0[edit]

LithTech 3.0 was being developed concurrently with Talon, but, along with its revisions, LithTech 3.x would largely be considered an internal version of the engine. While it was sent to licensees, no games were finished on it. The primary feature announced for LithTech 3.x was the Distributed Object System, a new system for MMORPGs and multiplayer.[5] 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.

The unreleased Monolith game Shogo II was being developed with this iteration of the LithTech engine.[6]

LithTech Discovery[edit]

LithTech Discovery was created with the MMORPG genre and its unique requirements in mind. 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 was The Matrix Online by Monolith. The engine was never licensed to any other company.

LithTech Jupiter[edit]

LithTech Jupiter was a thorough overhaul of the LithTech technology, developed as an alternative to 3.x.[7] 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[citation needed].

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[edit]

As of 2005 the latest iteration of the LithTech engine was Jupiter Extended (or Jupiter EX), which was featured in F.E.A.R. and Condemned: Criminal Origins,[8] both developed by Monolith. Compared to its precursor Jupiter, the Extended version was driven by a new DirectX 9 renderer and other advancements, including the addition of Havok physics software for improved real-world physics simulation. Along with Havok's character dynamics, Jupiter EX also includes the "Havok Vehicle Kit", which adds support for common vehicle behavior.

Games using LithTech[edit]

The following is a partial list of video games built with the LithTech engine, arranged by the version of LithTech used. If not otherwise stated the game is developed by Monolith Productions.

1.0[edit]

1.5[edit]

2.0 and 2.2[edit]

RealArcade LithTech / LithTech ESD[edit]

2.4[edit]

Talon[edit]

Jupiter[edit]

Discovery[edit]

Jupiter Extended (EX)[edit]

Modified LithTech engine[edit]

Unknown version[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "AvP2: Primal Hunt Review". planetavp.com. 2002-11-08. 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 
  2. ^ "Aliens vs. Predator 2". Eurogamer. 2002-01-10. 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(...) 
  3. ^ "No One Lives Forever". gaming-age.com. 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 
  4. ^ "Purge Review". gamingexcellence.com. 2003-05-08. 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 
  5. ^ "GDC 2001: Looking at LithTech 3.0". GameSpot. 2001-03-24. 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 
  6. ^ "GDC 2001: Shogo 2 revealed?". GameSpot. 2001-03-22. Retrieved 2012-09-05. ...featured a giant anime-style robot presumed to be from a sequel to Shogo: Mobile Armor Division...Monolith's CEO Jason Hall stated plainly that the demo was designed to showcase the latest version of the LithTech engine [2001's LithTech 3.0]... 
  7. ^ "LithTech Jupiter powering NOLF sequel". GameSpot. 2001-11-12. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  8. ^ "Graphics Technologies in Games: F.E.A.R". ixbtlabs.com. 2006-10-20. 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 
  9. ^ "Western Outlaw: Wanted Dead or Alive Review". GameSpot. 2003-12-22. 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.