Summary
A game engine is a software framework primarily designed for the development of video games and generally includes relevant libraries and support programs such as a level editor. The "engine" terminology is similar to the term "software engine" used in the software industry. The game engine can also refer to the development software utilizing this framework, typically offering a suite of tools and features for developing games. Developers can use game engines to construct games for video game consoles and other types of computers. The core functionality typically provided by a game engine may include a rendering engine ("renderer") for 2D or 3D graphics, a physics engine or collision detection (and collision response), sound, scripting, animation, artificial intelligence, networking, streaming, memory management, threading, localization support, scene graph, and video support for cinematics. Game engine implementers often economize on the process of game development by reusing/adapting, in large part, the same game engine to produce different games or to aid in porting games to multiple platforms. In many cases, game engines provide a suite of visual development tools in addition to reusable software components. These tools are generally provided in an integrated development environment to enable simplified, rapid development of games in a data-driven manner. Game-engine developers often attempt to preempt implementer needs by developing robust software suites which include many elements a game developer may need to build a game. Most game-engine suites provide facilities that ease development, such as graphics, sound, physics and artificial-intelligence (AI) functions. These game engines are sometimes called "middleware" because, as with the business sense of the term, they provide a flexible and reusable software platform which provides all the core functionality needed, right out of the box, to develop a game application while reducing costs, complexities, and time-to-market—all critical factors in the highly competitive video-game industry.
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