UveDX logo from the first Chicken Invaders.
Game engine/graphics API
VGA Engine for Pascal
The history of UVE traces back to the mid-90's when the first iteration of it was made. It was called the VGA Engine, which was made for the Pascal and worked only on the DOS operating system. This engine was inspired by another one from the DOS days, called ANIVGA. Other versions of this iteration followed suit, with VGA Engine 2 and VGA Engine 3. It's unknown which games were built on this version of the engine, although some of the earlier games they made like the original Adventures of Mrs. Piggly, Jasteroids, Knights and Lords, Jasna, Doom Kombat, Mach 9.9, and the first Cherrymania might've been made on these. The only games confirmed to have been made on those iterations of the engine are Radar Wars Gold and BattleTank.
The next major upgrade came in form of Ultra VGA Engine 32-bit in 1996. As for its name, the "Ultra" was added in so that it's libraries are distinguished from its precursors, the VGA Engines. It was still in Pascal and for DOS, but now it was written purely from scratch, and was not based on any existing library. It was able to support 32 bit operations, even though they weren't utilized in the games made out of it because of the compiler. The most important thing about this iteration of UVE is that it was the only one to be released publicly, with a link here. It was released in two versions - the shareware one and the registered one. The shareware one had some of its features stripped, and was only usable for 21 days before you had to buy the registered version.
The last known version of UVE32 is version 1.40, which has been released around January 1997.
Games confirmed to have been made using UVE32 are Radar Wars Arcade, Cherrymania 2, Cobra, Cobra 2, F16, Tom Risk and Blogbash.
There also has been a demo program showing off the capabilities of this iteration. You can see the footage of it here.
This iteration written around 1997, Ultra VGA Engine++ was written in C++ instead, but it still was only for DOS. It was both conceptually and technically superior, however it wasn't used for much games, aside from a certain interesting thing - an early "quick & dirty" version of Chicken Invaders 1. Since then, the game was either remade or finished on UVE's next iteration.
Being introduced around 1999, Ultra VGA Engine DX might be the most known of the earlier iterations to us, since it has been used at release for the first two Chicken Invaders games, the first Island Wars, and the ill-fated Piggly 2. It was the first iteration to move from DOS to Windows, and the first one to work on DirectX (starting with 6.0 and 6.1, later on supported 7.0). Other than that, it was fundamentally the same thing as the previous iterations but with DirectX's advantages.
Debuting with the release of Island Wars 2 in late 2004, this version was a major upgrade from UveDX, being a complete rewrite for Visual Studio and DirectX 8.0. It also used the "looks-like-2d-but-it's-infact-3d" technique, as in everything was rendered as 3D, but it looked like 2D. Games made using this engine at release include Island Wars 2, Loco, Smileyville, Piggly and Chicken Invaders: Revenge of the Yolk.
Debuting in 2009 with Christmas Eve Crisis, this version of UVE was the only one from the newer versions since UveDX to utilize OpenGL instead of DirectX. It's also the first one to be ported over to Mac and Linux. Other games made using this engine at release include Chicken Invaders: Ultimate Omelette, and the remastered edition of Chicken Invaders: The Next Wave.
Having surfaced in 2013, this iteration of UVE seems like it was a rollback to UveDX8 as it's using DirectX 8.0 and it has been only used at release for Chicken Invaders: Cluck of the Dark Side. However, this version also got some improvements with the Ultra features, such as double-resolution graphics, instant loading, widescreen support, touchscreen support, better navigation on Menus, Unicode support and smaller stuff like a mute option in-game, and the in-game languages being able to be changed without having to restart the game. This iteration of the engine was also the first one to include integration with Valve's Steam platform for versions of InterAction studios' games on it.
Introduced in 2015, this iteration can be basically considered the same thing as UveUDX because of this just being a recompilation of it in DirectX 9.0c since 8.0 became obsolete. No game has been made at release on the engine yet, although Chicken Invaders 6 might be made in it if a new iteration doesn't appear before then. The most recent known build of UveUDX9 is from November 26th, 2016.
Ultra VGA Engine has been also ported over to numerous platforms, each with their own branch, such as UveAndroid, UveiOS, UveWP, UveFlash, UveWin8 and so on.
Ultra VGA Engine, since its earliest iteration, is a graphical API and game engine that utilizes the SVGA graphics mode. It utilized various engines including Turbo Pascal, Visual Studio, OpenGL, and various versions of DirectX. The newest iteration uses DirectX 9.0c.
Particle Flux Technology
Particle Flux Technology is a sprite-based graphics API, having been first used for UVE32. From what we know, it was used in first Chicken Invaders, Chicken Invaders: The Next Wave and the first Island Wars. It was used for the sprites and animations of explosions and bullets.
Arcade Engine is an add-on for UVE32 (or UveDX, we don't know exactly) which can do special effects like multi-sprites, enemy damage feedback and maximum frame rate under all conditions to recreate the arcade experience.
NatUVE is a graphics API used for vegetation deformations and making realistic-looking plants. It has been used in many games, like Island Wars 2 and Piggly, and possibly Chicken Invaders: Cluck of the Dark Side.
- Each game made through UVE has some sort of a Debug Mode.
- UveDX8 games also have a secret dev console, which can be triggered by pressing Shift and the ~ (tilda) key. So far only two commands are known - crash, which crashes the game, and fps (number), which seems to slow the game down. Later versions of the engine had this removed from retail releases.
- Although the newer versions of the engine are in 3D, models are hardly ever used in IA's games. Most of the time sprites are used, however 3D still gives them an advantage here. With the help of it, the sprites can be bent, scaled and rotated on the go instead of having to make animation frames for them.