What exactly is cloud technology?

#21Paulf001Posted 12/1/2013 1:12:36 AM
Basically saving data on servers.
#22DesperateMonkeyPosted 12/1/2013 1:18:48 AM
Azure is backing Xbox and they did add 300k servers in 2013 to put at Xbox's disposal + the $700 million dollar data centre, totalling an investment of $9+ billion dollars of servers just to support Xbox so they do have a lot of horsepower behind them and completely dwarfs what Nintendo and Sony could muster x20, which is why people are confused when they say that Sony and Nintendo can also do Cloud gaming. While they can, it will not be in remotely the same capacity.

Dedicated servers are a part of it, certainly. I think people will start to notice once less popular games start releasing. Yes, Dark Souls IS getting dedicated servers. But lets not forget, dedicated servers are not all made equal. Azure is a far more powerful and well structured system than what Demon's Souls offered. Demon's Souls was still a laggy mess despite using dedicated. These developers are not only offloading the costs to MS, they are also offloading the expertise of server maintenance to the most powerful software company in the world. Whatever it is From Software is using, its obviously on a shoestring budget since their dedicated servers runs worse than a lot of P2P servers.

As for voice controls, like I already said, it will take years to construct a similar type of AI, i have no expectation that it will happen overnight. But it is something that MS needs to do if they are serious about voice controls AND Cloud. Since both are such huge factors and they are trying to do everything they can to make sure people have incentives to always be online, I can't see them not doing this.

As for your comments about AI, you are quite wrong. There are two major differences between MMOs and hardware based games when it comes to AI.

1)The number of AI that is active at once.
2)The intelligence of the AI.

1)I have never seen a game with massive numbers of AI in a local system anywhere comparable to MMOs. It is a CPU intensive process. Games like Kingdom Hearts on the PS2 had like over a thousand shadow monsters things at once but only the nearest few will have any AI power behind them while all others in the background are deactivated. Dead Rising has used the same trick, where an idle AI process controls the vast majority of zombies outside of your immediate range.

2)The quality of AI routines in MMOs is far more advanced than what I have seen in SP games. This is why things like Agro management is so paramount in MMOs, because AIs will intelligently select targets according to a ridiculously vast number of variables in party composition and skill usages. Offline RPGs like Mass Effect, Dragon Age and Fallout are far more basic in this respect.

So not only do they run far more AI routines at the same time, they also can run far more advanced routines. Lag is a non-issue for AI. Computer based AI rarely needs twitch reactions because they are not expected to play like people but even then, saying that latency makes AI impractical is like saying Multiplayer itself is impractical. Tournament level SC2 has a 100ms delay, more than lenient enough for a good connection. They have this delay in command even in Single player to make things equal. If anything, AI has the capacity to react much more inhumanly than people. There has never been a real need for AI to react that fast.
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#23warlord3Posted 12/1/2013 1:22:25 AM
What is everyone talking about? Most of you seem to be talking about cloud storage like drop box, and that is not what cloud computing is, which is what Azure is. When you play Titanfall on an X1 all the calculations that need to happen in realtime will be handled by your X1's hardware, anything that doesn't need to be calculated in realtime will be calculated remotely by Azure. It allows developers to use the power of four X1's instead of just the power of one for graphics, physics, AI, and so on. Titanfall I believe is only using it for physics and AI, but both they and Microsoft have said that it can also be used to calculate graphics and lighting.

Azure is what has me most excited about the X1, that and the Kinect 2's MoCap potential.
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#24DesperateMonkeyPosted 12/1/2013 1:23:47 AM
MCC1701 posted...
WeirdShroom posted...
The dedicated servers aren't a big thing, it's more about the sheer amount of them MS has set up to use at their leisure that makes it sweet.

Do any current game companies have anything close to that at their disposal? I'd guess not, but you guys seem to know more about that stuff than I.


Again, MS has a lot of servers but it is all part of azure. They still have to pay for and maintain them same as always. Think of it like a hotel. Sure they have a lot of beds, but that doesn't mean if you stay there they are all for you.

