Build 2016: MMO Age of Ascent demonstrated running on Azure

Michael Cottuli

Space-related MMO games are certainly nothing new. EVE online gave us massive space battles over a decade ago, and Elite: Dangerous broke onto the modern scene of gaming just a couple years ago to give us a massively multiplayer space sandbox game. One thing that we haven’t seen much of, however, are games of the genre that tout truly massive scale running on nothing but a browser.

In today’s Build 2016 keynote, we were shown some of the power that’s behind Azure in the coming year through a new game: Age of Ascent. Age of Ascent is an entirely browser based game, capable of running on any modern browser running WebGL, not requiring any additional extensions. It allows massive battles to take place between alliances of players, using the power of Azure cloud computing to bring together up to 50,000 players in a single instance of gameplay. This is a scale of play that hasn’t been seen in a complex game since EVE Online and Planetside 2, and the fact that it’s running on a browser is simply mindblowing.

The demo on stage showed clips of massive fleets of ships coming together to fight, and there was also a live demo where Microsoft celebrities like Satya Nadella himself played against one another. While the game isn’t the most gorgeous thing that’s come out in recent memory, the technical power behind its capacity for large-scale battles is, if nothing else, an extremely convincing proof of concept for game developers who want to take the Azure cloud further when developing the next big features in gaming. If this can be achieved with only WebGL on a browser, there’s no telling what people are going to be able to perform with more resources on a dedicated engine.

Developing story…