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Titanfall Developer Explains Use of Xbox Live Cloud

By - Source: Respawn Entertainment | B 41 comments

Respawn and Microsoft will harness the power of Windows Azure.

Probably one of the best games revealed at E3 2013 was Titanfall from Electronic Arts. The game will reportedly use Microsoft's cloud compute initiative which will run all the dedicated servers for Windows PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, and perform all the AI hosting, physics calculations, matchmaking and more. Microsoft's cloud will also spin up and spin down dedicated servers on a moment's notice to handle multiplayer matches.

Respawn engineer Jon Shiring went into detail about why the studio is using Xbox Live Cloud for the upcoming Source-powered shooter, an attempt to clear up any confusion since the game's debut. The first portion of the blog explained the difference between player-hosted servers and dedicated, stand-alone servers, the latter of which costs a lot of money in return for a better multiplayer experience.

In the second portion, he said that Respawn wanted a way to have potentially hundreds of thousands of dedicated servers for Titanfall at a price point that's simply not available at this time. He talked to both Microsoft and Sony about this idea, but it was Microsoft who ran with it, realizing that player-hosted servers are holding back online gaming.

"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!" he said.

Microsoft has its own cloud computing platform and infrastructure called Windows Azure, launched in February 2010 and created for building, deploying and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-owned data centers. It provides both platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) services, and Microsoft realized it could also power its gaming network as well.

"So they built this powerful system to let us create all sorts of tasks that they will run for us, and it can scale up and down automatically as players come and go," he said. "We can upload new programs for them to run and they handle the deployment for us. And they’ll host our game servers for other platforms, too! Titanfall uses the Xbox Live Cloud to run dedicated servers for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox 360."

"But it’s not just for dedicated servers – Microsoft thought about our problem in a bigger way. Developers aren’t going to just want dedicated servers – they’ll have all kinds of features that need a server to do some kind of work to make games better," he continued. "Look at Forza 5, which studies your driving style in order to create custom AI that behaves like you do. That’s totally different from what Titanfall uses it for, and it's really cool! So it's not accurate to say that the Xbox Live Cloud is simply a system for running dedicated servers – it can do a lot more than that."

It's an interesting read, and certainly builds up anticipation for Titanfall, the potential of Xbox One, and what Xbox Live Cloud could do for PC gamers as well.

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  • -2 Hide
    codo , July 7, 2013 3:38 PM
    This all sounds very over ambitious and I think it will end badly. I like the idea however of the AI adjusting to you. Ultimately, games are based on rules which you can learn and expose, and that ruins the fun. I would like to see games get better, harder.
  • -8 Hide
    codo , July 7, 2013 3:38 PM
    This all sounds very over ambitious and I think it will end badly. I like the idea however of the AI adjusting to you. Ultimately, games are based on rules which you can learn and expose, and that ruins the fun. I would like to see games get better, harder.
  • 0 Hide
    MasterMace , July 7, 2013 3:45 PM
    Doesn't matter, it's EA.
  • Display all 41 comments.
  • -1 Hide
    redeemer , July 7, 2013 3:57 PM
    Quote:
    This all sounds very over ambitious and I think it will end badly. I like the idea however of the AI adjusting to you. Ultimately, games are based on rules which you can learn and expose, and that ruins the fun. I would like to see games get better, harder.


    Lol I always find comments like your hilarious, do you build servers do you have an education in cloud computing?? Of course games are built on rules, but this does not have to apply to AI and physics. You honestly think MS would spend mega millions on 300,000 servers for nothing because a poster from Tom's Hardware thinks its overly ambitious?? Developers are already speaking out about MS cloud strategy and they are blown away. The future is cloud, Xbox One and PS4 will probably be the last physical consoles you will be able to buy, after that games will be streamed
  • 0 Hide
    wolley74 , July 7, 2013 4:04 PM
    Soo, how much bandwidth is this going to eat again?
  • 0 Hide
    atavax , July 7, 2013 4:43 PM
    we're talking about a multiplayer only game here. You're already doing everything on servers in multiplayer games... It seems like the only new things about it are the dedicated servers being affordable enough for console iterations of games and maybe being able to take multiplayer bots to levels it hasn't reached in games yet because of the affordable cloud computing.
  • -1 Hide
    nevilence , July 7, 2013 4:49 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    This all sounds very over ambitious and I think it will end badly. I like the idea however of the AI adjusting to you. Ultimately, games are based on rules which you can learn and expose, and that ruins the fun. I would like to see games get better, harder.


