In the context of video games, middleware is software that a game developer can add on to their game for certain features. Middleware developers help other developers by not having them "re-invent the wheel". Middleware can either come from a third party company, or developed in-house. Contrast to a complete game engine, which may comprise of almost everything in the game, or just the core components.
See also Application Programming Interface, of which Middlewares are a superset.
Examples of Middleware:
- PhysX (ex- Novodex, from NVIDIA)
- ODE (used in Call of Juarez)
- Newton Game Dynamics
- Audio codecs
- Miles Sound System: One of the most highly used audio middleware (the developers claim over 5400 games on 14 systems).
- ADX: Used as an alternative to MP3 and is popular with Eastern developers.
- Fraunhoffer IIS MP3: used in Conkers Bad Fur Day and other game engines that use MP3 audio.
- Xiph Vorbis, Speex, FLAC, CELT and Opus
- Quicktime: Popular in the early 90s.
- Video codecs
- Bink/Smacker: Used by many, many games, popular for Western developers. Smacker was the older video codec, Bink being the newer one and is still widely used.
- Sofdec: Used as an alternative to Bink, popular with Eastern developers.
- Xiph Theora
- Quicktime: Popular in the early 90s before Smacker.