Elon Musk and Todd Howard are having a live stream conversation during E3 today starting at 3 p.m. Eastern. It’s unclear exactly what the focus of the talk is going to be, so we’ll be recapping what’s happening live right here.
Their discussion is taking place on the E3 Coliseum floor and it will last for one hour. The description reads: “A conversation between legendary game designer Todd Howard (The Elder Scrolls, Fallout) and engineer Elon Musk (Tesla SpaceX, Neuralink, The Boring Company). Video games, cars, space, and everything in between.”
Their conversation, along with other E3 conversations, is being streamed in the video below.
Here’s a live recap of what happened. We will put in bold any major announcements that are made.
Musk and Howard said they’re friends and Musk has been a fan of Howard’s games. Musk said in the early 80s he programmed a primitive game. It was an alien space raider game. He said at one point he thought about a career in creating games. In fact, at one point he worked at a gaming startup called Rocket Science. “It must have been 93 or 94… It was tricky. … My original plan was to go to grad school…and study ultracapacitors. ”
They discussed the link between AI and video games. Musk said video games were the reason he got interested in technology. It was the reason he started programming. “Video games are a very powerful force for getting young kids interested in technology,” Musk said.
Howard said that gaming AI is tougher than rocket AI, except rocket AI crashing is far more visible.
Howard said he went to SpaceX last year and it was “the Avengers meets NASA.”
Howard then noted that Musk is putting games on Teslas now. “We are working together… Sky Rim on it… We’re gonna start a little smaller. We are working on Fallout Shelter for cars,” Howard said. “They live in the car in some ways. It’s a great starting point.”
Musk said they’ll also let people watching streaming videos through the Tesla browser if the car is parked.
So two major announcements were streaming videos on Teslas (when the cars are parked) and Fallout Shelter coming to Teslas along with other games.
Musk added that the screen wasn’t originally meant to be a game player so they won’t have that many games on it at one time. They showed a video of what games in a Tesla might look like. Here are some screenshots. One of the games will be Cuphead.
Another game will be a racing game.
Then Todd Howard and Elon Musk talked about how failure is an important step in innovation. Howard said it’s good that audiences will welcome them as they figure out what works and what doesn’t. “We had our ups and downs with Fallout 76 but our fans are incredible…and now it’s turned into one of the best online communities that we’ve ever seen,” Howard said.
Then Howard discussed Starfield. “I do not have a clip,” he said. “Everyone needs to be patient on that.” But he said it’s a game with an authentic feel.
Musk said that conceivably a way to do warp drive is that space can travel faster than the speed of light, but the energy needed to warp space is gigantic. “You’d have to be converting matter to energy at a rate that you cannot conceive…” He also talked about the speed of light and how wild it is that space expanded faster than light. He added that dark matter might be a key to this. “There’s something fishy going on there.” (Personally, I wish the entire hour was just theoretical chats about FTL travel and the speed of light, but it probably won’t be…)
Then they talked about the mechanics of automated self-driving driving, which was fun but not as fun as the FTL chat.
Then they talked about the idea of games one day being tough to distinguish from reality. “That would be crazy,” Musk said, adding jokingly that maybe the creatures wouldn’t know they were in a simulation. He said if it got too that point, maybe we’d realize that we’re in a simulation too.
Musk said if he made games, maybe they’d be more R-rated.
What types of games attract Musk’s interest? He said he hasn’t had time to play many games lately over the last couple years. The last game he played a lot was probably Fallout 4. He said he’s interested in Cyberpunk.
“When you work on something, if you fall in love with it, that’s a good sign,” he said, talking about his projects.
Next came a Q&A. Someone named Andy asked about living in a simulation and if it was far-fetched considering the intricacies. They skipped his question.
Then Charles asked about tusks and that was awkward.
Next came a question about how astronauts would be entertained on their way to Mars. Would they get to play games? Sure Musk said.
A woman in the audience how much she’d have to beg to get a selfie… Sigh.
They kinda skipped that. “How do I sign up to test out your neural program?” one guy asked. Musk joked about adding USBs to his head and they moved on.
Next came a guy asking Howard about interns and he said to go to their website.
Another guy asked if Elon Musk would sign his cyberpunk hat. “Sure,” Musk said.
Next: “How do you stay focused” with all the noise around him. That was a good question! “Yeah it’s insane,” Musk said. “I feel like the levels keep ratcheting… Can we just keep the levels down one notch?”
Next someone asked about the biggest failure each faced. This is the best question so far.
Howard said it was a tough question even though he asks it in interviews. So he didn’t have an answer.
Musk said he blew up three rockets in the beginning. “I took all the money I made from PayPal to creating SpaceX and Tesla… Unfortunately they needed all the money… And then I didn’t have a house or money for rent. That was back in 2008… If it had not worked, SpaceX would have died… We wouldn’t be here today.”
Howard had an answer after that. They made a bunch of games that didn’t land and the company almost went out of business before HALO 2.
The last question was when their next launch would be. Musk said they launch all the time. The next big one is the Falcon Heavy launch coming up with a higher dynamic pressure. He said he hopes they’ll do test flights of the Starship in south Texas later this year.
More to come…