    Lol I always find comments like your hilarious, do you build servers do you have an education in cloud computing?? Of course games are built on rules, but this does not have to apply to AI and physics. You honestly think MS would spend mega millions on 300,000 servers for nothing because a poster from Tom's Hardware thinks its overly ambitious?? Developers are already speaking out about MS cloud strategy and they are blown away. The future is cloud, Xbox One and PS4 will probably be the last physical consoles you will be able to buy, after that games will be streamed


    Your comment is also funny, you fail, just as microsoft, to realise the world is not nearly as connected as this kind of service requires. That and the concept of requiring the internet just to play a game is of so little interest to many many people its not funny. Not everyone has the capability to remain online constantly, not everyone wants to be online constantly and unfortuneatly some people cant even get online.

    It may be an inevitable future, doesnt mean people wont hate and fight it the whole way though
  • 5 Hide
    segio526 , July 7, 2013 5:10 PM
    Quote:
    we're talking about a multiplayer only game here. You're already doing everything on servers in multiplayer games


    Actually, from what I've been reading, the only things the servers do on Xbox Live currently is getting the players connected to each other, the consoles themselves play the part of server once the game gets going. This is why people with modded consoles are able to cheat for a while before their banned, the game developers had to script bots to randomly sample matches. Now that they have the server infrastructure in place to host matches a modded console is irelevant since game rules are running on the server. The console has to obey those rules or be disconnected.
  • 0 Hide
    Achoo22 , July 7, 2013 5:32 PM
    This is pure marketing BS. All they're really doing is expanding consumer awareness of what a dedicated server already is and does - they're not doing anything evolutionary.
  • -5 Hide
    atavax , July 7, 2013 5:33 PM
    we're talking about a multiplayer only game here. You're already doing everything on servers in multiplayer games... It seems like the only new things about it are the dedicated servers being affordable enough for console iterations of games and maybe being able to take multiplayer bots to levels it hasn't reached in games yet because of the affordable cloud computing.
  • -8 Hide
    atavax , July 7, 2013 5:41 PM
    we're talking about a multiplayer only game here. You're already doing everything on servers in multiplayer games... It seems like the only new things about it are the dedicated servers being affordable enough for console iterations of games and maybe being able to take multiplayer bots to levels it hasn't reached in games yet because of the affordable cloud computing.
  • -7 Hide
    atavax , July 7, 2013 5:50 PM
    we're talking about a multiplayer only game here. You're already doing everything on servers in multiplayer games... It seems like the only new things about it are the dedicated servers being affordable enough for console iterations of games and maybe being able to take multiplayer bots to levels it hasn't reached in games yet because of the affordable cloud computing.
  • -4 Hide
    fightingslu , July 7, 2013 6:12 PM
    My guess is that they wion't have enough servers up to meet pre-orders, and gamers will have to wait in a 6 hour line to play for first couple of weeks.
  • -4 Hide
    billgatez , July 7, 2013 6:37 PM
    MS takes something that other platforms have been doing for years, and make's it sound like they are doing something new.
  • -2 Hide
    SirGCal , July 7, 2013 7:00 PM
    Ya, it's EA, that's just about where I stopped reading... They are actually worse at pure greed and DRMs then M$ and I refuse to support them. I really don't care what game they force to be produced...

    I very much enjoy the Indie games lately so I won't be buying the bone anyhow this time around... I'll stick to PC gaming.
  • -1 Hide
    redeemer , July 7, 2013 7:10 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    This all sounds very over ambitious and I think it will end badly. I like the idea however of the AI adjusting to you. Ultimately, games are based on rules which you can learn and expose, and that ruins the fun. I would like to see games get better, harder.


    Lol I always find comments like your hilarious, do you build servers do you have an education in cloud computing?? Of course games are built on rules, but this does not have to apply to AI and physics. You honestly think MS would spend mega millions on 300,000 servers for nothing because a poster from Tom's Hardware thinks its overly ambitious?? Developers are already speaking out about MS cloud strategy and they are blown away. The future is cloud, Xbox One and PS4 will probably be the last physical consoles you will be able to buy, after that games will be streamed


    Your comment is also funny, you fail, just as microsoft, to realise the world is not nearly as connected as this kind of service requires. That and the concept of requiring the internet just to play a game is of so little interest to many many people its not funny. Not everyone has the capability to remain online constantly, not everyone wants to be online constantly and unfortuneatly some people cant even get online.

