Science fiction teases developers with the type of tools they would long to get their hands on – Star Trek’s Holodeck being the prime example – but now a London-based start-up claims it has built something that will make a popular fictional device a reality. Sort of.
Ready Player One, the hit sci-fi novel by Ernest Cline, revolves around the OASIS: a virtual reality platform that creates limitless worlds by drawing on the processing power of every computre connected to it.
"That is literally what we’ve built," Improbable CEO Herman Harula told Develop in an interview about his firm’s new world-building tech SpatialOS.
Announced late last year and seen at work in Bossa’s Worlds Adrift, the new operating system is designed to create larger, more populated worlds that can be accessed from any device – even virtual reality headsets.
The tech is not only used to create grander game worlds, but also able to continue these simulations even after players have logged out and remember any impact users have had on that world.
“You can take a photograph in the game world and put it into a photo frame in the hull of your ship,” Narula explained. “If that ship collapses, raining debris everywhere, that picture frame will remain there in the dirt until someone finds it.
"When you come across a campfire, signs of a battle or a corpse, it tells you something has happened here. That level of interaction is worth more than the sum of its parts; it startsto create worlds with actual meaning in them."
Narula describes SpatialOS as the dawn of "a whole new age of what’s possible", and calls for developers to "be brave and embrace it".
"You can’t just build the same type of games again," he said. "You’ve got to create something new to take advantage of this.”