Crackdown 3 and the Power of the Cloud

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Showan    679

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Showan    679

So, Crackdown 3 might be the most impressive demo I've ever seen. We'll have a full preview up later today, but suffice it to say that all that bluster about "leveraging the Cloud" to bring hitherto unseen levels of physics-based destruction is totally accurate. That moment in the CG teaser trailer where an Agent collapses a building into another building to kill the naughty crime boss inside? You can do that. Easily. I've seen it happen. I have seen such things.

While the offline single-player game plays out like the Crackdown of old, it's in multiplayer - set in an entirely separate city - where the game flexes its next-gen muscles. It works off of a startlingly simple conceit - the city is divided into distinct sections, each governed by a single server. When you start destroying things in an area, the physics calculations are sent to its server, and the results are sent back to your Xbox, which resolves that into everything from a single bullethole to a skyscraper tumbling down.

If you, say, blow a chunk off of a building, which then flies into an adjacent area and smashes the window of the tower block next door, that neighbouring server then helps the original to resolve this. Destruction is persistent, and every piece of rubble remains interactive, and can continue to be shot, blown up or pushed around. Servers can be piled on servers to keep this working - in our demo, we saw 11 being used at once. Producer, Dave Jones, assured me that that was the tip of the digital iceberg.

 

 

You'd think this would require an immense internet connection to keep it rolling, not least when four players (this is the current maximum size for a multiplayer party, although it could increase) are doing the same thing in four separate corners of the city, but the relative ease of swapping information between Xbox and server means the strain is fairly small. Jones says that his team are optimising the game for a 2-4mbps connection.

So, I ask the question - does this technology make the Xbox One more powerful? Jones nods. Does it, effectively, make it the most powerful console ever made while those servers are running? Jones nods. While Crackdown utilises it purely for physics, the opportunity here is clear. Who knows what another company could make with this, given the time? For the moment, though, I'm not entirely bothered - I just knocked a penthouse balcony off its moorings and watched it take 20 others out on its way to the ground. I'm still smiling.

 

http://www.gamesradar.com/crackdown-3-effectively-turns-your-xbox-one-most-powerful-console-ever-made/?tag=grsocial-20

 

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dipsylalapo    874

I have to admit, whilst watching that I was grinning like a kid! That was impressive, and to think this is pre-alpha. 

It's a shame that it's taken two years to get here but looks like they've delivered! Here's hoping that other developers think of ways to use this.

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Elliot B.    1,064

A few years from now, the servers will be shut down and multiplayer will cease to work.

Also, when you shoot a bullet into a wall, I can't imagine transferring that shot to the server, the server calculating the result, and the server sending the info. back, is instant.

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+E.worm Jimmy    9,923

I have to admit, whilst watching that I was grinning like a kid! That was impressive, and to think this is pre-alpha. 

It's a shame that it's taken two years to get here but looks like they've delivered!

Delivered?    I will wait till the game is released to see if they delivered.   Words and PRE-alpha footage do not guarantee that it will be delivered.

I would be cautiously optimistic about it, that's all. 

Edited by e.worm jimmmy
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dipsylalapo    874

Delivered?    I will wait till the game is released to see if they delivered.   Words and PRE-alpha footage do not guarantee that it will be delivered.

I am cautiously optimistic about it, that's all. 

True, I take back delivered :p If they don't, think the backlash would be worse then the Xbox One reveal event.

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ZeroHour    65

A few years from now, the servers will be shut down and multiplayer will cease to work.

Also, when you shoot a bullet into a wall, I can't imagine transferring that shot to the server, the server calculating the result, and the server sending the info. back, is instant.

Years later... when no on is playing but with scaling they can just ramp down the number of servers dependant on the number of players playing keeping their cost base down so it will be less of an issue.

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theyarecomingforyou    9,094

Red Faction Guerilla had a similar destruction system six years ago without the need for the cloud. Further, just because it is using that much processing power doesn't mean that it's an efficient way to do so - if it's making unnecessary calculations then it's not going to produce a tangible benefit. The limitation is still how much can be rendered by the GPU. That's without even considering latency issues and the impact they could have. It also means the game is crippled if the cloud servers are ever unavailable or shut down. Half-Life was released back in 1998 and I can go back and play it at any time. Do people think the cloud functionality for this game will still be operational in 2033?

