Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Why Project Flare Might Just End the Console War

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the to-the-cloud dept.

Graphics 166

An anonymous reader writes "Project Flare, the new server side gaming technology from Square Enix, turned heads when it was announced last week. The first tech demos do little more than show the vast number of calculations it can handle with hundreds of boxes tumbling down in Deus Ex, but the potential is there to do much more than just picture-in-picture feeds in MMOs. As a new article points out, what's most interesting is the potential to use the technology for games that use more than one system — OnLive may have used this tech before, but only to play games you can buy on discs in the shops anyway, but the future is in games that need the equivalent of dozens of PS4s or Xbox Ones to power them. Ubisoft has already partnered with Square on the project."

cancel ×

166 comments

Happy Sunday from The Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45385877)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Happy Sunday from The Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45386665)

Do I look this stupid when I post trolls about Scientology?

I guess this is a good reason to stop.

IMO, it is not going to work (4, Insightful)

faragon (789704) | about 9 months ago | (#45385899)

Why to spend power in datacenters when people can use it at home? Other than vendor-lock, is non-sense. Another thing is how scalabe the thing is, etc.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45385967)

I'd imagine there'd be some scalability advantages for specific use-cases (re-use of assets, models, animations and the game world across multiple instances of the game), so MMOs could generally benefit from this approach because many users share the same content at the same time, while it would be close to useless for single-player games where basically every player has different content on-screen and in-game than every other player.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (5, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | about 9 months ago | (#45386087)

Works great till you realize the USA is currently worse than a third-world country in terms of broadband penetration and up/down speeds...

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (4, Informative)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 9 months ago | (#45386573)

Don't forget the ISPs have more or less killed net neutrality and will soon be charging $$$ for bandwidth on the lines run with your tax dollars.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (4, Insightful)

clockwise_music (594832) | about 9 months ago | (#45387271)

Works great till you realize the USA is currently worse than a third-world country in terms of broadband penetration and up/down speeds...

Sorry, have you been to any third world countries? In many you're lucky if you can get dial-up speeds, yet alone a constant connection.

Re: IMO, it is not going to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45387441)

That *was* the point.

Have you shared a dial up connection over a cafe wifi ?

Been somewhere with a choice between 3G and quotas or dial up ?

America !

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 9 months ago | (#45385969)

Why to spend power in datacenters when people can use it at home? Other than vendor-lock, is non-sense. Another thing is how scalabe the thing is, etc.

One example is to provide functionality which cannot be provided by the console machines themselves. For example, games for the Xbox 180 are going to have the option to use Azure to run game servers. One of the major frustrations of console gaming today is that one of the game consoles has to play server.

From the summary, though, the idea is to provide games more powerful than what your console can actually run. With a large enough playerbase it might actually be feasible. It costs a lot of CPU to perform a lot of physics calculations, but if you only have to perform them once for a whole bunch of players' updates because they're all looking at the same thing, then you're going to save some cycles there.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (2)

abies (607076) | about 9 months ago | (#45386009)

Are reallly contemporary FPS games calculating physics separately on each machine? Given that physic calcs tend to be non exact and a bit of chaos theory you could end up in really different worlds very soon.
If we are just talking about moving 'server' from one of player consoles to the dedicated datacenter (like most 'normal' games do it), then it hardly looks to be exciting?

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 9 months ago | (#45386081)

Are reallly contemporary FPS games calculating physics separately on each machine?

The answer is sort of and also sometimes. I can't actually speak to FPS specifically, but in GTAV the game clearly does independent physics calculations when it thinks you're far away from other players. You can tell because things get squirrely when you catch up to a lagged player, or when a lagged player catches up to you. The game doesn't bother to synchronize events which it decides can't affect other players.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (2)

epyT-R (613989) | about 9 months ago | (#45386099)

The physics stuff is done on the server. The non interactive animations are done clientside. However, the clients have code to anticipate the server's next state, 'correcting' itself when the prediction fails to match. This results in smoother animation and reduced apparent lag.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (5, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#45386269)

Write a mod for ut2k4 and you'll soon start seeing how it works. The local game runs a simulation, but subject to correction by the server. Extrapolating events until the packets catch up. Really latency-sensitive things like sniping are handled locally. This can lead to some very strange things happening at times:

1. Run past a window.
2. Clear the window.
3. Your movement is passed to the server, and then to another player.
4. Other player snipes you.
5. Snipe victory is reported back to the server, then to you.
6. Half a second after passing the window, you drop dead. Headshot. Even though from your perspective, you were in a place you should have been out of sight. Serves you right for running past a sniper-visible window.

