GDC ’09: Sony Updates PhyreEngine, Reveals New Games


At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, SCEA has announced an update to the PhyreEngine, its cross-platform graphics rendering engine.

More interesting than the engine upgrade, however, are the new games revealed within the press release. The games include Strength of the Sword, an upcoming third-person action game from Ivent Games, Mars, an action RPG from Spiders, and more.

We’ll break it down into a list of new titles.

  • Big Ant Studios – Untitled Game
  • Bootlat Games – Topatoi (PlayStation Store)
  • Ivent Games – Strength of the Sword
  • Lexis Numerique – Brooklyn Stories
  • Spiders – Mars
  • VectorCell – 7th Seal

Find the full press release below.


Game Engine provided with PLAYSTATION®3 Software Development Kit has been widely adopted by the game developer community since GDC 2008

San Francisco, March 23, 2009 – Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) announced today that PhyreEngine™ 2.40, the latest version of the popular games development framework, has been released to PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3®) game developers and publishers, capping a successful year since its initial announcement at GDC 2008.

PhyreEngine is a graphics rendering engine provided as source code and tools provided under a license that allows it to be used by any PS3 game developers and publishers as well as Tools & Middleware licensee in their products. The engine uses sophisticated parallel processing techniques that are optimized for the Synergistic Processor Unit (SPU) of the Cell Broadband Engine™ of PS3, but can be easily ported to other multi-core architectures. As a result, PhyreEngine has been newly-adopted by dozens of game studios in the last year, now appearing each month on the PlayStation®Store or on Blu-ray Discs.

Some of the more recent developers and publishers to adopt PhyreEngine include (in alphabetical order):

· The Australian developer Big Ant Studios. Ross Symons, their CEO added “PhyreEngine has cut down Big Ant’s development time significantly while allowing us to fully harness the power of the PS3. PhyreEngine has given us the opportunity to focus less on tech and more on creating good games.”

· The veteran Ukrainian studio Boolat Games who will self-publish their platform/puzzle game topatoi on PlayStation Store soon.

· The UK-based studio Doublesix Games, whose game Burn Zombie Burn will be released in Europe and North America later this month. Jonathan Hobson, Lead Programmer, commented that “PhyreEngine allowed Doublesix Games to begin development of our first game Burn Zombie Burn immediately and rapidly, without initial financial outlay or dedicated tech development time. It is a neat blend of clever, high-performance code that the SCE tech teams are famous for, with a modern, well designed, and easy to use set of interfaces and tools. In a matter of weeks we had hundreds of animated zombies running around at a fairly solid frame rate. The extensive set of sample code meant that we always had an idea of how to do things and on the rare occasions that we didn’t, the PhyreEngine support team was fantastic.”

· The Bristol, UK-based studio FluffyLogic, whose PlayStation®Network title Savage Moon was released in December 2008 in European regions and January 2009 in North America. Will Bolam, FluffyLogic’s Director of Technology noted that “PhyreEngine was a great solution for FluffyLogic during work on our first PS3 title Savage Moon – loads of useful components we could use straight away to get the game up and running, easily extensible during development of game-specific code and great support from the PhyreEngine team.”

· The Tokyo-based studio Game Republic recently released Catan using PhyreEngine in Japan.

· The famous Japanese studio IREM published PachiPara DL (DownLoad) Hyper Sea Story In Karibu in July 2008 in Japan.

· Bulgarian studio Ivent Games, who are developing the third-person action game Strength of the Sword. Georgi Rakidov, Lead Programmer, commented “I see PhyreEngine as a complete game engine suitable for all types of games. The support is just outstanding, with a nice balance between improving old features and adding new ones – most recently the terrain and the foliage utilities.”

· The new French studio Lexis Numérique whose PS3 title Brooklyn Stories (working title) is currently in development.

· The new Portuguese studio Seed Studios, whose real-time strategy game Under Siege will be released later this year. The lead designer, Bruno Ribeiro, noted “PhyreEngine enabled us to rapidly prototype our game and provided a solid and efficient foundation to explore the potential of the PS3.”

· The new Paris, France based studio Spiders working on their as-yet-unsigned RPG/Action disc-based game Mars.

· US studio thatgamecompany who released Flower in North America and Europe in February 2009. Their lead programmer, John Edwards commented, “Flower is thatgamecompany’s second game using PhyreEngine and it won’t be the last. Support is friendly and responsive and the code is mature to the point where you just download, build and go. PhyreEngine’s suit of PS3-optimized utilities lets us spend less time reinventing the wheel and more time making games.”

· VectorCell, Paul Cuisset’s new studio, whose PS3 title The 7th Seal (working title) is currently in development.

During the last year, a range of new fully functional “game templates” were released, including support for Havok Complete XS™, NVIDIA PhysX™ and Bullet for physics, making it even easier for game teams to kick-start their development process. In addition, a host of white papers have been made available describing the techniques used within PhyreEngine, helping a broader community of game developers to improve and extend the features of their proprietary game engine code.

Chris Kingsley, the CTO and co-founder of UK-based developer Rebellion noted, “Although Rebellion is famous for the strength of its in-house developed game technology, PhyreEngine makes available PS3-optimized game code that we could reference to help our own transition to PS3.”

Bryan Marshall, Codemasters’ CTO added, “The PhyreEngine team’s technology provides us with an excellent basis to build our own PS3 technology on, leveraging the most out of the machine. Their intimate knowledge of the PS3 system is a great asset and the support has been first class.”

An example of this latter work may be seen on Wednesday March 25, at GDC 09, when Matt Swoboda, senior engineer on SCEI Euro R&D’s PhyreEngine team, presents his latest research on “Deferred Lighting and Post Processing on PLAYSTATION®3” in Room #3002 at 4 p.m. PST. As well as supporting the immediate needs of the growing community of PhyreEngine users, 2.40 includes a major new “foliage rendering” system that provides tools and technology to enable ultra-realistic trees and plants procedurally on the SPUs to be easily integrated into games in addition to new lighting samples demonstrating SPU-based deferred rendering techniques.

“We’re very happy to see the popularity of PhyreEngine with the global game developer community,” said Teiji Yutaka, Senior Vice President, Software Platform, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “It has helped demonstrate our commitment to the game developer community and enabled many developers and publishers to flourish on PS3.”

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