Respawn's first game, 'Titanfall,' announced for Xbox One, makes heavy use of cloud

During Microsoft's reveal of the Xbox One game console last week, the company revealed that some game developers could off-load some game elements from the console itself to have them run in a cloud server. Now there's word that at least one game will try to take advantage of this cloud-assisted game feature.

It appears that some Google Play users got to download a mistakenly leaked digital issue of Game Informer magazine. As posted on the NeoGAF forums, the content of the issue confirms that Respawn Entertainment, made up of former Call of Duty creators at Infinity Ward, will launch their first game, "Titanfall," for the Xbox One as well as the PC and Xbox 360, although the Xbox 360 version will be handled by another developer.

What's interesting is that for the Xbox One console, "Titanfall" will offload its physics and AI to a cloud server, along with dedicated multiplayer servers. In fact, the article states that Respawn would not be able to develop Titanfall without the cloud features.

The game itself will let players control human characters called Pilots as well as 24-foot-tall mechs known as Titans in huge sci-fi battles, with single player, multiplayer and campaign multplayer modes supported. The game will be released in Spring 2014.

Source: NeoGAF | Image via Game Informer

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will offload its physics and AI to a cloud server

People don't know how much of a technical deal this is. This is not a video stream being pushed and sent back, its raw graphical data.

People are referring to the PS4 GPU having more power, but with the One using Azure services. Over time, you're going to see some phenomenal things. For developers, its a completely new way of thinking. Offloading graphical elements to the cloud which aren't latency effected.

JonnyLH said,

People don't know how much of a technical deal this is. This is not a video stream being pushed and sent back, its raw graphical data.

People are referring to the PS4 GPU having more power, but with the One using Azure services. Over time, you're going to see some phenomenal things. For developers, its a completely new way of thinking. Offloading graphical elements to the cloud which aren't latency effected.

Until the cloud services go down and you're unable to play through the single player campaign, regardless of the fact that your console and internet connection are in good working order. I for one will never be a supporter of "depending" on cloud services. I think cloud services can be incredibly useful for augmenting games and technology, but I think it's a huge mistake that Microsoft is making people dependent on the availability of a high speed internet connection and the reliability of their cloud servers.

At least we won't have to wait long for the game to be released. "The game will be released in Spring 2013 [sic]" Spring officially ends in a couple of weeks

M_Lyons10 said,
If the game couldn't have been made without the cloud features, how is it coming to the 360 as well?

Im sure their will be differences between The One and 360 versions. AI alone would most likely be dumbed down quite a bit on the 360 version.

What about latency issues with this approach? Latency is a big issue on most countries unless they have some sort of CDN type of solution.

Cocoliso said,
What about latency issues with this approach? Latency is a big issue on most countries unless they have some sort of CDN type of solution.

That's what I was thinking.

Azure has datacenters all over the world. They even provide a Traffic Manager service for routing client requests to the nearest data center. I use this to minimize latency in requests to Newseen's servers. I currently have front-ends deployed in West US, East US, and North Europe. If I can manage that, I'm sure these guys can figure it out :-)

A CDN uses the same geo-distributed idea, but generally just for serving static content), not for geo-locating compute resources or data stores.

Cocoliso said,
What about latency issues with this approach? Latency is a big issue on most countries unless they have some sort of CDN type of solution.

Developers will only use this for non-latency effected scenes. For example, a mountain crumbling in the background. Does that matter if its half a second behind? The great thing is, with examples like that, they take a huge amount of physics processing. Without the Xbox One processing it, you're literally opening the console to crazy ideas. I'm excited for that prospect.

The new SimCity also made heavy use of the cloud for "stuff". It was a roaring success. Wait, no it wasn't.

Are you seriously comparing Microsoft's data centers and cloud technology to that of Electronic Arts?

And actually Sim City sold really well, part of the reason why EA couldn't handle the server demand.

EA lied about the cloud-usage. They said it was 'essential' for gameplay, but then internal devs confirmed that the game itself sent nothing to the cloud for any computations.

The initial launch was a failure in that the game didn't work. It was a success in that it sold very well. I'm guessing the main point/argument would be if the game would have sold as much if there was no online requirement. Or would people have just pirated it off the net.

Obviously they could be lying about cloud-usage for this game as well. But they have no need to use 'piracy' as a reason for the online requirement, because consoles are closed platforms, and you can't pirate console games (w/o first cracking the hardware)

Blizzard has a very good infrastructure. They still had some latency problems when Diablo 3 was released.

Bun-Bun said,
The new SimCity also made heavy use of the cloud for "stuff". It was a roaring success. Wait, no it wasn't.

