Gamescom was full of virtual reality (VR) videogames and experiences, but one of the most impressive was Cloudgine. They showed VRFocus a live broadcast from Edinburgh to Cologne via Twitch from Cloudgine’s VR videogame They Came from Space. VRFocus spoke to David Jones, Co-founder of Cloudgine about how they started, how They Came from Space came to exist and what they’re looking to do next.
Jones tells VRFocus that several members of Cloudgine had worked together on online games with Realtime Worlds on games such as the original Crackdown and APB. Cloudgine have been in development for three years and are now a team of 22 members strong. This Edinburgh company focuses on an impressive real-time physics solution to take the processing demand away from the local system by hosting them on an online cloud server instead. Cloudgine would therefore give developers compute power and give them the ability to build the games they really want. The best way to demonstrate this is by creating a dynamic environment that is fully destructible. Jones said, “For me, for games for a long time, they’ve been set in a very static environments. So destruction is a great first use of technology, which shows how dynamic the environments can be.”
Learning from their experiences of online games, they put together a gamejam where They Came from Space was born to demonstrate Cloudgines capabilities. They Came from Space is a multiplayer-only title where two VR players play the alien Overseers and are accompanied by four non-VR, PC players each. This means its cross-platform for players on a HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or non-VR gamers on PC. In They Came from Space two teams battle one another for the mining rights of Earth and try to destroy as much of a fictional city as possible. The soul purpose of the videogame was to show how Cloudgine could manage the big demands of VR and allow for 90 frames per second gameplay during online networked gameplay, with Cloudgine taking on the heavy physics on back end.
VRFocus already discussed the potential benefit VR companies can have from implementing a cloud engine when building a VR game. Jones said that everything you destroy in-game stays there as the objects aren’t forgotten when on the cloud. This takes a step away from traditional non-cloud gaming where a player turns around after destroying an object and finds it’s gone missing for performance reasons. In They Came from Space you will find more than 100,000 dynamic objects that are real-time and stay fully persistent. They Came from Space is also cloud agnostic. This means you do not need a specific cloud account to run the videogame. In the demo of They Came from Space, Cloudgine showcased two VR players and eight PC gamers playing in Edinburgh, however Jones says the game could have unlimited players on the server suggesting you could have 100 drones or wingmen if you wanted. Cloudgine are still working on new powers for the alien Overseer as well as the balance of gameplay when more players are introduced. The feedback so far has been fantastic says Jones, but they’re still in early stages and want to work on addressing the feedback they’ve received first.
On top of creating a powerful cloud engine for VR, the Cloudgine team have also managed to put together an in-game streaming feature for Twitch. Jones explains that they saw how difficult it was for gamers to stream their VR experiences with their fans online, especially their full body gestures such as head movements. So Cloudgine added a cloud GPU that would allow players to have complete control of a personal selfie camera, which they could control in-game. This would allow players to talk to their audience as well as other PC players in-game. To understand how the player interacts with the camera, VRFocus discussed this with an exclusive video in a previous article here . For those reading this article and seeing the incredible potential for a selfie camera in-game, Jones does mention in the interview that Cloudgine are looking to sell this package to gaming streamers both in and our of VR.
To find out more watch the video below.