Generally the game is good enough that almost all of this is transparent though. Only the exceptionally observent notice it. Still rather strange to code for, as everything you write is actually being executed three times in parallel (On the server, on the client, and on everyone else's client), and you need to make sure that all three executions eventually give the same result, even if not at quite the same moment.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45386127)

That's even a fail point. Physics are regularly parallel computation, much better fit to a GPU than a brute force computer farm.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45386497)

Basically you do it locally and correct your guess with the server's correct result later on. You can't depend on the server to do all calculations for you because of the high latency.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (2)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 9 months ago | (#45386501)

AFAIK with server<-&grclient you have all clients doing physics calculations BUT they are only used for prediction; the server updates the final position and orientation using its own physical calculations (but since the clients are predicting it can do it with a low-resolution in terms of time).

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (1)

abies (607076) | about 9 months ago | (#45387039)

Thanks for clarification. But this only proves that whatever they are planning doesn't help with this - if they are already going to transfer something from the server, then they can transfer real stuff.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (1)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about 9 months ago | (#45387419)

For example, games for the Xbox 180 are going to have the option to use Azure to run game servers.

Although apparently, this is not without its down side:

Xbox One's Cloud Servers May Have to Reboot and Update Mid-Session, Says Microsoft [xbox360achievements.org]

While there may be some advantage for XBox-exclusive games, I can't see this taking off in general. It adds yet another layer of complexity, and can't be used in multi-platform games (and given the current market, many games require a multiple
platform release to be profitable). Not to mention one of the strengths of a console platform is its consistency; developers didn't have to worry about different hardware and software configurations affecting their game; the evolving and frequently updated servers mentioned in the article seems the antithesis of this concept.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 9 months ago | (#45385987)

It's basically a way to keep the price of consoles at a point where people will still buy them, while being able to offer the level of processing power that would be too expensive. I'm sure the monthly subscriptions will cover cost of datacenters and power consumption.
I don't know if it's vendor lock-in, but atleast this is a way to offer paying customers a better experience than pirates instead of the other way around with current DRM.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (3, Insightful)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 9 months ago | (#45386095)

It's basically a way to keep the price of consoles at a point where people will still buy them, while being able to offer the level of processing power that would be too expensive.

Current consoles are well beyond the point of diminishing returns with regards to graphics power while cost of replicating existing capabilities keep getting cheaper year after year.

I don't know if it's vendor lock-in, but atleast this is a way to offer paying customers a better experience than pirates instead of the other way around with current DRM.

On what planet does high latency translate into a better experience?

Turn-based (2)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#45386165)

On what planet does high latency translate into a better experience?

On fictional planets in essentially turn-based games, like what Square Enix has been putting out since Dragon Quest/Warrior and Final Fantasy in the NES days. The latency doesn't have to be any better than, for example, the ATB recharge time in FFVII.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 9 months ago | (#45386121)

so then it's the cost of the console+per publisher subscriptions+console vendor subscription+internet subscription...

Yuck..

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (3, Insightful)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about 9 months ago | (#45386765)

It's basically a way to keep the price of consoles at a point where people will still lease them, while being able to offer the level of processing power that would be too expensive.

Fixed that for you. This has nothing to do with buying anything, it's a temporary lease and the servers will be shut off sooner than later.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45385997)

Its very simple - power savings, and cheaper thin consoles for end users. Why spend $500 on PS4 at home when you can get a cheap client for under $100 and a $10/month subscription to such a cloud service, that would essentially be video-on-demand with input/output capability? This would not work too well for multiplayer because of the latency between user-server-user, but would be great for single player.

Exceed your cap (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#45386129)

Why spend $500 on PS4 at home when you can get a cheap client for under $100 and a $10/month subscription to such a cloud service, that would essentially be video-on-demand with input/output capability?

Monthly transfer overages. Satellite latency if you happen to live out of range of cable or fiber.

This would not work too well for multiplayer because of the latency between user-server-user, but would be great for single player.

Actually, so long as all the players' cloud sessions are running on servers in the same rack as the multiplayer game server, multiplayer would be just as good as single player.

Re:Exceed your cap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45386517)

Actually, so long as all the players' cloud sessions are running on servers in the same rack as the multiplayer game server, multiplayer would be just as good as single player.

That's ... Not how the Internet works at all.

If you're in Assendofnowhereville, and I'm in Stuckinthecrotchoftheworld... There's every possibility that my traffic is going through a router that's decided to shit itself and drop packets, whereas your traffic is taking an entirely different, problem free route.

