Jupiter Extended / 2005
LithTech is a game engine which was initially developed by Monolith Productions in collaboration with Microsoft. Monolith later formed a separate company, LithTech Inc., to deal with further advancements of the engine technology and currently, after a change of its corporate identity, LithTech Inc. is known as Touchdown Entertainment.
A number of different video game developers, including Monolith itself, have used LithTech to power their first-person shooter games, establishing it as an alternative to other products, such as the Quake and Unreal engines. LithTech's latest incarnation is "Jupiter Extended" (or Jupiter EX).
Originally the LithTech engine was supposed to be called DirectEngine, as Monolith was developing it for Microsoft to be included as a 3D engine for use with Microsoft's DirectX technology. After failing to secure the deal, Monolith continued development on their own and were able to license the engine, officially renamed to LithTech, to other companies. In the following years, the LithTech team was split off into a separate company, LithTech Inc., which is now known as Touchdown Entertainment.
Starting with LithTech 2.0, LithTech Inc. began the process of creating many different versions of the engine. Monolith released their game No One Lives Forever (NOLF) featuring this version of the engine, however it was later revised to LithTech 2.2. The game received an upgrade to LithTech 2.2 in a patch release. The LithTech team then continued to improve version 2.2 for its licensees, resulting in the 2.3 and 2.4 iterations.
LithTech cooperated with RealNetworks in developing a custom version of LithTech 2.2 called RealArcade LithTech (or LithTech ESD). Among its features it supported streaming media for in-game billboards/ads, and could be used with RealNetworks' gaming site. At one time, RealArcade LithTech could be licensed by developers if they signed an agreement with RealNetworks. This engine was used on an internally developed title, Tex Atomic's Big Bot Battles.
LithTech Inc. developed a different engine specifically for Monolith's title, Aliens versus Predator 2. LithTech Talon was based on LithTech 2.2, rather than LithTech 2.4. Because of this choice, LithTech 2.4, RealArcade LithTech, and LithTech Talon became largely incompatible with each other. However, reviewers still thought of it as inferior to Unreal or Id Tech.
LithTech Talon's biggest selling point lay in its capable multiplayer support, more efficient when compared to prior versions of LithTech multiplayer that featured poor networking code. Aliens versus Predator 2 features comprehensive multiplayer gameplay utilizing these improvements.
LithTech 3.0 was being developed concurrently with Talon, but, along with its revisions, LithTech 3.x would largely be considered an internal version of the engine. While it was sent to licensees, no games were finished on it. The primary feature announced for LithTech 3.x was the Distributed Object System, a new system for MMORPGs and multiplayer. Unfortunately, LithTech 3.x was also plagued by a significant number of bugs and problems and all games developed with LithTech 3.x would eventually convert to the newer LithTech Jupiter or to Talon.
LithTech Discovery was created with the MMORPG genre and its unique requirements in mind. Discovery improved upon the working technology from LithTech 2.2, but also included the Distributed Object System which was the centerpiece of LithTech 3.x. The only game title to be powered by LithTech Discovery was The Matrix Online by Monolith. The engine was never licensed to any other company.
LithTech Jupiter was a thorough overhaul of the LithTech technology, developed as an alternative to 3.x. In some ways, the original version of Jupiter was even more technologically advanced than its competitors, since it supported Shader Model 1.x and included a visualization tool, whereas at the time Unreal and Quake only supported CPU-based shaders.
A custom version of Jupiter was made especially for Monolith, for use with their Tron 2.0 game; this release was codenamed LithTech Triton. Eventually, LithTech Triton's new features were merged back into LithTech Jupiter for licensees.
LithTech Jupiter EX
As of 2005 the latest iteration of the LithTech engine was Jupiter Extended (or Jupiter EX), which was featured in F.E.A.R. and Condemned: Criminal Origins, both developed by Monolith. Compared to its precursor Jupiter, the Extended version was driven by a new DirectX 9 renderer and other advancements, including the addition of Havok physics software for improved real-world physics simulation, dynamic per-pixel lighting, bump mapping, normal mapping, and specular highlighting. Along with Havok's character dynamics, Jupiter EX also includes the "Havok Vehicle Kit", which adds support for common vehicle behavior.
