How Sunset Overdrive uses Xbox One cloud

Insomniac Games' Sunset Overdrive is an Xbox One exclusive published by Microsoft. So of course it's going to use that fancy Xbox Live Cloud that Microsoft's been so keen to talk about. So, how does Sunset Overdrive take advantage of all that internet-based computing power?

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Insomniac Games' Sunset Overdrive is an Xbox One exclusive published by Microsoft. So of course it's going to use that fancy Xbox Live Cloud that Microsoft's been so keen to talk about. So, how does Sunset Overdrive take advantage of all that internet-based computing power? Studio head Ted Price explains.

"We are going to be relying on heavy backend services to churn through the data we get from players to understand what they're telling us and what they're doing in the game," Price said. "Some of the hardcore data collection, correlation, and translation that we expect to do is difficult and takes a lot of horsepower, and that is one aspect of the cloud that is attractive to us."

Ah, collecting real-time player metrics. It's something that SIN Episodes attempted to do... in 2006. On PC. However, unlike that example, it appears Insomniac won't track player data in single-player. "Our intent is that you will be able to play the single-player without an online connection," Price added.

While it appears neither Sunset Overdrive nor Titanfall take advantage of the cloud in a way that's unique to Xbox One, Price tells Game Informer that "the potential of the cloud for console developers is pretty large. Over the next five or six years, it's one of those technologies that will change in meaning as we see more games come out and take innovative approach to the more and more offline processing that's available."

Here's the concept video they showed off at E3 earlier this year:

From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 3, 2013 10:15 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, How Sunset Overdrive uses Xbox One cloud.

    Insomniac Games' Sunset Overdrive is an Xbox One exclusive published by Microsoft. So of course it's going to use that fancy Xbox Live Cloud that Microsoft's been so keen to talk about. So, how does Sunset Overdrive take advantage of all that internet-based computing power?

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      July 3, 2013 10:16 AM

      Insomniac? Are they going to use The Dalton Allocator?

      http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/194772/dirty_game_development_tricks.php?page=2

      (I just got around to reading this article from a few days ago, and had noticed Insomniac)

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      July 3, 2013 10:28 AM

      Strange video.

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        July 3, 2013 10:36 AM

        Yeah, for sure ... not sure I would like it based on that video.

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      July 3, 2013 10:44 AM

      [deleted]

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        July 3, 2013 12:39 PM

        Apparently every Xbox One game gets access to a portion of the new Live infrastructure to use as they see fit. This was covered on one of the Giant Bomb E3 streams by someone from Microsoft.

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      July 3, 2013 12:30 PM

      I knew Andrew wrote this article before I even looked at the author. There's a particular brand of disdain and skepticism that can only be found when it's Yoon talking about cloud gaming on the One.

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        July 3, 2013 12:34 PM

        He bought that stock early, and it's been rising.

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        July 3, 2013 1:10 PM

        It's a little tiresome. If I want "jaded, pessimist game news" I would read RPS

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        July 3, 2013 5:59 PM

        If MS is going to bust out the marketing hyperbole on the cloud thing, they should expect people to point out when the implementation isn't exactly revolutionary.

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          July 3, 2013 6:38 PM

          The problem is that Andrew Yoon will "point out" things that just aren't true. E.g. on the Titanfall story he just blatantly contradicts the developer with no sources or anything because he doesn't like what they said. And then in this article he links to *that* one as evidence that there's nothing unique here. So his own feeble understanding is his source. Great.

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            July 3, 2013 7:14 PM

            I'm not seeing where he contradicted the developer. The developer said they were using the cloud for dedicated servers to save themselves from having to figure out the hosting themselves. Very cool and I'm sure Azure rocks for this, but it seems like pretty standard cloud stuff?

            Is Titanfall actually using the cloud for other computations?

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              July 3, 2013 7:16 PM

              Like any new technology, the initial implementations are most likely not going to be that inventive.

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                July 3, 2013 7:24 PM

                Despite the marking bonanza. True that.

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              July 3, 2013 8:33 PM

              The devs explain why dedicated wasn't financially feasible before, and that it's only with the xbox deal that they can do it (pricing, simplicity, automation etc.). Andrew Yoon says the exact opposite in his article.

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            July 3, 2013 8:27 PM

            What did I blatantly contradict? I would like some evidence!

            And yes, of course I'm calling Microsoft out on their claims on Xbox One's cloud. *As it is right now,* it does not provide anything unique to games, nor is it even exclusive to Xbox One. Do I hope that it changes in the future? Of course! But don't just drink the Kool-Aid. Wait until they actually prove themselves!

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              July 3, 2013 8:31 PM

              Look at your own post:

              1. Titanfall devs say that the specifics of the Xbox cloud deal/pricing is critical in enabling dedicated servers, and that this wasn't possible before.
              2. You decide to contradict them and say that anyone could do the same. They explicitly explained why they haven't done this before, and why it's only possible now, but you obviously know better.

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                July 3, 2013 8:36 PM

                Anyone can do the same. It's like BF3 or L4D which we have thousands of servers running (by the community). They can say they're having a problem, but the only reason it's a problem is because they won't give out the server code so the community can help.