Re:Exceed your cap (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#45386715)

If your traffic to a single-player streaming server crosses an unreliable router, your traffic to a multiplayer streaming server in the same datacenter would probably cross the same unreliable router. My point was that the streaming servers involved in a particular game are going to be on the same LAN as the game server. So if your single-player is good, your multiplayer is good, and if your single-player is bad, your multiplayer is bad.

Re:Exceed your cap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45387215)

If your traffic to a single-player streaming server crosses an unreliable router, your traffic to a multiplayer streaming server in the same datacenter would probably cross the same unreliable router.

Yes your traffic may but the difference between single player and multiplayer is that in single player it is just your connection that matters, in multiplayer the connections of multiple people matter.

Re:Exceed your cap (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#45387813)

Think of it this way: In an MMO, does the connection of every other user on the server matter to your own experience? From the perspective of the streaming servers, it's a LAN game.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 9 months ago | (#45386175)

1. The AV quality would be inferior in framerate and image quality, as would the gameplay, even in single player. The lag would be atrocious.
2. There's the xbl/psn subscription, then there's the game publisher subscription that pays for their banks of servers, then there's the $60 game price on top of that.

It's not really that great a deal for the consumer, but it does give the publishers total control over your access to the game you purchased.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (4, Insightful)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 9 months ago | (#45386327)

Its very simple - power savings, and cheaper thin consoles for end users.

What power savings? Power is being consumed somewhere else where as a customer YOU are paying for that too. Lets not forget about additional power requirements required to push insane number of real-time bits for trivial reasons over the Internet.

This would not work too well for multiplayer because of the latency between user-server-user, but would be great for single player.

Since everyone would experience input latency and there is no network latency for the multi-player link latency would be about the same persistent problem whether it were single or multiplayer game. The only lag assuming lack of operator incompetence would be in the form of input delay with very limited opportunities to compensate with prediction algorithms. Nobody who plays on anything approaching a competitive basis would touch this thing.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45386139)

Well, with a proper understanding in place, you can have the NSA supply the power free of charge in return for access to the client hardware (mic, cam, email, banking details).

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 9 months ago | (#45386329)

Because consoles aren't something most people use 24/7. I probably use my 360 about 2-3 hours per week. It's not at all challenging to see the opportunity for increased efficiency. Why should everyone have a full powered machine that only is used 2-3% of the time. 2-3% usage is the perfect situation for usage based rentals.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 9 months ago | (#45386393)

Because consoles aren't something most people use 24/7. I probably use my 360 about 2-3 hours per week. It's not at all challenging to see the opportunity for increased efficiency. Why should everyone have a full powered machine that only is used 2-3% of the time. 2-3% usage is the perfect situation for usage based rentals.

Good luck improving on the power button.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 9 months ago | (#45386733)

Good luck improving on the power button.

With my old PC, 'powered off' still took about 7W from the wall. Unplugging was certainly an improvement.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45387229)

The problem is the 2-3 hours per week you use your console is likely to be the same 2-3 hours that many, many other people use their console. If you could have one single data center streaming video to every client in the world this would not be an issue -- different timezones would go a long way towards assuring a certain average number of active users at any given time. However, latency makes that impossible. Consequently you need to have a data center for each region (for some relatively small definition of region), which puts you right back into the problem of having most of the users in a certain region having the same (or similar) timezone and thus the same (or similar) prime-time.

Some advantages (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 9 months ago | (#45386341)

Why to spend power in datacenters when people can use it at home? Other than vendor-lock, is non-sense. Another thing is how scalabe the thing is, etc.

The power cost is passed down to the consumer, so it's not really an issue. If the customer/market will bear the monthly costs, then there are other advantages.

1) The game doesn't have to deal with OS differences. The engine can be built for 1 OS in 1 language, and connect to simple video frame renders on the client system. No more "not available for Mac" or "Mac/OS, not Linux".

2) The game cannot be easily pirated or hacked, since the software resides on the server.

3) The game doesn't have to deal with slow, out-of-date, or sub-optimal systems.

4) The game doesn't have to deal with systems that have foreign applications installed. No driver incompatibilities, for instance.

5) The system avoids some latency issues.

6) The system can dynamically allocate CPU effort as needed. Rather than require the client to have enough power for the most complicated scenario.

7) The players don't have to manage bug fixes, downloadable content, or upgrades. Apply the upgrade to the system, and all users are running the most recent version, automatically.

I wouldn't want centralized software for local single-use (such as text editing), but for some applications it makes sense.

Re:IMO, it is not going to work (2)

khchung (462899) | about 9 months ago | (#45387627)

Why to spend power in datacenters when people can use it at home? Other than vendor-lock, is non-sense. Another thing is how scalabe the thing is, etc.

