LithTech

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LithTech (formerly known as the "Direct Engine") is a true 3D engine originally created by Monolith Productions in collaboration with Microsoft and is now updated by a subsidiary company called Touchdown Entertainment, previously known as LithTech Inc. An early version powered Blood II: The Chosen and its expansion pack. More recently it has been used in the popular F.E.A.R., its expansions, and its sequel. Though originally the version used in Blood II was only for Microsoft Windows, it was ported to GNU/Linux, Macintosh OS X, and AmigaOS systems for the Hyperion Entertainment ports of Shogo: Mobile Amour Division.

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[edit] LithTech in Blood II

Blood II indoors
Blood II outdoors
Shogo indoors
Shogo outdoors
Shogo-Blood II mix
Modeller tools

The original version of LithTech was used in Blood II: The Chosen as well as in its sister game Shogo: Mobile Amour Division. The original version included a LithTech software renderer and a DirectX renderer to take advantage of 3D graphics cards (this was converted to OpenGL for the various Shogo ports). LithTech, in a similar vein to the id Tech engines, stored its level, sound and data files in one central package (REZ files). These REZ files could be edited, removed, or created from scratch to create custom levels or mods. LithTech has the support for multiple player modes, such as the various MCAs in Shogo and the playable four Chosen in Blood II.

It also allowed for some adaptation for events during cutscenes, a relatively new feature at the time. The source code for LithTech was released under certain conditions to allow greater freedom for mod developers. LithTech was also in many ways a spiritual successor to the Build engine used in Blood. Like in other titles from that engine, the characters of Caleb, the other Chosen, and Sanjuro have a variety of taunts and dialogue throughout the games, and most objects in the games can either be destroyed and/or interacted with. Another singular feature was its early use of ingame physics, such as in Blood II with the return of head soccer and also movable objects which could even be thrown around using the Singularity Generator or grabbed and and dragged with the "G" key.

Although it was not as advanced as other contemporary engines in some areas, LithTech was complimented for its ease of programming: this was a direct result of its development history, being originally planned as part of DirectX and a programming system originally conceived as a way to simplify game development. There is an interesting difference in perception on this version of the engine: some people saw it as the "poor man's engine", used by those who could not get the id tech or Unreal engines, while other saw LithTech as a strong engine in its own right which was just as, if not more, advanced than its contemporaries. The main problem faced with this version was networking code which took a lot of patches and other upgrades to try and sort it out.

The head engineer behind the LithTech engine, Mike Dussault, is honoured in both games. In Blood II his name can be found as one of the inhabitants of the Cabal Safehouse, and in Shogo there is a character named after him. The promotional video for LithTech (see "External Links) showed scenes from Blood II and "Riot" (now Shogo: MAD) as well as scenes from two never released titles called "Claw 3D" and "Draedon". The former appears to have been a third-person puzzle game based on the earlier Monolith title, and the latter appeared to be third-person medieval fantasy fighting game.

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