Microsoft Researching Cloud Gaming Solution That Hides Latency By Predicting Your Actions

DeLorean reduces latency by guessing what you're going to do before you do it.

Microsoft researchers have released a report that presents DeLorean, a cloud gaming solution that hides latency by trying to predict what you'll do next.

According to the report (via TechCrunch) DeLorean's "speculative execution system," as Microsoft calls it, is able to mask up to 250ms of network latency by rendering frames of future possible outcomes and sending them ahead of time. Essentially, based on your historical tendencies and recent behavior, DeLorean tries to predict your actions, render them, and send them to your device in advance to improve your perception that the game is more responsive. For actions that are harder to predict, DeLorean queues up multiple possible outcomes and displays only the correct one.

This, the researchers say, produces an experience that is more responsive than current solutions, where even 100ms can feel laggy.

Microsoft tested DeLorean with two games: Doom 3 and Fable 3. "Through user studies and performance benchmarks, we find that players overwhelmingly prefer DeLorean to traditional thin-client gaming," they said, adding that "DeLorean successfully mimics playing across a low-latency network."

However, while Microsoft says that they're able to reduce the added bandwidth of having to transmit possible outcome frames with better video compression, DeLorean still requires almost five times as much bandwidth than standard cloud gaming systems. So it's not ready for public consumption, but it is an interesting, possible solution to the latency problem.

Sony's cloud gaming solution, PlayStation Now (which is based on Gaikai's technology), is currently in beta.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

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Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer in search of the Citizen Kane of burritos.

Discussion

313 comments
sandman338
sandman338

As soon as everyone gets bored of the 1080p/60fps thing, latency will be a big topic for multiplayer and that is when the difference between Xbox live and PSN will start to show. 

blackothh
blackothh

They might as well just play the game for you instead of actually fixing latency

KealGSeo
KealGSeo

So in other words you won't be playing the game anymore, the aggregate laggy reactions of players that died will be forced on you by it guessing.

Try putting enough hardware in the system in the first place and you wont have to worry with BS like this.

brxricano
brxricano

Next Report: DeLorean causes lag computing predictions for overwhelming number of players.

nurnberg
nurnberg

"Microsoft decided to cancel Delorean.  The program predicted that X1 gamers' next move would be to sell their console and buy a PS4."

Johny_47
Johny_47

Ok, but will it need plutonium to make the necessary 1.21 gigawatts to operate properly?

Karchy
Karchy

We predicted the kinectless Xbox One 1 year ago.. beat that!

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

For anyone saying to the contrary, no this is *nothing* like turning a game into a film while you just sit there and watch the game being played for you.  It's not even a step towards that, at least, no more than inventing the lightbulb was a step towards nuclear war.  If you don't press the buttons, nothing happens.  ie. Still a game.

The only thing I wonder at this point is, so the game can only reduce lag when you're doing something expected?  So that means all the cool unexpected stuff is going to be just as laggy?

dman01462
dman01462

This is frustrating for a gamer. I think I speak for all of us when I say NO GAMER WANTS CLOUD GAMING. So y are they even researching this... As an avid console gamer I hate pc gaming but I would happily go for pc instead of streaming I don't care if there is 0 latency I don't want to have to rely on streaming to play my games. I want a console a disc and that's it. it's a ridiculous notion from a business perspective the amount of money they will loose is substantial unless they plan on selling adverts inbetween call if duty matches (I was saying that as a joke but now I've mentioned it I wouldn't put it past them)

Born_Lucky
Born_Lucky

Next generation of consoles:


Zero lag achieved by having console play game for you while you watch. It knows what you were going to do anyway, so why bother inputting commands.?


At this point, kids will start playing outdoors again, like they did for 5000 years of recorded history, before video games came along.

elheber
elheber

The best phones can't even predict what we're trying to write. How can we trust them with games?

93ChevyNut
93ChevyNut

I can see this working on scripted events.  For example: if, when I normally approach a door I open it, I could see Delorean pre-rendering the opening of the door just prior to me actually pressing "A" to open it.  But I can't imagine how it would work for things like competitive online shooters.  How could they possibly pre-render the infinite movements?  Will it anticipate that if I hear gunfire that I'll rotate right 27 degrees while sidestepping 1.6 feet?  Or maybe I'll rotate left, but actually 48 degrees while jumping and reloading my gun?  Trying to have that many pre-rendered options preloaded to my box would require a datastream that would be off the charts.

Garm31
Garm31

The industry really is trying to push through these anti-ownership, 100% control, cloud services. MS need it more to hide the X'bone hardware deficiencies by offloading it to the cloud. When physical ownership of software goes, so does my interest in gaming.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

Basically by 'predicting' it could make a bad player look good and make a good player look bad. Nice job with the prediction thing-

grenadehh
grenadehh

Also I see glitches happening hardcore with this when the frames displayed in speculation aren't at all what was happening before the lag.

grenadehh
grenadehh

Considering even we don't know what we're going to do before we do it - especially seeing as a lot of times what we're going to do is BECAUSE of lag, I'd prefer to just stick with the lag. You know what I do when I'm being shot in battlefail and expect a massive lag wave? I prone and hide.



