Ubisoft recently introduced a new technology, Scalar, at the 2022 Game Developers Conference (GDC). Developed by Ubisoft Stockholm, the technology uses cloud computing to break hardware limitations and divide the different components into modules, each independent of one another yet working together.
Modularity allows various elements to be added or changed without affecting other parts, which brings a more seamless, massive open world. Ubisoft, one of the biggest video game publishers, has always been at the forefront of developing technology. Scalar is the latest innovation that aims to utilize could computing at its full potential in the gaming industry.
In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda Gaming, Patrick Bach, Managing Director at Ubisoft Stockholm, and Christian Holmqvist, Technical Director of Scalar, talked about the different aspects of the technology, from its original idea to the future envisioned by the team.
Patrick Bach and Christian Holmqvist talks about how Ubisoft Scalar was formed
A few days before Ubisoft Scalar’s announcement, Sportskeeda Gaming was invited to get an early look at the technology.
I was amazed by the interesting idea of breaking down the game into different components and utilizing cloud computing to present a seamless title. Each element can be individually updated without affecting other parts.
On paper, it may seem impossible to break out of the traditional mold and redefine how a game is made, but that’s what the developers at Ubisoft Stockholm aims to do.
Introducing Ubisoft Scalar, a new groundbreaking technology led by @UbisoftSTH. This cloud computing-based solution introduces more freedom for developers and greater possibilities for players ☁? https://t.co/XnlZlMGcMI
Being from a technical background with a particular interest in game development, I was amazed by the idea and wanted to know more, and Ubisoft made that happen.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Patrick Bach, the Managing Director at Ubisoft Stockholm, and Christian Holmqvist, Technical Director of Ubisoft Scalar, and learn more about the technology.
From its original idea to how it evolved to the future potential of the technology, Patrick and Christian shared their experience and knowledge with Scalar. The following is an extract from the conversation.
Q. What was the idea behind Ubisoft Scalar? Did the development team envision Scalar for what it currently is, or did the idea change and evolve?
Patrick: I can start by talking about the original idea was not Scalar per se. The initial thought was, what should games be in the future? What could they be? What games haven’t we seen before that we believe will exist in five to 10 years because we’ve seen these jumps happening in all types of technology and gaming?
Often you look at games and technology in iterations. So we tried to look further and realized that many of the hurdles that game developers have today are based on game technology and game engines, which are built in a very monolithic way. It’s just the evolution of what they’ve been before, and there’s never been a rethink of what they should be, how you can make them more modular, etc.
We also believe that the cloud is underutilized for gaming, and we see the cloud being a crucial part of many other technologies. If you look at what’s happening on the internet, in general, there are a lot of cloud services that people use every day that people are so used to, they don’t even think about it.
For instance, if you go to look up something on a map, very few people don’t go online and look that up on a map service. The amount of data you browse through in real-time is enormous, right? So people are using the cloud in exciting ways already today. We believe that the gaming industry will also do the same, eventually.
We were going to be stressed when we realized that no one was pursuing this in a big way. We said that we wanted to build a game that takes this step. We want to develop a game that needs this technology. From there came the discussion on how we can then make this technology?
This is where people like Christian came in, and we’ll have to rethink a lot. [to Christan] I think you were very skeptical initially because this was crazy, right? But then, suddenly, he has turned around, and he is now explaining to me how things are and why they should work. So I think Christian should fill in here.
Christian: Yeah, it’s to go from the vision we had, and that more straightforward implementation wasn’t something they had. So when we got the vision and the ideas and the thoughts behind what Patrick just mentioned, where we come from, it was a little bit hard at first to see how we would break out from where we work, and it was also obvious that it would require a lot of work.
But with that mindset, this is something that we are investing, that Ubisoft is willing to invest in, and making this jump that was so changed it for me to say, okay, well, if we do this, then we’re doing it right for real.
That was a fundamental mental shift to tackle these problems head-on rather than going around them, which we have done a long time before. So no, it wasn’t a straight plan from the start. But I think once we got over that mindset, a plan, and the technical setup, manifested itself, actually rather quickly.
Q. During the presentation, it was mentioned that Scalar would work with Ubisoft game engines such as Anvil and Snowdrop to deliver a seamless world. Could it potentially work with other commercial game engines such as Unity or Unreal?
Patrick: To answer that, I think the answer is, well, it could potentially do that. That is not the plan for Ubisoft. As of right now, Ubisoft’s goal is to utilize Ubisoft’s technology internally. So that’s where we are right now.
Q. Scalar utilizes Cloud Computing to seamlessly add different components to a game without affecting other components. Does that limit Scalar-based games to Online only functionality, or could a player still single-player components of the title, albeit in a limited capacity?
Christian: Scalar has been built, as I mentioned, in a very modular way. So Ubisoft developers can take advantage of some parts of the technology stack and accelerate their engineering workflows.
For instance, or their other development workflows, even if the data they produce is for a single-player game. That’s perfectly doable, foreseen for Scalar and its entirety. We are looking heavily at online games. But some parts can be used in other types of titles as well.
So our goal is to take it step by step, show what’s Scalar can do, and bring more and more games on board to use parts or the whole toolset of Scalar. Depending on the game and on the product, they will use scaler as an intricate part of the game.
Rate this article!
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