Xbox One cloud servers "absolutely essential" to Titanfall

Microsoft's Azure cloud servers responsible for Titanfall's in-game AI, freeing up processing power for "more detailed graphics".

Respawn Entertainment has shed light on how critical cloud servers are to the recently-launched Titanfall, and explained why it chose to power significant elements of the game using Microsoft's Azure cloud infrastructure.

Speaking in an interview with Engadget, Respawn Entertainment engineer Jon Shiring discussed the necessity of cloud servers in running Titanfall.

Microsoft's Azure cloud server is not only responsible for hosting dedicated matches, but controls the behaviour of Artificial Intelligence in-game, including that of un-piloted Titans. According to Shiring, a lot of publishers were initially "terrified" at the prospect of using cloud servers to power the game.

All of Titanfall's AI is reportedly handled by the Azure servers, freeing up processing power of the Xbox 360, Xbox One or PC to "achieve more detailed graphics and the game's silky-smooth frame rate."

However, Titanfall's dependency on dedicated servers allegedly account for why the game will not be launching in regions where Microsoft's Azure data centres do not exist, such as South Africa.

But how will the servers handle Titanfall's initial launch wave?

"We're trying to figure out how many people will be playing and trying to make sure the servers will be there for that," Shiring said.

"We just say [to Microsoft], here are our estimates, aim for more than that, plan for problems and make sure there are more than enough servers available--they'll know the whole time that they need to bring more servers online."

Titanfall launches for the Xbox One and PC on March 11 in North America, with worldwide launches to follow in over the next few days. An Xbox 360 version--developed externally at Bluepoint Games--will arrive on March 25. Check out GameSpot's full review for more on the game.

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Zorine

Zorine Te

Zorine “harli” Te is GameSpot Australia's associate editor. She wants to save the world.
Titanfall

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408 comments
bigcr47
bigcr47

I have Titanfall on Xbox One. I dont necessarily think that the AI needs a cloud server to run, it isnt anything more than a very basic routine, its not meant to fight you its meant to be cannon fodder. However I AM enjoying the incredible speed and almost zero latency that the dedicated servers provide. The precision is amazing in that game.

TalSet_11
TalSet_11

@youre_a_sheep  Azure is just a server architecture.  PSN and Xbox Live are certainly both DRM, but the use of Azure to run multiple subroutines so the CPU doesn't have to has nothing to do with DRM.  

Bowser05
Bowser05

I only briefly skimmed the article because I already know in great detail how Titanfall uses Azure. My only complaint is that the PC version also depends on Azure. I guess it's not really a complaint. It had a rocky start for the first few hours due to the brand new use of this infrastructure but frankly speaking...the game has been running really well since. I love the idea of Azure and it seems to be executed nicely thus far.

grove12345
grove12345

i dont know. if this had like 500 npcs adapting to an enviroment that changes all the time then yea bring the cloud. but this is something the cloud isnt needed for. few ai bots and a server. all been done about 18 years ago

Bowser05
Bowser05

@grove12345  Has it been done before? Show me a dedicated multiplayer game that is as high tier as this one that has lots of ai players intertwined with the normal 6v6 combat. Keep in mind the game doesn't only need to take care of the normal calculations that a multiplayer game has (which is extensive as is), but it has AI to worry about too...not just for NPC bots but also for Titans that are in Auto mode. It helps alleviate pressure...and thus is part of the reason why Titanfall is so scale-able. So complain all you want, but the reason this game is able to reach such a wide audience and run so well is because of azure...otherwise some of the core features of the game wouldn't even exist.

hystavito
hystavito

@Bowser05 @grove12345  Wait till some hackers poke around and get us more info, then we'll see how much stuff is being offloaded to the cloud.  Remember what they said about SimCity?