And one of the biggest things about Azure is that is it there to make money by offering their services to other companies, big and small. A company like Sony probably has their own private server farm for PSN and the like, but MS has been offering really competitive prices for Azure, and many companies are dumping their own on-site servers in favor of them. Sony may do the same ironically.

Paulf001 posted...
Basically saving data on servers.


Yes, kinda. Think that plus dedicated servers and streamline it all a bit and that is "the cloud" which IMO is one of the vaguest buzzwords I have heard in a long time, especially one that actually has so little to do with "new" tech.


Sony has very few servers. Enough to keep the PSN infrastructure going and little more. They are working on a deal with Gaikai for their servers to stream games in 2014. They are also trying to broker a deal with Rackspace to acquire some servers for other uses, perhaps dedicated servers for some games?
Both Rackspace and Gaikai rent their own servers from somewhere else I believe.

This is hugely different from Azure which is all owned by MS. The cost is mostly already paid for through the purchase of those servers and are free to be used in whatever way they see fit. Maintenance costs exist but its not anything close to the cost of renting 3rd hand servers and is far more flexible.

MS has announced like a month ago that these servers are in fact free for developers although Azure does rent out servers for other services outside of gaming.
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#25WeirdShroomPosted 12/1/2013 1:29:07 AM
Oh, so they ARE free for devs, i was going by that old titanfall article talking about MS offering it to them at a low price. That's good.

So now, if PS4 can do backward compatibility with Gaikai, can't Xbox One do it with Azure? How do those two companies compare if they even do?

I know Azure is better, but how do they really compare?
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#26DesperateMonkeyPosted 12/1/2013 1:39:04 AM
MS isn't doing BC with Azure. They've stated this and said that its just not practical and introduces too much latency to deliver a good experience. If you have an Xbox One, try running some games through the HDMI in. It introduces a tiny bit of latency but even that latency ruins games. I tried playing both Mario3DW and Wonderful 101. Neither were very playable. However, in comparison to the lag you can expect from streamed games, it is actually quite good already.

Certain games like shooters on easier difficulties are ok but twitch genres like DMC, precise platformers, fighting games and so on would be fairly unplayable. Other games while playable, would produce a vastly inferior experience than just owning a PS3 or having hardware BC.

I am quite confused as to why Sony is doing this. They spent $400 million to deliver this oddball backwards compatibility. They should have spend that $400 million on acquiring servers instead for their games like Killzone SF. $400 million is a lot to deliver a really subpar BC experience.
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#27MCC1701Posted 12/1/2013 1:43:52 AM
DesperateMonkey posted...
Azure is backing Xbox and they did add 300k servers in 2013 to put at Xbox's disposal + the $700 million dollar data centre, totalling an investment of $9+ billion dollars of servers just to support Xbox so they do have a lot of horsepower behind them and completely dwarfs what Nintendo and Sony could muster x20, which is why people are confused when they say that Sony and Nintendo can also do Cloud gaming. While they can, it will not be in remotely the same capacity.

Again, the bulk of the azure server farm is NOT for Xbox. It is USED for Xbox(unless they decide to have it separate for some strange reason) but again it is like a hotel. Team Xbox is using a couple rooms, but not the whole hotel. This is not to say Xbox has very few servers at their disposal, but I just hate it when they talk about how much MS invested in Azure and treat it like it is just for Xbox.


Dedicated servers are a part of it, certainly. I think people will start to notice once less popular games start releasing. Yes, Dark Souls IS getting dedicated servers. But lets not forget, dedicated servers are not all made equal. Azure is a far more powerful and well structured system than what Demon's Souls offered. Demon's Souls was still a laggy mess despite using dedicated. These developers are not only offloading the costs to MS, they are also offloading the expertise of server maintenance to the most powerful software company in the world. Whatever it is From Software is using, its obviously on a shoestring budget since their dedicated servers runs worse than a lot of P2P servers.

