Just came across this interesting video on distributing multiplayer game processing across a network. Relates quite closely to what we trying to achieve on a current PhD project. Microsoft have demonstrated an example of cloud processing using Azure in Titanfall and other games but its not quite the same.
A prevailing approach by some leading games companies/publishers is to stream gameplay from the cloud, e.g. Onlive and Gaikai, in a technological approach that could be described as streaming interactive gameplay. The game is processed in the cloud and rendered gameplay screens are streamed to client machines. The advantage of the approach is that client machines do not have the so powerful and it may be more energy efficient (in global terms). An obvious disadvantage is that QoS and QoE is dependant on the quality of network. Shinra, a Square Enix company, recognise this issue but are building their mmo engine for a future (faster) network! Article here.
We are fortunate at Coleraine to be supported by industry in many ways, including the provision of student prizes. Last week Mark McCormack, from Citi in Belfast, visited our campus to present the 2nd year mobile game development prize to Aaron Hutton and Adam Mackenzie. In presenting the prize in front of this year’s 2nd year group, Mark praised the quality of work and the level of creativity of all of the shortlisted students. He reaffirmed Citi’s support for work on campus and encouraged our current 2nd years to work towards this year’s prize.
Aaron and Adam’s winning game “Rescue the Princess; Save the World”, was designed and programmed for Windows Phone 7 over 6-8 weeks as part of their “Game Design and Development” module coursework. The game provided interesting gameplay, a quirky aesthetic, and a fascinating theme/story-line.
The two other student games by Scott Irvine and Kyle Davidson that were shortlisted for the prize were also of a very high standard. All three games, with some further work, have the potential to be successful commercially.
A couple of researchers/developers and I have been working nights on an gamemaker:HTML5 game to connect to Moodle as a part of research into games enhanced learning. We are also interested in checking the performance of HTML5 in general and have played with it quite a bit over the past 6 months. Though performance could be better, it is likely that the main problems with HTML5 performance relate to graphics acceleration and browser compatibility. Our game, though simple, runs surprisingly well. The game below is only an early version (2 weeks work) but we have been able to grab a user id from Moodle and use this to drive a graphical interface in HTML5 built with Gamemaker and using php/sql hooks (10 half days work). Students are currently playing the game and giving us feedback as we evolve it.
I spent a bit of time playing the demo from Black Market Games and really enjoyed it – you should try it out. Black Market Games are Northern Ireland based company working in Derry and are one of several small local games companies taking large strides into the games industry.
InvestNI have been supportive of this community and this year are providing financial support for companies to attend GDC. I would love to go to this myself this year but I will need to work out other commitments first.