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Submitted by Naga 141d ago | article

From Titans to Drivatars: A Closer Look at Xbox Live Compute

John Bruno, Lead Program Manager of Xbox Live writes:
"Hello, again! Several months ago, we introduced Xbox Live Compute and began sharing details on how cloud computing improves games for both developers and gamers. In that post, we discussed what the Xbox Live cloud is all about, how Xbox One benefits greatly from the power of the Xbox Live cloud, and how those benefits translate directly to game creators and, ultimately, to those who play the games. With Xbox One launched and a few months of cloud computing in practice behind us, we wanted to share some great moments in cloud gaming." (Xbox LIVE, Xbox One)

Attached Video
Axios2   141d ago | Trolling | show
UltimateMaster  +   141d ago
Forza 5 replicates the driving conduct of the players.
Then it goes online and competes with others.

This is something that I've always dreamed about, a game that plays itself because I don't have the time to play it myself.
GameNameFame  +   141d ago
For MS Cloud is just MS PR term for dedicated server.
It does exactly same as dedicated servers and we had those for decades. Now fanboys want to believe it is some magic sauce.

Even with recent demo, it basically showed that physic can only happen in the background. So not actual gameplay. Just like Digital Foundry said.

Then it is useless in acetal gameplay. Background physics get calculated on loading screens anyways. What is the big deal? Nothing just more secret sauce. Games using cloud is proof that it can't improve graphics and dedicated servers been around for decades even Sony has their own
#2.1 (Edited 141d ago ) | Agree(25) | Disagree(39) | Report | Reply
Dudebro90  +   141d ago
There is so much wrong with what you said, but I'm not gonna take the time to correct you because you obviously are an Xbox hater.
Mikefizzled  +   141d ago
Ignorant would be an adequate description of your comment. And an obvious hater you are.
#2.1.2 (Edited 141d ago ) | Agree(15) | Disagree(14) | Report
Gunstar75  +   141d ago
The "disagree" button should be replaced with an "I don't want to believe it" button
Charybdis  +   141d ago
In a sense cloud certainly is a hype term for dedicated servers which have been around for a while now. Cloud services and examples in the past have been user run dedicated servers (mostly on pc) gaikai/onlive game streaming and file streaming downloading while playing the game.

Microsoft are now suggesting using the dedicated servers or cloud to perform calculations, which preferably are not latency sensitive. Examples include calculations of AI movement, trajectory of debree falling after explosions, sky boxes etc. These things have in common that it involves small packages of data (small latency requirement)being send to and from those dedicated servers.

'Cloud' does not necessarily increase the graphic fidelity in these examples but it does allow for the possibility of more things happening and apparently also 'realisticly/random' moving, falling on screen. Other benefits of cloud have been known and are now becoming more commonplace thanks to lower pricing and better availability. Hopefully for x1 owners third parties will make use of azure dedicated servers even if only to get rid of host advantage and scalability of their service.
#2.1.4 (Edited 141d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(7) | Report
ALLWRONG  +   140d ago
"For MS Cloud is just MS PR term for dedicated server."

Maybe you should get a PR team of your own, so they can explain to you what the cloud is. fans

Desperate fans are desperate
GameNameFame  +   140d ago
http://www.eurogamer.net/ar...

Look. This has been analyzed by DF in DETAIL. No amount of denial will change why this is so limited.
Geoff900  +   140d ago
You have this crazy notion that servers from the 90's are exactly the same as now.Forget speed of processors, memory, HDD space, for a moment, servers now handle much more data than servers from early 90's, and are far more complex.

Servers not only do far more complex calculations, they also route packets, stat track, and many other applications, you think something like YouTube is very easy? Think again it's not.

YouTube has clusters of servers all over the world, routers detect your Mac address/ip address and assign you to the closest server to give you the best connection, they monitor data between the server and client to if bandwidth is limited video quality goes down higher bandwidth video quality goes up. YouTube does stat tracking, advertisements based on the video and other videos you have looked at, and that is very little to what gaming servers do.

