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Frostbite Labs is EA's new skunkworks for developing future tech

Frostbite Labs is EA's new skunkworks for developing future tech

May 18, 2016 | By Alex Wawro

This week Electronic Arts confirmed to investors that it has formed a dedicated "future tech" research division, Frostbite Labs, which is currently looking into (among other things) VR experiences, neural networks and machine learning.

While the division is surely focused on EA's proprietary Frostbite engine tech, this still means roughly 30-40 people across two offices (one in Vancouver, the other in Stockholm) are working on EA's dime to solve emerging game industry problems like: How do you create a believable "virtual human" for a VR game?

"How you're seen as a virtual human in that world is something we need to solve for," EA exec Patrick Söderlund said (according to Develop) as part of a presentation to investors about the new initiative.

He went on to note that Frostbite Labs researchers are looking beyond VR at tech that could make the practice of game development easier. Using "deep learning" machine learning algorithms, for example, to procedurally generate levels that are bigger and more detailed than current proc-gen products.

"If we can get a base set of levels created that the artists and level [designers] can then go in and alter, imagine just much time we've won and how much more time we can spend on iterating on the game instead of actually making the game,” said Söderlund. “In a sense, it should drive economy of scale and should also drive a better product."

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