Bowser05
Bowser05

@hystavito @Bowser05 @grove12345  The only thing I remember about SimCity was buying a game that I couldn't play for the first week of launch, then being given a free game as an apology that didn't work either.

mattress805
mattress805

That's funny man. But also fuked up too. Lol

boricuasnake04
boricuasnake04

This must be why the AI is soooo horrible you can literally walk right up to a grunt as he is shooting you and melee him :( if respawn would have focused themselves on the AI i am sure it would have been way better. Horrible trade off gameplay for graphics and the graphics arent even that great :(

Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

@boricuasnake04 The Spectre and A.I. opponents in scripted events are quite good actually.  Too bad people only want to focus on the negative.  Besides the other grunts are there to act as fodder for your Titan counter, just because you don't appreciate that is no reason to drag the whole game through the mud.

TalSet_11
TalSet_11

@boricuasnake04  It's actually not supposed to be genius-level AI opponents.  Yes, they can be dangerous if you've taken a few hits and round a corner to stare down the barrel of three of them, but they're there to populate the maps, and that's a lot of moving parts that the CPU of the host console would be forced to take the brunt of.  Using cloud servers to run the AI is a much better idea.

golden1elite
golden1elite

Yeah, Respawn already stated that what was accomplished by the XBOX One would not be possible on the PS4 due to the servers.  I have noticed that the AI in this game acts in different ways than noted in other games.

davidayala12
davidayala12

@golden1elite  You are lucky to be alive, it seems that you were the kind of kid that could easily be kidnapped by a total starnger offering you candy! Stop beleiving in PR BS!

zinten
zinten

How is that different from random monsters in mmo ? Those are all server side.

You cant make a client take charge of that because all client have to see the same stuff.

Phelaidar
Phelaidar

wait.... This game runs on a great but old engine which works really fast on old-spec machines, the physics are just standard with no cloth, water or destruction simulation, the lighting and shadows are standard, no amazing cutting-edge dynamic... Some are dynamic some are not and they are not of the highest quality nor resolution.


I just can't see why freeing up cpu would make graphics better if dynamic stuff and things that need cpu calculations for graphics are not used.



This is just silly. They are trying to convince people that the cloud feature is useful but by that they are making us believe the xbone is even a weaker machine than it already is... Just silly.

virtualskill
virtualskill

How could this be anything but a lie considering it runs great on the 360? Without these "Xbone" Cloud Servers?

mathg04
mathg04

Translation: "we already hit the limits with the XBONE, so we just use the cloud so no one will notice"

gf61
gf61

@ziseknsa @mathg04In the current state of the internet, cloud can't do real time in game calculations. Most likely their running learned profiles, preloaded before the match. As players play the bots gets updated. 

Already been done in fighting games.


No way the titan AI isn't already on disc.

TalSet_11
TalSet_11

@gf61 @ziseknsa @mathg04  The Titan AI is on-disc, but the AI routines for grunts, specters, and marvins are all done through the cloud, running the same AI scripts as most FPS games, specifically so the consoles don't have to.  

ratavaquera
ratavaquera

I heard this game uses Source Engine... that thing can run at 1080p at 60 fps so easy. With lots of zombies and detailed levels.


Looks like they have a bottleneck somewhere in the XB1

ArchoNils2
ArchoNils2

*you're

But that aside the post does not make any sense. It is an online only game, of corse it needs servers oO

ArchoNils2
ArchoNils2

"We begged MS to give us servers so the game can run above 720p" :p

mattress805
mattress805

Yes. Microsoft has achieved that target resolution with Titanfall at at 722p!!!! Lol

tomservo51
tomservo51

 Every time MS opens their mouth it's absolute F'ing gold!

DoucheVader
DoucheVader

@tomservo51

Microsoft's Azure cloud servers responsible for Titanfall's in-game AI, freeing up processing power for "more detailed 792p graphics" :)

golden1elite
golden1elite

@DoucheVader @tomservo51 The 1080P/720P argument is extremely pointless because it does not reflect the graphics.  You can have a nintendo 64 game with 1080P and guess what? It will have very crisp, low quality fuzzy textures, blocky characters, and non smooth movement equaling not good gfx at all.  "head shake"

s_h_a_d_o
s_h_a_d_o

So Mr Shiring, why was such a requirement not widely advertised to consumers before product launch?

