In a lengthy and somewhat out-of-nowhere post on blog site Medium today, Electronic Arts chief technology officer Ken Moss quietly revealed Project Atlas, an integrated workflow into a unified hub that lives in the cloud. Basically, EA wants to put all the tools in a toolbox rather than people just walking around with them bunched up in their hands.
The blog post is long – by Medium’s estimation, a 15-minute read – and goes into a lot of details, but a good summary might sound like this: there are numerous technologies that go into the creation of games, from AI to online services to engines like Frostbite, but they’re not always designed to work together from the jump. Moss explains that EA is hoping to make these one platform where developers don’t have to spend time trying to figure out how different pieces from different jigsaw puzzles fit.
This idea isn’t unique to EA and has been tried before. Where EA hopes to iterate, though, is by doubling down on the cloud aspect of the project, lending extra heft wherever it’s needed by leveraging online servers. This should sound similar to gaming fans who observed Microsoft making similar declarations with internal software, though EA seems to be pursuing it quite a bit more doggedly.
“With Project Atlas, which is cloud native, we’ll have the ability to break from the limitations of individual systems,” Moss writes. “Previously, any simulation or rendering of in-game action were either limited to the processing performance of the player’s console or PC, or to a single server that interacted with your system. By harnessing the power of the cloud, players can tap into a network of many servers, dedicated to computing complex tasks, working in tandem with their own devices, to deliver things like hyper-realistic destruction within new HD games, that is virtually indistinguishable from real life — we’re working to deploy that level of gaming immersion on every device.”
It’s unknown exactly how far EA plans to take it, but the blog post ends with a call to action for other developers to partner with or even join EA to explore the technology. If it works as well as Moss’ prose seems to hope it will, then it will definitely make creating games on a larger scale considerably easier. Time will tell.