After the failed take-off of Microsoft's always-on Xbox One proposal, it felt like people just weren't ready for completely cloud-reliant future. It also made us wonder how it would affect the games already well into development at the time.
Forza 5 is one of the big titles that will be launching with the Xbox One, so we asked creative director Dan Greenawalt: did Turn 10 have to make some big changes?
"Yes but not architecturally," said Greenawalt. "It's not like it was going to be connected every millisecond because people's internet connections simply aren't that way. People's internet connections drop and don't drop based on Wi-Fi and what have you. There are lots of interruptions."
"So we already knew that the game was going to be unconnected for some amount of time," he added. "Yes of course it meant changes. We had to test for boundary cases, we had to test for different amounts of security.
Defending the cloud
According to Greenawalt, the cloud has been getting a lot of bad rap of late but isn't as much of a terrifying prospect for gaming as many people seem to think.
"I think people have been misjudging what the cloud is good for, and if they just gave it two more thought they would understand what it would be good for," he said.
"If you think the cloud is for synchronous computation, the infrastructure of the world isn't prepared for that yet. We don't have enough broadband to all of our houses that's fast enough that you could count on synchronous cloud power.
"That's no the way you use the cloud. The way you use the cloud is by having it bring to bear a massive amount of computation information every second or every half second. But asynchronously is what is comes down to."
This is demonstrated in Forza 5's Drivatar feature, which lets you race against other people even if they're not online at the time. It's all based on their style of driving. But these sorts of ideas are still in their infancy.
"The idea behind Drivatar could apply to any game, a first person shooter. It's big data," said Greenawalt. "It is correlating masses and masses of data from millions"
"But here's the thing – it's an undiscovered country. It's a new place, and when you bring to bear the most creative minds in the industry into that space, they're going to out-think me of course."
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