How about 100% cheat prevention? When all the computing is done centrally, how could you possibly cheat in the game anymore?

Plus, it totally eliminated the lag factor in FPS, as only the central server do the processing and rendering. Rubberbanding and blinking/shifting enemies will be eliminated.

The only lag now comes between your end to the server, which, while non-zero, is at least consistent from game to game.

With only 1 copy of the world, then the number of players will only be limited by the number of CPU doing rendering from the POV of each player, and that is probably easier to scale as the rendering process is read-only. So you can have MASSIVE number of players in the same game, imagine hundreds of player all in the same battlefield, and that limit can be increased by a server upgrade instead of waiting 5 years for another console generation.

Aren't these reasons good ones?

PCs win again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45385925)

>but the future is in games that need the equivalent of dozens of PS4s or Xbox Ones to power them
Or, you know, just a decent PC.
The fact that the new consoles utilize processors suited for low-profile notebooks is a joke

PC + TV (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#45386119)

Except as I understand it, most people don't already have a second gaming PC in the same room as the big screen TV. They'd have to either buy another desktop PC to put by the TV or play on a laptop, and as I understand it, PS4 and Xbox One are comparable to a gaming laptop.

Re:PC + TV (1)

Rakhar (2731433) | about 9 months ago | (#45386217)

Why would you need a second PC? There are plenty of ways to use your television to display without putting your PC right next to it. I have a 25 ft HDMI cable, with my computer desk in the back of the living room. The cable sits coiled by the TV when I'm not using it.

Also, if you DO get a 2nd computer for that function, it doesn't have to be a massive gaming powerhouse. You can hook up a cheap laptop and push video from your main PC to it.

Wouldn't that tie up your main PC? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#45386791)

I have a 25 ft HDMI cable, with my computer desk in the back of the living room.

I've gathered from previous discussions on Slashdot [slashdot.org] that a lot of people have the computer desk in a separate room and are unwilling to cut holes in walls [slashdot.org] or permanently move the computer desk into the TV room. Instead, they are content to limit themselves to those games available for major consoles.

You can hook up a cheap laptop and push video from your main PC to it.

In other words, something like the dumb terminal mode of the NVIDIA Shield and the low-end SteamOS devices. But wouldn't that tie up the main PC so that another member of the household can't use it? A console doesn't tie up the main PC.

Re:Wouldn't that tie up your main PC? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 9 months ago | (#45386909)

But wouldn't that tie up the main PC so that another member of the household can't use it?

I've rarely seen a game use more than 20% CPU on my PC. So there's plenty left for someone else to use it while streaming game video to a TV.

One user session at a time (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#45387061)

But wouldn't the user sitting at the computer see either game video or "This computer is in use and has been locked" while the game is running? I wasn't aware that popular home PC operating systems could run two user sessions at once.

Re:One user session at a time (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 9 months ago | (#45387409)

But wouldn't the user sitting at the computer see either game video or "This computer is in use and has been locked" while the game is running? I wasn't aware that popular home PC operating systems could run two user sessions at once.

There's nothing stopping you from running a service on the system that renders games to offscreen memory rather than the screen. Nvidia's new software, I believe, can then use H.264 support in the GPU to compress it to stream across the local LAN?

Re:Wouldn't that tie up your main PC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45387299)

I've gathered from previous discussions on Slashdot [slashdot.org] that a lot of people have the computer desk in a separate room and are unwilling to cut holes in walls [slashdot.org] or permanently move the computer desk into the TV room. Instead, they are content to limit themselves to those games available for major consoles.

So instead of buying a console they can buy a pc, or stream it to some kind of thin client (laptop, whatever) or temporarily move their pc.

But wouldn't that tie up the main PC so that another member of the household can't use it? A console doesn't tie up the main PC.

Probably not. But if it did then buy a dedicated pc just like you would a console. Honestly if your that unwilling to do any of the suggested options then you obviously dont want to play and are just looking for excuses for ways that the proposed solutions dont meet your needs, nobody who actually wants to play is going to go through making that many excuses.

Dearth of games in certain genres (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#45387711)

Honestly if your that unwilling to do any of the suggested options then you obviously dont want to play and are just looking for excuses for ways that the proposed solutions dont meet your needs

I agree with you; I'm just trying to find the best way to explain it others. For example, one excuse I see often against buying a second PC instead of a console is that far fewer PC games support couch multiplayer than console games, as Aqualung812 pointed out [slashdot.org] .

