GDC 2008: Sony Unveils PhyreEngine
Sony isn't making too many waves at GDC this year, but they lifted the curtain on something awfully interesting today: PhyreEngine, a brand new - and FREE - graphics engine from Sony Computer Entertainment, designed to give developers an easier time of creating games for the PlayStation 3.
This package includes full documentation, 70+ samples and "full source code and artwork" of sample game templates. It'll work on both OpenGL and Direct3D, and utilizes PC environments that most developers will be more familiar with; a "simple recompile" is all they need to make the game run on the PS3. Sony is attempting to make the process as simple as possible, and they have promised "ongoing development and support" for anybody who wants to give PhyreEngine a try. Now, here's the intriguing part- this isn't just for the PS3. Three current titles (flOw, GripShift and DiRT) have used PhyreEngine, and two of them are available on the Xbox 360. Basically, as Joystiq put it, Sony is "indirectly contributing" to the development of games on other platforms.
This may seem counterproductive on the surface, but it's actually a great move by Sony. One of the reasons we've had crappy PS3 ports is just because developers created the game on the Xbox 360, then tried to move it over to the PS3. With PhyreEngine, those same developers can opt to make games for the PS3 first, which should yield titles that have the capability of outstripping their 360 counterparts. Sony is saying to everyone: if you decide to produce your game first for the PS3, using PhyreEngine, both PS3 and 360 owners will benefit because both versions will be better. Nifty move by Sony, yes?
2/21/2008 Ben Dutka