I think it's an interesting tech demo but I'm not sure it will make for particularly good gameplay. Still, it's good to see developers pushing the envelope when it comes to physics. I just wish this system was attached to a better game.

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MikeChipshop    3,284

A few years from now, the servers will be shut down and multiplayer will cease to work.

Sooo... like any game with Online Multiplayer then?

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ZeroHour    65

Red Faction Guerilla had a similar destruction system six years ago without the need for the cloud. Further, just because it is using that much processing power doesn't mean that it's an efficient way to do so - if it's making unnecessary calculations then it's not going to produce a tangible benefit. The limitation is still how much can be rendered by the GPU. That's without even considering latency issues and the impact they could have. It also means the game is crippled if the cloud servers are ever unavailable or shut down. Half-Life was released back in 1998 and I can go back and play it at any time. Do people think the cloud functionality for this game will still be operational in 2033?

I think it's an interesting tech demo but I'm not sure it will make for particularly good gameplay. Still, it's good to see developers pushing the envelope when it comes to physics. I just wish this system was attached to a better game.

For the benefit of others (Guerilla destruction example):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U93lGcMC4mc

Did they have any huge high buildings in Guerilla? I dont recall huge buildings more 2/3 floor buildings in it but it has been a while. Also the scenes were a lot more spartan than the crackdown demo.
If its so easy to do without servers sony will obviously create something similar but only time will tell.

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HawkMan    5,099

A few years from now, the servers will be shut down and multiplayer will cease to work.

Also, when you shoot a bullet into a wall, I can't imagine transferring that shot to the server, the server calculating the result, and the server sending the info. back, is instant.

first, it uses the universal xbox one cloud servers, so as long as the xbox one has online, it'll work.

secondly, mosr mp games today calculate hits on the server with location timestamps of shooter ans target, so...

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HawkMan    5,099

For the benefit of others (Guerilla destruction example):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U93lGcMC4mc

Did they have any huge high buildings in Guerilla? I dont recall huge buildings more 2/3 floor buildings in it but it has been a while. Also the scenes were a lot more spartan than the crackdown demo.
If its so easy to do without servers sony will obviously create something similar but only time will tell.

guerilla isn't even comparable.

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LaP    1,707

Delivered?    I will wait till the game is released to see if they delivered.   Words and PRE-alpha footage do not guarantee that it will be delivered.

I would be cautiously optimistic about it, that's all. 

Got to agree with jim here,

There's no enemies on the screen. No action to speak of. No AI to handle. Nothing is happening but the destruction of buildings.

To be honest i'm very very far from sure a good PC could not handle that if it doesn't have anything else to do. Also i'm not sure if destroying a building with a gun and some fireball in less than 10 minutes bring anything to a game, You could destroy the city in 2 or 3 hours that's cool i guess but what does it bring to the game? After that there's no city to speak of and it's game over. Does it make the gameplay better? Does it add to the the artistic value of the game? If you destroy a building does the company owning it offer a reward for your head? Is the world (npcs) surrounding the building react in a realistic and believable way when you destroy it. Do people try to stop you when you destroy it?

It's a nice tech demo but I still fail to see what the cloud brings to gaming outside of perpetual world games and multiplayer/mmo and MS has yet to prove me wrong so far. It's been almost 2 years ...

I might be wrong. But i'll wait for a finished product revolutionizing the gaming industry before i consider i am.

Edited by LaP

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BajiRav    2,120

Red Faction Guerilla had a similar destruction system six years ago without the need for the cloud. Further, just because it is using that much processing power doesn't mean that it's an efficient way to do so - if it's making unnecessary calculations then it's not going to produce a tangible benefit. The limitation is still how much can be rendered by the GPU. That's without even considering latency issues and the impact they could have. It also means the game is crippled if the cloud servers are ever unavailable or shut down. Half-Life was released back in 1998 and I can go back and play it at any time. Do people think the cloud functionality for this game will still be operational in 2033?

I think it's an interesting tech demo but I'm not sure it will make for particularly good gameplay. Still, it's good to see developers pushing the envelope when it comes to physics. I just wish this system was attached to a better game.

We had 3D graphics in Wolfenstein-3D I guess that makes PS4/Xbox1 unimpressive? The demo here is unprecedented for a console and is nothing short of impressive.