Not only do so many people keep on comparing old server technologies to modern servers, but also don't comprehend that a lot of developers/publishers servers aren't cutting it anymore.

MMO's aren't utilizing same kind of set-up of FPS's for instance, they use several combinations of P2P, and one main hub server. The main hub is just positional data not very complex, and very little is going on.

Compare that to an FPS, BF4 for instance 32vs32 lots of data from server to client(s), hundreds of positional data going to and from client, and server constantly, the stats are being tracked (server side) buildings, bodies, environment, all being tracked on the server.

I know you are most likely going to say, but BF:BC2 or BF3 did all that, however the complexity is much more greater, it's also why as each Battlefield game comes out the next game always has a longer time to get fixed, because it's getting more more demanding on the servers. BF4 for example demands a lot more from servers than BF3.
#2.1.7 (Edited 140d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(2) | Report
Geoff900  +   140d ago
Continued>

Lets talk about Azure, and why it's a big deal for many developers shall we?

Yes, you could create your own cluster of servers, but will the be optimized? will they work pretty much flawlessly* on day one? will they be localized? will they be integrated into your dev software? How much will that cost?

These are all the questions you have to ask, and yes there are alternatives, however Azure servers (which many companies already use), are fully integrated, they are localized, they load-balance automatically, I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

When people played multiplayer games such as Unreal, Quake etc anyone could pretty much set up a server and play, no problem what's so ever, now with the sheer load and demand it's no longer feasible to do that, games are NOT the same as they were.

Now physics, yes you can do server side physics it's not impossible, it's all dependent on the infrastructure of the network, networks are more intelligent, from servers to routers they send data more efficiently then they ever have done.

It's not impossible, MS is thinking about the future, internet speeds increase, bandwidth grows it might not be feasible right now this moment, but tomorrow IT WILL.

Yes Sony could do their own, however Sony aren't quite up on server/cloud based networks, they upped their game in the last several decades but it's nothing compared to what other companies can offer, Amazon, Dell, MS, Oracle, Google, Cisco etc offer for more complex/advanced and integrated solutions that Sony currently does not have.

Look at PSN, PS2 online was pretty much wasn't even in the forefront, PS3 they did massive improvements to their network however it was nothing compared to the Xbox 360's Live, heck lets even forget consoles has Sony ever been a server/enterprise centric company? the answer is pretty much no, they are primarily hardware, although they do professional hardware cameras, video etc they aren't on the forefront of networks.
GameNameFame  +   140d ago
@Geoff dont try so hard to fool your self.

Servers always did calculations. Thats what they were made for.

Dedicated servers for Games were made just for that. Except the things you can calculate have HUGE limitations. Like physics. You cant have interactive physics on the server. physics done on severs are not interactive and can only run on background environment.

Essentially, you have stronger server as time goes, but limited by same thing LATENCY.

Even 20 ms wont be fast enough for actual physics. Not background crap that is not very useful.

Again spelled out very nicely in Digital Foundry articles.

http://www.eurogamer.net/ar...
#2.1.9 (Edited 140d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report
UltimateMaster  +   141d ago
Ghost that replicates the action of the gamer isn't something new, it existed for a long time, even PSP games have that feature, it's not a demanding one, it's rather simple.
MorePowerOfGreen  +   141d ago | Well said
They're not ghosts(ghosts are exact copies of a gamer's race or replays layered in a race). It's Azure compute creating AI from gamers play styles and evolves over time. The drivatars are way smarter now than they were at launch as gamers got better at driving trying to get leaderboard times plus driving correctly. I play Forza every day. The AI is human-like now with the drive styles of gamers.

Forza's use of cloud is nothing like ghosts(copies of gamer's races) but real AI learning from humans. It will depend on how devs want to use cloud and right now they're using basic functionality, just imagine what they will do once devs start to adopt cloud in droves with more advanced dev tools coming soon(assuming big 3rd party devs are not already using it, nevermind MS's 1st party)
#3.1 (Edited 141d ago ) | Agree(15) | Disagree(22) | Report | Reply
DoesUs  +   141d ago
"just imagine what they will do once devs start to adopt cloud in droves"

Will not happen, and in droves is classic POG.

