Dead in the clouds

How Crack­down 3’s online co-op turns Xbox One into the most pow­er­ful con­sole ever made

XBox: The Official Magazine - - DASHBOARD -

What’s the story?

Imag­ine tak­ing apart an en­tire city with physics-based de­struc­tion with not a crumb of con­crete van­ish­ing from the world. Where ma­chine guns dig doors through crum­bling ma­sonry and en­tire sky­scrapers can be top­pled, and lever­aged as weapons as they top­ple. Now imag­ine four Agents co-op­er­a­tively per­form­ing these tricks at once and Xbox One some­how han­dling it with­out melt­ing. This is Reagent Games and Cloudgines’ bold vi­sion for Crack­down 3’ s cloud-com­puted physics; a vi­sion our hands-on demo proves to be re­al­ity.

Why should I care?

Be­cause it sur­passes any­thing the Xbox One could do alone. The co-op city – dis­tinct to the sin­gle-player cam­paign’s – is di­vided into sec­tors, each po­liced by a dif­fer­ent server. Fire a gun in an area and the cal­cu­la­tions are beamed to its server and the crumbly re­sults sent back to the Xbox One. If one area’s ma­te­rial falls into another, the server hands re­spon­si­bil­ity to its neigh­bour to share the load. When Crack­down’s cre­ator det­o­nates bombs planted around the city, we see up to 14 servers whir to life to ren­der the apoca­lypse.

What hap­pens next?

Dave Jones – re­turn­ing to the se­ries he cre­ated (his as­sured touch was missed in Crack­down 2) – and his team have to prove the game works out­side of its test en­vi­ron­ment. He tells us that online play is be­ing op­ti­mised for a 2-4mbps con­nec­tion which is far less than we’d ex­pected based on the scale of in­for­ma­tion be­ing shared. If it can work con­sis­tently in the wild it’s a gen­uine gamechange­r for Xbox, ren­der­ing some of its specs ir­rel­e­vant and invit­ing de­vel­op­ers to set their own bound­aries. The sky’s the limit. Or, at the very least, the cloud is.

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