to access exclusive content, comment on articles, win prizes and post on our forums. Not a member yet? Join now!
News

Titanfall, Watch Dogs developers discuss Xbox One's cloud computing advantage

"There's something here that's really powerful we can use."

Eurogamer's got a good piece on Xbox One's vaunted cloud functionality, from which I do hereby extract the following choice observations from Titanfall's lead artist Joel Emslie, and Watch Dogs senior producer Dominic Guay.

Titanfall is, of course, one of Xbox One's key exclusives, an always-online mech-and-infantry shooter that carries out certain tasks in the Xbox Live cloud. "Phase one is you have a single-player world that exists in multiplayer, so you have a lot of AI that the cloud is really helping us with," Emslie told the site.

Zoom

"We're calculating a lot of the AI on that end. And we have dedicated servers. There's a lot of tough stuff with your NAT settings. We don't have to worry about that at all any more, so partying up is a breeze. Your NAT can be restricted if you want.

"The cloud, I don't know if we would have attempted something like this had we not had access to it," he went on. "In some ways we're trying to do something different, but it also really inspired the crew to see there's something here that's really powerful we can use.

"What could we do that's different with it, and how can we push that? We're just starting to scratch the surface with it. We're not even stressing it out yet. But the cloud gives us that. We started down a path with it, and it supports what we're ultimately after, which is a multiplayer campaign that's combining these worlds together with dedicated servers."

All of Titanfall's AI and physics calculations occur in the cloud, and matchmaking has also been enhanced. "It's not peer-to-peer any more. We just wiped that away. In the past, when you were playing multiplayer games, you had to make sure the party leader had an open NAT. It was just this big hassle.

"We don't have to worry about any of that any more. It's fantastic. When I say the cloud I'm talking about dedicated servers as well and how they interact with each other. We're really happy with it."

Watch Dogs, meanwhile, is a GTA-style sandbox that openly parodies the ubiquity of connected devices. This would seem to pose difficulties when it comes to endorsing always-online gaming, but Guay's keen on the possibilities. "While we play multiplayer games there is latency. If you play a game of Watch Dogs with me, I know where you are and I see you, but there's latency in setting that position.

Zoom

"So suppose you were an AI, and the decision to make you move was run elsewhere. There would be the same latency," he continued. "If you think about it, it's not different than you holding the controller when you're playing multiplayer. It might allow someone to use one dedicated machine just for on AI. What kind of AI could I do with that? That's interesting."

Physics calculations, similarly, aren't dependent on strict timing. "The way a tree reacts to weather, it's physics, right?" Guay went on. "It's bending materials. Well, what if I could run that on the cloud? It doesn't need to be fully synced. There are occasions where there will be an advantage, but it's clear in the short term there's plenty of power within the machines. That's where our engineers are working."

For more cloud-based wonderment, peruse this chat with Forza Motorsport 5 developers.

Comments