Today’s Blog entry is not be from the MP1st forums, but rather from the official Call of Duty Forums, written by an acquaintance of mine, Adam “Maccabi”. He dives into the current situation regarding dedicated servers in Call of Duty: Ghosts among the various platforms it will be available on and clears up a lot of the misinformation that’s been floating around. I thought it’d be worth sharing with the MP1st crowd. Hope you enjoy!
Call of Duty: Ghosts Dedis, Matchmaking – Just The Facts Ma’am
Since the announcement of Dedi’s coming to Cod for the Xbox one I have seen so many comments and posts spring up all over the place which ultimately have added alot of confusion and misinformation in to the community. So here is basically a run down of everything dedi related .
Is getting dedi’s, These are being hosted by Microsoft using their “cloud” service Azure which has been linked into the XBL platform.. Microsoft have invested hundreds of millions into their cloud services over the last two years and have server farms located in strategically placed locations throughout the world with more coming online in the future. Azure is primarily a system that allows any company the ability to use an azure server for whatever they need, be it web hosting, distributedcomputing or in this case to host games.
To avoid going into technobabble, Azure comes with its own special operating system that can be implemented into existing applications or run as a layer over another system. This is why being able to utilize Azure for game servers on the xbox one is now possible.
At present and although Microsoft don’t readily publicize where their servers are you can find out roughly using a quick search on the net, but please bear in mind not all locations are made public so as with anything on the net take any information as a rough guide not as 100% fact. Please see further down for more information in the dedis bullet points.
Infinity Ward had alot of meetings with the engineers from Microsoft about their cloud services, it wasn’t an instant decision and honestly wasn’t one Microsoft pushed onto Infinityward/Activision. I know when IW first started talking to the engineers from MS they were asking questions the engineers didn’t even have answers to as their own systems weren’t actually finalized. The final decision wasn’t just oh there is dedis lets use them. IW really spent along time working out if it was both practical and something that wouldn’t degrade the online experience we all know and love and would ultimately improve it for most people.
The pc platform is getting RANKED dedis at launch . Again as these are pc the servers will more than likely be hosted using the Azure system The option to RENT player controlled servers from a third party will be a feature possible AFTER launch (no date has been confirmed as yet ) but these will probably not be ranked servers. As Ghosts will have the ability to transfer your Character from one platform to another security of a closed system especially for PC is paramount.
More details of the pc stuff will be coming out shortly so make sure you follow @Infinityward on twitter.
At present Nothing has been announced either way for PS4, this is what it is. You should remind yourself the announcement for dedis on Xbox One was made at a Microsoft press event so obviously there would be no mention of anything ps4 related there. There have always been huge technical hurdles in getting dedis running for the console platforms something Microsoft has made a lot easier for Xbox one. Obviously for PS4 it isn’t able to access Microsofts system so to run dedis on PS4 would involve a third party server provider or for Sony to stump up hundreds of millions of dollars to build their own server farms. I have seen recently alot of people taking about Sony’s “cloud services” coming online in 2014 and wrongly assuming this relates to providing dedis- Their “cloud service” is Gaikai it is NOT a dedicated server platform it is a system designed to STREAM games being played on a server onto your screen. Gaikai will allow you to play older ps titles and to utilize the play anywhere service Sony promoted, but you should also bear in mind this service is streamed so it will have inherent latency issues attached to it as any control action has to go to the server first. This isn’t to say Sony dont have a system in place already or that they aren’t working on a system to host games As I explained adding dedis to Xbox one was a alot easier than for PS4 as the Xbox had a ready made system already in place due to microsofts Azure service.
I’ve seen a few comments along the lines of Atvi is too cheap to add dedis for PS4 ect (a comment I’ve seen numerous times in past cods tbh) The fact is the amount of infrastructure needed to host Cod on dedis costs hundreds of millions of dollars to build and then a good few million a month in operating costs, its not something you can just run out and buy . It’s worth bearing this in mind .
So will PS4 have dedi’s? At this point we don’t know. Anything you hear that doesn’t come directly from Infinity Ward is pure speculation so should be treated as such.
Dedis – the bendy bullet points
Will dedis cure lag? – Simple answer no.
People seem to think dedis are some sort of golden magical bullet that will cure every ill you experience online, this unfortunately isn’t the case at all. What dedi’s will bring to the table for consoles are things like no host migrations, from the dedis side a smooth experience that isn’t affected by the the (as in old games) hosts own bandwidth causing issues. More security in game as the ability for the nefarious to run unsigned code as hosts on chipped xboxes is gone.
The one major issue with any online gaming experience is your ping, it doesn’t matter how much bandwidth you have, how advanced your home network is ultimately your online experience if you have a stable connection is down to ping. Ping for those who aren’t familiar with the term is the time it takes data to travel from your console/pc to a server and back.
One advantage listen servers (p2p as some call it) ie the system CoD has always used over dedis is host location, While the host may not always have been the best the chances are the host would’ve been quite close to you.
With dedi’s it comes down to locations of the servers, The golden rule for dedis has always been the closer you are the better your ping is, while this maybe slightly generalized as a statement as there are other factors like your own connection quality ect this is how dedis usually work for players. Saying that though players on dedis will find their games run better and everyone will be a lot more equal as there is now no host advantage/disadvantage depending what side of the fence you were on that one.
One of the things IW would’ve looked at before deciding to go down the dedi route is server locations, if they couldn’t provide locations that gave very good coverage they would not have gone down this route. BUT thats not to say at present all geographic locations will have great coverage. Some more outlying or low population area’s will still potentionally have dedis depending on that area being covered by Azure. but you may find those servers are further afield than you would like to connect too and I would assume (*disclaimer this is an ASSUMPTION by me). That there would still be back up systems in the game to use listen servers for down times of dedis and for low pop areas or areas that are not covered by azure.
One of the things that alot of people mention is matchmaking, and anyone who knows me from these forums knows it’s an area I have clashed heads with IW over numerous times in the past :). There has been a lot of work done on matchmaking and Ghosts will see a few new features added to matchmaking that will improve how matchmaking works. One of the most important ones for me (as its something I repeatedly highlighted) was the fact geolocation especially for european players had an inherent flaw . due to the way Ip blocks are bought and sold by european isps it was possible to be in the middle of the UK but the game thought you were in Italy. To counter this Ghosts will match make using your actual internet distance (and hops) rather than basing any matchmaking off your actual physical location. This will ensure players are better matched and potentially will be matched more locally. Iw trawled through a ton of connection metrics during MW3 and have taken a lot of feedback and comments from the community when it came to matchmaking. I spoke to Mark Rubin during my time out in La during E3 and I was very impressed with some of the idea’s he and the team had either come up with or discussed.
Now the more astute of you here might now be wondering why if we are getting dedis on some platforms (ie the confirmed ones so far before the ps4 crowd go wait a minute..) why we still need matchmaking? – The answer is even with dedis the game still needs to place you into a session (game lobby) that gives you the best experience.