I came across an article on Massively Overpowered. Seems Blizzard Entertainment is rumored to be taking World of Warcraft® to mobile handheld devices. The official cinematic trailer for WoW is here.
Looks pretty awesome. But, when playing WoW this is not what one sees. The actual gameplay looks like the video below (2017).
Pretty neat. So, if they are taking their game to mobile, when will SL or Sansar go mobile? To have an answer I decided to consider the complexity of the two ‘games’. (And no, I don’t consider SL a ‘real’ game. I think it more a platform for games. Like Mercs Beach Haven…)
So, considering the two games’ complexity I started with the systems requirements comparing WoW and SL. But, number-wise they look very similar.
I don’t see either Blizzard’s or Linden’s system requirements as realistic. We can read through the SL Forum and find that even the recommended machine will give horrible SL performance. Remember. The Lindens say 10FPS is acceptable. That is a matter of preference and opinion. But…
We can do the same for WoW on their forums. But, it is on the forums that we start to see some indication that WoW requires less computer power then SL.
But, can I objectively know which is a more difficult render job, WoW or SL? To give you an objective reference I had to do some searching. A forum thread at Tom’s Hardware is the best I found. The common opinion is WoW graphics and rendering suck so the game can run on low end, old computers. But, the same is true of SL.
The only objective way I can find is to test. If you are reading this you have a sense of how much of a strain SL rendering is on computers. If you have an old computer that can still run SL, get the WoW Free Trial and compare the performance of the two. WoW runs very well on my older hardware. So, I think it is an easier render than SL.
Of course, both WoW and SL running on old hardware are not going to let you easily compete with those running newer and bigger computers (for SL competition think combat RPG’s).
So, game engine wise they seem comparable. So, there is no reason SL and WoW couldn’t make it to mobile devices near the same time based on rendering engines.
And until recently both SL and WoW ran on proprietary game engines. Blizzard wrote their engine and Linden Lab wrote their engine. That is rumored to be changing as WoW is supposedly moving to a third-party engine. But, I can’t find any confirmation of that. The site Rock Paper Shotgun in August 2017 wrote Blizzard is still updating a 15-year-old game engine. So… probably not moving.
This suggests we will have to wait for each company to build their render engine for mobile. But, Blizzard thinks it is possible. But, notice all their statements suggest they will be starting the projects in 2018, not delivering in 2018.
Is it possible for SL to go handheld? I don’t see it happening in the next five years. Mostly because we have the matter of download speed and data limits. WoW is a 42GB+ download. Once downloaded WoW only needs game update information. I’m not going to put 40+GB of data in my 64GB phone. So, Blizzard had to figure something out.
Second Life is about a 90MB download. But, once downloaded SL requires a continuous stream of content download. Admittedly in bursts. With each teleport, SL will download the region’s content. With the appearance of each avatar, SL will have to download the content used for that avatar, skin, clothes, etc. Plus, all the ‘game’ update information.
The SL assets use up petabytes of data. No handheld or desktop is going to hold a petabyte. So, we will have that constant loading of a changing 4-10GB cache on our data plan. That is a major obstacle.
I can’t see WoW or SL going mobile in 2018 or 2019. And Sansar… It is designed for VR from the ground up and I suspect they kept mobile in mind as they designed. But, Sansar will likely only get the basics together in 2018. Maybe in 2019, it will be complete enough to interest those of us using Second Life. Mobile? Naw… not for awhile.