Crackdown 3 is a unique, unique game. It is one of the few titles that leverages the cloud inside out, with Azure playing a central role as physics computations are offloaded to the Microsoft cloud.
After a number of high-profile delays over the last couple of years, Microsoft recently revealed the launch date — with Crackdown 3 targeting a February 15 debut, complete with separate campaigns and multiplayer competitive modes.
Every chunk of the arenas can be destroyed by players.
It goes without saying that developers encountered a range of unforeseen challenges as a result of this ambitious vision. But the work Microsoft put in for this Azure integration has the potential to have revolutionary implications for the future of gaming.
This, and more, are discussed in this piece that has Brain Stone from Microsoft Studios discusses the technical marathon and the complexity that developers had to deal with to get these features to work.
He specifically mentions the ongoing investments the Redmond based technology giant has made in datacenters as well as the Azure hardware upgrades.
All of which played their part in mitigating the potential issues:
“There are some problems that we would have had in the past, that we don’t have anymore. There used to be regions where we just had unacceptable ping times. It doesn’t happen anymore. We were worried about population density, from an Xbox install base perspective, so we had to think about transferring server control from one data center to another. Investment in data centers has solved that.”
Concerns were raised that Crackdown 3 may require some kind of advanced Internet service package or additional data bandwidth to run properly.
Two years of hardcore programming work was the answer for thousands of fractured chunks all blowing up simultaneously. The end result being that a fair bit of magic happens on the client side, while multiple cores of physics work are handled on the cloud servers.
There is a lot more technical coverage in the article above, including how Microsoft hopes that the technology will get applied to other games in the future. The game is the culmination of an intense amount of engineering prowess that few companies outside of Microsoft can muster.
Innovation on the back of the near limitless processing capability of Azure has led to a new way of thinking about physics in games.
And it could very well serve as the foundation for a future revolution.