Is the cloud going to do that for me? Assuming that I played on console which I don't.

F4LcO
F4LcO

This is a mix of neural network and genetic algorithm. I think just a few people know something about this!

Vexov
Vexov

So you mean to say the game will play for me?. Predicting is one thing, but taking action before i even do is another. They can't possibly do anything with this without taking away the control of the player.

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

Sounds interesting, but I'm much more interested in how it could be applied to AI. 

Areposo
Areposo

What if i am the chosen one and my movements cant be predicted :o

straightcur
straightcur

So, what they are saying, is that "cloud" gaming isn't as good.....

elheber
elheber

DeLorean processes and renders several potential actions you may take. These images are streamed to you (ahead of time) and your device will display only the one that most closely matches your inputs.


However, the extra bandwidth required is obscene. I would rather have partial rendering of the most static elements in the game, and allowing the client to render his own player on his own client in real-time. I think that'd be a better solution.

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

While the whole idea of rendering several possible outcomes ahead of time is intriguing, that's got to be a strain. You're talking about the kind of bandwidth that most people can only dream of and that's for a single device. No netflix, no youtube, nothing. Just that one process. And that's before computing just how much horsepower it would take to process five potential images for every single action that the player makes.

Ultramarinus
Ultramarinus

Ugh.. The trend is going towards ISPs limiting high bandwidth usage more and more while MS thinks it's a good idea to waste R&D money on a system that will increase it even higher for something that already wastes bandwidth like 60's cars wasted oil.

elheber
elheber

No man or machine can predict what I'm going to do bacon.

baconfromhell
baconfromhell

oh please Microsoft didn't predict windows 8 not selling well...

IndremaLover
IndremaLover

I'm pretty predictable, so this may work really well with me.

Attitude2000
Attitude2000

This would improve racing games tremendously. I can already play Titanfall fine at around 100ms, but things tend to jump a bit she I near other players.

JediMasterJ42
JediMasterJ42

I'm pretty sure, judging by the comments, that only 25% of people that read this article understood it.

StHapns247
StHapns247

So they've finally build The Matrix...

emerin76
emerin76

All I see in comments is negativity. Gamers really are the life of a party.

baconfromhell
baconfromhell

so if your playing Call of Booty, it knows when your ganna get a triple Kill!!

pork7
pork7

FAIL. Can Delorean predict most gamers won't touch an xB0ne?

Darknight765
Darknight765

And how do we get the flux capacitor up to 60mph?

Darknight765
Darknight765

Every gamer wants cloud gaming, see steam. I have fios and don't feel like buying a $500 system or upgrading a pc every 5 years. Anything they can do to up the graphic that doesn't cost me money is a win.

brad12d3
brad12d3

@dman01462 There are some HUGE benefits to cloud gaming. For one it could potentially be an overall better value for the consumer. I'm talking about cheaper hardware purchases on the consumer end that utilizes more powerful hardware via cloud. So your AI, Physics, Graphics, etc.. could get better as a result of hardware updates on the manufacturer's end, and not just the consumer's end.  It could mean consistently better games for less cost upfront. Of course, it does require a lot of bandwidth, so there are certainly some technical hurdles to get over before we really see some major benefits. 

flyincloud1116
flyincloud1116

@Born_Lucky Or they will sit there and watch like good little zombies.

dannydevito
dannydevito

@grenadehh "Assuming that I played on console which I don't." As you tip your fedora and turn away from the camera, trench coat rustling in the air.. 

sladakrobot
sladakrobot

@Vexov lol Where does it say the system will play for you?

It does not take any action before you...it predicts things you might do and sends the data to the console to be ready in case you do the predicted thing.

Without your doing happens nothing.

sladakrobot
sladakrobot

@Areposo Think like this scenario:

You are in a area with a destructible house,gas station and a truck.

The system will predict already that you will probably shoot at one of these things while shooting at enemies and will calculate the explosions/destruction/flying pieces and debris before it happens and will deliver when it happens..

It will have no effect on your freedom of movement within the game. 

jameston80
jameston80

@pork7 Fail Delorean predicted gamers bought a ps4 with no great games except for indies, lol

TheWatcher000
TheWatcher000

@Darknight765 

So you speak for every gamer, and have confirmed with every single gamer on the planet that this is the unanimous consensus of what we want.


You're amazing.  How did we all get by before you came along?

DeadorRock
DeadorRock

@sladakrobot Yes, then you decide to not shoot anything and boom, lots of server resources that could be used to do something actually useful are wasted rendering frames that will never be displayed. Way to go.

emerin76
emerin76

One day I might be surprised.