BioWare gets MMOG middleware

Developer's new Austin studio signs on as first licensee for Simutronics' HeroEngine for use in its debut title.

Middleware is a growing field in gaming. Whether it's a program designed to handle one aspect of a game really well (the foliage-generating SpeedTree or the Havok physics engine) or a more broadly applicable tool (Epic Games' Unreal engine), there's a growing market for applications that relieve developers of certain game-development burdens.

In the latest big-name middleware deal, Simutronics today announced that it has licensed its HeroEngine massively multiplayer online role-playing game tool to BioWare. The program, which can be used by developers for everything from game design to billing players, is at the heart of Simutronics' own Hero's Journey MMO game, set for release in 2007.

The Edmonton, Alberta-based BioWare licensed the HeroEngine for use in the first title from its new satellite studio, BioWare Austin. Simutronics claims that the HeroEngine can cut two years of technology development time off of licensee schedules, allowing them to get games onto shelves in half the time.

Typically BioWare develops its own engines for its games in-house, although this is not the first time it has taken the middleware route. The company has licensed Unreal Engine 3 for use in its upcoming Xbox 360 sci-fi action role-playing game, Mass Effect.

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Discussion

48 comments
AgentPix
AgentPix

God i want that engine..

Antinate
Antinate

KOTOR is more of an RPG than Oblivion. Oblivion is an action game with RPG elements. Realism has nothing to do with anything. Bioware themselves said that they are making an MMORPG. Check their website if you deny this statement in any way, shape, or form.

wallydog63
wallydog63

First off, just because they're using a graphics engine that is use for a morph doesn't mean they're making one. It could be use for any number of games, non mmorphing games. Secondly, Yuck-Foo you're just plane mentel not to think kotor is a real rpg. Lets get real shall we. To clue you in it uses the same system as Balders Gate. It use the AD&D rules and advancement system. The game is almost Balders Gate only with a different view and set in the star wars realm. The game kicked major ass. As for Hot Potato, you are sadly mistaken if you think kotor is more of a rpg then Oblivion. They both are very much alike. Major difference is appearance. In both games stats increase. In both games skills increase. Difference there is in kotor you get to choose what you want to advance. In Oblivion, how much you use that skill determines if it advances. Oblivions is more realistic. In real life, you don't get to choose which skill you want to advance. In real life you get better at the things you do more of. The more practice the better you get. So take another look at them and tell me that kotor is more of an rpg then Oblivion. Not that it matters cause there both great. Lastly, I really hope it's not a mmo there making. God I hate MMO's. I'll never ever buy one.

elfman27
elfman27

Finally i cant wait they have good computer games.

Ghost777
Ghost777

kambion313 and Ch3rub you proved my point. I am not that intelligent but still managed to score a 148 average across several IQ tests. Because a nimrod like me scored that well really goes to show just how imbecilic the average really is. Najikill there is a sorta spiritual MMORPG NWN. It's called DDO. While not as closed ended as NWN ( and what mmorpg would have a closed ending ) it very well implements the feel of PnP DnD as well as can be expected in todays market. As for a mmorpg from Bioware I hope it does well for them. They need a cashcow to be able to continue bringing out fantastic rpg's.

Hot_Potato
Hot_Potato

Yuck_Foo "KotOR was excellent...but I'd not call it a true RPG...at least not compared to the Baluders Gate and Elder Scrolls type games." Are you joking? KotOR was more RPG than Oblivion. Oblivion is a great game, but only RPG in the sense that you can level up and use magic. Other than that it's a fantasy action game. Oblivion is not a true RPG game. It should have been "Oblivion was excellent...but I'd not call it a true RPG... at least not compared to KotOR."

Najikill
Najikill

I would like to see an MMO RPG alla Neverwinter Nights.. That would be lovely.. I'm so sure this will hold water..

