Developer Oxide Games has posted its latest video developer diary for its upcoming PC exclusive grand strategy game Ara: History Untold, which will be published by Microsoft’s Xbox Game Studios. This time, host Steven Bell interviews Oxide Games Chief Graphics Architect and co-founder Dan Baker about creating the Nitrous Engine, which is the developer’s in-house engine that will be used in Ara.
The dev diary starts with a bit of more recent history. Baker stated he was hired as an intern at Microsoft in 1999. He said that one day, he went to his boss’s office and on the boss’s desk there was an open PC with an Intel processor and a GeForce 2 GPU. It turned out that was actually the first prototype for the first Xbox, which the DirectX group was trying to pitch to Bill Gates to be Microsoft’s first game console.
Baker ended up working full-time at Microsoft and helped to develop DirectX 8, 9, and 10 before leaving the company to actually start developing games.
Baker also talks in the dev diary about founding Oxide Games and developing their Nitrous Engine. He stated the reasons why they wanted to make their own engine, instead of licensing one like Unreal or Unity, was because modern PCs were shipping with multiple CPU cores and most games were only using one or two of them. Baker stated:
It was really clear to us that there was an enormous amount more potential that was just there and it was already shipping. People already had it and their games really weren’t using it. That was manifesting itself in a way that a lot of game designers were restricting what they could do due to the technological limitations of the engine.
Ara: History Untold is currently set for release on the PC sometime in 2024. You can join the Ara Insider Program right now to play pre-release builds for the game. Oxide announced recently that a new technical alpha test is slated to begin “soon” and you can learn more about how to participate on the game’s Steam page.