Essence Engine

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Essence Engine
Developer(s)Relic Entertainment
Operating systemWindows
TypeGame engine

Essence Engine is a game engine developed by Relic Entertainment for video game Company of Heroes.


The Essence Engine featured many new graphical effects at the time it was introduced, including high-dynamic-range lighting, dynamic lighting and shadows, advanced shader effects and normal mapping. The Essence Engine is also one of the first RTS engines to create detailed faces with facial animations.

In Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, the Essence Engine was further improved to include weather effects, and also added support for DirectX 10 on Windows Vista.

Dawn of War II uses an updated version of Essence Engine (Essence 2.0) which allows for more detailed models and textures; more advanced lighting and shading effects; more complex "sync-kills" than those in Dawn of War; and better support for multi-processor systems.

Company of Heroes 2 is the first game to feature the 3rd generation of the Essence Engine (Essence 3.0) which features DirectX 11 support. Improvement to the engine featured in the game include the new line-of-sight technology, TrueSight, which aims to better emulate troop visibility in real combat. In contrast to traditional unit visibility, TrueSight more accurately represents a unit's visibility range based on environmental conditions and type of unit. Essence 3.0 also incorporates a weather-simulating technology known as ColdTech which allows for realistic obstacles and destructible environments.[1]

Games using the engine[edit]

Version Title Release Date
1 Company of Heroes United States September 12, 2006
Europe September 29, 2006
Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts United States September 25, 2007
Europe September 28, 2007
Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor United States April 9, 2009
Company of Heroes Online United States September 2, 2010
2 Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II United States February 19, 2009
Europe February 20, 2009
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Chaos Rising United States March 11, 2010
Europe March 12, 2010
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Retribution United States March 1, 2011
3 Company of Heroes 2[2] United States June 25, 2013[3]
Europe June 25, 2013[3]
4 Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III April 27, 2017
5 Age of Empires IV October 28, 2021
Company of Heroes 3 February 23, 2023


  1. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (2012-07-24). "Company of Heroes 2's dynamic weather system will freeze your ass off". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2014-09-13.
  2. ^ Makuch, Eddie (2012-05-07). "Company of Heroes 2 confirmed for 'early 2013'". GameSpot. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
  3. ^ a b Robinson, Andy (2013-03-06). "Sega confirms 'later than expected' Company of Heroes 2 release date". Computer and Video Games. Retrieved 2013-03-06.