When a storm approaches and the winds pick up, a good tactic is to reduce your sails’ area to allow better control — a procedure called ‘reefing’.
Last week, a dispute broke out between Unity (the engine we use to build Worlds Adrift) and Improbable (makers of the tech we use for our server side of things). In the middle of the situation, caught off-guard, were developers like us, in full sail.
The first reaction and the message that was echoed the most (because it’s the dramatic angle that generates headlines) was that the games would have to go down. We took a different angle to most and instead of knee-jerking, reached out to Unity and got the assurance we needed that whatever happened, the live game wouldn’t be affected. This was no surprise to us as we’ve worked with Unity for a long time and counted on their support.
And so, we sailed through that storm thanks to our seasoned captains at the helm, as we did countless times before. The only peculiarity of this gale is that it was public. Problems of this magnitude (but seldom of this nature) happen with some frequency in games development, but they are generally resolved in the background, allowing the development teams and players alike to focus on what matters: the games.
This storm is still there, though, lingering on the horizon. The dispute between those two companies is not yet resolved. Whatever the outcome, it will affect different studios and games in unique ways, thus it’s wise for us to explain our particular situation and plans going ahead.
Worlds Adrift is the only live game using SpatialOS at this time, with the exception of our friends’ game, Lazarus, which is in closed Beta. Because Worlds is the very first game to use the tech, as it happens, it’s making use of a previous version of SpatialOS (v10) that no one else uses. This version is no longer in active development, and it’s stable.
While it’s unlikely we can remain on SpatialOS10 forever, we can do so for now. Thus we are able to brave the storm reefed and consider all the options available without rushing. We have quite the supply of pizza and a lot to fix and expand in the game, so, for now, we’ll do what we do best: continue making Worlds Adrift better.
Gamer in Chief