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Titanfall launch day issues are Microsoft’s problem, says Respawn engineer

Monday, 10th March 2014 23:56 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Titanfall’s network performance is vital to its reception, since it’s a multiplayer-only title, and Respawn Entertainment is grateful to Microsoft for taking on that burden.

titanfall

In an interview with Engadget, Respawn engineer Jon Shiring discussed the game’s reliance on Microsoft’s cloud server system Azure for AI hosting and physics.

But one benefit which hasn’t been widely discussed is that Respawn doesn’t have to maintain multiplayer servers during the game’s launch.

“We’re trying to figure out how many people will be playing and trying to make sure the servers will be there for that,” he said.

“One of the really nice things about it is that it isn’t my problem, right?

“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.”

Shiring said Respawn is “taking a bullet” by being the first developer to launch with Azure hosting, but doesn’t expect to be the last.

“Back when we started talking to Microsoft about it, everyone thought it was kind of crazy and a lot of other publishers were terrified of even doing it,” he said

“I’ve heard that since our beta ended, they’ve been pounding down the doors at Microsoft because they’re realising that it really is a real thing right now.”

The full interview is pretty interesting, as Shiring talks about the kinds of things centralised hosting makes possible, and the fact that Respawn simply couldn’t afford to implement them on its own.

Titanfall’s reviews look extremely promising. It launches at midnight today in North America, and hits Europe and other territories later in the week, on PC and Xbox One. The Xbox 360 version will follow before the end of the month.

Thanks, Joystiq.

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15 Comments

  1. Erthazus

    “cloud server system Azure for AI hosting”

    you need cloud server for the worst AI in the industry? O____o are they nuts?

    #1 7 months ago
  2. SlayerGT

    @Erthazus It’s not ment to be good. It’s to make folks who don’t take competitive shooters seriously have fun in a competitive shooter.

    #2 7 months ago
  3. Erthazus

    @SlayerGT, Passive AI and “Dumb AI” are two different things. While AI in Titanfall is passive it is dumb. Let me explain.

    I played the beta and there is a small room and there were two grunts from the oppossite faction and they tried to search each other in this room and could not find each other – This is dumb and AI does nothing in the game.

    and really, for casual folks it does not make any difference because Hardcore fps players use dumb AI minions for farming. If you kill them faster you get your Titan faster.

    The game has really good ideas but poor execution.

    #3 7 months ago
  4. antraxsuicide

    @Erthazus Uh, that’s what they’re there for. They’re like the minions from League of Legends; they exist to die, so you can get better stuff over the course of the match. Ever played a MOBA?

    #4 7 months ago
  5. Erthazus

    @antraxsuicide MOBA has nothing to do with FPS genre. In League Of Legends you farm them for a period of time with a certain strategy in mind but here you farm them in an instant before Titan’s launch starts and get your titan faster then others and it’s game over if you have decent skill avoiding rockets.

    New players will be destroyed in an instant.

    #5 7 months ago
  6. ij 44

    According to the Engadget article linked:

    Because Titanfall’s advanced AI is handled by the Azure servers, your Xbox’s or PC’s innards can be used to achieve more detailed graphics and the game’s silky-smooth frame rate.

    Fucking unbelievable – how much do I have to pay VG247 for coverage like this? That’s 100% solid gold cocksucker.

    Reality check: 792p and The frame rate in Titanfall is uneven on the Xbox One and though it’s usually fine, it can get downright nasty in specific situations (Giantbomb)

    #6 7 months ago
  7. DeVitowned

    @ij 44

    I never understood the benefit of the cloud with this one. As you mentioned, 798p, variably 60fps, 6 vs 6 with a few things thrown into the environment. Based on gameplay videos, I don’t see where the power of the cloud comes into play.

    #7 7 months ago
  8. antraxsuicide

    @Erthazus In LOL, you farm creeps for gold to buy items. That’s it. In TF, you farm creeps to get your Titan faster. That’s it. See the similarity? Or is that jump in logic too hard?

    New players will always be destroyed in an instant. That’s a multiplayer game for you. If newbies can beat the veterans, then the game is broken as it doesn’t allow for any improvement over time. It’s on the game’s lobby to keep the vets away from the new players. This is straight from 2003, by the way. In case it’s been that long since you’ve played anything with MP in it.

    #8 7 months ago
  9. ChristopherJack

    @antraxsuicide I agree with Erthazus(!), farming AI in a competitive online FPS, dafuq? They’re clearly only there for shits & giggles & to fill up space.

    #9 7 months ago
  10. Gekidami

    At least from a technical stand point, this game is sort of a joke and its turning the mighty cloud into a running gag. But then we all knew that was sort of BS from the get-go.

    #10 7 months ago
  11. Michael Ireland

    Guys!

    Hey guys!

    Cloud gaming is the future, guys!

    #11 7 months ago
  12. Cathodeo

    I personally found the AI in the beta to be brilliant! But you’ve got to be smart enough to appreciate them for what they are.

    The AI really fleshed out the Titanfall universe and it had much more character and presence than an AI-less empty map would have had. The AI was like an extra environmental hazard that could be used tactically against your human opponents. For example, I used that burn card which makes you blend in with the grunts and ran into a building with a load of them.

    People here who can’t see the power of the cloud should know that the game doesn’t run on one of the consoles but on a server in the cloud. I adored the fact that there was no “host migrating” halfway through a game just because someone had turned off their console. Also, it was great to know that cheaters with lag switches or other such cheating nonsense were totally ineffective. The only ones who would feel the effects of their cheating would be themselves lol!

    For some people a good game is determined ultimately by the graphics and that’s fine. Nothing wrong with that at all. But for some people like me cloud powered fairness in competitive multiplayer is a big deal, even bigger than graphics. So for me personally, the Xbox Live Compute cloud is a great new innovation that I’m really thankful for. As with everything, your mileage may vary.

    #12 7 months ago
  13. theduckofdeath

    @Erthazus But they could plug in the best AI in history at any moment. Why they don’t make a mode like this, I don’t know. One approach is what Forza did with “drivatars”. Expand that idea to human-like bots with designated roles.

    How about an AI Drop ship pilot that find an alternate LZ when the original is too hot?

    #13 7 months ago
  14. theduckofdeath

    @ChristopherJack Yeah, they are there to add battlefield actions (they act out scenes) and chip away at your titan counter. That is their current role. If they were competent soldiwrs , on a combative sense, they would now you down in a heartbeat. Many times you happen upon a pack of them, which should not end well for a pilot.

    #14 7 months ago
  15. dontbescaredhomie92

    Half of the comments here are from people who have probably never played the game to begin with, passing off opinions as fact and making the most over exaggerated criticisms of what is a really fun and refreshing game to play.

    @12 you said it best, level playing field and no crappy host pros or cons, funny how these guys bash MS for cloud whilst Sony try to play catch up and implement their own, which will no doubt be praised as an industry first from the tools on this site.

    #15 7 months ago

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