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                  July 3, 2013 8:40 PM

                  That's not what they're talking about. They're talking about dedicated servers provided by them (so they can avoid cheating, host advantage, etc.), and most importantly not be reliant on the community to provide resource critical for someone who just wants to sit down and play.

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                July 3, 2013 8:56 PM

                It's just the 2013 version of http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2000/10/23 . It's pretty disgusting to see Ted Price do this, because we saw what happened with the relationship between Just Add Water and Microsoft: http://www.shacknews.com/article/71992/oddworld-munchs-oddysee-hd-coming-to-ps3-vita-in-q2

                EA runs their own server farm for their games that connect to EA.com, and Valve integrated PS3 games via Steam.

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                  July 3, 2013 9:02 PM

                  Look, if you want to actually find out what the relative pricing and tech is and *substantiate* completely contradicting the claims of the article you're reporting on, that's great. But the shack shouldn't be your personal blog post where you can just make claims and then pretend that your uninformed guesses are just as good as what the actual developer says (they know the numbers, you don't - if you want to blatantly contradict them you should have something to back it up).

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                    July 3, 2013 9:08 PM

                    He tore apart Ted Price's marketing spiel, and compared it to previous industry offerings; that's what journalists are supposed to do. It seems almost like you have a fanboyistic allegiance to either Insomniac or Microsoft, or to the marketing hype of cloud computing, versus the reality of what it really is (hint: it's just a bunch of CPUs, RAM and storage processing most of what servers do, in a slightly different topology).

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                      July 3, 2013 9:12 PM

                      Who is saying it is anything more than that? The important thing is how flexible the system is for Xbox One titles. Not having to segment up the Live servers for each game and allowing them to be spooled up as demand requires is a pretty nice feature and something we have not seen on this scale for a gaming platform. Not to mention those computing cycles are there for developers to do with as they see fit to best benefit their games and I think we might see some pretty neat stuff coming out of it.

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                        July 3, 2013 9:23 PM

                        Who is saying it is anything more than that? Ted Price.

                        Seriously, compare this segment... "Over the next five or six years, it's one of those technologies that will change in meaning as we see more games come out and take innovative approach to the more and more offline processing that's available."

                        ...with some of the language used in promoting VRML and X3D a decade ago: http://www.somethingawful.com/d/news/cubes-spheres-cones.php

                        "There is a genuine pent-up demand for this stuff," analyst Peddie said. "What's out there now is primitive and not very satisfying, but that's partly because the people putting them out have to develop them from scratch. If they could get the same level of support and functionality with 3D that they do with XML, you would see amazing new developments."

                        Ugh, it's like they both put the Web Economy Bullshit Generator on infinite loop. http://www.dack.com/web/bullshit.html

              • reply
                July 4, 2013 1:17 AM

                How are the funding servers for the PC version? Is Microsoft paying for those too?

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              July 3, 2013 8:45 PM

              Fret not. If this was Alice they'd be giving you a pass.

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                July 3, 2013 10:05 PM

                Insomniac Games' Sunset Overdrive is an Xbox One exclusive Cloud 'em up...

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              July 3, 2013 8:54 PM

              Look, I have to run but let me share my disappointment with how the shack's been going in the last few years (I've been here since the Quake 1 days, lurking, and a few name changes). You can write me off as a troll and change nothing, or you can try to see through my frustration and see if there's something you can do to improve in your chosen profession.

              The shack used to have great reporting. They didn't have enough people to cover everything, but at least it was the one place you could go to get the straight dope. Right now, the shack is among the worst gaming sites for news. It has a great comments system and community, but the front page is a net negative - I'd rather it went away than have it pollute the comments.

              Now, I'm not saying you're uniquely responsible - I don't really keep track, but I've certainly seen enough awful reporting to notice your name at the top of a post and take it into account.

              The basic problem is this: readers shouldn't have to keep track of a reporter's personal list of companies he likes or dislikes so that they can filter through the bias in order to get to the facts. When you write a post, I (and apparently others) have to consciously go "Right, it's a Yoon post about MS, so let's ignore the commentary and click the source links".

              Your #1 job is to provide the whats, whens and hows. That doesn't mean you have to be boring or lack personality, but if your overly opinionated tone prevents people from getting a fair idea of what the facts are you're not doing your job.

              Feel free to have an opinion page (or use a personal blog, or a podcast), but not every single article has to be about you, and what your take on something is.

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              July 3, 2013 9:09 PM

              The cloud will allow your washing machine to augment your gaming experience!

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              July 3, 2013 9:23 PM

              I'm having a hard time understanding what it is about this "cloud" stuff that is being so heavily discussed instead of other things that gamers might actually care about. There just hasn't been any compelling information about what it will offer to gamers, despite what the devs find interesting. I understand it will allow them to "spool up servers". I get that they can "view stats". And? How does that translate to a better overall gaming experience? Just tell us! Don't make it a connect the dots issue and just lay it all out and why we should care, as Yoon has pointed out, these "benefits" could have been touted by many others for years and it just hasn't brought forth any real concrete benefits that have altered gaming. More servers.. Is that really a problem? Isn't the problem a lack of people playing the games after X months or until a new game comes out?

