Since its announcement, Microsoft’s Azure platform has been met with plenty of skepticism from the gaming community. Meanwhile, the console maker remains ambiguous with regards to its application in games, outside of a real-time tech demo that was showcased at the last Build conference.
A developer who is currently working on an unannounced Xbox One game recently chimed in with some interesting information regarding Azure on NeoGAF, and went on to explain how his game is built around its utilization for physics calculations.
We are building our new game strongly with Azure in mind for physic calculations (currently for vegetation, grass, water being manipulated by wind and objects, which would not be easy [impossible] to do with local power only). We are so happy with it that we are currently thinking about going all-in and make the game kind of addicted to Azure.
He stated that Titanfall barely touched upon the possibilities of cloud computing, and implied that future titles such as Crackdown would make a far more plausible case in favor of the technology. He also clarified that Azure does not enhance local rendering efficiency, and things like a boost in resolution or an improvement in lighting are outside the realm of possibility. It’s primarily there to offload CPU workload and, in effect, boost its capabilities for the simulation of game worlds that conform to physics.
Interestingly, he also mentioned that building a game that truly utilizes the Azure platform from the ground up is the equivalent of working on two games. The workload is far greater, given how both “online” and “offline” instances need to be catered to.
You can not boost your games resolution with Azure. And no. You can not create better lighting effects with Azure. But, if you focus on it, you can still boost the overall graphical look of your game by a mile. We are currently creating a game. But in fact, we are kind of creating two-in-one. One with Azure available, and one for offline only. Everything you code, you need to code for two scenarios. This is a ton of work. if online = dynamic grass; if offline=static grass.
To demonstrate his example, he posted a very basic GIF animation that was originally rendered on an Xbox One devkit.
Whether Azure and cloud computing will eventually take off is anyone’s guess. Nevertheless, it should certainly be interesting to see how things develop in the years to come. What is your take on the future of cloud computing? Let us know in the comments below.