Chronicles of Elyria’s latest dev blog is out, and it’s more than just a recap of 2017 and look ahead to 2018, although it has that too: It makes the announcement that the game will no longer be utilizing SpatialOS.
“In January of 2017 we began the long process of taking what was mostly an offline, single-player game – designed primarily to validate user experience and gameplay feel – and turn it into a MEOW [Multiplayer Evolving Online World],” says Soulbound Studios. That meant integration with SpatialOS and Unreal Engine 4. But as development progressed, Soulbound explains, it ran into game elements (non spatial systems) that didn’t quite fit the architecture. What’s more, Soulbound argues, the studio was concerned that the game’s large size would make SpatialOS too expensive for it (and therefore for players) long-term.
“Of course, we brought our concerns to Improbable, and over the last eight months they’ve done a fantastic job working with us to try and bring the price down. Unfortunately, it remains an expensive solution for us. To make sure we were prepared, we began looking for alternative technology that could fill any gaps left behind if we were unable to use SpatialOS for any reason.”
Ultimately, the studio has dropped SpatialOS entirely “and is entirely built in the Soulborn Engine.”
“Their technology is still an extremely powerful solution for virtually all distributed simulations out there,” Elyria’s Jeromy “Caspian” Walsh concludes. “But for our particular technology choices and game mechanics, it just wasn’t the ideal solution.”
SpatialOS is billed by Google-partnered company Improbable as a “distributed computing platform for building large virtual worlds for gaming,” which made waves last year by picking up MMORPG veteran Bill Roper and half a billion dollars in venture capital from Japanese telecom SoftBank. The platform is being used for multiple MMOs and online games currently in production, including Worlds Adrift, Seed, Identity, Fractured, and the secret thing Jagex is building. Improbable CEO Herman Narula captured the attention of MMO players last year as well when he declared in an interview that the genre has suffered a “nuclear winter.”
“I want the industry to believe in online games again,” he wrote. “We went through a bit of a nuclear winter, with MMOs in particular, and part of that was technological, part of that was gameplay and part of that was consumer expectation. But now the time is right to revitalise the notion of worlds where actions can be meaningful and where we can create these experiences that we’ve dreamed of. I am hoping that with us having this cash and having this stability, it’s going to make people excited about investing in that.”