That Star Swarm demo, showing off a 10,000 ship battle, from a few weeks ago was a pretty tantalising look at what Oxide’s Nitrous Engine can do for strategy games. Now you can take it for a spin yourself and download it from Steam for free, pitting vast fleets against each other for no other reason than battles in space are really, really cool.
Star Swarm isn’t a game, rather it showcases some of what the Nitrous engine is capable off, setting up a battle between two massive armadas, with each ship running its own AI, pathfinding, threat assessment and physics.
Nitrous is optimised for AMD Mantle, and the driver’s available today. However, you don’t need to have AMD hardware or the Mantle driver to play Star Swarm.
A 64-bit engine, Nitrous is being designed to answer the problems that have been plaguing higher-fidelity strategy and simulation games like Total War Rome II and SimCity, where they had serious optimisation problems and, in the case of SimCity, absurd limitations.
The engine’s already being used for three games, one which is an unannounced project from Oxide themselves, the other is Star Control, developed by Stardock who are also funding the creation of the engine and finally there’s Mowhawk Games’ next title, codenamed Mars.