Anvil (Scimitar)

Anvil is a 3D game engine developed in 2007 by Ubisoft Montreal game developers. It was known as Scimitar until 2009.

For Anvil Game Engine ( Scimitar), modeling for characters is done in ZBrush which is a  digital sculpting tool that combines 3D/2.5D modeling, texturing and painting. The environment of the game is designed 3D Max which is 3D modeling and rendering software for design visualization, games, and animation.

The game engine uses HumanIK Autodesk middleware for the correct placement of the character’s body parts like hands and feet while pushing and climbing animations at run-time.


Updated version of the Anvil (Scimitar) was released in 2012. It was specifically released for Assassin’s Creed III and IV games. It introduced number of new enhancements to the game engine.

For example it introduced weather system in the game and provided weather settings as well as automatic cycling mode. Game renderer was completely re-written for higher efficiency and support for additional post-processing techniques. It also added new water technology and dynamic sandbox environment.

Most of the engine & tools used for Assassin’s Creed were built from scratch. We have reused some internal common libraries (sound, menus, etc.) and some external middlewares (physics, IK), but the entire pipeline was built from the ground up with next-gen architectures and reusability in mind

Claude Langlais, a technical director at Ubisoft

AnvilNext 2.0

AnvilNext 2.0 was released in 2014 for Assassin’s Creed Unity game. The game was quite popular for its stunning visuals, improved game and mission design, and options to customize the game. In addition, it improved game’s multiplayer format drastically.

Game development started shortly after the completion of 2010’s Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.

The game is written in a combination of C++ and C#, totaling an estimated 15.5 million lines of code of the former, and five million of the latter.

CppCon 2014: Nicolas Fleury “C++ in Huge AAA Games”

Features and Specifications

  • Enhanced draw distance i.e. maximum distance of objects in a three-dimensional scene.
  • A full day and night cycle in the Game.
  • Vegetation technology i.e. virtual experience of nature.
  • Improved lighting.
  • Better reflection and special effects.
  • New clothing system.
  • Enhanced Artificial Intelligence (AI).
  • Non-playable Character (NPC) navigation system i.e. character in game controlled by algorithms.
  • Platform Support: Windows, PS 3, PS Vita,  PS 4,  Xbox 360, Wii U, Xbox One.

Games Developed using Anvil

Useful Resources

Here's our list of top five game programming books you should read.

Game Engine Black Book: DOOM: v1.1

The book Game Engine Black Book: DOOM: v1.1 is just a masterpiece from Fabien Sanglard as it describes not only the details of how the code works, but also some interesting history and trivia. The description of hardware capabilities, audio/video interfaces, and design decisions behind them is quite interesting.

If you're not a programmer the book is still interesting - it explains lots of neat tricks, plenty of photos, quotes, and backstory about how the game was developed.

Game Programming Patterns

With over 85% 5-start reviews on Amazon, readers agree that Robert Nystrom's Game Programming Patterns is a must have for any software developer. It has a crystal clear look at how to be the benevolent architect of a very complicated software/game without getting lost.

The author presents the architecture of a game in an easy to understand matter not from an academic perspective but from experience. The book contains code examples written in C++, well organised and written so cleanly that it feels like pseudo-code.

Beginning C++ Through Game Programming

With Beginning C++ Through Game Programming, Michael Dawson builds your knowledge from the ground up. This book not only is easy to understand and teaches well, but it is focused on the very subject to learn C++ for game programming.

When it comes to game programming, C++ is the name of the game.

Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made

This is highly recommend book for anyone who likes history of videos games, or just likes good stories. Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made captures the complexity of game development that anyone can pick up and enjoy.

If you have even a passing interest in gaming be sure to pick this one up. (reader's comment)

Foundations of Game Engine Development - Volumes 1, 2

The volume 1 of the book discusses the mathematics needed by engineers who work on games or other virtual simulations. The volume 2 explores the vast subject of real-time rendering in modern game engines.

The book is packed with great C++ code snippets and examples. You have tried-and-true methods that can be incorporated into any game engine and source code is not specific to any API or framework.