During the Slush conference in Helsinki, London-based startup Improbable announced SpatialOS, a tool that allows the for the creation of scalable data simulations and persistent virtual worlds using big data. In comparing the system to massively multiplayer online games that are divided into servers, Improbable CEO Herman Narula describes the scale as "one big calculation, one big world, one big simulation."
He also suggests that the technology could be important in creating a truly immersive virtual reality worlds, explaining that "VR is a portal that is capable of taking you to another world, but what kind of world will it be? Unless you can solve the problem of simulated spaces, you're going to be going to a very limited and lonely world where there is little for us to be able to interact with and little for us to be able to do."
Improbable received $20 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz earlier this year despite remaining in stealth until now. Their technology has applications ranging from digitally simulating the impact of driverless cars to creating virtual worlds for players to explore. SpatialOS is now being used in a new game from Bossa Studios called Worlds Adrift, which will be the first official game to use the technology. Narula explains the use of SpatialOS in the game, saying that "in World's Adrift, the ecology continues even when you're not around. You could see a burning ship on the horizon, and that could be something a player just pushed forward before he died. And it's been floating for a week, and now you encounter this ghost vessel that's been developing even when you haven't seen it."