Autodesk has unveiled Gameware Navigation, the ‘next generation’ of its AI middleware, and the successor to its Kynapse pathfinding system.
Judging by the feature list, Gameware Navigation does essentially the same things Kynapse did: enables developer to generate and link user-modifiable navmeshes.
Faster and more intuitive
Autodesk cites the ability to extend navmeshes with the NavGraph – enabling users to create more complex levels linked by ladders, lifts, zip lines and so forth – and improvements to enable the AI to perform better in such levels.
This functionality caters to the “expected complexity of next-generation games, particularly MMOs”.
However, the emphasis seems to be on accessibility and performance. The press release emphasises the new, faster, more efficient runtime architecture and “more accessible” API.
As before, developers gain full access to the source code.
In beta now: commercial release later this year
You can sign up for the public beta of Gameware Navigation via the link below, which gives you access to either the full or mobile/Unity SDK, or register for a free webinar.
Autodesk anticipates the middleware will be commercially available during fall 2012.
According to the old Kynapse website, Autodesk will continue to offer support for Kynapse now that the dev team has moved onto Gameware Navigation,
although there’s no information on how long for, or whether you can migrate from one to the other.
Not simply a rebranding
Updated 19 September: We contacted Autodesk about the relationship between Kynapse and Gameware Navigation. A company representative told us that although Navigation is designed to provide the same functionality as Kynapse, it is “not simply a rebranding”.
“Since we decided to approach the development of Gameware Navigation as a rewrite to find a better solution to the problem we had already solved, it means that Kynapse and Navigation are really two different code bases.”
Autodesk recommended that any studio thinking of upgrading contacts its support team, commenting: “While it is technically feasible for our current [Kynapse] customers to upgrade to Navigation, the level of effort required would probably not be efficient.”
Read more about Gameware Navigation on the Autodesk Gameware website
(Includes link to register for public beta)