              Does it do some bombastic data manipulation that then feeds the system better graphics? Does it equal larger maps and more players? The ability for the 'cloud' to handle any real gameplay enhancing benefits beyond just making more servers and stats available as it stands right now with no speculation either way into the future?

              I find reporters that hold the bullshit PR speak to task quite refreshing instead of just reporters passing along said PR speak that doesn't mean shit onto their readers which is what of course any PR would want. Don't question, just hype. Tired of that.

              More questions about the cloud, will the cloud services render the game unplayable if it's no longer supported 4-5 years out EA style? Are games THAT reliant on the system - is it such an important part of the equation that it is reliant upon it? Or is it just a side thing that is kinda cool to have? It's hard to wrap any sort of care around the information coming out as it's just so devoid of any actual meat that gamers gives two shits about. No matter how much PR and others insist that it's actually something.

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                July 3, 2013 10:45 PM

                The cloud stuff in the case of Xbox One is supposed to allow offloading of some of the more latency-agnostic (or whatever) computations which theoretically frees up cycles for improving the gaming experience.

                To hear the Respawn guys talk during the Giant Bomb E3 thing it sounded like they had some of this serious voodoo going on in cloudspace (in addition to the "spinning up servers" stuff). Stuff that would make the PC port difficult and not as good an experience. But everything that's come out since E3 has indicated that isn't necessarily the case. The dedicated server stuff in the cloud is certainly nice for them, but it apparently isn't doing any of the fancy cloud magic that MS had been boasting about. Doesn't mean they can't do it, but they're not doing it yet.

                So Shack writer points that out and apparently Shacknews is now going to hell.

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                July 4, 2013 1:15 AM

                I imagine some time in the future as they shut down servers you'll see effects like what will/has happened to Dark Souls and Demon Souls. The player interaction with tips, invasions, and just watching someone's ghost who was there recently die from a trap all being removed from the game. Obviously the core game would still be there and playable, but it's part of the experience that you can't get anymore.

                I can't help but wonder what the impact of games will be over time as more of these types of features are added to games. What is the long term value of a game when parts of it (large or small) no longer work or exists when the server back end goes away?

                Looking just at Microsoft's Xbox division they haven't exactly shown much in the way of legacy support.

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      July 3, 2013 12:33 PM

      did they get Murakami's permission to use his style of artwork in the game?
      http://www.designboom.com/cms/images/--Z88/mp2.jpg

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      July 3, 2013 12:40 PM

      I expect any game by Insomniac to contain much alcohol, some strip clubs, and off-color-non-sequitur jokes.

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      July 3, 2013 1:31 PM

      Hey you get off of my cloud!

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      July 3, 2013 4:51 PM

      I still don't see what they'd be looking for. Problem areas where players can't seem to figure out where to go? Places where they're dying a lot? It's not really clear what exactly they'll glean from it.

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        July 3, 2013 4:58 PM

        I believe both of those data points are things Valve have talked about before as being pretty valuable in their own analytics. I'm sure there's plenty more too.

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          July 3, 2013 5:52 PM

          I don't doubt that at all. I was just hoping they would go into some detail about what they're looking at players doing. I feel like the answer they gave was just very generic write off. It's like me asking how much horse power your car is packing, and you just answer "It's fast bro". Microsoft has really being selling the idea of the "cloud" on Xbox One, but they haven't gone into any detail about how it'll actually change gaming on their platform. All the examples I've seen are things that have been done or are being done, or are really just speculation.

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            July 3, 2013 6:30 PM

            I haven't seen a whole lot of developers talking about their analytics driven development outside places with ridiculous money like Valve and Bungie. I don't find it all that surprising that a bunch of launch titles aren't necessarily setting the world on fire with features that haven't been easily available before, or aren't excited to talk in depth about it like 6+ months before release.

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            July 3, 2013 7:11 PM

            Using the Kinect sensor to analyze your behavior IRL.

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              July 3, 2013 7:46 PM

              Judging rage faces the player makes while performing QTEs

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        July 3, 2013 6:42 PM

        Tons of stuff like that would be reasonable. There's a huge amount of level design and art whose only purpose is to draw the player on the right path. E.g. "players always seem to go left here down a blind alley when they should go right, let's put something shiny on the right side".

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      July 3, 2013 7:13 PM

      I hope this game is good 'cause it looks cool imho.

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        July 3, 2013 8:01 PM

        Hopefully it is, because the last two Insomniac games (Fuse and Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault) got 60's in Metacritic.

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          July 3, 2013 9:03 PM

          ...actually, I had not seen anything on Sunset Overdrive until I played this video. Epic called; they want their Fortnite back.

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      July 3, 2013 9:59 PM

      So, will this benefit the players in any way whatsoever?

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      July 4, 2013 12:54 AM

      I'm intrigued. I'm just totally curious about this cloud stuff and I don't want my curiosity to be crushed!

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