I have an inclination to purchase the game just so I can take EA/Respawn/Microsoft to task for selling a product not fit for purpose. :|

Knives98
Knives98

@s_h_a_d_o  Let me get this straight: you're going to buy the game (i.e. give them money) in order to punish them?  How does that make sense?

thegamegod
thegamegod

Maybe it was because it was a beta but when left unattended my titan's were pretty damn thick, just the same as the bots. Maybe my pc was talking to the wrong clouds. 

Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

It's interesting that the Azure servers can work with the 360.  I had some reservations about buying this for last-gen but now I may continue to hold off on upgrading for a while longer.

Kyokamaru
Kyokamaru

lol the NEXT gen Console having processing power problems At a start up game?..... lol it just fucking came out.... how can it be alrdy almost out dated....  pathetic....... 

 what the hell will the Xcrap 1 will do after 5 years?!? or will the just chain the graphical development because the current New generation consoles wer absolete  right after they came out.... its a joke... another shakle on PC gaming because of god damned crappy consoles..

.we could have so much better graphics even now iff it wernt for the PS 3 and Xbox 360... now its even worse the new gen crap is a shakle on graphic development already. so sooo lame and pathetic

Blazen702
Blazen702

Butter smooth and no issues at all with TF on the X1. All you sony fanboys are hating cause you have nothing to enjoy on the crapstation. Millions of us gaming on the X1 are laughing at you losers. Get your head out of Sony's asses.

Rushaoz
Rushaoz

@Blazen702  Uhh I'm playing Rayman, BF4, Outlast, Don't Starve, Resogun, NBA 2k14, AC4 and NFS Rivals on my PS4. Remind me again how I have nothing to play on my crapstation? Stupid fanboy is ignorant and insecure lol. 


And hey, when I shut my PS4 off, I jump on my gaming rig and play Titanfall and a slew of other games neither console have. I don't have an XBone, and I don't plan on getting one unless it drops the spycam and gets appropriately priced at under $400. Because you know, paying more money for weaker hardware doesn't make any sense at all. 


Back to the point. I'm playing plenty of games and I'm not missing out by not having an XBone one bit. A good day to you, sir.

randomkidlol
randomkidlol

I thought the server running the AI was standard for any multiplayer game? How is this any different?

Busta
Busta

Why do you not have 30 more likes? This is the age of technology and noone has any idea how anything works. I guess folks believe that online ai was always being processed from their end. I guess thats why when they dc the whole server shuts down. Wait... that doesn't happen . I wonder...why..

Cloud powah!!

Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

@Rushaoz @Shadowdanc3r@Busta Yeah I'm sure you've formed an analysis and an unbiased opinion after extensive testing.  In any case I'll take Azure's CLOUD POWAH!!! over what is probably Gaikai's cloud weakness.

TalSet_11
TalSet_11

@randomkidlol  The server in the vast majority of online console games is one of the consoles being used by a player.  Ever been booted from a game of CoD because the host quit?  In PC games (and Battlefield on consoles), the games are all run on servers at central locations to ensure stability across a variety of hardware.  In short, for FPS games, server-side AI is extremely uncommon, and by utilizing a central data center using Azure, the client-side hit box delay problems are minimized as well as allowing for more AI bots populating the maps.  .  

randomkidlol
randomkidlol

@TalSet_11 The client side hit box problem is a result of poor programming and terrible upload speed. AI cannot be managed by the clients. If this were the case, it would be extremely easy to manipulate the AI into doing whatever the user wanted, especially if one of the users were malicious.


If any half decent or semi-popular game put something as important as bots on the client side, you can be sure that somebody out there will be ready to break in and exploit bots to the maximum.