Aquanox - Bringing 3D To Its Knees


The article first appeared in Tom's Hard News email newsletter .

The German game developer Massive drew a great deal of attention to itself during the early stages of NVIDIA's GeForce3 launch with its game, Aquanox . NVIDIA had announced a developer contest of sorts, which called on developers to create demos and benchmarks to show off the GF3's capabilities. Of course, the main requirement for these programs was that they should utilize the chip's pixel and vertex shaders. Massive entered the fray with its own benchmark, AquaMark , facing competition in the form of Ballistics , Dronez and X-Isle , among others.

The game engine of the final retail version of Aquanox differs from AquaMark's in some respects, though. For example, there are no longer any options to change the settings for vertex and pixel shaders. When asked about this, Massive replied that the AquaMark engine is completely identical to the one used in Aquanox and uses DirectX 8 to its full extent. Considering the state of the Krass engine (yes, that's what Massive's 3D engine is called) at the time, I find this claim rather questionable.