From the very beginning, we decided that targeting as many platforms as possible would provide long term success for Skyclimbers.
That included emerging platforms such as cloud gaming, which has been pioneered by companies such as Google and Microsoft. In particular Google Stadia came to the forefront as a valuable platform with a true “Library in the Clouds” business model, and one of the largest companies in the world behind it.
To support platforms like Stadia, Steam Deck, Switch,
and next generation consoles, we needed a versatile engine and an adaptive design philosophy. This led us to choose Unity as a baseline to build what would become our Ion Engine today. Technologies such as Unity’s Scriptable Render Pipeline, and the Vulkan graphics would mean greater support for mobile/Switch, Linux/Stadia, and low end Windows PC architecture.
Since the release of our Alpha on Steam,
we have had over 1,000 participants and had the opportunity to test on dozens of hardware profiles. This has been an eye opening experience, despite our best efforts to cover all performance profiles proof to release. We have dedicated resources to building benchmark systems in our offices of varying degrees, in addition to gathering groups of dedicated testers in order to cover as many test cases as possible.
Ultimately, we need more time than initially projected to cover all hardware profiles on Steam
ranging from high end discrete GPUs and dedicated CPUs from AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA all the way down to APUs such as those found in the Steam Deck. This will have an effect on our Stadia release timeline, and therefore we have to push Alpha testing duration into a TBA state, as to not mislead our community.
In order to maintain cross-platform support
and eventually cross-play we need to consider porting requirements for each platform in question. We have already forked a version of our codebase that is specific to Linux based platforms such as Stadia and Steam Deck, but are also keeping our options open to automatic porting protocols such as Proton for Linux based Steam devices. Google has also confirmed a similar feature is in development with select partners for running unmodified Windows games on Stadia. Unfortunately this technology is still a ways out, but should it arrive sooner our release plans will be expedited.
A commitment to our players,
since our priority has shifted to focus primarily on the Steam ecosystem for the short term, we are offering any Stadia player to also redeem a key on Steam for the Alpha and are working with Valve to provide the same opportunity to other backers from console platforms. As we get closer to release on new platforms, players will have access to closed Alpha and Beta testing outside of Steam.
We couldn't be happier with the response from each gaming platform, and in particular we would like to say thank you to #TeamStadia for their outspoken support.
Until next time...