Square Enix announces Project Flare, launches in next 2-3 years
Posted: 05.11.2013 11:26 by Simon Priest Comments: 0
Cloud gaming isn't really what it should be, says Square Enix's Jacob Navok, director of business development. All that's happening right now are companies just "putting a console in the data center," and streaming.

Square believe game design itself should be shifting with the Cloud, not just a shift in distribution. This is where Project Flare enters the scene, which promises "new ways of interacting with content".

Project Flare would be using virtual supercomputers to do all the rendering work, which would allow "unlimited processing potential." We've heard all this before with the Cloud.

"So up until now when we've talked about cloud gaming, we've mostly talking about streaming games," Navok said. "They weren't really cloud games to us. Gaikai, OnLive and the other companies were just putting a console in the data center. They weren't actually changing anything about it. There was a shift in the distribution model, there was a shift in the business, but there wasn't a shift in the game design. It wasn't a shift in technology."

The 'sell' of Cloud gaming was that it handled all the hard work letting a device just send and receive the game. Square want to push this further by not letting platforms the games were originally designed for hold back what is computationally possible with Cloud servers, like using highly advanced physic simulations or grand battles.

"When you have a virtual supercomputer, you have new ways of interacting with content, you have new ways of distributing that content and that should result in new experiences," he continued.

Two tech demos were produced to show Project Flare in its R&D state. The first was of Deus Ex: Human Revolution and a lot of boxes to showcase all the physics involved. A robot fired rockets and tumbled all the boxes with no latency as it played out in real-time. The boxes were calculated and processed by a separate server, as otherwise the game would have overwhelmed a single chipset.

"Now we're not saying the next Deus Ex game is going to be Deus Ex: Boxes," he said. "But you can imagine what we could do if these weren't just boxes but people or NPCs or enemy characters or lots and lots of robots flying."

"What we really want to get across today is that even utilizing our existing titles, we can come up with new concepts. We could possibly achieve real-time battles that look like battles in the Lord of the Rings movies."

The second tech demo was of MMO Final Fantasy XI where the perspective of other players in their party was streamed on the screen. Jacob Navok explained this gives the company ideas on what could be possible down the line.

Project Flare remains in the early development stages at Square Enix with it expected to launch sometime during the next 2-3 years, although they are yet to determine how it will become available. Their goal is to make it easily accessible to developers, big or small, to ensure its taken advantage of.

It's an interesting development in the Cloud space if Square can move it beyond the concept stages.
Source: Polygon
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