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Titanfall: Devs Explain Their Use of Xbox LIVE Cloud

June 24, 2013 No Comments

Xbox Live Cloud is a brand new service/technology/etc. that Microsoft is offering for Xbox One Games. There has been a lot of discussion and confustion about the topic. Respawn Entertainment, the creators of the highly anticipated Xbox One game Titanfall have published a nice Q&A type article, really explaining Xbox Live Cloud and how it works, benefits, etc.


Player-Hosted Servers
The vast majority of games will pick a player and have them act as the server for the match. This means that all of the other players talk to them to decide what happens in a game. When you shoot your gun, the server decides if that is allowed and then tells everyone what you hit. Let’s agree to call this system “player-hosted” for simplicity.

What kinds of problems do you get with player-hosted servers?

  • What if one player has great bandwidth, but it’s laggy? Games are having to choose between different player hosts, and have to make hard decisions about which one should be the host, with two different measurements – bandwidth and latency. Sometimes it will pick a host who has good bandwidth, but whose latency isn’t ideal. But we don’t want the game to make compromises on lag and we really want the game to feel the same every time we play. We really don’t want to worry about this stuff – we just want to play and have the game feel good.
  • What about host advantage? The player-host has the game running locally on their machine, so they get super low latency access to the game world. You’ve probably seen this in action as some player seems to see you long before you get to see them or their bullets hit you before yours hit them. That sucks. Nobody should have an artificial advantage in a competitive multiplayer game.
  • What if the player-host is a cheater? Since the host gets to make decisions about kills, XP, and unlocks and such, it’s really bad if they abuse their power to wipe out your stats, or they cheat by flying around maps and insta-killing people. It’s infuriating, in fact.
  • What if the host disconnects? In the “best case” for this, you can do host migration if there’s another player who has enough bandwidth and everyone else can talk to them. If you hit that jackpot, you can migrate from the old host to the new one, which pauses the game and then unpauses when the new player-host is ready to start acting as the server. This isn’t a fun process, and it can fail.

Dedicated Servers
Dedicated servers are when a computer sitting out on the internet handles all of the host duties, leaving every client free to just be a client.

  • You can get even more CPU on your dedicated servers to do new things like dozens of AI and giant autopilot titans!
  • Suddenly you have no more host advantage!
  • Bandwidth for the servers is guaranteed from the hosting provider!
  • You can use all of the available CPU and memory on the player machines for awesome visuals and audio!
  • Hacked-host cheating isn’t an issue!
  • Matchmaking can be lightning fast since it’s guaranteed that everyone can connect to your servers.
  • And since the servers aren’t going to go disconnect to watch Netflix, you don’t need to migrate hosts anymore!

The player experience is so much better. This sounds awesome!


You can read more at Respawn Entertainment
via Major Nelson

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