I like how we are now going from "cloud" is a marketing crap to "this is nothing new" to "it is wasting computational power" to "but this won't work in 2033".

WTF??

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+Audioboxer    2,874

However it is done, a SP game should be playable offline without losing anything bar MP components. If things get substantially scaled back offline then that is not a viable solution IMO.

edit: Apparently will be limited in SP (online or offline), so it's a multiplayer feature only.

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Edited by Audioboxer

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ZeroHour    65

Got to agree with jim here,

There's no enemies on the screen. No action to speak of. No AI to handle. Nothing is happening but the destruction of buildings.

To be honest i'm very very far from sure a good PC could not handle that if it doesn't have anything else to do. Also i'm not sure if destroying a building with a gun and some fireball in less than 10 minutes bring anything to a game, You could destroy the city in 2 or 3 hours that's cool i guess but what does it bring to the game? After that there's no city to speak of and it's game over. Does it make the gameplay better? Does it add to the the artistic value of the game?

I still fail to see what the cloud brings to gaming outside of perpetual world games and multiplayer/mmo and MS has yet to prove me wrong so far. It's been almost 2 years ...

I might be wrong. But i'll wait for a finished product revolutionizing the gaming industry before i consider i am.

I suspect baddies/cops may try to stop you wiping it all out but at the end of the game when you have leveled up etc it would be pretty fun to do.

As they said themselves its a demo of the type of destruction they are working on and their own guns were a lot more powerful than the final end product to demo it easily. I would expect a lot of the AI to be done xbox side but who knows right now...

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ZeroHour    65

However it is done, a SP game should be playable offline without losing anything bar MP components. If things get substantially scaled back offline then that is not a viable solution IMO.

edit: Apparently will be limited offline

So many are online most of the time it wont really matter if you get a more limited destruction effect tbh, I certainly dont care as I am always connected like everyone else I know (even my gran but she doesnt game)

I do expect the competition to be working on similar approaches as it appears some games are really pushing the current gen consoles now.

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MikeChipshop    3,284

(even my gran but she doesnt game)

Thats what you think. She's my best sniper in BF4 :o

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+Audioboxer    2,874

So many are online most of the time it wont really matter if you get a more limited destruction effect tbh, I certainly dont care as I am always connected like everyone else I know (even my gran but she doesnt game)

I misinterpreted it. The full destruction is only in MP (not co-op), regardless of being online or not. This is okay as it doesn't require SP to be online, that's what I find unacceptable when developers do it. Especially EA who shutdown servers 3 months later.

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ZeroHour    65

I misinterpreted it. The full destruction is only in MP, regardless of being online or not. This is okay as it doesn't require SP to be online, that's what I find unacceptable when developers do it. Especially EA who shutdown servers 3 months later.

Yeah EA... they are almost as evil as Activision...

I noticed your edit after I posted but it appears the quote picked up the change, IPBv4 is a strange beast.

I really dont think this whole cloud physics will be exclusive to xbox, sony could easily be working on similar tbf.

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+Audioboxer    2,874

Yeah EA... they are almost as evil as Activision...

I noticed your edit after I posted but it appears the quote picked up the change, IPBv4 is a strange beast.

I really dont think this whole cloud physics will be exclusive to xbox, sony could easily be working on similar tbf.

If they keep it to MP that is fine. SP worlds should be able to run on the grunt power of the console, as to prevent issues where there is no online connection, and preserve the ability to play titles you love 10 years from now. That and I'm really wary of Plus/Gold ever being able to stop non-paying subscribers playing SP content with the excuse SP relies on MP, so paywall activate! Stuff like the Souls series is fine online in SP, because you can play it all offline. Sim City is was not.

On another note this is one game I'll be jealous of if I don't pickup a One before it's out. Crackdown 1 was superb, 2, not so much, but feedback about 2 was given loud and clearly.

Edited by Audioboxer

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LaP    1,707

Yeah EA... they are almost as evil as Activision...

I noticed your edit after I posted but it appears the quote picked up the change, IPBv4 is a strange beast.

I really dont think this whole cloud physics will be exclusive to xbox, sony could easily be working on similar tbf.

Well there's been servers for multiplayer games for ages now. I mean Activision-Blizzard or ArenaNet/NCSOFT could use their servers to handle complicated physic if they wanted to. It's just that at the end of the day it's probably not worth spending that kind of money for what it will bring. They wont really sell more games.