SCREW THIS PRISON PLANET! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45385927)

We could be pets, we could be food, but all we really are is livestock

We could be pets, we could be food, but all we really are is livestock

We could be petsss, we could be food, but all we really are is livestock

We could be petsssss, we could be food, but all we really are is livestock

We could be pets, we could be food, but all we really are is livestock

Console DRM? (5, Funny)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | about 9 months ago | (#45385945)

Imagine your game not starting because the 'physics' servers are down or you can't connect to them.....

Re:Console DRM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45385985)

Not much of a problem when you're dealing with an MMO-type game that requires you to be online anyway. Not more of a problem than the game-server being down, anyway.

Re:Console DRM? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#45386423)

Not much of a problem when you're dealing with an MMO-type game that requires you to be online anyway. Not more of a problem than the game-server being down, anyway.

The bigger problem will be getting game developers to take on the challenge (and risk, if it means that they can only sell their game to people who are paying extra for Xbox Live Platinum Cloud Physics Foundation Edition Home Ultimate) of creating a type of game that, like the MMO, is only possible in the context of this remote capability, rather than having the remote capability be an obvious cash grab/lockin attempt. Think of how much people liked the 'online' features of SimCity's recent reboot... It was obvious to all that it's value was close to zero to them, and its costs were substantially greater, and lo, great was their wrath.

In the hypothetical case of the game that could only be realized with 'Flare', people will grumble; but put up with it. If it's transparent to all that you need a monthly subscription and a fast broadband connection just so that the "generic glass fragments flying outward" effect that the art guy spent all day tweaking to look exactly like it does in the movies can be removed and replaced by a realtime finite element analysis of the window and computational fluid dynamics simulations of the trajectories taken by each glass fragment (totally different on the maps with higher atmospheric pressure, worth it!) in real time? That's a tech demo, not a feature.

Re:Console DRM? (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 9 months ago | (#45386351)

In theory, a properly designed system would have a local physics engine that takes over when the remote engine is unavailable, albeit at reduced fidelity.

Of course, that's not how it will end up working, especially with Ubisoft involved. The real goal here is more control disguised as improvements.

Re:Console DRM? (2)

bondsbw (888959) | about 9 months ago | (#45386425)

Not everything that requires the Internet is DRM.

And frankly, even if DRM was the primary intent, it's one of the less annoying DRMs since 1) online multiplayer, by definition, requires the Internet, and 2) economics:

Let's take the Xbox One. Microsoft claims to be adding 3 more Xbox One units for each one sold in the cloud, but really that's based on an average or maximum use situation. In reality they will have 300,000 cloud machines powering the number of users that might be gaming at any one time. Compare that to the cost of quadrupling the power of the Xbox One in the 80M consumer machines that will be sold over the next several years. And that doesn't even touch on the cost efficiency of heavily optimized power and cooling conditions in a server farm.

Of course, the cloud will be working on the latency-agnostic calculations, things like AI and up-front scene lighting calculations and of course simply serving multiplayer games and anything that needs to be calculated the same for all players. But that frees up your local system resources for those things that can't be offloaded to the cloud.

I'll take a bit of DRM for that.

Re:Console DRM? (0)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 9 months ago | (#45386559)

Imagine your house is on fire. It would be hard to play games in that situation as well.

Re:Console DRM? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45387571)

Imagine your house is on fire. It would be hard to play games in that situation as well.

I see they hired the mafia to handle difficult sales.

Re:Console DRM? (1)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about 9 months ago | (#45387767)

Can someone mod this up? Haha.

Re:Console DRM? (1)

khchung (462899) | about 9 months ago | (#45387637)

Imagine your game not starting because the 'physics' servers are down or you can't connect to them.....

And how is that different from how I cannot play multiplayer BF3 on PS3 when EA's or Sony's servers are down?

Some games are intended to be multiplayer only, you can't play them when the server is down anyway.

Please insert coin to play (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45385949)

The equivalent of dozens of PS4s are not cheap for a datacenter to buy and operate. If this happens expect to pay for your games per the hour. No more buy a console + game and then play hours per day for several months or even years on Xbox live or elsewhere.
Then it will be totally metered access. I can see why Square would like it but I can't really see the benefit for gamers.

Re:Please insert coin to play (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 9 months ago | (#45386211)

Netflix has datacenter charger but they still have a flat rate. The Xbox One has free datacenter hours. The reason is that most consoles sit idle 90% of the time. If I can buy 1 console and sell it for half the price of the console permanently to 10 people and they only use it 10% of the time then I can most likely make a profit.

Re:Please insert coin to play (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#45386303)

There might be some feature (I can't think of a killer app offhand; but I'm not excluding the possibility) that would make it worth it, because it simply couldn't be done otherwise (everybody knows that MMORPGs are priced and on a lease in a way that single player or party-level multiplayer RPGs aren't; but you can't really get the 'MMO' in 'MMORPG' any other way, and people seem willing to trade that off); but this will be a hard sell indeed if it mostly just gets used for tech demos and incremental increases in ambient prettiness.

