Microsoft has started to do a lot with game streaming service Beam after acquiring the company last year. At GDC 2017 today, Microsoft shared details about the upcoming Beam Interactive 2.0 SDK. The update will allow developers to create features for the streaming service more easily.
With the Beam Interactive 2.0 SDK, dev's will get a number of features for solutions, as well as support for new design scenarios. Microsoft Beam points out that the SDK is a ground up build that aims to make game streaming more dynamic for players and viewers.
Of course, Beam attracted Microsoft because of its strong interactive elements. Aside from being able to broadcast, the platform also adds elements of social media. For example, there are chat capabilities and interactive buttons for music, lighting, and on-screen effects.
This adaptability and community feel was among the defining factors in why Microsoft acquired the company. Beam can be integrated into Xbox Live and boost social aspects of the network.
Beam announced it will continue to support Interactive 1.0. Developers will also get support for transitioning to 2.0. The Interactive 2.0 SDK will come to Beam in March with new features being added during the year.
Microsoft announced the following features and abilities at the launch of the SDK:
- Per-User Control Events – See who pushed a button enabling more engaging more personal interactivity.
- Dynamic Controls – Create new buttons and interactive elements on the fly from your game without needing to visit the Interactive Studio.
- Malleable Controls – Change the text and spark cost of a control on the fly to spice up the gameplay during a session.
- Groups – Group your players into Teams or collections to provide unique controls to different sets of users.
- Brand New WebGL Based Controls
- Set text & spark cost on the fly at any time.
- Easier to position and size for a wide variety of layouts and devices.
- More on this in the future
- Snazzy new control editor renamed to our Interactive Studio.
- A set of tools and processes to support you in authoring next generation interactive experience.
- Everything from initial creation to publishing is carefully crafted and delivered to support you in making the best possible Interactive experience.
- JSON Based Protocol – A human readable format that is easy to debug.
- New & Updated SDKs
- Unity / C#
Xbox One and Beam
Microsoft purchased Beam in August, 2016 and has since integrating streaming services into the Xbox One. Last month, the company launched the Beam app fully on the Xbox One. Beam app is available only in Preview form. This means it can only be accesses on the Xbox Insider Program.
However, Microsoft says the full experience will launch in the spring. For the time being, only select Xbox Insider Program users will be given an opportunity to test it.