Home Gaming What “The Cloud” means for TitanFall

What “The Cloud” means for TitanFall

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CloudywithachanceofTitanfall

We’ve heard all about the power of The Cloud from Microsoft whenever the company talks up its impending next-generation console, the Xbox One – but we’ve heard very little about what that bit of digital meteorology might actually do for games. TitanFall from Respawn uses those services in the sky. In a post on the company’s site, engineer Jon Shiring explained how it all works.

In the past, console games have largely relied on player-hosted servers, but the cloud allows for the use of a networked services of machines to mitigate lag, host disconnects and other limitations.

So..uhh..”The Cloud” is just Dedicated servers? Well, yes – but it’s also more than that. It allows for AI, physics  and other such tasks to be offloaded from the console, and run on said servers.

"I personally talked to both Microsoft and Sony and explained that we need to find a way to have potentially hundreds of thousands of dedicated servers at a price point that you can’t get right now," he wrote. "Microsoft realized that player-hosted servers are actually holding back online gaming and that this is something that they could help solve, and ran full-speed with this idea.

"The Xbox group came back to us with a way for us to run all of these Titanfall dedicated servers and that lets us push games with more server CPU and higher bandwidth, which lets us have a bigger world, more physics, lots of AI, and potentially a lot more than that!"

Sounds neat – but is it really restricted to the Xbox One? And just what the hell does “The cloud” really mean, anyway?

"Let me explain this simply: when companies talk about their cloud, all they are saying is that they have a huge amount of servers ready to run whatever you need them to run. That’s all."

Shiring says that Microsoft "built this powerful system" in Xbox Live cloud that allows developers to offload processing to the cloud, scale servers depending on the number of players and use it to host Titanfall on Xbox 360, Xbox One and Windows PC. But mostly, right now, they’re really just being used as dedicated servers.

"The Xbox Live cloud lets us to do things in Titanfall that no player-hosted multiplayer game can do," he says. "That has allowed us to push the boundaries in online multiplayer and that’s awesome. We want to try new ideas and let the player do things they’ve never been able to do before! Over time, I expect that we’ll be using these servers to do a lot more than just dedicated servers. This is something that’s going to let us drive all sorts of new ideas in online games for years to come."

Last Updated: June 25, 2013

42 Comments

  1. Admiral Chief Groot Wors

    June 25, 2013 at 10:33

    Smells like “supscription fees” to me so that you can get your cloud on

    Reply

  2. Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    June 25, 2013 at 10:34

    Want to see what a cloud really should be doing for you?

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

      June 25, 2013 at 10:37

      Bah, enveeedeeea

      Reply

      • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

        June 25, 2013 at 10:38

        Lol. Look past that fact for the moment and check the cool tech behind what they are doing. Pack way that fanboy badge for a few minutes 😛

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

          June 25, 2013 at 10:56

          Pack way?

          Reply

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            June 25, 2013 at 12:40

            Always put your fanboy badge in a gun safe….

    • Argentil

      June 25, 2013 at 10:57

      Anyone willing to break this down into summarised text? I can’t watch this right now.

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

        June 25, 2013 at 10:58

        ENVEEEDEEEA BAD
        AY-EMM-DEE GOOD

        Reply

      • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

        June 25, 2013 at 10:59

        Basically you can run multiple desktops on one PC, each “window” running a different app from the cloud. Your PC doesn’t need to have the resources to run the program. Only a decent connection.

        In the video the guy runs the entire adobe suit in different desktops on one Mac that wouldn’t be able to run them all at the same time and because of the cloud processor power the job is done much faster due to dedicated processing etc.

        Reply

        • Argentil

          June 25, 2013 at 11:00

          Remote Desktopping/Onlive? How practical is that in the real world. Come on. We can talk about it in 15 years when our internets are 50MBS (ja right) and we’re all hooked up to the Matrix.

          Reply

          • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

            June 25, 2013 at 11:02

            In a sense but much faster. RDP is usually in to a single PC environment. This is cloud computing where multiple processors are shared across a clustered server environment.

