Microsoft Super Game Engine? Take it to Epic?

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Microsoft now has some of the best game engines under its control. Idtech, Forza Tech, Slipspace as well as Bethesda’s game engine it uses.

Should Microsoft put them altogether and create a super engine that would rival Unreal Engine? There is no doubt MS now has the tech and ability to do just that. Integrate it completely with Direct X 12 Ultimate making it as easy as possible to utilise the new extensions such as Mesh Shaders, VRS, SFS, RT and ML. Then MS should licence out that engine to third parties to take on Epic.

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It’s possible to do so. It will take them a good long time to do so. First to combine them and then market it towards success.

Hope it happens.

Interesting idea but that’s not how game engines work haha. A lot of them are built to be meant for specific things. You can’t just combine all of them to create a super engine or something like that when they can all have different philosophies, dependencies, groundwork, goals, etc. It’ll be needlessly expensive to do this, and even worse to do it to compete against the single biggest public general purpose game engine in the world that’s still growing, whose company is already consolidating a lot of industry standard game technology

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I’m sure they would want to do some sort of subscription or something with the engines, Azure, Playfabs and Game Stack. Maybe they could package them all with toggle options for the different engines or something like that. I could see a corporate level subscription which includes Teams, Office 365, Azure, Game Stack and Playfab.

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I dont think they will be making a ‘super engine’ that does everything like unreal, but I do think they will have a first party engine that is the standard for different scenarios. For example, maybe id tech become the standard engine for more linear games (we already know third person is/can be possible in id tech, as phil said they are interested in which first party teams could use id tech in the future, and as part of that he mentioned the coalition, and I would assume that indiana jones is in id tech, and third person, using a whip in first person seems hard).

then maybe if the rumours about fable using a variant of the forzatech engine are true then that could become the standard for open world games, And if the upgrades to the creation engine are really as big as Todd was saying, maybe bethesda’s game engine/tooling becomes the standard for RPGs at xbox.

There are a lot of opportunities that they could go after in the engine space, if they did end up using all of their first party engines as unreal engine replacements I definitely see them converging the engines somewhat, not in an interoperable way to be clear, but changing the engines API convention to be common/similiar between all of the first party engines, this would allow scripts/tooling to be much more easily ported between engines.

They would also likely copy unreal’s unit system, where you add different units to the base engine to make it easier to develop different types of games, for instance there is an fps unit that you can add onto unreal. I think its likely that any units that were made for first party would be more custom, so there would be an arkane unit that is added ontop of idtech. This would allow the underlying engine to be updated while arkanes custom stuff remains unchanged. Arkane is still using a variant of idtech 5 dont forget, using a unit system they would automatically upgrade id tech versions as they are released

They could then sell it to CIG and they could finally realize Star Citizen - A game that tries to be everything.

Phil likes having every option available to him, having a super game engine would be great have, with that said it would be a dumb idea to do it just for the sole purpose of taking on epics unreal engine.

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A bit too early calling SlipSpace as one of the best engines out there, no ?

Phil did imply he wants IDtech to be even bigger and used by more studios (not sure if he said studios but I got the impression he wanted to expand it and he was genuinely gushing over that engine). I think Phil has big plans for that engine. Which is a great thing.

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The Microsoft Monster Mash engine logo

A bit early yes, but it may do some things well that could be adopted. For instance, we all know that Cryengine can produce as good a looking game as Unreal does, but Cryengine is far harder to use, which is why people don’t use it. Ease of use is a big deal, so maybe a game like slipspace which is built from the ground up may introduce some better features.

Software is often easier said than done.

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I agree, but software is what Microsoft does. If any company can do it, they can. They have 100 x the resources and talent working for them than Epic does.

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What you’re proposing is exactly what EA has been trying to do with frostbite for the last 10 years, and frankly that was a disaster for their non-shooter franchises due to the engine and the developer tools primarily being built for shooters. Many have said it is one of the root cause issues for Biowares anthem failure.

Comparing to Unreal, unreal is actually not that good out of the box for anything other than first or third person action games. It’s like using a power saw vs. hand saw.