Even on the PC side, which tends to be a bit more willing to spend cash on hardware, the number of gamers who actually own screaming top-of-range systems is pretty small compared to the number of people who buy something good enough and call it a day. Consoles appear to be much more cost sensitive. And, while already having somebody on the hook for XBL or whatever makes billing easier, it doesn't necessarily give you much headroom to increase the price to pay for those extra server resources.

Especially given how good developers have gotten at cheating and fudging on computationally-intractable physics and graphics problems (and, as in the tragic case of more than a few games' 'ragdoll' body-physics systems, how unnatural attempts at 'real' physics can look, with twitch glitches, clipping and contorting, etc. compared to a totally faked; but artfully canned, animation) any use of this system is going to have to be rather creative to be more than incrementally better than far less computationally (and financially, if the game sells a reasonable number of units) expensive faking.

Right... (5, Insightful)

Pinhedd (1661735) | about 9 months ago | (#45385957)

OnLive was such a bastion of success wasn't it?

Re:Right... (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 9 months ago | (#45386679)

Yes. I thought everybody knew that OnLive was an angular structure projecting outward from the curtain wall of an artillery fortification of success.

Onlive - take two (2)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 9 months ago | (#45385983)

This reminds me of a certain coffee stand I drive by each day on my way to work.

Every few months it closes down, sold to a new owner who improves it and re-opens only to close down a few months later.

In the last few years I can count on one hand times drive thru was something other than completely empty.

Sometimes people just can't take a hint.

Re:Onlive - take two (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 9 months ago | (#45386731)

That's weird. You would like that things would have changed with all the advances in coffee since 2005!

Re:Onlive - take two (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45386759)

Whoever owns the land is making money though.

Great, Square ... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45385999)

The company that last released a good game 16 years ago. I can barely contain my excitement.

No thanks (4, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about 9 months ago | (#45386003)

There's a reason I've cut cable tv from my life. Being remote controlled and the only game in town, it's become overpriced, ad-laden, and content thin. If that's where gaming is going I will have to cut that too. The prospect of overpaying to 'stream' a laggy, ad-filled game experience with overly-constrained lossy-compressed AV doesn't sound inviting either. I LIKE the idea of having power under the hood locally, so to speak, just like I want server binaries for games to run my own servers and mod tools to make my own mods/maps. This way the game stays alive as long as there are interested players and doesn't die the moment it stops making money for its creators. To top it off, the current 'cloud' model for a lot of software now charges the 'owner-controlled boxed software' prices of the 90s for what amounts to a rent-a-go arcade level of service. What a rip-off.

The more computing looks like ibm's wet dream of 'service', the less interesting and more oppressive it gets. No thanks.

Obvious: latency (4, Insightful)

De Lemming (227104) | about 9 months ago | (#45386007)

Even with modern broadband, latency is still an issue for these kinds of applications. In the article are some examples of currently used server side gaming enhancements, like "Forza 5 will even use cloud computing to monitor the way you drive, and alter virtual drivers’ AI (artificial intelligence) accordingly." That has no need for low latency. But if you want the environment to immediately react to players actions, there need to be low latency. And you can't remove the distance (and related network infrastructure) between the player and the data center.

Re:Obvious: latency (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#45386063)

Surely colo security won't suspect a thing if I bolt rack ears onto my sleeping bag (It's, an, um, nearline hot-spare storage appliance...) and scrawl "Coolant" in sharpie on my 2 liter of Mt. Dew?

Re:Obvious: latency (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 9 months ago | (#45386251)

For a full rendered-in-the-cloud game, there are tricks you can do to minimize the impact of input latency. They are basically the same tricks that you use in today's multiplayer games. For small camera movements the game can just immediately warp the image client-side. To improve quality of the warp, some basic geometry could be sent in line with the video. For games with a HUD, it can be rendered client-side (think "pushlatency" in Quake-based FPSes).

These of course only help to hide latency, not actually remove any of it, so it wouldn't help for a racing game or FPS that depends on fast, precise reaction times.

Re:Obvious: latency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45386443)

For a full rendered-in-the-cloud game, there are tricks you can do to minimize the impact of input latency. They are basically the same tricks that you use in today's multiplayer games. For small camera movements the game can just immediately warp the image client-side. To improve quality of the warp, some basic geometry could be sent in line with the video. For games with a HUD, it can be rendered client-side (think "pushlatency" in Quake-based FPSes).

