When it launches next year, Respawn Entertainment’s online shooter, Titanfall, will be banking on Microsoft’s latest cloud technology to deliver an unmatched multiplayer experience. Exactly how the studio intends to do this has remained a mystery; well, until now.
Hoping to allay any confusion Respawn engineer, Jon Shiring, has taken to the web to explain how cloud tech and dedicated servers can improve the current online infrastructure enjoyed by gamers.
As some of you may already know, even the biggest-selling blockbuster titles mainly rely on player-hosted servers. As the name suggests, the quality of these servers depends solely on the connection speed/latency of their hosts. Games will tend to sift through connected players to find an optimal host but, even then, matches are prone to lag and disconnections.
Dedicated servers, on the other hand, are standalone units that direct all of their power towards creating and maintaining servers, nothing else.
Jon Shiring also explains that dedicated servers speed up the matchmaking process and afford the studio additional CPU, allowing them to tune Titanfall’s AI and graphics.
Even for those who only dabble in multiplayer, the benefits are relative but come at a hefty price that most studios and publishers simply can’t pay. When pitching Titanfall, Respawn highlighted to both Sony and Microsoft that dedicated servers needed to be guaranteed in order to create their vision.
Luckily for them, Microsoft were thinking along the same lines, prioritising cloud tech as one of the main features for its next-gen console, the result being a pool of over 300,000 servers dubbed “Azure”. It’s important to note that this will also support the 360 and PC versions of the game.
However, as Shiring points out, the presence of these servers isn’t just for the purpose of hosting online matches:
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!
Hearing more about Microsoft’s cloud drive breaks down the preconception that they’re out to nickel-and-dime everyone on the planet. With Azure, the company can offer affordable, reliable servers to studios to expand their creative visions.