Enjoy the rest of this generation. 8)
christocolus  +   141d ago
@morepower

I expect ms 1st party to lead the charge on this. Once others see its benefits theyll jump in too but build has been really sucessful, the comments from some devs on twitter have been really encouraging.
mcstorm  +   140d ago
@MorePowerOfGreen your spot on about Forza 5. I am a big forza fan and have been since the 1st one but I was a big fan of the online side as it was always more fun than playing the AI but with forza 5 I enjoy playing the AI as you cant 2nd guess them because it is taken from real people who play the game. For me its made me look at SP a lot more and ide love other developers to use this in other games esp racing ones.

I also think one of the issues with this cloud system Microsoft were talking about when the xbox one was announced was that they had to change a few things because the xbox one no longer needs to be connected to the internet and they have had to go back and re think how they will use it better in games as not all xbox ones will now be connected to the internet.

Looking forward to what Microsoft are going to show going forward and I think Microsoft as a company are now starting to pull a lot of its things together and get them in the right markets and the right software too.

No one knows for sure how developers will use the cloud tech but its now up to Microsoft to take lead and show developers what can be done and I think we will see games like Halo, Gears ect start to use this technology.
Mikefizzled  +   141d ago
Ghosts are replays that cant interact with you and only work on tracks you've previously raced; because they are just replays. Drivatars are actively engaging with you and replicate your strengths, your weaknesses and you level of aggression.
#3.2 (Edited 141d ago ) | Agree(7) | Disagree(10) | Report | Reply
4logpc  +   141d ago
Cool video. The latency is really good in Titanfall. I connected to a server farthest away possible, which was about 2500 miles away from me, and i was amazed how the game still played fairly smooth even with a 180 MS ping.

Diablo 3 servers are about 200 miles from me and I cant get the ping under 110 MS.
GodGinrai  +   141d ago
I am going to bet, that by end of the day...This thread will be 4 pages deep and mostly made up of the following types of comments:

"The cloud is M$ PR..Its not real"

"Its an MS conspiracy to fool everybody" sorry I meant "M$" conspiracy.

"Forzas AI dont count"
"Its a conspiracy"

"titanfalls AI dont count"

"Its an M$ conspiracy"

"Gaikai is the same thing as azure"..( I thought the cloud didnt exist?)

"Its a conspiracy"

..."Did I mention its all one big M$ conspiracy"

By the way...I used the power of the cloud to predict this thread.
#5 (Edited 141d ago ) | Agree(20) | Disagree(14) | Report | Reply
danowat  +   141d ago
One question.

Has server side AI been done before, on any other platform?
rdgneoz3  +   141d ago
Stuff with dedicated servers like MMOs use server side AI all the time.
danowat  +   141d ago
Did a bit of googling, and from what I can read, some (most?) of the AI in MMO's is done server side, mainly for security reasons, but they still try and offload as much to the client as possible to try and limit the overhead on the servers.

Yes, xbox ones server side AI isn't brilliant, but even the most jaded fanboy must see the potential for this kind of thing?
Stapleface  +   141d ago
I don't think it has. But someone is going to have to do better than the Titanfall AI for people to have any kind of faith in it. That AI is arguably some of the worst in gaming history. I'm not sure that's a bragging point.
NeoTribe   141d ago | Trolling | show | Replies(2)
GoPanthers999   141d ago | Trolling | show | Replies(1)
URNightmare   141d ago | Trolling | show | Replies(1)
candy_mafia  +   141d ago
I am totally glad MS has this tech for Xbox One...

In some ways it benefits PS4, because Sony will have to compete once this is common place in games.

I love competition, it drives our beloved industry forward:)
incendy35  +   141d ago
Insane how much is going on in Titanfall at one time. Wonder what the count of updates on each draw call is? Also curious of how much of the draw data is calculated in cloud vs client? I am guessing more than 50% are cloud calculated since all the AI for bots and auto Titans and sky rendering is done on the Cloud.

