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Old 02-09-2008, 04:28 AM   #2
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There is alot more to it, but essentially an engine is the core framework handling the low level components.

For example:

A graphics engine might implement the neccessary low level mathematics, manage the threads / game loop, model & shader i/o, handle the camera, use ray tracing to create good lighting, etc. This then provides an interface through which a game programmer may easily load a model to the screen.

Technologies such as Ogre, Unreal, and loosely XNA, are game engines.
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