Ubisoft has unveiled Ubisoft Scalar, a cloud-native technology that the company says will change the way games are made and experienced.
The announcement was made ahead of the Games Developer's Conference (GDC). Ubisoft Stockholm spearheads the technology in collaboration with Ubisoft Massive, Ubisoft Redlynx, Bucharest and Kyiv. The Ubisoft Scalar team looks to establish a new game development framework focused on creating the ideal game design and experience rather than working around traditional production constraints.
"Ubisoft Scalar unlocks the power and flexibility of cloud computing for Ubisoft's game engines, the software used for creating games," says Ubisoft.
"This reduces dependency on a player's hardware and provides new possibilities for game development and player experience. As a platform-agnostic cutting-edge technology, Ubisoft Scalar brings developers and players the inherent freedom and benefits of a cloud-native experience to power tomorrow's games."
Ubisoft Scalar is built on microservice architecture and places each component and system of traditional game engines independently in the cloud (AI, audio, physics), moving from today's closed, single-processor systems to a distributed model across a potentially unlimited number of machines. Games using this technology can access a virtually infinite amount of computing power and potentially run anything from vast virtual worlds to deep simulations and environments.
"With scalability as a core design decision, one of Ubisoft Scalar's key differentiator lies in its on-demand philosophy," says Ubisoft Stockholm technical director, Christian Holmqvist.
"The technology dynamically starts and stops services. It is optimised based on players' and developers' activities to only use required computing power in real-time. This optimisation extends to intensive compute tasks cached and distributed globally, removing the need to recompute what has been computed already."
The flexibility of cloud computing also enables developers to update and improve one service without impacting others or even add new features to a game without interrupting play sessions, meaning no patch to download and no downtime for players.
"This is a major moment in our careers as game developers," says Holmqvist. "We feel that same inspiration and freedom that we did when we first started using our home computers as teenagers, that feeling that you can do anything by fully tapping into the power of the cloud, for the first time in gaming."
Removing historical frictions between creativity and technology, Ubisoft Scalar lets creators focus on game design to offer new gaming experiences to players. Natively cross-platform and scalable, it allows them to gather by the millions in a singular, shared virtual environment for new types of games and massively social experiences. With cloud-accelerated systems, Ubisoft says game worlds also reach a new level of persistency, where players' actions can immediately impact their environment.
Ubisoft Scalar will progressively be made available to all Ubisoft studios whose future projects require cloud capabilities. As home to the technology, Ubisoft Stockholm is actively working on a new IP. More information about this project will be revealed at a later date.
A foundational technology, Ubisoft Scalar stems from the recently created Production Technology department, a transversal group of more than 500 tech experts to develop tools and technologies that help Ubisoft game creators.
"Ubisoft builds on 35 years of continued investment in R-D and proprietary technologies because technological independence is a critical differentiator," says Ubisoft vice president of Production Technology, Guillemette Picard.
"Ubisoft Scalar is in line with that spirit, enhancing our creativity and our unique co-development model with new, seamless ways to collaborate globally. It marks a step forward and an exciting milestone for the gaming community."