Cloud gaming is growing and EA is jumping on board with Project Atlas. For those who don’t know, cloud gaming refers to games stored on a company server rather than a local storage like a console. Players access the game by installing a client program that can access the server where the games are running.
Brace Yourselves, Project Atlas Is Coming
If you’re a Nintendo Switch owner like me, you are already aware that companies like Ubisoft and Capcom are utilizing cloud gaming in Japan for games like Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and Resident Evil 7. It seems EA is ready to bring cloud gaming technology to the West. EA Chief Technology Officer, Ken Moss, stated that Project Atlas is currently being worked on. Backed by over 1,000 EA employees, Project Atlas should provide EA’s games and services from the cloud.
Project Atlas is going to work like a multi-layer cake. Your first layer is the game’s engine which handle things you’d expect a game engine to do. this means lighting, animations, audio, physics, rendering, etc. On top of that is a layer of security which will do things like authentication and matchmaking. Next, will be achievements and social media services (Facebook, Twitter, etc) and streaming options. The frosting on this cloud gaming cake is game and service hosting.
EA’s goal is to take the Frostbite Engine (used in games like Madden, FIFA, Battlefield and Anthem) and integrate it into Project Atlas. This will take the game and other game attributes like AI into a cloud optimized development platform.
Moss believes that this AI will be able to come up with massive, sprawling open worlds that human artists wouldn’t be able to create and certainly wouldn’t be able to keep up with over patches and updates.
“With Project Atlas, we are starting to put the power of AI in the creative’s hands,” he said. “In one example, we are using high-quality LIDAR data about real mountain ranges, passing that data through a deep neural network trained to create terrain-building algorithms, and then creating an algorithm which will be available within the platform’s development toolbox. With this AI-assisted terrain generation, designers will within seconds generate not just a single mountain, but a series of mountains and all the surrounding environment with the realism of the real-world.”
EA is hoping that Project Atlas will allow them to break the mold of gaming and remove current limitations of game systems. This could allow for an almost limitless world where thousands of players compete on a single map. Moss mentioned that he wants Project Atlas to be secure and make sure that user privacy is handled correctly.
“Right now some of these capabilities exist separately, but are too hard to use, and have to be manually connected and configured as each new capability emerges. That creates a huge set of opportunities,” Moss said. “The opportunity cost can be seen in creative discovery, quality of games, and innovation. This hits especially close to home for smaller and indie developers where human capital is finite. If you’re investing time and effort in one aspect of development, you’re taking away from something else.”
It’s important to note that Moss did not reveal a release date for Project Atlas as the project is still in development. The idea of playing a 22-vs-22 Madden title sounds pretty cool and it seems that Project Atlas would be the way to do it.
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