Chris Roberts built worlds for games such as Wing Commander at Electronic Arts’ Origin at the dawn of 3D games a couple of decades ago.
Those games were technologically limited, but they still inspired the imagination. Now Roberts is now head of his own company, Roberts Space Industries, and he’s contemplating how to use much more computing power to run the upcoming Star Citizen and other games of the future. He spoke about this challenge with Rich Hilleman, director of PMT at Amazon Game Studios and former chief creative director at EA.
They talked at our GamesBeat Summit 2017 event about “Using infinite computing power to create a universe of endless possibilities.” In Roberts’ case, the budget isn’t as big a limitation as it was in the past. Roberts has raised a massive amount of money — $148 million to date — via crowdfunding campaigns.
“In the old days, we created the worlds by a lot of smoke and mirrors,” Roberts said. “In today’s world, you don’t have to do as much of that. You can create a simulated environment, and that will allow players to do what they want to do. It feels a lot more empowering for them and their visceral and emotional connection to the game.”
“That’s my dream,” Roberts added. “I want to live in this world and time.”
I’m looking forward to Star Citizen. Back in 1990, I played Wing Commander for 12 hours at a time with my PC and joystick. When my arm got too tired, I switch to playing with the left hand.
Roberts is using Amazon’s Lumberyard game engine to build Star Citizen as well as the related Squadron 42 title.