Gears of War XB1 will have Similar Technology used in Halo Waypoint

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gears of war 4 waypoint

We have discovered and stumbled across information in the public domain about the workings of the new Gears of War Xbox One game currently being developed by Black Tusk Studios.

The information is shared as follows from the personal profile of a member of staff at Black Tusk Studios about what they are doing on the Gears of War XB1 project.

It states

For Gears of War (XB1), decoupled and refactored services discovery and client configuration technology from 343 Industries for use by Black Tusk and enabling the reuse of pioneering work on massive-scale Orleans actor framework technology in Azure.

You might be wondering.. What the hell does that mean? How does that mean anything about Halo Waypoint?

Well let me tell you that decoupling means to

separate, disengage, or dissociate (something) from something else.

and that refactored means

technique for restructuring an existing body of code, altering its internal structure without changing its external behavior

So to decouple something and put it back to together.

This could refer to seperating Gears from Xbox 360 platform for use on a Xbox One platform, but lets not get ahead of ourselves here, we are only two words into this sentance!

So back to what was said..

Decoupled and refactored services discovery and client configuration technology from 343 Industries for use by Black Tusk.

For any of you that dont know, 343 Industries is part of Microsoft, and a key platform they now use.

In July 2009, Microsoft filed for the name 343 Industries for its new Halo development studio, after the former Halo studio, Bungie, separated from Microsoft. It was named after Halo character 343 Guilty Spark. Bungie continued making Halo games until Halo: Reach in 2010.

Interestingly in 2009 the studio created Halo Waypoint, a downloadable application that tracks a user’s Halo accomplishments.

So the services discovery and client configuration technology from 343 Industries, is the same technology used in the halo series and the chances are we are going to have a similar matchmaking and online services platform that we saw with the later editions of Halo.

The later part of the sentance is a little more complicated to translate

and enabling the reuse of pioneering work on massive-scale Orleans actor framework technology in Azure.

Microsoft Azure is a cloud based technology and is a real time big data solution.
Orleans actor framework technology is complicated but it means that the way that we play video games online will change forever.

This video presentation may be the best insight into what we might expect from the new Gears of War.

I recommend that you watch it, its an hour long so it might be a good idea to download it to your phone for later watching on the train!! I will try and do this myself and write up my thoughts and predictions about what it might mean!

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NewZealand/2014/DEV314

EDIT: Watched the video, not really much to know, its really a showing of the platform for developers done by developers and has very little to do with gaming as readers of this post would be interested in. However, it does say in essence that the “Actors” in Orleans are much like a room, or a person, or any entity. So when a player enters the room it is all in real time starting events.. I think basically its an improved system for handling lots of data in real time.

The combination of the two parts of the overall sentence

For Gears of War (XB1), decoupled and refactored services discovery and client configuration technology from 343 Industries for use by Black Tusk and enabling the reuse of pioneering work on massive-scale Orleans actor framework technology in Azure.

My understanding of this would suggest that they are basically building upon what they did in the halo games to do the same in Gears of War Xbox One edition, in terms of the service and technology side of things (not graphics or anything visual, nor gameplay, just platform and technology)

In contrast to Gears 3, it will probably mean that its a more scalable solution and that dedicated servers are probably integral. The Windows Azure platform is basically one big cloud, that anyone or any business can utilise. So i would imagine that if the whole game is being built on this technology then dedicated servers will be a strong feature of this.

Further Edit:

So I have been doing some more research, it turns out that the Xbox One and this technology is really quite incredible.

There are a couple of resources I have found that talk about what this means in plain english from people who understand this technology in great detail, and their interpretation of it is fantastic and has helped me understand more and in turn hopefully it means you guys can understand it better too and be able to appreciate it!

It turns out that gamers dont really care nor understand about what is going on inside the console and exactly what data goes where and why. But this technology will revolutionise online gameplay, because we are all able to tap into the super computers in the massive data centres at Microsoft.

If you look at all of the tasks that the machine does, it’s clear there isn’t enough silicon in the box, said Nick Baker, a distinguished engineer of console architecture and one of the head silicon engineers at Microsoft…. But the cool thing about the box — which has chips with 5 billion transistors in them — is that it can tap supercomputers in web-connected data centers to do processing.

So as time goes on, our Xbox consoles will get more powerful as those data centres grow and become faster. We are directly gaining processing power that enables our consoles to do more without actually having to process anything.

That means the hardware inside the box isn’t fixed. Over time, the hardware can get better as Microsoft upgrades the technology in the data centers. For now, Microsoft has more than 300,000 servers in its data centers to support Xbox One and the Xbox Live online entertainment service.

“This is a radically different way of thinking about a game console,”

Also, this paragraph really sums up the direction of Microsoft and the direction of the cloud based research and development programmes.

Basically if you want to buy shares in Microsoft in the near future, then do it before e3! This Gears game is going to be better than we imagined.

For the last 40+ years we have incrementally improved graphics through better local hardware. We have been adding cores, increasing clock speed, upping RAM etc.

We can easily understand this upgrade. The Xbox one’s cloud capabilities are difficult to explain and, as you could imagine, had Microsoft spent any time at E3 explaining the above things the damage would have been even worse.

Orleans, free Azure resources and deep integration into the Xbox one will assuredly create new experiences. I am positive, after we experience and witness the benefits of the cloud, we will spend less time worrying about a few cores.

This cloud will become stronger and more efficiently used. Microsoft dumps over $9 billion worth of money just to research cloud capabilities. If you read their whitepapers, they put a heavy emphasis on cloud technologies that are going to benefit the Xbox one. It’s truly an exciting time we live in, where we get to say billions of dollars are being spent every year by one company to improve their console.

Microsoft spends more R&D, just on the cloud, than their competitors (console and PC) spend on their entire R&D projects across all offerings(I don’t have more recent figures than this). We could be angry about DRM, digital, the removal, etc.

That’s OK – just don’t fall into the trap of “Microsoft doesn’t care about us” and that any money you give them hurts gamers. Microsoft spends 17% of their profits on research and development, more than any of their direct competitors in any marketspace. Know the extra $100 is not simply for the Kinect. When Microsoft says they are over-delivering value for the price, this is why.

It’s worth noting, that Microsoft pulled over their top visionaries and engineers to solely focus on Xbox development. This includes pioneers of the cloud industry and they even dedicated the chief architect or “father” of Windows NT/2000/2003 to Xbox.

This guy was given the distinction of “Technical Fellow” which only 22 employees in all of Microsoft’s history have achieved. They gave him to us. They then moved over the Azure hypervisor director to the Xbox group. Gamers are being taken seriously both for the PS4 and Xbox one. It’s a marvelous time to be a gamer.
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