Stardock Entertainment recently hired Battle.net frontman Adrian Luff away from Blizzard, and now it's tapping him to lead development of a new cross-platform networking technology the company is calling Project Tachyon.
his departure from Blizzard earlier this month after nearly 18 years with the company. While he certainly didn't build the Battle.net service by himself, Luff is credited as a lead Battle.net network engineer on many Blizzard games -- including Diablo II
You may remember that Diablo II
characters could be stored on Battle.net servers, marking the public debut of Battle.net's client-server architecture -- previously, it had functioned as a more limited messaging and peer-to-peer matchmaking service.
As the new director of platform architecture at Stardock Austin, Luff is now expected to oversee the company's efforts to launch a public version of Project Tachyon in 2015.
Stardock describes Tachyon as a "cloud-based service" that will be responsible for managing the online infrastructure of all Stardock games going forward.
"As we work with more developers we found that there is meta-game functionality that they want for their games that isn’t in Steam, which is where Tachyon comes in," stated Stardock's Derek Paxton via email to Gamasutra, when asked about Tachyon's genesis.
"For example, games developed on this system can report analytics on how people play the game such as: What technologies do winning players select first -- and what can the AI learn from the human’s strategies?" added Luff. "What factions are the least played, and do we need to do something to improve them? Knowing the answers to those sorts of questions is an amazing tool for a game designer to balance and improve the game."
The company claims it will work alongside established platform-specific networking systems -- like Steamworks in Stardock's PC titles, for example -- wherever possible, and it won't require players to log into it separately.
"Speaking purely hypothetically, once you have registered any game with Stardock on that platform the client can be smart enough to know who you are and handle connecting you to all meta-game services without requiring a login," stated Luff, when asked about Tachyon's technical details.
Luff states that Tachyon is intended to be scalable, able to offer different networking features -- matchmaking or ladder management, for example -- and different levels of server support based on a game's networking needs at various points in its lifecycle, ideally making it easier for developers to quickly adjust their networking support to meet demand.
The new networking tech is expected to power upcoming Stardock titles like Galactic Civilizations III
and Mohawk Games' Offworld Trading Company