GRIP Entertainment's D.E.S. engine has been added to Unreal Engine 3 as part of the latter's Integrated Partners Program, giving game authors new tools for adding secondary character "extras" to their products.
The Digital Extra System, according to GRIP, allows designers to rapidly populate "tens to hundreds" of extras to facilitate a "vibrant living world." The system was previously used in a trailer for Army of Two: The 40th Day.
"The streamlined flow of AI assets from GRIP into Unreal Engine 3 helps our licensees more easily populate game worlds with believable human and crowd behavior," said Epic president Dr. Michael Capps. "Developers aren't the only ones who benefit from great tools. Shortening the time spent honing the execution of AI lets developers spend more time polishing their games to improve the final product."
The system has four built-in common gameplay constructs: "Living City" (where pedestrians walk around, chat with each other, and go about their lives), "Electric Lounge" (where pedestrians dance mingle and drink, as if at a concert or club), "Baddie Hordes" (a large number of on-screen NPCs rush forward to attack), and "Civilian Panic," which we'll leave to your imagination.
"Our goal was to make our AI module feel as native as possible," said GRIP president Dr. Paul A. Kruszewski. "That is, we wanted the development experience to be so seamless in UE3 that the level designer wasn't even aware that it was a third party software, that it felt like it was built by Epic."
The GRIP D.E.S. is available now to UE3 licensees. Sample videos are available here.