Monolith Buys Back Engine

Action title Riot is bought back from Microsoft; Monolith buys back DirectEngine as well.

Monolith Productions has purchased the rights back from Microsoft for its 3D first-person action title, Riot, as well as the rights to its DirectEngine game engine.

Microsoft and Monolith were working together on the game and the engine. Monolith decided to acquire Microsoft's stake and develop and produce the game by itself. The buyout was an amicable one.

DirectEngine, now renamed the LithTech Engine, will be used to power the company's upcoming games, Riot and Blood 2: The Chosen. Monolith intends to license the LithTech Engine to other game developers who have reportedly generated interest in the engine itself. The company plans to move the LithTech Engine to consoles as well and has announced it will develop titles for Sega's Katana and Nintendo's 64DD drive.

"We are extremely proud of Riot's cutting-edge technology and advanced gameplay and are thrilled to be able to publish Riot ourselves," said Jason Hall, CEO of Monolith Productions. "We are also working with various developers and publishers who are interested in licensing the engine for their projects. So far, everybody's excited about what they've seen, and it only gets better from here."

Riot is an anime-inspired 3D title where players control large 40-foot mechs complete with a hefty cache of weapons. Players can engage in battle either on foot, as one of the four giant mechs, or in a mech that has transformed into a vehicle. In single-player mode, players take on soldiers, mechs, and others enemies. Multiplayer capabilities support up to 32 players with seamless drop-in networking.

The LithTech Engine was designed to make game world development easier for 3D game makers. Features for the engine itself include level of detail for complex 3D models, hierarchical key-framed animation, colored dynamic lighting, light mapping, surface effects, DirectMusic, and mesh deformation.

One third-party developer, Phantom Reality, has already announced plans to provide a Visual Basic front-end development platform for the engine for a 1998 release.

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