Distributed Computing has done some great things for science and technology: it is used to predict climate change, work on aerospace engineering problems, code genomes, and many other very complex processes. energy intensive tasks.

Now a new company, Improbable, is exploring the possibilities of this technology for the gaming world with distributed, dynamic, constantly updated virtual worlds, and it could change the way we play games.

Worlds that exist when you’re gone

In most video games, when you turn off the game, the world freezes — nothing happens because you can’t simulate it — the beats are just stored in memory. Often the game will even discard any of your changes and revert back to its original state — think of an MMO with NPCs repeating the same conversation over and over again.

But some games go beyond that and use a game world that continues to evolve even when no one is around. Games of this type result in an extremely immersive environment, as there are new things to see, explore, and interact with every time you log in. EVE Online , second life , Star Citizen and The Crew do bet on a constant game in the world.

While many games are aimed just for a while, persistent world games tend to focus on bringing players into the game’s universe and making it feel like they’re actually part of that universe. Building a world with deep and complex causality would go a long way to helping them feel alive — and greatly expanding the possibilities of gameplay.

To create these worlds, hundreds or thousands of computers around the world must interact 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep the universe running. That’s what Incredible is trying to turn on.

What is different from Incredible?

So if these games that have been around for years have these complex dynamic worlds, what’s so exciting about that incredible start to the game? The answer is simple: Incredible wants to make all this complexity simple. They want to use new technologies to make this depth the standard — something that can be easily integrated into any game. To achieve this, they learn from the difficulties faced by previous distributed virtual world mechanisms.

In an interview Wired Mark Ferlatte, longtime warden second life noted that the architecture underlying second life, can overload some machines, slowing down the network and not taking full advantage of distributed computing.

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The new Improbable technology is designed to handle many internal tasks on behalf of developers, automatically shifting compute and bandwidth to prevent overloading any part of the system. From the developer’s side, they don’t have to think about it. They can just build these rich, complex, detailed worlds and let the software work out the details.

Of course, this is not a small task; distributed computing is hard, persistent world games are hard, and creating a kind of blueprint that will work for different designers to build on their games and deploy them quickly is a stupendous task.

Incredibly acknowledges the complexity of this goal, but a recent $20 million investment from top venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz indicates that some smart people think it’s possible. Not only possible, but very, very profitable. And if «Incredible» does… yep, «incredible» and manages to do it, it’s no wonder the technology has taken off like a rocket. If it’s easy to build a huge, sprawling, permanent world for any game, it’s easy to get up to speed.

Going beyond games

Interestingly, while this technology could be the future of gaming, it could also play a significant role in the types of distributed computing projects discussed earlier. If the Improbable architecture can be used to quickly deploy distributed systems for scientists as well as game designers, we could see a big increase in this type of computing projects.

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It can even be assumed that such systems could be used for a wide range of other projects; things like student research, design, artificial intelligence. , , the possibilities are really only limited by our ambitions. If we can use one supercomputer to simulate part of the brain, imagine what we can do with the constant communication between thousands of computers working on the same project.

Borders disappear

As the computing power available to game designers increases, the worlds in which we spend our time will become larger, more complex, and even more unpredictable. because they grow without our constant participation. In short, they will become more like the real world. After all, it was the idea second life .

With a more efficient, more efficient architecture, there’s no telling what these virtual worlds will start to look like. This is a very exciting thought for the gaming industry!

Do you play persistent games? Do you think games that are more challenging, advanced, and exciting will appeal to you? Are you afraid that the technology of the Incredible will become sentient and take over the world? Share your thoughts below!

Image Credit: jijomathaiddesigners via Shutterstock.com.

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