The Dark Engine's renderer, originally created by Sean Barrett in 1995, supports graphics similar to that of the original Quake, with Unreal-like skybox effects and colored lighting introduced in Thief 2. Due to the limited hardware of the time, the Dark Engine was not designed with scalability in mind, and can therefore only display 1024 terrain polygons onscreen at once, as well as various other limits on objects and lights. In terms of textures, the game supports palletized PCX and TGA textures, in powers of two up to 256x256. Textures are grouped in "families" which share the same palette. There is a maximum of 216 textures and independent palettes, excluding 8 animated water textures.

The engine does not natively support advanced game scripting, with AI and object behavior being controlled by 'Object Script Module' (.OSM) files, which are DLLs which are loaded at runtime. As such, new modules can be written and plugged into the level editor, DromEd, but are limited due to the scope of the functions made available by the core engine. In order to overcome this, editors must resort to complicated Rube Goldberg machine-like effects using a combination of its other systems.

For its time, the Dark Engine offers advanced AI and sound features, as well as a powerful object-oriented object system. The designer has full control of sound propagation within the level, and the "artificial intelligence" of the non-player characters (NPCs) allows for three levels of awareness: vague acknowledgement caused by mild visual or auditive disturbances, which only prompts a startled bit of dialogue; definite acknowledgement caused by significant visual or auditive disturbances which causes the NPC to enter "search mode", and definite acquisition (triggered by visual on the fully lit player, or face-first contact with a player regardless of the light level), prompting a direct attack.

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Thief: The Dark Project
Thief: The Dark Project

Thief: The Dark Project

Updated 1 month ago Released Nov 1998 Single Player Stealth

Thief: The Dark Project is a single player stealth-based game made by Looking Glass Studios for Microsoft Windows PCs and published in 1998 by Eidos Interactive...

Thief II: The Metal Age
Thief II: The Metal Age

Thief II: The Metal Age

Updated 1 month ago Released Mar 2000 Single Player Stealth

Looking Glass Studios released the sequel to Thief in 2000. Utilizing the same DARK engine that powered the original Thief, Thief II had an almost identical...

System Shock 2
System Shock 2

System Shock 2

Updated 1 month ago Released Aug 1999 Single & Multiplayer First Person Shooter

System Shock 2 begins with you being unfrozen from a long cryogenic sleep aboard the Rickenbacker, a security spaceship assigned to tail the Von Braun...

Post comment Comments
Noah.Klabo Apr 11 2014 says:

Someone needs to update this to add Linux now that it is supported thanks to Valve

+1 vote     reply to comment
Komatose Jun 27 2009 says:

is this a free engine?

+1 vote     reply to comment
brunocar Feb 26 2014 replied:

nop, commercial

+1 vote     reply to comment
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Released Nov 1998
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