These of course only help to hide latency, not actually remove any of it, so it wouldn't help for a racing game or FPS that depends on fast, precise reaction times.

If i recall right quake1 had originally a problem with network play that it didn't include any kind of client side prediction thus creating horrible input lag for higher latencies. This was remedied later with quake world client which introduced client which was able to predict things up to a certain point to make things look more responsive than they really were. While causing some artifacts along the way it made network play over higher latencies way better experience.

However the prediction really relied on the client side computing of graphics to be able to work properly in the first place. I don't know if there is anything to be done to make situation better if the client has to deal with video footage only.

Not to mention if there are ways to emulate prediction with video footage it must be lightweight and fast enough to be any use for fast paced gaming.

Re:Obvious: latency (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#45386377)

The other issue with latency is that 'gaming' is something with pretty spiky demand over time. Evenings and weekends? The system will be hammered. During school hours and the workday? Demand minimal and largely impecunious. Holidays and vacation periods? Almost certain to be a peak large enough to provide lots of angry ranting customers (and at a time when lots and lots of other people are putzing around online, reading people's angry opinions and possibly making shopping decisions. Enjoy!).

Unless they can find some off-peak customer who will buy whatever computational capability they are selling (and this could get tricky, since Nvidia and friends tend to price hardware and enable/disable capabilities specifically to discourage cost insensitive 'pro' users from buying cheapy gamer gear rather than expensive workstation gear, so 'Flare' might have some trouble finding a crossover market), they'll be idling a hell of a lot of expensive chips, that aren't getting any better with age, for most of the day, then running into capacity crunches at peak times. That will be miserable.

Re:Obvious: latency (2, Interesting)

Coppit (2441) | about 9 months ago | (#45386457)

Full disclosure: I work for NVIDIA on cloud gaming.

I was as skeptical as you about the latency. In this interview [venturebeat.com] . Phil Eisler talks about 200ms of XBox + TV latency that people live with every day. (See page 2) If that's our target, then that's pretty doable, since with strategically located data centers you can get the network latency down to 20-30 ms.

In the work we're doing, we're actually focusing more on hitching in the game than latency, since the latency isn't as big a deal if you're say in the Bay Area where one of our test clouds is. Heck, I played Trine2 from the east coast and it was very playable. I wouldn't play BF4 across the country, of course. :)

There are plenty of other risks with the idea, but I wouldn't put latency at the top of the list.

Re:Obvious: latency (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 9 months ago | (#45386711)

20-30ms.... on a home broadband connection, anywhere in the world?
Light only travels 185miles per millisecond.

Re:Obvious: latency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45386869)

20-30ms.... on a home broadband connection, anywhere in the world? Light only travels 185miles per millisecond.

If that's our target, then that's pretty doable, since with strategically located data centers you can get the network latency down to 20-30 ms.

*emphasis mine*
I routinely get 30ms pings on TF servers, although the important difference there is that they are run privately.

Re:Obvious: latency (1)

Nivag064 (904744) | about 9 months ago | (#45386997)

Light only travels about 300 km per millisecond.

which is about a nanosecond per foot
(while I prefer metric measurements,
this a kind of cool non-metric factoid!)

so if you see someone 10 metres away,
the light took 10 nanoseconds to reach your eyes
(and a 100 or more milliseconds for your brain to process!)

Re:Obvious: latency (1)

Nivag064 (904744) | about 9 months ago | (#45387007)

argh!
second to last line should read
"the light took 33 nanoseconds to reach your eyes"

Re:Obvious: latency (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 9 months ago | (#45387601)

and 29 milliseconds for the sound of them making a typo on slashdot to reach you.

Re:Obvious: latency (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45387321)

What's that in furlongs per fortnight?

does xbox one kinda do this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45386045)

doesn't MS provision the equivalent of 3 xbox ones for any xbox one that comes online?

i remember reading MS did this so the developers didn't feel like that had limited horsepower.

Re:does xbox one kinda do this? (1)

drinkmoreyuengling (2768737) | about 9 months ago | (#45386077)

Xbox One will be doing exactly this and will sue Square Enix out of existence for it.

Microsoft just debunked this for FPS games (4, Insightful)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 9 months ago | (#45386073)

Some people kept saying "It's not that bad right now, it'll work eventually!", but Microsoft just (accidentally) tested OnLive's idea for low-latency games by introducing some small input lag into Windows 8.1 [slashdot.org] . Guess what? FPS gamers noticed.

Other game types which don't need super low latency, I'm sure, will eventually get here if only because game companies are still annoyingly DRM-focused and this will make piracy impossible.