Also as to Forza I think there is some misunderstanding of the Drivatars. They are not ghost, they are living/changing ai that are built based on how you play. Decisions you make, strategies for lines, aggressiveness of driver under certain situations. It is awesome, complete game changer for single player racing. Not only is the AI smarter than you find in other racing games but is constantly getting smarter. Plus it is fun to race against friends behaviors and also gets you ready for their strategies once you meet them face to face online!
hankmoody  +   140d ago
Again, the responses I'm seeing in regards to this remind me of creationists and how no matter how much scientific proof you fly in their face, they will always find a way to disprove what you are saying. If you're really not interested in this tech, then why are so many of you on here trying to crap all over it?
Belasco  +   140d ago
So if this comes to fruition, will server side calculations free up resources on the user end, resulting in better looking/playing games? Hoping this is true.
hankmoody  +   140d ago
I wish I had an answer for this but right now, from what I've seen and experienced for myself, this stuff looks and sounds very promising. The funny thing is, most of the people bashing this technology haven't even seen what it can really do. I'm all for waiting to see what it can really do before I decide whether or not the cloud is really just smoke, mirrors and fancy PR talk.
Geoff900  +   140d ago
Yes, let's put it another way, Xbox Live was Broadband only when it first came out, on the original Xbox people complained, and stated it will never take off.

Look at Xbox Live now.

People find it hard to understand something they don't actually see, servers are doing much more than most people can ever imagine nowadays.

It wasn't so long ago when databases became a big thing in servers, and now everything uses them, and they are far more complex than they ever used to be, collecting data all the time.

It's already happening when will we see this in games? well it's already happening.
marison  +   140d ago
Cloud offloading bandwith and latency argument debunked
The arguments I've seen on the internet appear to consider the cloud is rendering some part of the scene and not just calculating the subdivision of the building into chunks after collisions with gunfire. I just couldn't undertand how someone could think like that after watching the presentation. The local system is rendering the entire scene just using the calculating the cloud provides. Comments on internet about this are pathetic.

The entire geometry of the scene can be pre-stored in the cloud . If anyone entered the area in the game, they need only to make a copy of that using local bandwith. The same copy and calculations could be used for all the players if the game is a multiplayer one. The only thing that needs to be sent from the client to the cloud is the initial position, the trajectory and the acceleration of shots. 20 bytes is sufficient to transmit all of these data with enough precision per each bullet. Usually as a weapon does not fire more than one shot at a time, we need 20 bytes per transfer. A machine gun that fires 10 shots per second will lead to a consumption of upload bandwidth of 200 bytes per second plus the IP headers bandwidth for each transfer (20 bytes for IPv4 or 40 for IPv6 + extensions/optional headers). 240 bytes per second is a requirement of negligible bandwidth. A 56k modem connection could handle that.

The returned data required for the local system will normally be greater in volume, but it's calculated in much the same way. In addition to the previous information about the bullet that can be treated as a point, it is necessary to send the geometry of the chunk created by the collision and the rotation of the chunk. Geometry of the object, initial position and the centripetal acceleration are the only data needed on the local system. I'll bet a 100 bytes per chunk as an aproximation. It's neccessary just send the data at the beginning of the separation of the chunk. At the peak of the video there were 36,000 chunks , which would be compatible with a connection of 50Mbps download if all these data were transmitted every 100ms, but these chunks were not generated simultaneously. There aren't more than 100 generated chunks in the same time. A connection that could send 10,000 bytes, tops, every 100ms is all that is needed. 1Mbps connection would suffice to it handily.

I used a 100ms response time that is good for physics which is also consistent with what we've got in latency these days. My local latency to Titanfall Azure servers is between 19ms and 33ms. Is it pretty reasonable to do it, no?

English is not my first language, but I'm a developer with experience in low level game programming (I'm developed a homebrew game and my own engine and graphic tools) and I know something about cloud use.

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