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Useful Notes / Middleware

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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:

  • Physics
    • Havok
    • PhysX (ex- Novodex, from NVIDIA)
    • Eurphoria
    • Bullet
    • ODE (used in Call of Juarez)
    • Newton Game Dynamics
    • Tokamak
  • 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.
  • Other
    • SpeedTree: For when you really need a tree, and fast.
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    • FMOD: Handles audio playback
    • Scaleform: Used for HUDs and menus.
    • OGRE: 3D engine, already compatible (see addons) with several physics engines.
    • The Yake Engine: cross-platform game engine/application framework.


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