Re:Microsoft just debunked this for FPS games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45387345)

To be fair: in the case you're citing, the events are DISCARDED instead of being processed a few milliseconds later.

Latency: click ............. eventual reaction
Discarded: click ............ (nothing to see here)

LATENCY !! LOST PACKETS !! NAGEL !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45386107)

And you care about LCD response ?? HA-HA !! I laugh in your face (marketiers !!)

FLy by night away from here !!

Seems pretty iffy. (1)

Jartan (219704) | about 9 months ago | (#45386213)

Basically instead of streaming the game they're talking about offloading the peak cases.

The boxes example would of been fine as a precomputed animation. I'm guessing if the player interrupts the process real-time it becomes screwed up due to latency.

No matter what the use cases are going to be somewhat limited. Calling it a game changer at this point is just silly.

My project has 37 pieces of flare... (1)

technosaurus (1704630) | about 9 months ago | (#45386233)

But its OK if yours just has the minimum.

download caps and lag kill this idea (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 9 months ago | (#45386235)

download caps and lag kill this idea.

Problems (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 9 months ago | (#45386263)

There's a few problems with that idea:
1. monthly caps from ISPs
2. latency
3. bandwidth

MMO group micromanagement (1)

Rakhar (2731433) | about 9 months ago | (#45386267)

Given how ridiculously elitist people already get when playing MMOs, that picture-in-picture demo horrifies me. I'm sure it could be useful in some games, but please keep that as far from MMOs as possible.

I have one word for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45386295)

Simcity

Engineer: We need to optimize the physics engine. (2)

technosaurus (1704630) | about 9 months ago | (#45386309)

Management: But you said it was working.
Engineer: It is ... at 3 FPS on a standard PC.
Management: Perfect, we can sell it by the hour until then.
Engineer: You're kidding right?
Management: No, seriously, BTW your new project starts tomorrow.
Engineer: but....

So in the future... (1)

Torp (199297) | about 9 months ago | (#45386339)

All games will disappear when the publisher pulls the plug on the server, not only the ones from EA.

The Example (1)

ledow (319597) | about 9 months ago | (#45386473)

The example video is, well, just pathetic.

Seriously, my PC could handle that now. It's hardly a "demanding" case. Especially with boxes, which are quite easily to simulate physically.

Hell, the nVidia and GPU demos that I've seen do the equivalent with thousands of boxes - maybe not as pretty but they are unoptimised demos.

Just because your console is crap doesn't mean that farming it out as a thin-client will work - somewhere there still has to be the horsepower to do the job, and thus we're still paying for it.

Stop this junk where you want to find a reason to run the game off of the home console (and thus control piracy). Farming out data / video is a TERRIBLE idea. OnLive went bust trying to prove it. And yet every year, GPU's get cheaper and do more.

If you want to have a "killer" feature in the next-gen consoles, it's not thousands-of-boxes. It's going to be freedom (e.g. SetamBoxes, etc.).

uh... no need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45386563)

Modern day computers can easily do this sort of stuff. Every single physics library, be it 2d or 3d has some sort of pile o boxes demo. Most of these can run similar numbers of boxes with ease on only a single thread, and the multithreaded and gpu enhanced ones can do thousands of boxes.
I don't see any application that could work well on this, as most of them can already be done on the local box itself, or the network latency would make it not pleasing.

GeForce GRID (1)

mkaushik (1431203) | about 9 months ago | (#45386601)

I'm surprised no one has mentioned this more generic solution that's already in production:

NVIDIA's GeForce Grid [nvidia.com]

Re:GeForce GRID (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45387153)

Exactly what I was thinking. Good point. I'm not so sure about the production part. I've yet to see this service for purchase.

Thin Clients again, this time for gaming... (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | about 9 months ago | (#45386643)

Larry Ellison was famous for being a huge backer of thin client computing in the enterprise. Of course, it failed for a large number of reasons such as mobile computing, the need to be able to work on documents locally, user experience, etc. If the enterprise environment wasn't conducive to thin client computing (i.e. low latency, guaranteed bandwidth, etc.), why would anyone think that a thin client gaming environment that relies on the Internet would be a good idea?

Re:Thin Clients again, this time for gaming... (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 9 months ago | (#45386749)

Yes, but... Vendor Lock-In.

It's where every tech company is trying to go now the big profits from incremental improvements in old products have vanished.

Past users had a choice between thin clients and PCs which would run anything. Future users will only be able to buy computers locked down with Windows Boot and App Stores.

Bad name (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 9 months ago | (#45386781)

Did they not know there was an 80s failed console called the flare? Didn't even get to market, sort of granddad to the Atari Jaguar.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...