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As WP's managing editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.


Climax Announces its Next-Gen Toolset 'Tomcat'

by Judy on Nov. 24, 2004 @ 9:37 a.m. PST

Climax Group today took a major step forward in the development of next generation games with the unveiling of Tomcat, a proprietary toolset that enables the quick creation of dynamic shading effects.

Already equipped with a well-established set of tools and pipelines, Climax has used its existing technology to develop a string of hits on PS2, Xbox and various mobile game devices. But the next generation consoles demand next generation technology, and this is why Climax has developed Tomcat. Designed exclusively for the PS3 and Xbox2, it's the next evolution of the company's current tools and is already proving itself a valuable asset in the development of the next generation of hits.

Developed by Climax's Core Technology Group (CTG), Tomcat is based on High-Level-Shading-Languages and uses small fragments of shader code that are concatenated to produce stunning shading effects. Crucially, Climax has developed a simple way for these small fragments to be created and inserted, which drastically reduces the amount of programming required to create such outstanding visuals.

The increased power of the next generation consoles, combined with the development of programmable shaders, means that shader management is going to be a crucial concern to game developers in the near future. Climax Group has moved swiftly on the issue to ensure it's well placed to exploit the new opportunities it presents, as Tony Beckwith, President of Climax Racing, explained: "Rather than reacting to the issue when it arrives, we've taken a proactive step and developed a unique toolset that allows us to fully exploit the potential for outstanding shading effects. The system we've created allows our artists to create amazing shader combinations faster, and without the need for programmer support."

Tony continued: "As soon as we started working on Tomcat, we knew we had something really special on our hands. Even still, the industry's reaction has amazed us. All the major publishers we've shown it to have been blown away and are pushing us hard to let them use it. This is an exciting step for us, and could mean that in the future a wide range of brilliant games built on the Tomcat technology could be filling the shop shelves, not just those developed by Climax."

Built from a stable platform that has proven its worth in several games, Tomcat is so powerful the company only needs to innovate for the next
generation features.

Other qualities of the tool set include:

  • Real-time Shader Combining And Preview
  • Normal Mapping
  • Bloom And ViViD Renderer
  • Online And Networking
  • DYNE Physics
  • Real-Time Game Tweaker

Normal mapping, in particular, is core to the company's next generation strategy. This technique provides an incredible amount of detail for little cost, so gamers can enjoy a considerable and disproportionate gain in quality without a drop in performance.

Fully developed and operational, Tomcat is already being employed in the development of Avalon, Climax's highly anticipated and fantastically innovative next generation game.

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