Ubisoft is currently synonymous with open-world games. While the developer's take on the formula may feel saturated, things are currently in the works behind the scenes to revitalize the concept. Ubisoft Scalar is a developer tool that uses cloud based technology and could be used to potentially build massive open worlds "populated with an unlimited number of players". The project has been in the works since 2017 at Ubisoft's Stockholm studio.
In a bid to explain how Ubisoft Scalar's cloud based technology changes things, product director Per-Olof Romell explained, "Over time game developers have become really good at hiding and bypassing these limitations [specifications of the hardware] so the player doesn’t see them; that’s our expertise. What Ubisoft Scalar allows us to do is to simply get rid of those constraints."
"We’ve been so used to working within those boundaries, that now we need to relearn and rethink how we make games, and ask ourselves what we actually want, and how we get there. This changes everything."
When it comes to cloud technology in gaming, most people associate it with game streaming. However, Scalar is based on cloud computing, which Rommel as explained, is quite different from the term we've heard about so often. "Cloud streaming is a distribution model; it improves people’s access to games, but it doesn’t change, in essence, what games are, or the quality of them. The game is still being run on a single-processing machine placed remotely and then streamed via the cloud to your screen," he said.
"Cloud computing – what Ubisoft Scalar enables – means the processing power for a game isn’t tied to a single machine, but a decentralized computation system. The processing is taking place in the cloud. This eliminates the limits of local hardware for players, improves the quality of games, and opens up new possibilities for game developers."
So what does all this result in? Rommel explained that this technology will enable developers to build bigger worlds, which can be populated by a massive number of players. This is all still pretty vague, but from the sound of things, it won't be surprising if Ubisoft soon announces an MMO based on the Scalar technology.
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