EA has announced a skunkworks team working on future technology in preparation for upcoming technological innovations. Frostbite Labs, a team of 30 to 40 people, are looking far ahead to identify questions (and answers) that will be important down the line.
The team has two cells, with one in Stockholm and the other in Vancouver. While the full extent of the work wasn’t detailed, EA executive vice president Patrick Söderlund explained a couple of things that Frostbite Labs is working on.
While EA hasn’t dabbled too much in VR yet (other than the announced Star Wars Battlefront experience), the skunkworks team is looking at how to create meaningful interactions in virtual reality. Söderlund says the group is working on “virtual humans” and creating believable characters and interactions in VR.
The group is also looking at deep learning and neural networks. Deep learning is described as a complex set of algorithms designed to create complex constructs.
In gaming, this will result in time-savings related to procedural generation. Practically, this would present itself as a toolset within the Frostbite editor that would allow a developer to put in parameters, like season, locale, and time period, and have a concept emerge. The result, according to Söderlund would be economies of scale.
We’ll hopefully find out more about Frostbite Labs at E3.
It’s no surprise that publishers and platform holders are looking into the future. The takeaway here is that EA’s unified engine has allowed the publisher to centralize foundational technology and plan more efficiently for the future. Instead of creating new engines for different games, EA is able to instead focus on evolving Frostbite to address future needs.