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Autodesk Releases New Middleware at GDC 2011

Category: GDC
Autodesk Inc. has released three middleware products: Autodesk Beast 2012 for global illumination, Autodesk HumanIK 2012 for character animation, and Autodesk Kynapse 2012 for artificial intelligence (AI).


The new releases help facilitate integration with popular game engines, support new game platforms, and offer enhanced performance. Autodesk middleware has been integrated on numerous game productions, including Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Dragon Age: Origins, and EVE Online.

“The new Autodesk 2012 releases are significant enhancements to our existing middleware technology which has been production-proven by many of the top developers in the industry today,” says Marc Stevens, Autodesk vice president, Games. “Our middleware solutions provide intuitive solutions to common runtime challenges and reduce the need for redundant development efforts to help developers face increased competition, rising development costs and greater time pressures.”

Autodesk Beast is a software development library for creating realistic lighting in games. With Beast, developers can simulate natural lighting effects, such as color bounce, soft shadows, high dynamic range lighting, and lighting of moving objects in real-time game environments.

The enhanced API (application programming interface) in Autodesk Beast 2012 enables developers to integrate the eRnsT interactive lighting preview tool into custom game level editors. Beast also now comes with an integration for Unreal Engine 3, making it easier for game teams using Unreal Engine to get up-and-running with the middleware.

Autodesk HumanIK animation middleware is a software development library for creating more believable, interactive character animation in games. HumanIK features full-body inverse kinematics (IK) and real-time retargeting technology, enabling characters to interact with, and procedurally adapt to, game environments at runtime. Autodesk HumanIK 2012 middleware enables more realistic character animation on the latest mobile gaming devices. The middleware now supports the next generation portable entertainment system (codename: NGP) from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., as well as the Apple iOS mobile platform.

Autodesk Kynapse provides game developers with an extensive set of software libraries and development tools for real-time 3D path-finding, spatial awareness and team coordination. The middleware helps game developers save time and achieve greater game realism through ready-to-use tools for achieving complex behaviors.

Kynapse 2012 uses significantly less memory and provides better performance than previous versions. Developers will now enjoy greater control over the trade-off between CPU and memory consumption versus the precision of the AI solution. On the PlayStation®3 system, navigation mesh algorithms can now execute on a synergistic processing unit (SPU). Further pathfinding optimizations make it easier to more quickly determine the existence of a path between two points. Such performance enhancements and the lower memory footprint mean game developers can build even more ambitious real-time character behaviors.

Developers can also better integrate Kynapse and use advanced features. "Path objects" — items in a game level, such as doors, elevators and ladders, that a nonplayer character might interact with — are now easier to use.

The 2012 versions of Autodesk Beast, Autodesk HumanIK, and Autodesk Kynapse middleware are expected to be available in spring 2011.


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