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Stardock hires engineer to head up development of its own cloud-based service

You may not recognize Adrian Luff's name, but the odds are good that you're familiar with his work. He spent 17 years as an engineer at Blizzard, where he was a driving force behind the development and growth of . Now he's taken his talents to Galactic Civilizations studio Stardock Entertainment , which is launching a cloud-based service of its own called "Tachyon."

The first thing you might think is that the last thing you need is yet another online gaming service running in the background. But Stardock CEO Brad Wardell said the plan is to avoid all that by tying it into the platform we're all running anyway: Steam.

"With Tachyon, we don't want to create yet another social network that gamers have to sign into," he said in a statement . "On each platform Tachyon resides on, it'll use that platform's inherent features. For example, on the PC, that means Steamworks. Tachyon is about giving players new ways to enjoy Stardock games, such as integrated ladders, seamless matchmaking, or even data mining shared ship designs for game AI to make use of."

Luff told PCGamesN that because it's cloud-based, Tachyon will let Stardock "try new things" that it couldn't afford to previously. "The traditional approach requires installing dozens or hundreds of servers in expensive datacenters close to your players," he said. A cloud-based setup, on the other hand, allows Stardock to avoid all that and simply "pay a bit more money" to a cloud provider to ramp up capacity when necessary. Furthermore, because Tachyon is a brand-new platform, Luff said it will more readily take advantage of the benefits of the cloud than an existing system would.

And while a Stardock account will be required to take advantage of features like stats and online matchmaking, Luff said it won't be used as a form of DRM, noting that games will run regardless of whether or not they can contact the Tachyon server. "We are absolutely not changing our stand on DRM," he said. "In fact one of our design goals is to avoid any dependency between the single player game and Tachyon."

Tachyon is expected to be ready for rollout sometime in 2015.

Andy Chalk
Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.