When working on a project as complex as Mavericks, and when using technology as cutting edge as that of SpatialOS, it pays to have a solid backbone running through the whole project. Which is why Automaton opted to go with the critically-lauded CRYENGINE as the system powering its game of epic battle royales.
The team at Automaton is no stranger to CRYENGINE, of course, utilising the robust, powerful tech to create Deceit, the studio's tech demo-turned unique asymmetrical multiplayer first-person horror title. Once bedded in with Crytek's tools, it was a no-brainer for Automaton to continue the relationship and license CRYENGINE for Mavericks.
"Mavericks is set in a huge, photo-real, and highly dynamic environment and CRYENGINE's high-performance rendering capabilities are just one of the aspects that make it the perfect engine for realizing the project," said James Thompson of Automaton at the time the licensing was announced, "We've integrated SpatialOS into CRYENGINE, and it's that combination at the heart of achieving an incredibly high number of concurrent players in a high-fidelity environment.
"We have enjoyed a very positive partnership with Crytek over the last year as our team has been building the incredible technology and game world that Mavericks will be showcasing."
But what about the other side of the coin? What does Crytek think of its engine being used alongside SpatialOS in a project as hugely ambitious as Mavericks? Spoiler: they're very happy with the whole situation.
"From day one Crytek has been directly collaborating with Automaton to bring both Mavericks and Automaton's previous game, Deceit, to life, and our teams have learned a lot from each other during the collaboration. Automaton's feedback has influenced CRYENGINE workflows and tools on many levels," explained Daniel Garcia Prieto, CRYENGINE business development manager.
"Automaton engineers have been on site at Crytek HQ in Frankfurt several times to hold workshops and collaborate directly with the CRYENGINE team to code features needed for Mavericks," he continued, "The Automaton team has impacted many aspects of the engine, including our FBX importer and pipeline. Whenever Automaton had questions about best practices using CRYENGINE, we've done a video conference call with both teams to ensure a smooth knowledge transfer. They have also helped to write documentation for our users on how to port a Unity 3D project to CRYENGINE using Deceit as a use case.
"We are proud of what Automaton has achieved with CRYENGINE and will continue to support them as much as we can to ensure their project is successful."
As well as the obvious positive visual impacts CRYENGINE has on Mavericks, there are a host of less-obvious features the game takes advantage of too. With CRYENGINE offering a high-performing rendering engine with real-time dynamic lighting, Mavericks can take advantage of its dynamic systems. "For example," Garcia said, "Dynamic Instancing, Imposters, VisAreas with dynamic set-up, smart set up for billboards or other distant objects on maps over 64 square kilometres."
And, of course, there's the incredible potential added into the mix through the use of SpatialOS, Improbable's distributed server technology which allows Automaton to ramp its online shooter up to unheard of levels, with up to 1,000-player matches possible. The combination of Automaton's expertise, CRYENGINE's proven ability, and SpatialOS's unique power means Mavericks will be a technical tour de force when it releases.
But don't take our word for it, as Garcia explained: "SpatialOS takes advantage of CRYENGINE's latest Entity Component System to calculate, manage, and display millions of entities in a massively multiplayer game like Mavericks: Proving Grounds is using.
"CRYENGINE delivers world-class rendering and dynamic, real-time lighting that is still unmatched today, and SpatialOS is the first network layer that can capitalize on this with ECS, which is what SpatialOS is built upon."
The future of the battle royale is very bright indeed.