RuneScape developer Jagex today announced a partnership with Improbable, makers of the SpatialOS, for the creation of “future development projects” and “new online experiences.”
What is SpatialOS? It’s a cloud-based “computation platform that allows developers to exceed the power of a single game engine or server.” The bullet points in the description we received in the press release say (with our emphasis):
SpatialOS lets a developer exceed the limits of a single server or game engine. It allows for a swarm of hundreds of game engines, running in the cloud, to cooperate together to simulate a world much larger, richer, and with more players than any single one could.
Because SpatialOS manages the state of the world, every object in the world can persist indefinitely, removing the traditional constraints of game engines. Game worlds can now have a meaningful history, and players can leave a lasting impression. An item dropped on the ground can persist for years.
Rather than having to build server infrastructure, a developer can deploy their project to the SpatialOS Platform with a handful of CLI commands, minutes after starting it, and begin sharing with others. This allows for an online game world to be built and iterated rapidly in the presence of players.
A game developer can spend their time on what they want to do: creating and growing their game world and its story, rather than building and maintaining server infrastructure. Developers can create massive, ambitious games with far smaller teams.
It all sounds pretty cool, allowing for a level of persistence and scale in online worlds that’s rarely been seen, or even attempted; Worlds Adrift is one new MMO that’s already using the tech. And based on the words “new” and “future” included in the news, we’re guessing Jagex isn’t planning to just use this on a new version of RuneScape.
Check out the SpatialOS site for yourself if you want to come up with your own wild speculations.