Brad Wardell Talks About the Xbox One’s Processing Power and the Cloud “Microsoft Needs to Make a Case of It”
In an interview with GamingBolt, Stardock Studios’ CEO Brad Wardell talks about the possibility that the Xbox One's processing power can be increased using the cloud.
“That is a…yes and a no. I don’t want to weasel out on that because there are specific cases where yes you can,”
“Microsoft just needs to make a case. I don’t want it to be my job to make the case, but let me give you a few examples of where it would come in to play, since to my knowledge Microsoft has not actually put out any examples.”
Wardell continues to explain that procedurally generated terrain, which is one of the most expensive things that you could do, can be offloaded to the cloud.
“Procedurally Generated Terrain is one of the most expensive things that you could do. You do not need to do it in real-time but it takes a heck of alot of CPU power. Let’s give you an example, let’s say I’m playing a role playing game and I want a really sophisticated, we’re talking next Elder Scrolls game. This is obviously not, I have no idea what they’re doing but it’s just an example of a game that might use something like this. And I want to have incredibly sophisticated terrain that is going to support rivers and streams, forests and mountains, and I want it to be very detailed.”
“Now I don’t need to procedurally generate all that stuff on the fly, and you’re going to need to have to procedurally generate it. With that amount of detail you can’t have some map editor guy with some art tools, making stuff like you used to. You’re going to procedurally generate it to give it that level of detail. Your machine is not going to be powerful enough, certainly not the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4 or even most PCs.”
Wardell claims that modern hardware including the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, as well as most PCs, do not have the processing power to render all those detailed open world environments, so they would have to be offloaded in the cloud. This will also eliminate any kind of loading between areas.
“They’re not powerful enough to generate that sort of thing easily to that detail. You could put that in the Cloud, and the results of that procedural generation will be sent back over to your Xbox One, so you could get these amazing scenes without any loading screens. Remember the old days we used to have “Loading next area of the game”? This sort of thing could prevent that kind of stuff.”
It all depends on Microsoft though, and they have to make a case for it.
“Microsoft needs to make the case for it, I mean that’s the thing they blew with the Kinect. I could tell you how it could be used, how I would use it if I were Microsoft and I had the money. But I’m not Microsoft and I don’t have the money to do something that sophisticated.”
Stardock's studios RTS game Ashes of the Singularity uses procedurally generated terrain, but it uses the GPU to do it.
“But I can tell you like in Ashes of the Singularity, our terrain in that game is procedurally generated. We’re able to do that by having the GPU procedurally generate the terrain, otherwise it would take hours (laughs). But it sure would be handy if I had Microsoft’s resources to toss all that procedural generation in to the cloud.”