Yuck_Too
Yuck_Too

KotOR was excellent...but I'd not call it a true RPG...at least not compared to the Baluders Gate and Elder Scrolls type games. However Diablo was called an RPG as well...in any case I look forward to good things from this.

ch3rub
ch3rub

I do agree with you freeid, but after releasing Oblivion Bethseda is for me at the same level as BioWare is - it is a bit different type of a game but still Oblivion is absolutely great piece of RPG! Im playing it all the time and it really does give you a fell of freedom which RPG is all about for me.

freeid
freeid

Ill buy this just because it has the Bioware logo, and they have never let me down when it comes to RPG's. Since we lost Black Isle, Bioware is the best rpg maker still around, and I include SE and Bethseda in that statment.

GFofgaming
GFofgaming

Bioware is the only successful western RPG developer. I admire thier work, if only make games for ps3 also.

panquecas
panquecas

The-AirHendrix- Bioware's really gotta stay off the RPGs. Kotor was really bad. you are a noob, kotor is the best rpg of last generation

kittencrusher
kittencrusher

Bioware is over-rated. I already have other MMO's I'm going to be getting so I really don't care. lol

soulknight63133
soulknight63133

Bioware has done a great job thus far, I see no reason why their next project after Mass Effect shouldn't be a huge success also. I really enjoyed KOTOR. How come no one has done an RPG with voice command for spells yet? It seems to work pretty good for tactical squad base games.

The-AirHendrix-
The-AirHendrix-

Bioware's really gotta stay off the RPGs. Kotor was really bad.

ch3rub
ch3rub

Yeah Ghost777 - we can see how very intelligent u are ;/ btw. This is a great news IMO - now Bioware can focus on the plot / game mechanics and save a lot of time on the engine/graphics itself. BioWare games are one of the best games I ever played (BG 1&2, NWN, KOTOR, Jade Empire) - hope to see more such titles. Can not wait for Mass Effect - the characters (and everything else ;)) look just unbelievable !

Ghost777
Ghost777

sSubZerOo you need to get off your high horse or at least read before posting. gonzalezj1 was quoting TRJC. TRJC was the one that said Bioware does Rail games. gonzalezj1 was defending Bioware. (edit) Now that I am no longer inebriated I realized that last part did nothing to promote the OP story.

K1LLSWITCH
K1LLSWITCH

What else does this engine do besides cut development time in half?

VegetaMaelstrom
VegetaMaelstrom

chikahiro94, I read your suggestion about a Babylon 5 MMO and that idea kicks some serious tail! I've been wanting a good Babyon 5 game but Sierra let me down a few years ago by cancelling theirs.

spydrman5472
spydrman5472

While a KOTOR MMO would be pretty sweet I think, as someone stated, the rights don't belong to Bioware anymore, unfortunately. Plus, one would have to wonder how eager LucasArts would be to jump back into the MMO genre when Star Wars Galaxies was so poorly accepted. Even with a company like Bioware at the helm they may be hesitant. We as a community can only dream I guess.

sSubZerOo
sSubZerOo

Yeah Gonzal you have no clue what your talking about.... Linear rail games>? Funny that the entire Baldur's Gate series DISPROVES this.. NWN's? NWN's has added numerous tools to create entire worlds... KOTOR is pretty linear but you have way more choice then any game such as FF series... I find your statement utterly hilarious when a great deal of their games are highly rated some being put in the GOTY in both mags and websites.. While games such as Baldur's Gate 2 have gotten such praise it has been inducted into the Hall of fame on alot of websites.. lmao you must of thought Planescape Torment was another bad rpg. Let me guess you find Oblivion non repetitve? lol

guynamedbilly
guynamedbilly

I for one didn't like KOTOR that much. I mean, sure it had a large variety of weapons choices, but melee was always better than ranged. It really only had one choice throughout the whole game. Do you want to be good in the game to see the good ending or do you want to be evil in the game to see the bad ending? There were 0 plot twists along the way depending on what choices you make. Basically, there is no reason to play it more than 3 times to see the different endings. Even on the 2nd time through, it seemed extremely repetitive to me.

