Today at the annual GamesBeat Summit in Los Angeles, veteran Seattle-area games developer Chris Taylor made a long-awaited announcement about his next project. His new game, Intergalactic Space Empire, is an ambitious mostly-solo project for Taylor, designed and running on cloud-based servers.
In a short fireside chat with VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi that was livestreamed on Twitch, Taylor said that the new game came out of “a craving to do something fresh and new.” His new company, Kanoogi, shares its name with a new cloud-based gaming platform that Taylor has developed himself.
Intergalactic Space Empire is a real-time strategy game, and can be played on any online-capable device that can run a modern web browser. It’s built in C++, running on a cloud-based virtual machine, and is a deliberate throwback to an earlier era of video games, featuring 2D graphics, a single map, and a top-down environment.
Notably, its graphics are rendered locally on the player’s device, as opposed to the Google Stadia approach of doing all the work in the cloud and sending it to the player as a video feed. However, the game itself runs in the cloud, and takes up no space on the local device being used to play it. According to Taylor, the player will never have to install or update Intergalactic Space Empire; it’s meant for fast-paced, drop-in, drop-out play.
Taylor, based out of Woodinville, Wash., has been working on PC games for 30 years. Born in Canada, he moved to Washington in the ’90s to work as designer on the original Total Annihilation. He went on to found Gas Powered Games in Seattle, which created popular PC games like Dungeon Siege and Supreme Commander. Gas Powered Games would subsequently be acquired and renamed Wargaming Seattle in 2013. Taylor left the company three years later, citing fatigue with plans to become an indie developer. (Wargaming Seattle was subsequently and abruptly shut down by its new parent company in 2018.)
Less than two weeks until I am in LA revealing my next big project at GamesBeat '19. I'll be onstage with @deantak sharing all the details about what I've been quietly working on for the past two years.
— Chris Taylor (@DeathBot9) April 12, 2019
Taylor’s announcement at GamesBeat today marks the end of a two-and-a-half-year stretch of relative silence. He’d announced that he was working on a new real-time strategy game, one that was intended to be accessible and free to play, but had been notoriously tight-lipped about anything else to do with it. Today marked the first time that Taylor mentioned the name of his new company, the name of the project, or the details thereof.
An official website for Kanoogi, with more details about the company and Intergalactic Space Empire, is scheduled to go live later today.
Here’s a video from 2017 of Taylor talking about Total Annihilation and the broader games industry.