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Auran

N3V Games
Private
Industry Video game industry
Founded 1995 (Auran)
2005 (N3VRF41L)
Founder(s) Greg Lane (Auran)
Graham Edelsten (N3V/Auran)
Tony Hilliam (N3V)[1]
Headquarters Helensvale, Queensland,
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Products Dark Reign: The Future of War
Trainz
Fury
Website [1]

N3V Games (formerly Auran[2]) is an Australian video game developer and publisher based in Helensvale, Queensland, Gold Coast, Australia.[3]

History

Auran was established by Greg Lane and Graham Edelsten in 1995, and released its first game, Dark Reign: The Future of War, in 1997. Dark Reign sold over 685,000 units and was rated in the top ten real-time strategy games by the US magazine Game Developer.[4] The game received a 9.2 rating on GameSpot and was called "one of the most impressive games released this year in any genre."[5]

Auran JET

Success of Dark Reign spurred interest by other games developers in the game engine, and Auran began in-house development of a generalized version of the graphics engine for licensing to third-party companies based on their self-developed middleware game engine called the Auran JET® and in 1998 began development of a more specialized version for what became the game engine for the Trainz series of train simulator products—beta tested with Trainz 0.9 in 2000 amongst railfans, and with a major new release about every 2.5 years.

Auran growing steadily on the Trainz revenues eventually, in 2007, invested heavily and overextended their finances developing the Fury video game, a Player versus player (PvP) based massively multiplayer online game which never recouped its costs, and in the ensuing bankruptcy the company lost most of its development staff. Prior to that and the Trainz series of simulators, Auran had published a number of Auran Jet based games for the Australian market, including Freedom Force vs the 3rd Reich, Shadowgrounds and Hearts of Iron II: Doomsday.

Key transitions

In late 2005 after overseeing the stabilization (four MVH). MVH uses Auran JET as the basis for their 3D home design program.

Demise of Auran

The remaining Auran management embarked on a expensive software development[4] and virtually ignored the continued development of Trainz except for a series of joint ventures based on the extremely stable Trainz 2006 software which they had released in late 2005. These joint ventures were mainly locally published and distributed regionally customized versions of TRS2006 such as Trains Deluxe[7] in which the local publisher'distributors bundled additional software such as trains videos, video capture software, or a much more limited trains simulator Virtual Model Railway.

As of 2007 the game Fury is the most expensive game yet produced in Australia[4] costing AU$8.3 million.[8] However, the game did not sell well on its release.[8]


On 13 December 2007, Auran Development, the company behind Fury, went into voluntary administration, having focused and spent heavily on development of the new game which flopped, squandering the ongoing cash flow from their Trainz franchise,[9][10][11][12] despite the staggered releases of Trainz Classics, Trainz Classics 2 and 3 – all versions focused on regionally specific routes partnered with organizations that had offered the route and asset content as payware, added a demo driver-only version Trainz Driver as well as releases specifically aimed to grow the international clientele (Trainz 2007 and Trainz 2008, French and Eastern European languages releases). The majority of staff was laid off.

A new legal entity, Auran Games, now emerged in the reorganization as the interim developer of the Trainz series, and continued to operate the Trainz business under the reorganization. During this period, the active Auran web board forums disappeared for slightly over a month creating widespread user community anxieties, but was revitalized just short of five weeks later and the Trainz franchise continued under Auran Games with a development team of just three individuals working on the next major Trainz release with its many user-demanded improvements, Trainz 2009: World Builder edition.

New investors

Soon after the rump company emerged from bankruptcy Tony Hilliam, a Trainz devotee, offered additional capital, and the next year Auran Games became a subsidiary of N3V Games (previously known as N3VRF41L), co-founded by Graham Edelsten and Tony Hilliam in 2005,[1] and Edelsten was the remaining founder at Auran[2] while Tony Hilliam, a long time railfan had participated in the Trains 0.9 beta testing in 2000, and was an active and well known figure on the Auran web board forums, and user of the Trainz simulators. Hilliam injected much needed operating cash, rehired the sole available programmer from the Trainz beta team, Chris Bergmann as lead programmer,[13] hired additional staff[14] and began once again to develop and improve the Trainz franchise with a new team of developers continuing work on what became Trainz 2009: World Builder Edition.

New websites, new directions

On 24 October 2008[15] the new team including Hilliam began TrainzOnline,[15] a wiki dedicated to Trainz technology; the new software featured a built-in web browser to assist Trainz users, in place of publishing separate PDF manuals for each release. This was in part an attempt to re-engage the formerly hyper-active Trainz user community assistance in tutorials for new users, but as of July 2013, the only user written tutorial content was on the advanced topics of content creation (3D modeling techniques). Tony Hilliam himself authored most of the scant new user tutorial pages.

MMORPG and Trainz interactive

On 6 October 2010, N3V and Frogster (de) Pacific began operating a Brisbane-based server for the Runes of Magic MMORPG developed by Runewaker Entertainment. In 2011, Trainz 2010-SP3 was released incorporating a new interactive web play between multiple-users, a move to increased DRM spurred by software piracy, and with that service pack, the first version of Trainz where assets may not be convertible (back-fixed for) older versions. The release is the first fully exploiting modern graphics cards and multi-core microprocessor desktop computers, which has been further extended in the Trainz 2012 release (April 2011).

Simulator Central

By mid-2011, N3V began offering payware add-on assets for Trainz developed by its third-party partners, and released a number of smaller game style simple simulations. Late in 2012, they renamed their online store to Simulator Central and began marketing a whole catalog of simulation software titles, ranging from farming and zoo management simulations, taxi driving-to-become a fleet operator, and warfare simulations including naval battles.[16] In 2012, the site began offering Trainz on smartphones and tablets, both under the iMac OS and Android technologies. By July 2013, their web store categories list nearly 200 titles, mostly for download, for Windows, Mac and boxed set DVD platforms (sic).[16]

Games developed

Games published

References

External links

  • N3V Games website
  • Auran brand website
  • Simulator Central
  • Queensland Games
  • List of developed and published games (as Auran)
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