Hey there, my name is Louisa Spring. I'm a gamer, recovering lawyer, and the founder of SAM immersive, a consultancy helping companies navigate the multiverse. You've heard that word a lot. Now that you've learned about the interconnected ecosystem of the metaverse and the devices you can use to access it, is time to turn our attention to the software that makes multiverse experiences come to life, also known as game engines. But first, I'm craving some caffeine. Fancy joining me at my favorite coffee shop? I didn't ask you here just because I need a boost. A coffee shop is actually a great analogy for what game engines mean in the metaverse. We start with our drink of choice. Maybe you like a dark roast with no cream or sugar, or you prefer something sweeter, or with an extra shot of caffeine. Now, you can't just walk behind the counter and whip up your own espresso or cappuccino. You need the help of a barista. That talented person is going to make your drink just so, by grinding the beans finely or coarsely, heating the water to a specific temperature to coax out a certain flavor, or adding whipped cream or a flavor shot to your cup. Think of the drink as a specific experience in the metaverse. The barista, then, is the game engine that made it happen. Pour me another one, please. Before we go any further into our discussion about the role game engines play in the metaverse, I'd like to take you through a quick timeline of game engines in general. Back in the 1980s, when someone made a new video game, they created their own software engine, whether it was Pong or Pitfall!, Donkey Kong or Mario Bros., the software that ran the game was built from the ground up by game developers themselves. While there were some game creation systems that helped users develop independent games, most games were hardcoded with specific rules, meaning no one else could create a new game based on the framework of what someone else had already built. Think of it like having to create your own website from scratch using code you wrote, instead of being able to just use a customizable template. That's all right for some, but requires a good deal of skill and experience, not to mention money and time. This was how things worked until around the mid '90s, at which time 3D games started to become common, and the term "game engine" came into use. In 1998, Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney created Unreal Engine, which allowed video game developers to obtain a license and use the software to customize new games, rather than starting from scratch. This is where we see game engine development and game content development diverge. Game engines control things such as how to handle 2D and 3D graphics. They determine how physics and collisions work, like when two objects touch. What happens to those objects? The game engine tells them how to react, but when you press a button on a controller or device, the game engine decides what happens. Sound, networking, input, memory, scripting, memory management, streaming, even AI, are all part of the game engine. These frees up creative teams on the content side to focus on storylines, characters, levels, graphics, and more. What does this all mean for the metaverse? Just like video games, multiverse experiences are built on game engines. Every time someone creates a new space in the metaverse, they aren't coding it from scratch. They're building it on top of game engine. Unreal and Unity3D are two big players in the multiverse game engine space. Developers pay fees to license engines and build their own games, apps, and experiences. Both engines allow developers to create immersive 3D experiences. And you don't have to be a big company to use them. Unreal and Unity offer a range of pricing options, including free licenses for students, personal, and small creator use, as well as user support through learning resources and tools. Experiences built on the Unity 3D Engine include the Expo Dubai Xplorer, "a rich digital experience for the World Expo that allows anyone anywhere to experience the magic of the event with friends, whether on-site or at home"; Hydrous, which "uses science-based learning experiences, immersive technologies, a multi-disciplinary partnerships to inspire ocean connection and marine stewardship"; and the LGBTQ+ VR Museum, which uses "VR to share stories and artifacts curated directly from the queer community." Popular games like Fortnite and Street Fighter are built on Unreal, as well as the animated short film the Blue, and a digital replica of Co-Op Live, an under- construction venue in Manchester, England, near where I'm from. In the spring of 2022, Epic Games announced a metaverse for kids and that will be built on Unreal in partnership with the Lego Group. Before we wrap up, a quick note about one of our favorite topics and words: interoperability. In a previous video, you heard mentioned of Metaverse Standards Forum. Created in the summer of 2022, rhis group of technology and internet companies was formed to develop interoperability standards for the metaverse — yes, practice that word. It includes familiar names like Microsoft, Adobe, and Meta, as well as Unity and Epic Games, the maker of Unreal Engine. That's a wrap on game engines. In the next lesson, you will take a closer look at the different levels of immersion you can experience in the multiverse. Have fun!