Initial details about a brand-new high-strength 3D gaming engine have been revealed by Destineer.

The company is preparing the first two titles built to harness the new engine (which has been in development since 2002). It has joined forces with Atomic Games and Gathering of Developers to deliver two titles that use the technology: Close Combat: First to Fight, and Close Combat: Red Phoenix.

Close Combat: First to Fight is a team-based 3D shooter that's scheduled for release late this year, while Close Combat: Red Phoenix is a real-time strategy title scheduled to ship next year. Both titles are being developed with "close involvement" from the US Marines.

They will feature "next-generation" graphics enabled by the new gaming engine. Gathering will distribute both titles in the US and Europe.

Discussing the new technology last year, Destineer founder Peter Tamte told Macworld: "The new gaming engine exists to create experiences that are different to those people have experienced before."

And explained: "We are trying to accomplish this two ways – through high-end visual features, and also by architecting our engine differently than other commonly-used engines, so we can create experiences that are different than what may come out from those other engines."

Close Combat: First to Fight is set "in a modern Middle Eastern urban battleground". Players lead a four-man squad on a series of urban combat missions. The game carries a dual purpose – as a training simulation for the US Marines, and as a consumer title for Mac, Windows and Xbox.

Destineer president Peter Tamte said: "There is no guesswork on how to make the games realistic since we are developing First to Fight and Red Phoenix with significant input from Marines who, just weeks before, were being shot at in Iraq and Afghanistan."

The new 3D engine has been created "from the ground up" by Destineer. It offers what the company describes as "next-generation" features, such as natural skin lighting and specularity and volumetric shadows.

The original Close Combat series of games first appeared in 1996 and was created by Atomic Games and published by Microsoft. The series of titles won much critical acclaim.

Destineer was created in 2001 by former Bungie executive vice-president Peter Tamte and is managed today by Tamte and CEO Paul Rinde, formerly a senior vice-president of Atari.