COBRA Development Technology & Tools
Our development pipeline includes both industry standard packages and our own state-of-the-art in-house COBRA tools and technology.
COBRA has been carefully planned, developed and evolved since 1988.
We implement our own cutting-edge techniques and tools, and supplement this with licensed middleware for 'commodity' uses as appropriate.
This offers a stimulating development environment that allows us to maximise the performance we extract from hardware platforms and fully leverage the efforts and talents of our people.
Cobra allows us to deliver industry-leading gameplay innovations and efficient multi-platform development.
All of Frontier’s games are developed using our Cobra proprietary cross-platform technology, allowing code and resources developed on PC to be compiled and run on XBox360, PS3, iOS, Nintendo WiiU etc. (with new platforms in development), whilst offering the ability flexibly to take advantage of the different platforms’ capabilities (e.g. different artwork resolutions, shaders etc.).
This ‘Cobra’ platform represents the current state of an ongoing investment that Frontier has made in its proprietary engine technology and development tools since 1988.
The current engine is the fourth generation of our cross-platform technology. The engine provides a common platform-neutral core API and resource pipeline that isolates both the game code and resources from the underlying hardware, whilst maximising use of the multi-processor, multi-threaded environment.
This engine allows the game teams to develop and debug their games primarily on PC, without the need to concern themselves with the technical details of the individual target platforms unless necessary. It also makes for clean, structured code, where the game logic only needs one set of verification at the beta stage of the project – greatly reducing the amount of testing time required for additional platform versions of a game.
We also have a sophisticated tools framework which enables rapid development of powerful tools. These tools offer the ability to view, tweak and review changes to resources of all types in game on the target platform(s), in a live game session that is running on that platform, without the intervention of a programmer.
Our tools philosophy is to design aids to maximise the impact of skilled people on games development and remove barriers to getting the results of their work in-game and iterated, so that work can be as polished as possible.
Most recently, we have added Cloud-based analytic capability to Cobra, whereby Frontier’s code running on commodity servers interacts with the game to provide data-driven game rules and information gathering. This facilitates full play through tracking, sophisticated A-B tests, player segmentation and friends’ lists as well as the usual leader-board and achievement functionality.