Criterion Games’ late nineties to two-thousands game engine RenderWare has made its way online. Used in a large number of games from 1996 to 2013, Criterion’s engine is a piece of video game history.
Posted online by video game preservationist Twitter account Forest of Illusion, the video game SDK is now available to download. However, this isn’t the latest version of the engine and later versions of RenderWare have appeared online before.
Forest of Illusion’s upload is a preserved version of RenderWare 3.6. There are still other versions of the engine that are yet to be preserved. Fans are hoping to discover the long-evasive fourth iteration of the beloved game engine.
What games used RenderWare?
Criterion Games’ game engine was used by a lot of developers, especially by studios owned by Electronic Arts. While DICE is well-known today for their fantastic Frostbite engine, the studio did use RenderWare for projects such as Battlefield 2: Modern Combat.
Perhaps most notably, the engine was used for Criterion's internal projects. The Burnout series relied on RenderWare for the entirety of its lifespan; 2018’s Burnout Paradise Remastered used the engine. Towards the end of its life, Criterion's engine became popular with Asian MMO titles such as Rich Man Universe Online and Chinese Paladin 5 Prequel.
Bless you, Wikipedia.
Why do video game engines need to be preserved?
Essentially, video game engines are complex tools. Much like an artist's brush or a smith’s hammer, game engines are used to create art. With growing homebrew communities always exploding around consoles after their end of life, it’s important to have access to tools that can exploit the full power of aging systems.
Most importantly, it’s fun to tinker with old software to see how it works. While nobody is entitled to have access to a specific tool, it’s a niche nicety that can bring joy to others. Also, who doesn’t like toying around with game engines until they discover they’re not talented enough to make anything?