Chainblast
Chainblast

I always look foward to BioWare's next product. I hope it ends up being good.

Valen_Ca
Valen_Ca

Let's just hope that Biowares legenday load times don't follow them to this new venture of theirs, or for that matter any of their new games.

Blazer88
Blazer88

Bioware is probably one of the best RPG makers out there,..now if you want linear and on rails you go to Square Enix, obviously that poster below doesn't have a clue about the the actual meaning of terms he throws around.

gonzalezj1
gonzalezj1

trjc "BioWare = Rail-games /= MMO BioWare = Extraordinarily linear plots /= MMO BioWare = Bugs that never get fixed (well, that also applies to MMO) Sorry, I'm not a fan of BioWare. IMHO, they've done more to hurt RPG than help; they just happened to fill a void when no other developers were developing RPG. " What do you mean "rail-games"? And "extraordinarily linear plots"?! LMAO! Maybe compared to a pen and paper session of D&D. If you want to talk linear plots, let's take a look over at our friend Square-Enix.

OmegaDarkKnight
OmegaDarkKnight

One can only hope it is good, with so many failures.

spaceghost_me
spaceghost_me

Bioware is one of the few development houses that I would buy a product from sight (and review) unseen. I am eagerly anticipating this title (whatever it may be). I hoping for something non-traditional, like a cool sci-fi theme or something...

ExcAREentric
ExcAREentric

Bioware FTW. A KOTOR MMO would be nice, too bad it isn't going to happen.

trjc
trjc

BioWare = Rail-games /= MMO BioWare = Extraordinarily linear plots /= MMO BioWare = Bugs that never get fixed (well, that also applies to MMO) Sorry, I'm not a fan of BioWare. IMHO, they've done more to hurt RPG than help; they just happened to fill a void when no other developers were developing RPG.

noxian
noxian

kotor, like all SW properties, belongs to Lucasarts. they get to decide if it gets done and by who. NWN, like all D&D based video games, belongs to Atari.

lordseer
lordseer

I would kill for Kotor MMO. Chances are it won't happen and Bioware seems to enjoy driving new IP's. I think the rights to Kotor belong to Obsidian now anyway. Maybe a Neverwinter MMO or something of the like. Either way, anything new from Bioware is good news.

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

Well, if this can bring down the development time for a MMO, that means the development costs should go down considerably, also. That's good news, since maybe we'll see lower subscription fees, or more, alternative revenue models (premium items, micropayments, ad-supported, etc), and hopefully more genres to play in. Is anyone else sick of fantasy like I am? A Star Wars: KOTOR MMO could be great fun, but I'd almost rather not see BioWare tied down to a license. Of course, I'd love to see a Babylon 5 MMO made :)

blackIceJoe
blackIceJoe

Well hopes this turns out fun. I also hope to see a change from all the other MMO games on the Market. So this will nice to see what Bioware makes. Plus able to cut off two years of development. Now thats cool. Looking through the pictures of the game they look good and this could also come on the 360 if it sells well.

Banana_Kid
Banana_Kid

Good...now, you guys are using this on a new Star Wars MMO, right? You damn well better, Bioware.

peon123
peon123

bioware is awsome so i believe this will be awsome as well

Xendercide
Xendercide

Hm,,, MMO middleware? Could this cause the number of crazy user-created MMOs to spike?

bacomonk
bacomonk

I'm not into MMO's but anything from BioWare is worth looking in to.

MB_E102
MB_E102

YAY!!! I live 15 minutes away from BioWare... I hope BioWare Austin is up for the challenge of compeating with the soon to be "much too crowded" MMO Genre & Market. I'm rootin' for ya, all the way.

Bert7
Bert7

Very interesting, well since its BioWare I have no doubt they will make a killer MMO.