            Onlive tries something similar but doesn’t have the power really to properly back it.

          • Argentil

            June 25, 2013 at 11:20

            It’s still limited by the same bandwidth constraints, and so, there will always be a pretty low ceiling until the infrastructure is vastly improved.

            On a related note: VITA will play PS4 games over the internet.

          • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

            June 25, 2013 at 11:39

            For sure. But from the video I picked up that they are using the cloud power to encode and compress the data before sending it, so unlike RDP you don’t get that horrible lag that you are used to as it’s more like a video feed but just real time.

            Sure, wouldn’t work here yet and as you mentioned earlier we are still a ways behind on having the right infrastructure but the benefits are already showing.

            I just don’t know if it’s really good for games though

  3. Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    June 25, 2013 at 10:36

    I’m not too worried about cloud computing at the moment. Mainly because my internet is too poor to really use it effectively. Also looking at things like DiabloIII on PC where their servers were used to do things like AI and loot calculations instead of locally and you can see why I’d not want to jump on the bandwagon too quickly.

    That being said I guess every bit of tech needs to grow from somewhere and can’t just spring up one day working 100% like everyone envisioned.

    Reply

    • Argentil

      June 25, 2013 at 10:55

      Cloud computing is at least a decade out, imo. It’s more interesting applications of online connection that they should be talking about. Demon’s and Dark Souls are both excellent examples of an online connection greatly enhancing the core experience of a game. And it has nothing to do with the infinite power of the cloud.

      Reply

  4. Macethy

    June 25, 2013 at 10:36

    So…he basically said that “The Cloud” can do stuff, but not really sure what stuff it can do exactly.

    Very descriptive there Jon, thanks for that!

    Reply

    • Argentil

      June 25, 2013 at 10:52

      Their vague statements are disingenuous. I have done a lot of research on cloud computing, and I still barely know what’s what. Most solid conclusions point to Cloud Computing being limited by bandwidth constraints, making most utility impractical or minor. I will assume Respawn are talking out of their arses until they provide actual examples. It stinks of Microsoft’s PR spin currently.

      Reply

      • Macethy

        June 25, 2013 at 11:41

        I work on and off with Cloud based technology and from what I’ve seen, I can’t imagine how it can be used to benefit gaming especially with bandwidth limitations. Cloud is great for CRM systems, payroll systems, or even systems where large amounts of payments need to be processed, maybe even for accounting solutions, but in order to assist with generation of game worlds or large calculations that have to be done remotely and processed in almost real-time, I see really big problems…

        Reply

        • Argentil

          June 25, 2013 at 11:52

          This was my understanding also. In terms of handling processing, the reality would be insignificant – it wouldn’t even be possible to handle small tasks on it’s own.

          Reply

  5. Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

    June 25, 2013 at 10:42

    Such a brilliant header image Geoff. Well done.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

      June 25, 2013 at 10:55

      THOSE ARE NOVA MECHS!!!

      Reply

      • Captain Minion TallTwit

        June 25, 2013 at 11:01

        I thought the same thing!

        Reply

      • Trevor Davies

        June 25, 2013 at 11:35

        Ever play this? It was the boss!

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

          June 25, 2013 at 11:35

          What MW4 or MW4mercs?

          (yes and yes)

          Reply

          • Trevor Davies

            June 25, 2013 at 11:41

            Terra Nova – Strike Force Centauri

  6. OVG

    June 25, 2013 at 10:49

    Watch more of this. Microsoft are going to boil the frog and force your hand little by little as more wonderful features are forced into their games to get everybody slowly indoctrinated into the on-line matrix.

    HALO 5 will be everything but off-line play. Just watch. They fcked up at E3 by being honest and it backfired.

    Slow indoctrination like horse armor and on disc DLC then DRM redeem codes and extra levels, skins… all we have left is the console decoder that rents and buys games from virtual space.

    Every cloud has a green lining $$$

    Reply

    • Argentil

      June 25, 2013 at 11:04

      That’s a bit of a bleak outlook. Can’t fault you for your skepticism though, MS have earned it. Gonna take them a few years of kissing bum to fix.

