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Cipher

Cipher Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who is Synaptic Soup?
  2. What is Cipher?
  3. Is Cipher just another graphics engine?
  4. Why license a game engine like Cipher, when I could write my own?
  5. What hardware platforms does Cipher support?
  6. Which modelling tools does Cipher support?
  7. Can I use other modelling tools?
  8. What is special about Cipher's shader graphics?
  9. How does Cipher help me if I am an artist?
  10. Do you offer technical support?
  11. Can I see Cipher's documentation?
  12. How much does it cost to use Cipher?
  13. What is the current version of Cipher?
  14. I want to evaluate Cipher. How do I do that?
  15. Who else is using Cipher?
  16. What sort of products is Cipher being used for?
  17. What sort of genres is Cipher suitable for?
  18. What tools come with Cipher?


1. Who is Synaptic Soup?

Synaptic Soup is a developer of videogames and videogames’ technology. The company is dedicated to bringing the highest quality games to the mass market and the best technology to the development community. Synaptic Soup’s premier product is Cipher, a one-stop middleware solution for developers creating current and next-generation titles. Synaptic Soup is based in London, England.

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2. What is Cipher?

Cipher is a complete development environment designed for creating state of the art games. By providing a solid foundation onto which games and other interactive applications can be built, and immediate access to a comprehensive range of tools and features, Cipher improves development efficiency and reduces time-to-market. With support for leading third-party tools and components, easy integration into the developers own tool chain, advanced rendering techniques and comprehensive feature set, Cipher makes it possible for developers to concentrate on creating great games.

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3. Is Cipher just another graphics engine?

No. Cipher provides an advanced rendering solution, but additionally includes a broad range of features that cover all the common areas of game development. It can be regarded as a complete gaming platform as it provides an abstraction layer between the game code and the hardware. See the Cipher Features page for more detailed information.

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4. Why license a game engine like Cipher, when I could write my own?

Cipher already provides a state of the art solution that is working today. At Synaptic Soup we understand that developers will often need to extend or tweak the technology they are using, so we provide full source code to allow for that, giving them all the benefits of home grown solutions without the risk and delay of waiting for them to be written.

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5. What hardware platforms does Cipher support?

Cipher is PC only at the moment.

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6. Which modelling tools does Cipher support?

Cipher supports 3dsmax; including support for Character Studio's Biped for animation and Physique for skinning models to skeletons.

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7. Can I use other modelling tools?

Yes. Synaptic Soup makes file format information available to licensees so they are able to develop their own custom tools, or integrate Cipher with alternative modelling tools. The source code for all Cipher's existing tools is also included.

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8. What is special about Cipher's shader graphics?

Cipher makes use of a high level and extendable shader language to control the look and feel of models. Interactive and visual tools like our unique shader designer allow artists to quickly and easily create stunning visual effects without having to involve a programmer. Shaders can be used to animate textures, deform models, create custom lighting effects and a host of other effects.

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9. How does Cipher help me if I am an artist?

Cipher comes with a range of powerful visual tools that allow artists to view models, play animations, design shader effects and particle systems without having to involve a programmer. This helps to streamline the development process and allows artists to control and focus on the look of the game.

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10. Do you offer technical support?

Synaptic Soup offers experienced and professional technical support with direct access to the engineers that created Cipher. Most of our licensing options include support, though we do offer more flexible support options to suit your needs. Additional information on the available support options can be found on the Cipher Licensing page. 

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11. Can I see Cipher's documentation?

Yes. Just register on our support site to gain access to the documentation and free evaluation kit.

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12. How much does it cost to use Cipher?

Full pricing information is available on the Cipher Licensing page.

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13. What is the current version of Cipher?

The current version is Cipher 1.3, which is available now for evaluation and purchase.

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14. I want to evaluate Cipher. How do I do that?

Evaluating Cipher is simple and free. Just register on our support site to gain access to the documentation and evaluation kit.

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15. Who else is using Cipher?

Cipher is being used by a number of organisations now, from start-ups to well established game studios. Cipher is also being used by research groups and major hardware vendors like NVidia and 3D Labs.

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16. What sort of products is Cipher being used for?

Cipher is being used to create games in a number of genres, such as arcade racing, realistic city based driving games and 3rd person action adventures. A number of hardware vendors are using Cipher to produce technology demos for their latest hardware. There are even government funded groups using it to promote the entertainment industry.

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17. What sort of genres is Cipher suitable for?

Cipher is very flexible and can be used to create most popular 3D gaming genres. It is being actively used to create track and city based racing games, indoor first and third person action games and top down god games. It's flexible segment based renderer and advanced animation system would also be suitable for creating a range of other games, such as sports titles and character based games.

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18. What tools come with Cipher?

Cipher ships with a range of tools to assist teams in creating visually stunning games quickly and easily.

  • Shader Designer and Particle Designer allow artists and level designers to create state of the art effects without any programming via simple to use interfaces.
  • CipherTool is a powerful batch processing tool used to automate a number of tasks including model conversion, shadow volume generation, BSP collision volume building, skeletal animation processing, LOD building, triangle stripification, model optimisation and batching.
  • The Model Conversion tool is an easy to use windows front end to ciphertool, for those that prefer to avoid command line tools. 
  • Numerous plug-ins for 3dsmax help to automate level layout tasks, animation construction, model and animation export, texturing and animation event processing.
  • The Font tool assists developers in creating fonts for use in their games. The tool will create anti-aliased international fonts at various resolutions. It supports Japanese fonts and most other languages via the use of Unicode.
  • Lcc and Casm (Cipher Assembler) make it possible to compile game code to a platform independent byte code that can be executed on Cipher's virtual machine. However, the use of the virtual machine is optional.  

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