Chris Roberts Explains Star Citizen Engine Change
Ashley Allen / 3 years ago
The developer of Star Citizen, the vast space exploration sim from the creator of the Wing Commander series, announced a few days ago that the game was ditching CryEngine in favour of Amazon’s Lumberyard engine. Much was made of the timing of that announcement, since the developer of CryEngine, Crytek, is experiencing serious financial problems which have resulted in staff not being paid and all but two of its studios closing. Now, the founder of Cloud Imperium Games and creator of Star Citizen Chris Roberts has explained the move to Lumberyard, stressing that it was not motivated by Crytek’s recent troubles and that, since Star Citizen and single-player campaign Squadron 42 both used a specially customised engine, the shift to a new engine was relatively easy.
“What runs Star Citizen and Squadron 42 is our heavily modified version of the engine which we have dubbed StarEngine, just now our foundation is Lumberyard not CryEngine,” Roberts explained. “None of our work was thrown away or modified. We switched the like for like parts of the engine from CryEngine to Lumberyard. All of our bespoke work from 64 bit precision, new rendering and planet tech, Item / Entity 2.0, Local Physics Grids, Zone System, Object Containers and so on were unaffected and remain unique to Star Citizen.”
“Going forward we will utilize the features of Lumberyard that make sense for Star Citizen,” he added. “We made this choice as Amazon’s and our focus is aligned in building massively online games that utilize the power of cloud computing to deliver a richer online experience than would be possible with an old fashioned single server architecture (which is what CryNetwork is).”
Amazon’s recent investment in cloud-based processing was a key influence on Cloud Imperium’s decision to adopt Lumberyard, according to Roberts; CryEngine just did not have the same focus on online gaming as Amazon’s alternative.
“Looking at Crytek’s roadmap and Amazon’s we determined that Amazon was investing in the areas we were most interested in,” Roberts said. “They are a massive company that is making serious investments into Lumberyard and AWS to support next generation online gaming. Crytek doesn’t have the resources to compete with this level of investment and have never been focused on the network or online aspects of the engine in the way we or Amazon are. Because of this combined with the fact we weren’t taking new builds of CryEngine we decided that Amazon would be the best partner going forward for the future of Star Citizen.”
Roberts also says that the timing of the announcement, considering Crytek’s woes, was purely co-incidental, and would have been made earlier had version 2.6 of the game been released on time.
“Finally there was no ulterior motive in the timing of the announcement,” he said. “The deal wasn’t fully finalized until after the release of 2.5 and we agreed with Amazon to announce the switch and partnership upon the release of 2.6, which would be the first release on Lumberyard and AWS. If you have been checking out our schedule updates you would know that we originally had hoped to release 2.6 at the beginning of December, not Friday the 23rd!”