This assassin's creed: Take no prisoners. The France-based video-game developer Ubisoft followed that mantra with gusto with its proprietary graphics engine Anvil. On the strength of the Anvil-powered stealth game Assassin's Creed, Ubisoft's first-half 2008 revenue jumped more than 30%. With the same engine powering Shaun White Snowboarding (November 2008) and Prince of Persia (December 2008), Ubisoft expects 2009 sales to rise 10% to $1.6 billion.

Here's how Anvil boosts game play as well as profits, as seen in Prince of Persia.

Open World: Players determine their own adventure and create non-sequential paths through the game.

Fluidity: Lifelike simulation of cloth movement, wind, gravity, and physical friction encourages deeper immersion into the virtual worlds.

Artificial Intelligence: The character Elika (with wand) is an AI sidekick, whose algorithmic makeup allows a seemingly spontaneous emotional connection to players.

HD Horsepower: Anvil's massive graphic capacity enables the representation of environments that span a score of square miles in lush detail.

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