Turn 10 explains Forza 5's Xbox One cloud processing - actual file transfers are "small"

But cautions "we still have a lot of decisions to make in our own architecture"

As one of Xbox One's exclusive launch titles, Forza Motorsport 5 is the most obvious showcase of the platform's capabilities, including its cloud computing support. Microsoft has made much of the ability to farm out tasks to servers, with hardware incubation & prototyping boss Jeff Henshaw alleging that the feature effectively boosts Xbox One's specs "by the equivalent of three Xbox Ones in the cloud".

But where best to spend all that additional power, and what happens when your connection fails? We spoke to Turn 10's Dan Greenawalt at Microsoft's campus last month for more.


"There's a lot going on in the cloud," he said. "So yeah, it's the Drivatar system and other things as well. Honestly, we still have a lot of decisions to make in our own architecture with regards to what works when and how. Don't read that as me saying it won't - I literally do not know.

Greenawalt says the Forza 5 team are still thrashing out the ramifications of cloud computing on Xbox One. "I launched on Xbox and I launched on Xbox 360, so I don't mean this as a bad thing, this is what it means to launch. Things are coming in and literally as a team you've got your plan, and then you start reacting to things.

"So there's certain decisions and I'm like 'eh!' - we have to make them, and we will make them, but we don't have to make them now, so let's make them later.

He was able to reveal, however, that cloud computing will allow Forza 5 to preserve high definition performance despite power-guzzling trackside effects. "The other thing that Alan mentioned quickly, all of this that you're seeing is actually at 1080p 60 frames per second, and we're known for delivering a solid 60 frames, we don't have that thing where smoke appears and it kind of drops down.

"Forza's known for a very solid 60. and so having more power on the box obviously, but also offloading power to the cloud allows us to do that 1080p and 60 frames at a level that most games would just be considering for 30."

He was unable to confirm, however, that performance would be consistent in the event of a connection loss. "Again I just don't know. We're architecting that on the box and system that we've got and we're not really making decisions yet as to I honestly cannot even tell you."


The files Forza Motorsport 5 sends to and receives from the cloud will be comparatively small, Greenawalt went on. "It's not always about the quality of the connection, it's about the processing on the cloud. So it's one thing if you're trying to stream a 1080p video, right, or you're trying to stream a giant 1080p texture, for example, a 4K texture.

"It's another thing if you're sending up some data, and the cloud is condensing that into different data, is processing that and sending back little bits of data. So, for example, when you're looking at a mobile website on your phone, it's text, but all the stuff that created the text, and the advertisements and things like that, they actually happen out there.

"I guess what I'm trying to say is that just because we do a lot of processing out there doesn't mean the amount of data coming in and going out is very large," he said. "The processing happening out there is incredibly large, but the transfers are small."

For more on the new Forza, pick up a copy of our latest issue, which is dedicated to Xbox One and its games. You can buy it half price for smartphones and tablets.