We're excited to join with Mat Kemp, Product Manager at Azure partner Hadean to explore their Aether Engine – their spatial simulation solution enabling studios to achieve unprecedented levels of scale and fidelity. In this blog, Mat details how developers can use Aether Engine with Microsoft Azure to realise the full potential of cloud gaming, allowing you to build the games of your dreams to market faster whilst at a far lower.
At Hadean, we believe cloud gaming is yet to realise its potential and that games are limited to the processing power of single server or piece of hardware, rendering it impossible for sprawling worlds to truly come alive.
However, by fully embracing the opportunity of cloud-native tools, studios can move beyond the artificial experience, creating games of unprecedented scale and fidelity getting them to market faster than ever before.
How To Build Cloud-Native Games With Aether Engine
Aether Engine, Hadean's cloud-based spatial simulation solution, processes all game logic. Through the Software Development Kit, developers can move from testing their game via a virtual machine to remote cloud instances within minutes.
The games are dynamically distributed without having to write a single line of additional code, automatically provisioning more or less computational resources as required, reducing the cost for developers and maintaining a consistent user experience for players. In doing so, developers don't need to work with additional complexities such as Kubernetes or Docker.
If, in a shooter, one player fires their weapon at another across two different cells on different servers, game logic and mathematical equations must be calculated in a tight timescale to understand what the projectile hits and how much damage is dealt. Traditionally, this can be a protracted and intensive process that produces glitches, bugs, and additional development time.
In contrast, using Aether Engine, developers know their game will run exactly the same remotely as it has done locally. All of the key technical aspects, including cross-server communication and handovers, are handled automatically, effortlessly scaling across your Microsoft Azure infrastructure.
Benefits of Aether Engine
Aether Engine removes the complexity of traditional game development, allowing developers to build in a production-ready environment earlier in the process.
It is directly integrated with Microsoft Azure and all the major game engines (including Unreal Engine 4 and Unity), allowing teams to build locally, effortlessly spin up and down cloud environments, and prototype rapidly at scale.
CCP Games' development of EVE Aether Wars on the Aether Engine SDK is a prime example. As part of that project, a team of seven developers were able to create an MMO gameplay demo that hosted thousands of players on Microsoft Azure in just two months.
Testing and iterating can be done in a remote environment that can be spun up in a matter of minutes, eliminating the risk of code changes being tested in isolation. This allows for faster, consolidated iteration that is easily tested across any environment (whether locally on a test cluster, or a larger pre-production environment).
Cost-Efficient Cloud Resources
Aether Engine's dynamic scalability ensures that your game only ever utilises the resources that it needs at any given point in time.
Instead of over-provisioning resources and incurring significant, unnecessary costs, or hedging your cloud usage at the risk of your game crashing, Aether Engine automatically detects the degree of complexity in your simulation and provisions and de-provisions resources accordingly.
This allows developers to focus on game design, development, and other high-value operations within your studio, rather than spend their time manually orchestrating your infrastructural deployment. And it allows your players to enjoy a more seamless and reliable gameplay experience.
Greater Vision, Better Games
Aether Engine can support worlds of unprecedented scale and complexity whilst delivering real-time gameplay.
By putting the most computationally intensive components on the server side (including physics, AI, and pathfinding), Aether Engine enables game designers to push the limits of their ambition. Instead of sanding down your game to be able to fit on a limited infrastructure, Aether Engine's ability to dynamically scale across Microsoft Azure allows you to bring these uncompromised ideas to life – whether you're an indie developer crafting your own game project or a AAA team developing the next iteration of Minecraft.
By taking advantage of these tools, developers need only think about one optimised version of their game. Regardless of where the player is playing the game – on their smartphone or top-spec PC – they have access to a near infinite amount of processing power.
Build Cloud-Native Games Today
Hadean is currently rolling out an early-access version of the Aether Engine SDK to select partners in partnership with Microsoft Azure.
If you are interested in building with Aether Engine, please visit our website and register your interest today.