Chris Taylor, a game developer known for the titles Total Annihilation, Dungeon Siege, and Supreme Commander, announced today that he has been developing a new cloud-based gaming platform, Kanoogi, and a new real-time strategy game, Intergalactic Space Empire.
Taylor unveiled the game, which will run on any modern web browser, at the GamesBeat Summit 2019 event in Los Angeles. He said in a fireside chat with me that games running on the Kanoogi platform are specially designed and optimized to play on virtually any device that runs an updated web browser, or around two billion devices. Taylor also gave me one of his hand-made pottery bowls onstage.
Taylor left his last post at Wargaming in 2016. Then he started thinking about a new game.
“I started this adventure two years ago, and I wanted to build a game as an indie developer. I thought wouldn’t it be fun if I could run this game in a browser and everyone could play it.”
He built out a platform with built-in security and better performance in browser play. He built it on top of the Google Cloud, and he thought about how to make it available for other game developers. He wanted to prove it out by creating his own new RTS game, and that is Intergalactic Space Empire. The game will be available globally.
The game is a 2D, top-down title with fast action. If you send someone a link to your game, your friend could join you within seconds, Taylor said. Interestingly, it’s a very different approach compared to Google Stadia, which will compute the game in the cloud and send compressed video to the player.
Taylor’s platform uses processing in the end device, which makes for snappier graphics, he said. The game will feature thousands of projectiles moving all over the screen, but he said the platform won’t dwell on high-end 3D graphics.
“It’s my next RTS game, which takes place on a single galactic map and has a number of innovations,” Taylor said.
“I’m happy to say the browser compatibility is 100 percent,” Taylor said. “I don’t drop frames. I don’t get stuttering and stammering like you get in a video. I’m very happy with this architecture.”
Taylor said his mission is to deliver games, single and multiplayer, to players around the world without ever having to worry about updates or install times. Games will move from one device to another seamlessly, even allowing players to access the same game simultaneously from multiple devices. Game progress is saved automatically, as the core game runs securely in the cloud, taking no space on the player’s PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
Taylor Intergalactic Space Empire will be playable on most web-enabled devices. The game can be controlled with keyboard and mouse as well as on most touchscreen devices, breaking down barriers for the genre. Games can be played with or against other players using any combination of devices.
“Revitalizing the RTS genre has been something I have wanted to do for several years, but if I was going to do that, it had to be something really fresh, new, and perhaps a little crazy… something to really disrupt the status quo and get players excited again about what is possible in the genre”, Taylor said. “For inspiration, I went back to late 70’s vector based classics like Asteroids™, and found a look that was not only nostalgic but had a fun avant-garde visual style.”
More details on both the Kanoogi platform and Intergalactic Space Empire will be released later this year. Taylor said that his game won’t have high-end 3D graphics, but it will be a fast 2D game that will be bandwidth efficient. That means it will be a platform for strategy games, turn-based games, and slower games.
“I’m not going for big razzle dazzle, which is a shocker,” he said. “I’ve been focused on blowing people away with next-generation graphics. I’m going back to my roots. I’m saying gameplay is king. This is a platform that will allow gameplay to shine.”
Taylor has created the game engine, the platform, and the game itself on his own. But he has other helpers too. He figures it will be out within a couple of years.