Cloudgine has created a demo called They Came From Space to show off the quality of its cloud-gaming engine, which it designed to take advantage of cloud computing and produce massive physics-based simulations.
The game and technology are the latest creation from Dave Jones, the president of Cloudgine and the original developer of Grand Theft Auto. After a long career in design, he started Cloudgine in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2012 to develop cloud computing technology for making games. So far, studios have used the tech to create Crackdown 3 and Oculus Toybox.
They Came From Space is a “proof of concept” game for the PC, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive virtual reality headsets. As many as 10 people can play inside the demo at the same time. That’s one of the benefits of tapping the cloud, or Internet-connected data centers, for processing tasks such as physics and artificial intelligence.
“We mainly wanted to demo the services we are working on from a cloud perspective,” said Jones in an interview with GamesBeat. “The infrastructure for games has changed enormously in the last five years. Back in 2010, you had to invest in your own dedicated servers. Now you don’t.”
They Came From Space uses an art style and tone that borrows heavily from classic 1950s B-movies about alien invasions. In the demo, you can annihilate entire cities while playing a role as a massive alien.
This tech demo lets players engage in online team battles in a race to destroy cities, collect energy for the Mothership’s ultimate weapon, and obliterate the enemy’s protective dome. It has destructible and dynamic environments using cloud-powered physics. It also has streaming director cameras for VR players, giving Twitch streamers direct control of a personal camera from within the game.
Jones said that VR players have had a hard time streaming their experiences to those who don’t have VR headsets. But with Cloudgine, you can place a camera in the world and move it around, and you can stream the images you see with that as a 2D screen stream. This is one of the things that is possible by tapping into a graphics processing unit (GPU) in the cloud.
“It’s pretty neat for streamers as it gives them a controllable camera,” Jones said.
Cloudgine’s technology supports a wide range of trusted middleware solutions including Unreal Engine 4, Nvidia PhysX, Havok and cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. That makes it simpler to adopt and integrate into any project. The effect is to add a massive amount of computing power to a game. Cloudgine will show the game off next week at the Gamescom games festival in Cologne, from August 22 to August 26.
Cloudgine has 22 employees and it is self-funded.
Updated at 10:10 am Pacific 8/15 with Jones interview.