    It may be an inevitable future, doesnt mean people wont hate and fight it the whole way though


    Research what you buy! Its the general understanding that Xbox one is designed primarily for the western audience. What isn't connected, my cellphone, my router and my TV almost everything. MS has changed its always online policy, I guess you did not know. There are many benefits being always connected, and cloud services. Origin and Steam are amazing services, disc based gaming will fade away and there need to be a true first digital market place where we can sell, trade and share our digital content. I have no problems with being connected 24/7 however there will be many that do not approve whatever the reason maybe. A corporation designs it product and services for the appropriate masses.
  • 1 Hide
    alextheblue , July 7, 2013 7:29 PM
    It's a multiplayer game. You need a halfway decent internet connection to play it. It won't eat up bandwidth by having dedicated servers and processing more stuff on them. In fact, it's less bandwidth intensive for the person who would normally be hosting.

    For a multiplayer game, it's only a positive. There is no drawback, and anyone that thinks there is a disadvantage here doesn't understand how this works.
  • 5 Hide
    SirGCal , July 7, 2013 7:38 PM
    Obviously, with a multi-player game, you need a working and responsive internet connection. But that said;

    Quote:
    Research what you buy! Its the general understanding that Xbox one is designed primarily for the western audience. What isn't connected, my cellphone, my router and my TV almost everything. MS has changed its always online policy, I guess you did not know. There are many benefits being always connected, and cloud services. Origin and Steam are amazing services, disc based gaming will fade away and there need to be a true first digital market place where we can sell, trade and share our digital content. I have no problems with being connected 24/7 however there will be many that do not approve whatever the reason maybe. A corporation designs it product and services for the appropriate masses.


    Actually, you might want to check yourself. You do NOT have to be online to play Steam games, just download them from your account store. I have some games for the kids and that system is not online. I put it online when I need to do something but other then that. Steam works great for that purpose. The other benefit to Steam is that I never paid more then $5 for most of my 300+ games there. And many AAA titles, just not opening week (so what).

    I don't use Origin (EA) ever... can't speak to that. Refuse to support them as a company. But Steam is NOT 'always on'...

    And the 'Western' world per-say is actually one of the poorest 'connected' modern countries... Only the major cities and surrounding areas have relatively reliable high-speed internet connections that are always on. The last reports I saw on that was something like 65%ish of the US was on Broadband internet. And since the cities are far more congested then rural areas, that's saying something...

    Plus those that are on Broadband generally have weak internet compared to other countries. I.E. Google Fiber and FIOS are very rare in the US. If you are lucky enough to have it, then you're starting to see what some of the rest of the world can play with... Those of us with 10M/1M or super-speed 30M/2M connections, ugg.. Might be connected but. That's another topic I guess. Still the US' Internet project is pretty poor at the moment.

    I.E: More than 94 percent of South Koreans have high-speed connections -- compared with about 70 percent in the United States, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). And at it's worst it's over 200x faster, plus they get it for less then $30/month... (for 1G connections... both ways...)

    The US is not 'connected'... We're barely getting wired... Korea, Finland, Sweden, Japan, France, etc. All better, far better then us. The NE states do a lot better then the rest of the country also... Well eastern in general. But some 19 Million people still can't even get any internet access... http://www.fcc.gov/reports/eighth-broadband-progress-report. And we won't talk about the lag and other issues (caps/limits) inherent to satellite internet.
  • 2 Hide
    razor512 , July 7, 2013 7:52 PM
    what happens when the company decides that it is not profitable keeping servers running for an older game and shuts it down. How will you play your cloud DRM games in the future when the servers are no longer up or no longer supporting the game you paid for?

    I have many games which have multiplayer components but are no longer supported (but they still work online, because they do not require the company to be supporting them. users can create servers and multiplayer continues)

  • -6 Hide
    hakesterman , July 7, 2013 7:58 PM
    The future is cloud, Xbox One and PS4 will probably be the last physical consoles you will be able to buy, after that games will be streamed.

    I heard that argument many years back and it's no different now than it was back then. Consoles will be around for ever and ever. There ain't no cloud in the sky or under ground that is going to out perform a physical dominating machine like the PS4. It's all a pipe Dream, nothing more, nothing less.
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