Coherence (opens in new tab) is the latest project in the trend towards more democratised game development tools. Playdead and Jumpship co-founder Dino Patti, Unity co-founder David Helgason and DICE's Peter Björklund have teamed up to make an open-source platform designed to allow developers, regardless of size or experience level, to create persistent online games.
Helgason has an advisory role in the company, also called Coherence, while Patti and Björklund are CEO and CTO, respectively. They want to use Coherence to break down some of the barriers that developers face when taking on the significant challenge of building online worlds.
"Today there are too many challenges in creating real-time interactions in games," says Patti. “Is there a way to combine the quality of the single-player experience with the social aspects of multiplayer games? Cumbersome network technology should not limit creativity nor connecting people. Our vision is to level the playing field for the games industry, offering an easy-to-use platform built on a lightning fast core and with a strong focus on being open-source."
Coherence will have plugins for all major game engines, starting with Unity. With it, a team can focus on other systems and not worry about network technology. A whole game could be made this way, but it could also help a team experiment or make prototypes. Coherence would take care of everything from running A.I. to scaling servers.
Like fellow multiplayer cloud platform SpatialOS, it bills itself as a solution to a multitude of complications, promising to save developers time and money, though as Worlds Adrift developer Bossa Studios notes, running online games is still a big financial commitment. Worlds Adrift uses SpatialOS, but the cost of the project and team's ambitions proved to be too great. It's closing down next month (opens in new tab).
Coherence will launch early next year, with alpha and beta phases planned for 2019. If you've got a game in mind, you can sign up for updates and a possible beta invite here (opens in new tab).