These days there seems to be almost constant chatter about games engines. It seems more and more people spend time talking about the stuff that makes the games work, maybe giving that as much, if not more, attention than the nice graphics or the amazing net code. While this is the case now, it was not always the case, and small players and their engines did not have the success they now seem to be enjoying. The perfect example of this is Monolith, makes of the Lithtech engine. The engine has almost made the company its fortune and also lost the company a fortune on more than one occasion.
We first saw Blood, an excellent PC first person shooter, and then for the next 3 years we have seen the odd sub-standard title come and go, but it has been a while since a true AAA title has had a monolith sticker on its box. Both Shogo: Mobile Armor Division and Blood 2 gathered more dust then acclaim. The financial outlook was not rosy, and it continued with the development of its Lithtech engine.
The story of the Monolith is more than interesting, and Happy Puppy have an good article about the ups and downs of a high profile development company.