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Phoenix engine features dynamic lightning for weapon effects

Phoenix engine in an isometric 2D game engine created by Micro Forté, used in Fallout Tactics.


In May 1999, John De Margheriti, CEO of Micro Forté, visited Interplay with a pitch for an isometric scrolling shooter called Chimera (a.k.a. Chimera Project). Interplay was impressed with the quality of the demo but was not interested in the game itself. However Brian Christian, the head of 14° East, saw enough potential in Chimera engine to propose the idea of doing a tactical combat game set in Black Isle's postapocalyptic Fallout setting.[1]

The large part of Chimera engine was rewritten on fly during the development of Fallout Tactics.[2] So the new engine emerged - Phoenix.

Technical information

Phoenix engine is written entirely in C++.[3] It uses a three-quarters perspective with 2D tile-based backgrounds to represent a 3D environment. Phoenix engine supports multi-story buildings which allow characters to climb on top of buildings, up stairs and ladders, or plumb into subways and subterranean caverns, within a single game map. The engine incorporates support for 3D hardware, it also supports resolutions up to 1024x768 with 32-bit colors, anti-aliasing, alpha blending and dynamic colored lighting.

Unlike the Quake engine, the Phoenix engine wasn't designed to be modifiable. No Gameplay API and a corresponding SDK were created. To modify gameplay it's necessary to edit the source code which isn't as modular in design as it needs to be modded easily by third parties.[2] Therefore, the engine was designed for Micro Forté internal use only.

The second version of the engine, Phoenix 2 (sometimes referred as Orpheus engine), was at some point intended to be used for Fallout Tactics 2, but the latter was canceled.[4]