Artillery, the HTML5-centric gaming startup from a team of former Googlers and Facebook engineers, just teased its first title. Codenamed “Atlas,” the game is meant to be the “spiritual successor” to Starcraft — except that it’s entirely in the browser and requires no downloadable software. You can play it by opening up a link.
The company, which is backed by First Round Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and others, is putting the game in beta for roughly 1,000 players until full release sometime early next year.
The teaser they released is to show off how slick the whole experience is and how easily units can be manipulated inside a browser without any lags. While I have not poured hours or years of my life into Starcraft and am therefore not well-equipped to compare the game to its inspiration, I did not experience any latency issues with playing it in the latest version of Chrome. I did die, though.
“We wanted to show what’s doable in real-time in the middle of multi-player game in the browser,” said CEO Ankur Pansari and longtime Starcraft player.
Artillery recently poached Sean “Day” Plott, a ranked Starcraft player and gaming commentator with hundreds of thousands of fans, to work on game design. The rest of the team is made up of Google, Facebook and Zynga alums. Artillery has $2.5 million in venture backing from First Round Capital, Signia Venture Partners, Lowercase Capital, General Catalyst Partners, CrunchFund and Andreessen Horowitz.
They’re releasing titles with their platform first after CEO Ankur Pansari did case studies on major gaming companies throughout the last few decades and realized that all of them developed hugely successful first-party titles first. This was before they licensed out technology or infrastructure to other developers. They do plan on giving access to third-party developers at some point.
The company says their tools cut down development time by about 50 percent. Plus, since they distribute through the browser, updates happen automatically and don’t have to be fixed through patches.
“If our players complain that the units or dudes are too small, they don’t even have to refresh the page,” Plott said. “I can just adjust it and have it automatically show up.”
The game will naturally make money through microtransactions, but monetization isn’t built into the title yet because Pansari and Plott are focused on the gaming experience.
“We’re focusing on the fundamentals for real-time strategy gameplay right now,” Plott said.