Games using LithTech
- Shogo: Mobile Armor Division by Monolith Productions (1998)
- Blood II: The Chosen by Monolith Productions (1998)
- KISS: Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child by Third Law Interactive (2000)
- Might and Magic IX by New World Computing (2002)
2.0 and 2.2
- No One Lives Forever by Monolith Productions (2000)
- Sanity: Aiken's Artifact by Monolith Productions (2000)
- Legends of Might and Magic by New World Computing (2001)
- Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza by Piranha Games (2002)
- MTH Railking Model Railroad Simulator by IncaGold (2001)
- Global Operations by Barking Dog Studios (now known as Rockstar Vancouver) (2002)
- Aliens versus Predator 2 by Monolith Productions and Third Law Interactive (2001)
- Purge by Tri-Synergy (2002)
- Might and Magic IX (a.k.a. Might and Magic IX: Writ of Fate) by New World Computing (2002)
- Western Outlaw: Wanted Dead or Alive by Jarhead Games (2002)
- Nina: Agent Chronicles by City Interactive (2003)
- CTU: Marine Sharpshooter by Jarhead Games (2003)
- Marine Sharpshooter II: Jungle Warfare by Jarhead Games (2004)
- MARCH!: Offworld Recon by Buka Entertainment (2004)
- No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy In H.A.R.M.'s Way by Monolith Productions (2002)
- Rubies of Eventide by Cyber Warrior (now Mnemosyne) (2002)
- Sniper: Path of Vengeance by Xicat Interactive, Inc. (2002)
- Contract J.A.C.K. by Monolith Productions (2003)
- Gods and Generals by Anivision (2003)
- Tron 2.0 (LithTech Triton) by Monolith Productions (2003)
- Mysterious Journey II: Chameleon by Detalion (2003)
- Sentinel: Descendants in Time by Detalion (2004)
- Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault by EA Los Angeles (2004)
- Mob Enforcer by Touchdown Entertainment (2004)
- Sentinel: Descendants in Time by Detalion (2004)
- World War II: Sniper - Call to Victory by Jarhead Games (2005)
- Army Rangers: Mogadishu by Jarhead Games (2005)
- Sudden Attack by GameHi (2005)
- Face of Mankind by Duplex Systems (2006)
- Terrawars: New York Invasion by Ladyluck Digital Media (2006)
- Combat Arms by Doobic Studios (2008)
- Cyclone BMX by Unknown creator (unknown year released)
- F.E.A.R. by Monolith Productions (2005)
- Condemned: Criminal Origins by Monolith Productions (2005)
- F.E.A.R. Extraction Point by TimeGate Studios (2006)
- F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate by TimeGate Studios (2007)
- Condemned 2: Bloodshot by Monolith Productions (2008)
- Terrorist Takedown 2: US Navy SEALs by City Interactive (2008)
- Mortyr: Operation Thunderstorm by City Interactive (2008)
- Code Of Honor 2: Conspiracy Island by City Interactive (2008)
- SAS: Secure Tomorrow by City Interactive (2008)
- Royal Marines: Commando by City Interactive (2008)
- Crossfire by SmileGate (2008)
- Combat Arms by Nexon Corporation (2008)
- F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin by Monolith Productions (2009)
- Armed Forces Corp. by City Interactive (2009)
- Battlestrike: Shadow of Stalingrad aka. Battlestrike: Force of Resistance 2 by City Interactive (2009)
- Code of Honor 3: Desperate Measures by City Interactive (2009)
- Wolfschanze II by City Interactive (2009)
- Special Forces by City Interactive (2010)
- Terrorist Takedown 3 by City Interactive (2010)
- Gotham City Impostors by Monolith Productions (2012)
Modified LithTech engine
- Elite Forces: WWII Normandy by Third Law Interactive (2001)
- WWII: Iwo Jima by Third Law Interactive (2001)
- Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor by Monolith Productions (2014) (Modified Lithtech Jupiter Extended with Nemesis System)
- Vietnam: Black Ops by Fused Software (2000)
- Vietnam 2: Special Assignment by Single Cell Software (2001)
- Crisis Team: Ambulance Driver by Antidote Entertainment (2001)
- Alcatraz: Prison Escape by Zombie Inc. (2001)
- Elite Forces: Navy SEALs by Jarhead Games (2002)
- Navy SEALs: Weapons of Mass Destruction by Jarhead Games (2003)
- Arthur's Quest: Battle for the Kingdom by 3LV Games (2003)
- Heat Project by Doobic (2003)
- Wolfteam by Softnyx (2007)
- Repulse by Aeria Games (2012)
- "AvP2: Primal Hunt Review". planetavp.com. 2002-11-08. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
It’s built on the same engine, LithTech’s Talon, so don’t expect much in the way of graphical upgrades. PH retains the sharp, colorful look of AvP2, with clean textures and effective lighting, but doesn’t quite hold up to some other recently released high-profile games
- "Aliens vs. Predator 2". Eurogamer. 2002-01-10. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
The same engine that powered No One Lives Forever, LithTech 2.5, is employed to handle the activities, but it's an odd choice. It isn't as visually stimulating as Quake III Arena - a game which is already well past its second birthday(...)and combined with some less than dramatic scenery (which is par for the course on LithTech apparently(...)
- "No One Lives Forever". gaming-age.com. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
While LithTech 2.5 isn't as graphically stunning as the Quake and Unreal engines, it still is an attractive game that runs well even on modest hardware, which, in this reviewer's opinion, is the proverbial 'bottom line' when it comes to graphics
- "Purge Review". gamingexcellence.com. 2003-05-08. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
As for the graphics, Purge is not in any way revolutionary. It uses the outdated LithTech Talon engine (with slight modifications), and delivers graphics accordingly. The textures are low quality and fairly bland
- "GDC 2001: Looking at LithTech 3.0". GameSpot. 2001-03-24. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
The engine's multiplayer has been overhauled to add client-side prediction(...)As seen in games like Quake III, such prediction routines make network games much more playable for modem users
- "GDC 2001: Shogo 2 revealed?". GameSpot. 2001-03-22. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
...featured a giant anime-style robot presumed to be from a sequel to Shogo: Mobile Armor Division...Monolith's CEO Jason Hall stated plainly that the demo was designed to showcase the latest version of the LithTech engine [2001's LithTech 3.0]...
- "LithTech Jupiter powering NOLF sequel". GameSpot. 2001-11-12. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
- "Graphics Technologies in Games: F.E.A.R". ixbtlabs.com. 2006-10-20. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
When LithTech 1.0 was released, it couldn't compare with more famous engines like Quake and Unreal. It lacked support for some modern graphics technologies, which were supported by the above-mentioned engines. In return, it was very easy to use, because it was initially developed as part of DirectX, to facilitate game development by third-party companies
- "Western Outlaw: Wanted Dead or Alive Review". GameSpot. 2003-12-22. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
According to the manual, Western Outlaw's graphics engine is the LithTech Talon system, which is the same one used in Aliens Versus Predator 2.