Written by Craig Beddis
5 min read
Unlocking The Full Potential Of Cloud Gaming: A Look Back Over 2019
It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Today, we are facing some of the greatest challenges that humanity has ever known. Climate change. Terminal disease. Educational inequality. Unfortunately, in many cases, the breakthroughs that we need are being held back by the limitations of existing technology.
Hadean was founded to unlock the computational bottlenecks needed to enable the world’s brightest minds to solve many of humanity’s biggest challenges.Taking a first principles approach, we developed our foundational technology, HadeanOS, to enable developers to build powerful cloud-first applications for the increasingly distributed compute environment. Aether Engine is a prime example of the cardinal applications we’re empowering our developer community to create. Today we are tackling some of the hardest computational problems in the Gaming, AI and Life Sciences, whilst continuing to explore alternative application areas in R&D. We want to set people free from the cost and limitations of the technology available today so that;
Game Developers can focus on content creation and building games…
Financial Analysts can analyse data…
Computational Biologists can focus on their research…
In all instances, Aether Engine was about setting users free. Free from distractions, allowing them to focus, whilst all complexity needing DevOps were simplified and removed – thanks to intuitive and powerful technology that reacts and provides what’s needed, when it’s needed, to who needs it.
Building a product is hard, building a company in a parallel is even harder. You need great partners who share your vision, boldness and who are prepared to come on the journey with you. You need people who are prepared to ‘get in the arena with you’.
At the beginning of this year, our technology was unrefined and through our partnerships with CCP Games, Microsoft, and The Francis Crick Institute – we, as a team, were continuously challenged as much as our technology. Working with these frontier partners who are pushing against the usual realms of what is traditionally acceptable, we’ve been able to find teams who don’t just use Aether Engine but support its development, and through partnering with them we’ve been able to ensure our technology is battle-hardened and fit for purpose when we release V1 of our product early next year.
We wanted to provide large scale real-world proof points that showcased and demonstrated the opportunity spatial simulation technology can deliver to a business.
Over the course of this year, we’ve seen Aether Engine significantly tested and stretched. With CCP Games, we’ve created EVE Aether Wars and ran three large scale tests in the USA, Europe and Asia.
Starting In March, we demonstrated the power of Aether Engine for the first time at GDC with a live scale test with more than 14,000 ships in a single space battle. We did this live at the biggest game development conference on the planet! Proof point 1 – show our product can scale and do something NO ONE in gaming had been able to do before: DONE!
In August, we followed up our GDC massive technology scale test, with another demo at Gamescom to prove how easy and fast it is to build a game on top of HadeanOS and Aether. A small team of seven people from CCP Games were given the ‘raw Aether SDK’ and were able to build EVE: Aether Wars: Phase Two in eight weeks. This technical demo supported 4,369 REAL players in a single shard globally across 123 different countries. Not just this, but the simulation costs were reduced drastically by over 100x in comparison to the previous demo in March, with less than 250GB of data being processed over the hour.
In October, our partnership with the world-renowned Francis Crick Institute resulted in a co-published, peer reviewed paper documenting our work on protein-protein docking. The work, a relatively unexplored and misunderstood area of computational biology, is a key movement towards our work in helping remove some of mankind's significant problems. The work is Hadean’s first step into Life Sciences helping with drug development and cancer research, all to ultimately help cure currently incurable diseases.
Finally, in November, we were able to prove how Cloud Gaming technology can be used to offer truly enjoyable gameplay - with 2,000 players playing at the same time! EVE Online built up a substantial, loyal following as it went from niche MMO to behemoth of the industry and, to account for its growing player base, has had to implement mechanics which may alleviate technical strain but impact the overall gameplay experience. Time Dilation is one such example and the technical challenge laid down ‘as a problem to solve’ to me and Hadean by the CCP Games CEO, Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, one of the most forward thinking and bold people you could ever wish to partner with.
Our technical test aimed to demonstrate a smooth, enjoyable, consistent player experience even with thousands of players all in the same space. And we delivered; over 2,000 players joining the session! CCP did hope to break their own world record in the process, but the target for us wasn't about having arbitrary numbers of players in a single game. By contrast, the focus was on the player experience and showing what a potential future real-time version of EVE Online could look like via a Cloud Gaming technology solution like Aether Engine.
This year, Cloud Gaming has become this year’s hot topic and certain product offerings are already in people’s homes. However, the work that’s been highlighted has been evolutionary, not revolutionary – studios are simply porting traditionally developed games to a cloud-based infrastructure. There is a substantial difference between just streaming games to different mediums and fully taking advantage of building cloud-native games.
The work we have done thus far with CCP Games has been focussed on building games natively on the cloud to take full advantage of this new frontier. With these tests, our focus hasn’t been on incrementally improving upon the existing EVE Online experience, but rather showcasing what it could be.
Cloud Gaming still has challenges in terms of adoption, including the disruption to existing tools and infrastructure, as well as concerns regarding cost structures and business models.
For our part, we have the data that we believe proves many those worries to be false. We believe Cloud Gaming is definitely here to stay.
Our work with CCP Games, has allowed us to showcase the fact that Aether Engine has grown into an agnostic and hugely accessible platform. Substantial development projects are able to be brought to market quickly and with few resources by comparison to traditional approaches. Not just this, but we’ve proven our business model to be truly viable for studios allowing them to achieve a sustainable and realistic Cost-Per-Player with improvements with each phase.
Not just this but each time we’ve gone after and hit a big milestone to test our technology, our technology and our team has held up and delivered.
Looking back over 2019, it’s clear to see the huge amount of progress the company has achieved. In gaming, we’ve been able to showcase our technology with CCP Games and have exciting projects in the works with Wargaming, Minecraft, and PUBG coming early next year. The Hadean team has grown to more than 60 people worldwide and we plan to expand into the USA and Asia following completion of our next funding round next year.
We have done some big and very bold things this year, we have put or technology out there to be shot at, so we can test and learn and ensure that when we deliver a product it will work and provide incredible value to our customers. I’m proud of our people and our partners CCP, Microsoft and the Francis Crick Institute this year for having the courage to join us in the ‘arena’.
It’s a very exciting time for Hadean. 2019 has been an amazing year. 2020 looks like it's going to be even better.
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So let’s be direct; Cloud Gaming has had a lacklustre launch because it’s not a true experience.
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