EA Announces New AI-Powered, Cloud-Native Gaming Tech

Electronic Arts unveiled Project Atlas, its “cloud-native gaming” technology, via a Medium blog post by chief technology officer Ken Moss. Although he did not say when it would be fully deployed and functional, Moss described Project Atlas as designed to “harness the massive power of cloud computing and artificial intelligence and putting it into the hands of game makers in a powerful, easy to use, one-stop experience.” The game engine combines rendering, game logic, physics, animation, audio, and more.

VentureBeat reports that the game engine provides “secure player identity and authentication, player matchmaking and achievements, and social communications with friends …  all supported by common data management and game and service hosting.”

The platform will combine EA’s Frostbite Engine, which can handle demanding games like the upcoming “Anthem,” and provides more lifelike environments. Moss noted that, “when we talk about cloud gaming, we’re referring to a game that resides on an EA server rather than on the gamer’s PC or mobile device.”

“The gamer enters the game by installing a thin client that can access EA’s servers where the games are running,” he explained. “We’ve been developing software that utilizes the cloud to remotely process and stream blockbuster, multiplayer HD games with the lowest possible latency, and also to unlock even more possibilities for dynamic social and cross-platform play. Beyond that, we’re investing in cloud gaming to enable deeper personalization …  blurring the lines between the discrete domains of game engines and game services.”

He added that “the merging of these two formerly distinct domains, along with the paradigm of cloud gaming … is a key driver of the next-generation unified platform from EA.”

Moss noted that improved AI is “enabling deep personalization of in-game agents on a large scale … so non-player characters (NPC) will add to the realism, rather than ruin it”

“Imagine a world where a huge and talented virtual orchestra is behind every game, and new and unique scores get written depending on the current scene you are playing,” he said. “Each environment may have its own musical motif, which gets merged with the motifs of enemies or allies who may be present … I can’t wait to see what amazing studios like BioWare do when the legendary story tellers at their studio are paired with the power of AI to create even richer, unique, and personalized stories for the world at large.”

Cloud distribution of engine services will “free the game engine from the processing constraints of any single computing device, bringing more possibilities for deep personalization,” said Moss. “A world full of user generated content will be possible with the growing ubiquity of cloud computing.” For example, EA passes “high-quality Lidar data about real mountain ranges” through a deep neural network to offer AI-assisted terrain generation to game designers. In future games, “thousands of players will be able to compete on a single map that is hundreds of thousand of kilometers wide.”