The dedicated servers and Xbox Live cloud technology that underpin Titanfall, Respawn Entertainment's upcoming mech-infused shooter, make the game's multiplayer possible and affordable, engineer Jon Shiring wrote today on the developer's official website.
Today, Shiring wrote, many games use player-hosted servers, which assign one player in a party as the host and route the action through that player's machine. That setup is susceptible to lag, host disconnects, bandwidth limitations and more.
By contrast, Titanfall will use dedicated servers that allow the developer to perform calculations like AI behavior on the server, allow players' machines to concentrate on the game being played rather than burning cycles serving as a hosts and eliminate any advantage the console serving as a host might receive — including player hacks.
Respawn chose Microsoft's Xbox 360, Xbox One and Windows PC platforms for Titanfall because he believed that Microsoft is the company that could best provide the services he wished for.
"When companies talk about their cloud, all they are saying is that they have a huge amount of servers ready to run whatever you need them to run. That's all."
"I personally talked to both Microsoft and Sony and explained that we need to find a way to have potentially hundreds of thousands of dedicated servers at a price point that you can't get right now," he wrote. "Microsoft realized that player-hosted servers are actually holding back online gaming and that this is something that they could help solve, and ran full-speed with this idea.
"The Xbox group came back to us with a way for us to run all of these Titanfall dedicated servers and that lets us push games with more server CPU and higher bandwidth, which lets us have a bigger world, more physics, lots of AI, and potentially a lot more than that!"
While acknowledging that the term "cloud" is nebulous, Shiring explained how Microsoft's cloud services will work with Titanfall.
"Let me explain this simply: when companies talk about their cloud, all they are saying is that they have a huge amount of servers ready to run whatever you need them to run. That's all."
According to Shiring, Microsoft "built this powerful system" in Xbox Live cloud that allows Respawn to perform actions in the cloud, scale servers up and down depending on the number of players and use the same technology to host Titanfall on Xbox 360, Xbox One and Windows PC.
"The Xbox Live cloud lets us to do things in Titanfall that no player-hosted multiplayer game can do," he wrote. "That has allowed us to push the boundaries in online multiplayer and that's awesome. We want to try new ideas and let the player do things they've never been able to do before! Over time, I expect that we'll be using these servers to do a lot more than just dedicated servers. This is something that's going to let us drive all sorts of new ideas in online games for years to come."
For more on Titanfall, be sure to read our in-depth interview with the former Call of Duty developers at Respawn.