PUBG Creator Using Machine Learning To Create Massive Open Worlds; Tech Demo Coming

The new tech demo showing this off, Prologue, will be available to everyone on a pay-what-you-want basis.

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Brendan Greene, the creator of PUBG and a pioneer in the battle royale world, has teased more of what to expect from his very ambitious-sounding new project.

Greene left PUBG Studios recently to work on new projects at his PlayerUnknown Productions company, which is financially backed by PUBG publisher Krafton. His new project is a massive open-world game on a scale that is bigger than anything he's made before.

"We want to create a realistic sandbox on a scale that's seldom attempted. Worlds hundreds of kilometers across with thousands of players interacting, exploring, and creating. I am humbly following in the footsteps of so many other great open-world developers. My dream is not to create a game but rather a world," Greene said in a new video.

Among the many issues with creating such massive worlds is that the sheer volume of content--assets, game mechanics, and locations, just to name a few--that are required. "Realistic open worlds take a great deal of time and effort to produce," he said.

To solve that issue, Greene and his team are using machine-learning to offload some of the processes to computers. For its part, EA has more than 1,000 people working on a ridiculously ambitious-sounding machine learning project as well.

"Our machine is a neural network, and our network then gives us a way to learn and then generate massive, realistic open worlds at run time," Greene said, labeling this a "breakthrough" in game development to help make game worlds bigger than ever before.

Part of the appeal of such massive game worlds, he said, is that players will feel a more authentic sense of freedom and exploration. If the game world can be big enough, players will be constantly finding new things, and this will keep them engaged and interested, he said.

Greene and his team will show off the earliest stages of the technology they have created with machine learning through the new Prologue game. In this experience, players will be dropped into an open world and must find their way to a destination on the map. There are no guns or hostile encounters, apart from weather effects, Greene said. There is also no set path, so players will need to scavenge for resources and tools on the map to reach the end.

The game, which is actually a tech demo, Greene said, is meant to introduce players to the studio's terrain-generation systems. Because it's an early tech demo, Greene is offering Prologue on a pay-what-you-want basis.

Prologue is only a small glimpse at the technology that will power what Greene called a much more extensive experience. He said it'll be a multi-year journey to get to a place where the team has a more expansive interactive world for players to explore.

More details on Greene's vision for Prologue will be released as part of an interview with VentureBeat, so keep checking back for more.

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