Improbable – The Future For Gaming
Improbable’s technology solves two key problems. The first is getting lots of players interacting in the same world in a truly scalable way. This has been achieved through the creation of a distributed system that can move seamlessly between servers, borrowing techniques from other industries where latency is key, including banking (in fact, Narula says that Improbable is responsible for “rehabilitating bankers”) and telecommunications — specifically, the way that mobile phones stay connected even when users move between cell towers. This means that game play is no longer limited by what can be achieved on one engine or a single server.
The second problem is how to model thousands of entities in the world efficiently, and this has been achieved by separating the graphics from the simulation. The simulation continues even when players are not around — you can view it using a web browser instead of a game engine should you so wish. Crucially, Improbable’s technology — developed in programming language Scala — plugs into existing game engines, including Unity, CryEngine and Unreal. …
…With this approach, Improbable promises to allow for online games in huge, living breathing worlds where every action has a universal consequence. An explosion on one side of the world caused by one player may mean that a shipping container falls out of the sky in another player’s game. A non-player character who gets knocked over in the street by a player won’t “forget” it seconds later — he will remain angry, and may tell his friends to avoid the player too. A dragon that one player slaughters won’t reappear minutes later to be killed by another. “This is the sort of emergent gameplay that comes from fully responsive, intelligent worlds. The idea that the reactions to what you are doing are intelligent and they feel intelligent. It just makes sense,” says Button-Brown. Wired
I came across this article via reddit’s link to DayZ creator Dean Hall’s post about new game design. I want to highlight two things here. First, Dean Hall is now working with Improbable on his next game. Second, Improbable’s technology plugs into Unreal and CryEngine. Just stop and think about the implications of that. Oh, the possibilities!
The first game to use Improbable technology is Worlds Adrift, a collaboration between Improbable and Bossa Studios, embedded below – very lack luster, but it is the networking code behind the graphics that has me excited.
Omake: Gabe “Cookin’ Up Somethin’ Special” Newell made some big announcements this week, including that of Source 2 (apparently to be very community user-friendly), SteamLink (streaming PC games onto your TV – a much wiser solution to the vaporous “SteamBox”), the finalized Steam Controller, and Steam Lighthouse (VR calibrating equipment). VentureBeat.