Crackdown Will Use “Dedicated Server” Cloud Technology For Destruction

Remember Microsoft’s confusing message about “The Cloud”? It didn’t really make sense, and at E3 you might’ve noticed that they instead referred to “dedicated servers” quite a lot. It turns out that those are one in the same, and that they’ll help power the next wave of Xbox One games, according to Phil Spencer who spoke to Eurogamer at the show.

“Xbox Live is the service. Dedicated servers is the benefit. That is the reason why these games are going to be better, why the experience for multiplayer is going to be better.

“And we’re being clear, hopefully around all of the games that will take advantage of it, whether it is a game like Forza Horizon 2, or whether it’s Halo: The Master Chief Collection, particularly the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta.”

But it won’t just be multiplayer – Phil revealed on twitter that Crackdown had previously been shown before E3, as a destruction prototype at Microsoft’s Build 2014 developer-facing conference. You can see that below, and it hints at how Crackdown’s destruction will work in real time.

So, the Cloud works then, and Microsoft weren’t exaggerating when they said that it could be used for all kinds of gaming – in this case it preserves framerate during complex calculations.

Microsoft’s message may have been confused at first, but it seems to all be coming together now. These servers should make for robust online play, quick connections and different uses to create more powerful gaming experiences. It’s great to see that realised, rather than just hear about it.

Source: Eurogamer

11 Comments

  1. Sounds useful and hopefully its better explained it for those who had trouble understanding it.

  2. It might work well in a controlled environment, like that demo, but it’s still a stupid idea, with some serious consequences.

    What’s going to happen when your connection isn’t so great? Or suddenly slows down in the middle of a nice fancy explosion? Is a drop in framerate, which they could have dealt with by optimising the game more (or not releasing underpowered hardware and then claiming nonsense about how the power of the clouds will save it), worse than what will happen in that case?

    What if you’re not online? We’re back to the situation MS were hoping for a year ago? You’ve got to be online, otherwise your game will run badly. Deal with it?

    And what happens when those “dedicated servers” go away? Who exactly is paying for them? Is it part of the XBone? Will that power always be there (until MS kill it)? Or are the publishers paying for it? In which case, what happens in a year or 2 when they decide to stop paying?

    If it’s the publishers, it’s a similar situation to the one we have at the moment, except it’s not just the online part of a game which is affected once they kill the servers.

    If it’s MS, then it’s potentially all your games (at least the ones using it) that could suddenly be affected in a few years. Have we not learnt anything from the recent Gamespy farce? Relying on a 3rd party for any sort of online service is probably not a wise move. Even if that 3rd party is MS. And I be it won’t be as easy to deal with should MS kill that service.

    Of course, people are still going to fall for it. Like the ridiculous XBox fanboys at Eurogamer.

    • “What if you’re not online?” You said it yourself, #dealwithit.

    • You’ve said it all I think. The costs of this “offload calculations to the cloud” malarkey will surely outweigh the benefits.

  3. TSA showed off that video ages ago and I’m still struggling to see what gets farmed out to the cloud, sent back to the Xbox One, integrated back into the game and continues with a certain degree of lag from the round trip the data had to make in the first place.

  4. It’s going to be real interesting to see how this works out, real interesting.

  5. The “Cloud” has always been nothing more than a marketing buzzword. I guess MS are finally realising that people are cottoning on that.

    As for the off-site calculations, well maybe, but I’m not convinced. It might work fine on a fibre channel network in a controlled environment, but the real world is notoriously unstable, so it needs to fail gracefully back to a local simulation or its going to bomb hard.

  6. and what happens when the servers go down?
    or your internet is off for whatever reason?

    is this gonna be another always online situation?

    and even when it’s working, what about lag?

    it may be great for multiplayer destructible buildings though, because it could keep all players synced up, so whatever’s left of the building is consistent for each player.

    • This.

      Good luck settling for a sub par experience if your internet isn’t up to scratch or if it goes offline :/

  7. Essentially, the idea with this kind of cloud processing, is that complex physics calculations can be taxing, so get another system to run the calulations and your game simply picks up snapshots of results, or possibly ‘pre-informs’ the server to do it while you’re maybe doing something else in game and the server streams back the result set for all the frames or a subset of the frames and they’re ready to go when you need them.

    What happens when the internet goes down? In this case, destructive particles don’t look as good, so they’re be a low-quality (in comparison) breakdown that doesn’t hurt framerate too much if its done on the client machine with everything else

  8. I believe that with crack down the cloud processing is only used while playing multiplayer so it doesn’t matter if your Internet goes down as your screwed anyway. Also the games are hosted on the server so everyone will be in sync.

    Still though it doesn’t get me excited and I think it’s a load of pr rubbish.

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