Stardock Studios’ CEO Brad Wardell on how the Xbox One could potentially use the cloud.
Back in 2013, Microsoft claimed that they could improve Xbox One’s processing power several times more using the cloud. Then in early 2014, Microsoft showcased an intriguing cloud demonstration on a PC, focusing on how performance would remain stable despite the complex physics simulation. But since then Microsoft have basically gone silent and one wonders whether it was all PR talk from the Redmond based company.
But with DirectX 12 showing tremendous potential, is there a possibility that the console’s processing power can be increased using the cloud, especially with the new API in the mix?
“That is a…yes and a no. I don’t want to weasel out on that because there are specific cases where yes you can,” Stardock Studios’ CEO Brad Wardell said to GamingBolt. “Microsoft just needs to make a case. I don’t want it to be my job to make the case, but let me give you a few examples of where it would come in to play, since to my knowledge Microsoft has not actually put out any examples.”
Wardell explains that resource intensive processes such as procedurally generating terrains which can be used in open world games to develop highly detailed environments is something that can be offloaded to the cloud.
“Procedurally Generated Terrain is one of the most expensive things that you could do. You do not need to do it in real-time but it takes a heck of alot of CPU power. Let’s give you an example, let’s say I’m playing a role playing game and I want a really sophisticated, we’re talking next Elder Scrolls game. This is obviously not, I have no idea what they’re doing but it’s just an example of a game that might use something like this. And I want to have incredibly sophisticated terrain that is going to support rivers and streams, forests and mountains, and I want it to be very detailed.”
“Now I don’t need to procedurally generate all that stuff on the fly, and you’re going to need to have to procedurally generate it. With that amount of detail you can’t have some map editor guy with some art tools, making stuff like you used to. You’re going to procedurally generate it to give it that level of detail. Your machine is not going to be powerful enough, certainly not the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4 or even most PCs.”
“They’re not powerful enough to generate that sort of thing easily to that detail. You could put that in the Cloud, and the results of that procedural generation will be sent back over to your Xbox One, so you could get these amazing scenes without any loading screens. Remember the old days we used to have “Loading next area of the game”? This sort of thing could prevent that kind of stuff.”
But it all depends on Microsoft and they need to set the case right for the technology. Release some benchmark numbers so that players can themselves see the effects of cloud processing on Xbox One.
“Microsoft needs to make the case for it, I mean that’s the thing they blew with the Kinect. I could tell you how it could be used, how I would use it if I were Microsoft and I had the money. But I’m not Microsoft and I don’t have the money to do something that sophisticated.”
Stardock Studios’s impressive strategy game Ashes of the Singularity is using Procedurally Generated Terrain as well but they are using the local GPU to generate it. “But I can tell you like in Ashes of the Singularity, our terrain in that game is procedurally generated. We we’re able to do that by having the GPU procedurally generate the terrain, otherwise it would take hours (laughs). But it sure would be handy if I had Microsoft’s resources to toss all that procedural generation in to the cloud.”
Stay tuned for more coverage including our full preview of Ashes of the Singularity, Mantle, Vulkan and more.