If you look at the engines in use by MS, they are all a specific tool for a specific purpose, and are used generally for that purpose. Running though the list on the op of my head, idtech (linear FPS), gameworks (openworld RPG), HERO (MMORPG), unreal (FPS,TPS,Action Adventure), Unity(2D,FPS,TPS,Action Adventure), forzatech(racing), slipspace (wide FPS) and whatever else in house engine a dev is using for some specific reason.

My take is that MS will probably continue with an array of tools, and use the right tool for the job. The only time we’ll see an engine drop is if MS think they have duplicated tools.

My question is that Idtech has been pretty down and out on DirectX, i wonder where they go from here.

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If this happens, it’s going to take a lot of added investment.

Also, MS is years behind Epic in this area. With Fortnite financially fueling Epic, we are seeing Epic invest that money into acquisitions of companies that help UE become and even more incredible product. It’s as if Sony finally decided to make their own “Gamepass” in 2026… they’d be a bit behind.

The big motivator is reduced licensing costs. Instead of giving Epic a share of what the next Gears or Hellblade game makes…MS would obviously like to keep those dollars. That said, if MS is truly hands off of these devs…they wouldn’t coerce them to use a different engine.

My point is that Microsoft has a number of engines that could be incorporated into a super engine. For instance, idtech 7 is a pretty amazing FPS engine. Meanwhile, Forzatech is not just an amazing racing car engine, but has proven to be an excellent open world game. Flight Sim and the new Fable both run on it. You could have a base engine with an extension for either open world, FPS, racing etc. So a dev licences the engine, is making a racing car game, so opts for the racing car extension which gives them an improved Forzatech. Same goes for shooters. However they would all use the same interface and tech so that you only learn one engine, but it caters for all types of games. The issue for frostbite and even UE, is that they are FPS based in their inception, but are used for all types of games. The thing I am suggesting is to make a super engine that takes all the best engines, makes them into one big engine. Its not going to be that massive a job for MS. A little company like Asobo managed to create the engine that runs Plagues Tale, and that looks amazing, and the equal of any UE game. Idtech was developed by id, and they are a mid sized studio with around 200 devs, yet is the equal of UE. Microsoft now has close to 5000 devs on its books, already has all the amazing engines under its roof to take from, so to put them together is an improved way, making them able to exploit those Direct X extensions such as SFS, Mesh Shaders etc, and then go up against Epic should be a no brainer. I see no reason why MS studios should ever need to use UE again at this point. Epic are no friend to MS, and are infact in bed with Sony.

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Are we talking about the same Microsoft which still hasn’t figured out how to implement a reliable online store? And you want them to throw all different code bases of their proprietary engines together? This will end in a disaster.

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You can’t just incorporate a bunch of separate pieces of software into a single piece of software and make super software.

These engines have strengths and weaknesses based on their goals and design decisions. A decision made in an engine to make it more performant for a racing game can have negative impacts on a linear game (and vice versa).

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Best case scenario is every studios pumps their preferred engine with new tech and use Microsoft support to evolver this engine into something great like Idtech.

Coalition should continue with Unreal, turn 10 and playground with Forzatech and so on. The studio should choose and advance with the engine they’re most comfortable with.

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Nah, leave them seperate. Each engine has it’s own strengths and fans. Combining them might create a Moloch that people who work with them don’t like. That said, skills and knowledge should be shared, code too. So they can “interchange” with each other. But each engine has it’s own fanbase (developer fanbase not gamers ;)), and genre preference.

If anything this allows them to seperate themselves far more from Epic’s unreal engine and the power it has over their studios.

Jup, combining it in one engine would be a shitload of work and rewriting of code. It would make the resulting engine a mess and a nightmare to maintain. On top of that the design goals of each engine is very different. Where the engine for Skyrim is to keep track of every little NPC and object in the game, the one from ID Tech is more for quick action and framerates for an FPS game.

They are two very different outsets.

Code should be open between all studios though, so they can look into it and copy, rather than invent the wheel twice.

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