You guys obviously know nothing about Azure. If my Xbox One is Azure powered, I'm happy

siah1214 said,

You guys obviously know nothing about Azure. If my Xbox One is Azure powered, I'm happy

Remote and no latency exist only in la la land.

siah1214 said,

You guys obviously know nothing about Azure. If my Xbox One is Azure powered, I'm happy

Until Azure servers go down, and like any other single player game that requires the cloud (D3 and SimCity for example) you are out of your game until servers go back up.

gonchuki said,

Until Azure servers go down, and like any other single player game that requires the cloud (D3 and SimCity for example) you are out of your game until servers go back up.

You'll never see that happen. It'd be like Google going down.

JonnyLH said,

You'll never see that happen. It'd be like Google going down.
You are aware that Azure has gone down on more than one occasion already aren't you? Not bashing MS, every cloud service has had downtime including all of MS's rivals.

mog0 said,
You are aware that Azure has gone down on more than one occasion already aren't you? Not bashing MS, every cloud service has had downtime including all of MS's rivals.

And i'm sure there's time where Google is not as responsive as it normally is. The thing is you don't really care if your search result is returned in 0.28 sec or 0.38 sec. In fact i just did a test. I did 3 times the same search. 0.14 sec, 0.31 sec and 0.13 sec.

When it comes to gaming a 0.20 sec difference between an event and the result is a lot. Anyone who play online games on a regular basis know that latency is inevitable and unpredictable no matter how good the servers are.

I don't mind latency when i play online. It's part of the game. You got to deal with it. I know that here and there my headshots might not register because of latency spike. But i really don't want to deal with it when i play offline. It did bother me here and there in Diablo 3.

Wouldn't be able to make the game? Or Wouldn't be able to make it for consoles? I'm pretty sure you never NEED a server to offload physics data... Plus dedicated server could of been hosted just the way they always were... I'm calling BS.

SierraSonic said,
Wouldn't be able to make the game? Or Wouldn't be able to make it for consoles? I'm pretty sure you never NEED a server to offload physics data... Plus dedicated server could of been hosted just the way they always were... I'm calling BS.

I guess it is 'wouldn't be able to easily make the game' or 'wouldn't be able to make the game with their current skillset'.

I'm sure a few years down the line we'll see game that look much better then Titanfall running without cloud support. The current generation might have lasted a little too long but it did force developers to get the most out of those console specs. It will be a while before developers feel they have to get the most of out the Xbox One and PS4. I wouldn't be suprised if a lot of early games take the easy way out. Wont change until there is more competition.

Respawn says that they were originally targeting the game for current gen consoles like the 360, but they realized they needed more power to do a persistent always online game like this. The 360 version is not being made by Respawn and will obviously not have all the bells and whistles of the ONE version.

Microsoft has dedicated the equivalent of 3 Xbox ONE's in their data centers to every Xbox ONE in customers homes. I don't think we've ever seen anything like this on either the PC or console side ever before. I do like the idea that they're making this tech potentially available to developers on the PC/360/ONE though. If this was software/server tech for just the ONE it might be a little harder to evangelize.

If the physics used are complex enough, too complex for the consoles limited hardware then yeah they would NEED to offload the physics.

It's like with the original Crysis on PC. The game is very old yet still has better physics than Crysis 2 and 3 because those 2 games were on consoles and limited by the hardware, so the PC versions suffered.

Depends on how complex the physics data is. Back when Half Life 2 Episode 2 was new, Valve wanted to do some animations based off of rather complex physics calulations that even high end computers of the day would chug on. The nature of the animations mean that there was no user interation, so to solve the problem of the computational power needed to properly render the physics in these animations, Valve essentially prerendered them and had a file that contained all the "answers" needed to render the live animation, but without needing live hardware to solve the physics equations. This could be similar to that, but more interactive

Avatar Roku said,
Respawn says that they were originally targeting the game for current gen consoles like the 360, but they realized they needed more power to do a persistent always online game like this. The 360 version is not being made by Respawn and will obviously not have all the bells and whistles of the ONE version.

Microsoft has dedicated the equivalent of 3 Xbox ONE's in their data centers to every Xbox ONE in customers homes. I don't think we've ever seen anything like this on either the PC or console side ever before. I do like the idea that they're making this tech potentially available to developers on the PC/360/ONE though. If this was software/server tech for just the ONE it might be a little harder to evangelize.

Where did you get the 3 to 1 X1 ratio from?

Ultravires said,

Where did you get the 3 to 1 X1 ratio from?

Jeff Henshaw, group program manager of Xbox Incubation & Prototyping:

"We're provisioning for developers for every physical Xbox One we build, we're provisioning the CPU and storage equivalent of three Xbox Ones on the cloud," he said. "We're doing that flat out so that any game developer can assume that there's roughly three times the resources immediately available to their game, so they can build bigger, persistent levels that are more inclusive for players. They can do that out of the gate."

Avatar Roku said,
Microsoft has dedicated the equivalent of 3 Xbox ONE's in their data centers to every Xbox ONE in customers homes.

Oh wow, I really see them keeping that money spinner going indefinitely.