Microsoft can afford it as they try to sell consoles and online network subs. Sony could probably afford it too i guess if it appears to be a selling point along the road.

As a computer eng i still fail to see what is so awesome about the cloud. Distributed computing and such has been around for age. I applause MS for building what appears to be a good api and infrastructure to offer cloud computing to developers. It remains to be seen though if the cost and the ease of use of the api will be good enough for developers to use it for things other than traditional tasks handled by multiplayer servers until now. So far it doesn't look like it is the case. But again i could be wrong i guess time will tell.

I would actually be far more impressed if those **** consoles could start using MSAA 4x or better instead of that dreadful FXAA. Every videos of console games i watch are full of jaggies i hate it. Well that would not be impressive to be honest but at least it would make playing those games less painful for my eyes.

Edited by LaP

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Showan    679

Well there's been servers for multiplayer games for ages now. I mean Activision-Blizzard or ArenaNet/NCSOFT could use their servers to handle complicated physic if they wanted to. It's just that at the end of the day it's probably not worth spending that kind of money for what it will bring. They wont really sell more games.

Microsoft can afford it as they try to sell consoles and online network subs. Sony could probably afford it too i guess if it appears to be a selling point along the road.

As a computer eng i still fail to see what is so awesome about the cloud. Distributed computing and such has been around for age. I applause MS for building what appears to be a good api and infrastructure to offer cloud computing to developers. It remains to be seen though if the cost and the ease of use of the api will be good enough for developers to use it for things other than traditional tasks handled by multiplayer servers until now. So far it doesn't look like it is the case. But again i could be wrong i guess time will tell.

I would actually be far more impressed if those **** consoles could start using MSAA 4x or better instead of that dreadful FXAA. Every videos of console games i watch are full of jaggies i hate it. Well that would not be impressive to be honest but at least it would make playing those games less painful for my eyes.

Well I'm not an engineer but I'm impressed.  Having a dedicated server for each portion of a map.  And when something falls into another territory, the server then communicates with another server and they handle the calculations together.  I'm impressed.

Yes physics and servers and any of that have been around for years, but tell me when have any of them applied this kind of thing to a console.  And from what I read, when you destroy something it doesn't just vanish into thin air.  Once you leave the area and come back that destruction is still suppose to be there.

Stuff being around for years is one thing, but it being implemented into a Console (not PC) and it hopefully works properly, well I'm impressed.

Even BF4 destruction on a BEEFY gaming rig doesn't compare to this.

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Showan    679

Red Faction Guerilla had a similar destruction system six years ago without the need for the cloud. Further, just because it is using that much processing power doesn't mean that it's an efficient way to do so - if it's making unnecessary calculations then it's not going to produce a tangible benefit. The limitation is still how much can be rendered by the GPU. That's without even considering latency issues and the impact they could have. It also means the game is crippled if the cloud servers are ever unavailable or shut down. Half-Life was released back in 1998 and I can go back and play it at any time. Do people think the cloud functionality for this game will still be operational in 2033?

I think it's an interesting tech demo but I'm not sure it will make for particularly good gameplay. Still, it's good to see developers pushing the envelope when it comes to physics. I just wish this system was attached to a better game.

I've played RF:Guerilla (good game) and it doesn't compare.  once the smaller buildings collapsed in that game, they would pretty much disappear.

rival gang has building locked down and don't want to come out... Blow up building, flush gang out... sounds like tangible benefit ...

 

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LaP    1,707

I'll just like to add that i'm looking forward to Crackdown 3 if MS brings it to PC. I liked the first Crackdown. And if they can get the multiplayer right (gameplay is fun) yes totally destructible env with "realistic" physic and perpetual features added in the multiplayer could be very cool. That's the sort of things that can make multiplayer more fun no doubt asbout it. Game breaker not sure but it can add to the multiplayer there's absolutely no doubt.

I made my previous comments mainly because of the thread title. That "the power of the cloud" moniker ... If the thread title would have been "Crackdown 3 tech demo showing cool multiplayer destructible env and physic using the cloud" i would not have been negative in my comments.

Anyway just to say i'm not trolling i don't have any console right now other than my old 360 and i'm looking forward to the PC version of the game if it's ever coming.

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