One thing to remember is that Demon's Souls was an experiment and it was such a huge success they were able to keep servers up far FAR longer than they originally intended. Dark Souls had a higher budget and Dark Souls 2 even more so. Due to the policy at the time devs had to use their own servers on the PS3, which brought freedom but was more expensive. PS+ is aimed to offset that expense which is a good thing this gen. This is all to say that comparing the server setup from demon's souls to whatever will be used in Dark souls is unfair at best.
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#28MCC1701Posted 12/1/2013 1:43:55 AM
DesperateMonkey posted...
As for voice controls, like I already said, it will take years to construct a similar type of AI, i have no expectation that it will happen overnight. But it is something that MS needs to do if they are serious about voice controls AND Cloud. Since both are such huge factors and they are trying to do everything they can to make sure people have incentives to always be online, I can't see them not doing this.

Given MS's track record and the fact they are considering selling the division, it is unlikely they will invest that much into kinnect voice commands. HOWEVER if they invest in the smart phone market and use that as a feature they may make great strides since the smartphone market is where the money really is ATM.

As for your comments about AI, you are quite wrong. There are two major differences between MMOs and hardware based games when it comes to AI.

1)The number of AI that is active at once.
2)The intelligence of the AI.

1)I have never seen a game with massive numbers of AI in a local system anywhere comparable to MMOs. It is a CPU intensive process. Games like Kingdom Hearts on the PS2 had like over a thousand shadow monsters things at once but only the nearest few will have any AI power behind them while all others in the background are deactivated. Dead Rising has used the same trick, where an idle AI process controls the vast majority of zombies outside of your immediate range.

This is very true and I hope you didn't think I was disagreeing about this point. One of the major advantages of having a server run and maintain a zone/world is that it can keep track of a very large amount of AI and environment. However it you still do process a lot on your end, hence why processing power still matters with MMOs, and why they aren't just streaming video.


2)The quality of AI routines in MMOs is far more advanced than what I have seen in SP games. This is why things like Agro management is so paramount in MMOs, because AIs will intelligently select targets according to a ridiculously vast number of variables in party composition and skill usages. Offline RPGs like Mass Effect, Dragon Age and Fallout are far more basic in this respect.

This is a situation that is more about AI design and less about restraint. Threat management has been a staple of MMOs for a while, though has often been absent in single player games due to how unintuitive it is. I have seen it in single player games, and running a threat table and interacting with players based on it is not exactly super advanced. MMO AI favor simple action because it is more forgiving in cases of Lag, which is am always present factor.

Now I don't want to say you can't have complex AI in MMOs, but at least in my experience I've found more complex AI offline than online.

So not only do they run far more AI routines at the same time, they also can run far more advanced routines. Lag is a non-issue for AI. Computer based AI rarely needs twitch reactions because they are not expected to play like people but even then, saying that latency makes AI impractical is like saying Multiplayer itself is impractical. Tournament level SC2 has a 100ms delay, more than lenient enough for a good connection. They have this delay in command even in Single player to make things equal. If anything, AI has the capacity to react much more inhumanly than people. There has never been a real need for AI to react that fast.

This is true but I feel like you are digressing a little bit and we are kinda making the same point. AI is not restricted by hardware/software constraints but by what the developer feels is needed.
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#29WeirdShroomPosted 12/1/2013 1:45:17 AM
Is there any way for them to fix the latency? I don't have an Xbox One yet, but probably will in the near future. i've read plenty about the minor latency(.5-1 second i saw in a vid with a WiiU hooked up) but was hoping that could get ironed out.

I'd love to be able to run my 360 through the One, that would save so much trouble. but right now that doesn't look like a possibility.....especially with GTA Online and Dark Souls 2 being the main games to use that with. With those games even half a second is too much.
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#30ImThe8thWonderPosted 12/1/2013 1:45:28 AM
The cloud is not a realistic/practical benefit to anything. People seem to forget that just because something is possible as an idea doesn't mean it can be applied to a relevant extent over the current console conditions of the present time.