      Reply

      • OVG

        June 25, 2013 at 11:21

        Yip, back in 2006 they released the console with kick ass game marketing. THEN, they slowly started implementing their 5 year strat. I read a document that was drafted before the 360, and everything from HD installs, updated, Electronic shopping, social media all came to light.

        It was their plan to make the 360 what is is today 8 years ago.

        Now why they did not boil the frog slowly again for the Bone is beyond me. The Pre-Orders backfired so badly that they reversed their policy… FOR NOW.

        But expect everything that was revealed at E3 to be the norm 10 years from now. It has 8gigs of RAM so expect the next gen of consoles to be the very last for a couple of decades if the PS2 and our 6 year old 512Mb of RAM 360 is anything to go by.

        HUGE investment AND THEY FCKED up the install base by being honest. Once they win that install base like they did with the untested 360 1 year head start then they can place money aside for the VERY high failure rates that we are about to see all over again. But once your install base has already invested many games, they will wait for their 2nd 3rd 4th XBone to be replaced.

        Install base then they can do what they like.

        I am still wondering why they do not have an SKU with no Kinect 2. Very odd.

        Reply

  7. Happy Hamster

    June 25, 2013 at 10:50

    How MS came up with the cloud for Xbox One

    Reply

  8. HvR

    June 25, 2013 at 10:50

    Aaargh, cloud cloud cloud Alll aboard the Hype train!!! Choo choo!

    The tech PR department are just replacing the words remote, internet, web with cloud.

    The only time true cloud computing is going to work is if extreme low latency data connection becomes available everywhere.

    We are talking about real time gaming here, capture input and local data set send it to cloud server, process the data and send the ALLL the output data back to the output peripherals of the gaming device.

    We currently can barely manage the minimum remote data without lag.

    Reply

    • CaptainNemo42

      June 25, 2013 at 11:01

      It’s a bottle neck. Even proper 1st world countries don’t have the throughput at the moment to fully realise the “power of the cloud”.

      Reply

  9. FoxOneZA - X-Therminator

    June 25, 2013 at 10:59

    A wise old man said “the next-gen is now.”

    Reply

  10. Captain Minion TallTwit

    June 25, 2013 at 11:00

    ‘It allows for AI, physics and other such tasks to be offloaded from the console, and run on said servers.’

    I am no expert, but would this not increase lag or have a negative effect on the game as the AI done on the other side of the world (thinking of how kak Telkom can be)?

    Reply

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      June 25, 2013 at 11:01

      That’s why so many people disagree and don’t think that most of the world is ready yet as the infrastructure needed isn’t quite there yet.

      Reply

    • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

      June 25, 2013 at 11:09

      k@k and telkom go together like slap and chips

      Reply

  11. BeatzByChrisBrown

    June 25, 2013 at 11:04

    All this cloud nonsense is bad news for us poor saffas because I can guarantee you these cloud servers won’t be hosted in SA. Lag, lag lag!

    Reply

  12. DrKiller

    June 25, 2013 at 11:50

    yaaay finally we are getting dedicated servers for multiplayer! Lets hope there will be a few local servers as well

    Reply

  13. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    June 25, 2013 at 12:38

    The cloud is the latest PR bullshit they feed you to tie you to a subscription service and to eventually lock your account in with DRM.

    While, there is power in the cloud it depends heavily on bandwidth and latency. Both remain a bottleneck for the vast majority of souls on this planet, especially rural, southern and westcoast Americans, Africans, parts of Europe, parts of Asia, and definitely Australians.

    Don’t believe the hype! The cloud is bull!

    Reply

  14. Gustav Willem Diedericks

    June 25, 2013 at 14:17

    Sounds like the repeat of Error 37, but not just Diablo III, all games using the “cloud”.

    Reply

  15. Harvey P. Cheesewinkle

    June 25, 2013 at 16:12

    Any cloud network would have this functionality, it’s not some new invention Microsoft created. They are however, behind, according to Guinness. As Gaikai currently holds the World Record for the largest cloud computing network, reaching like 90 countries, I think.

    Reply

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