Titanfall – Respawn Engineer on Xbox Live Compute: “The Internet is Very Sceptical That This is Real”

Respawn Engineer Jon Shiring, aka “Slothy”, is grateful for Xbox One’s Xbox Live Compute program built upon Microsoft’s Azure server database, powering a number of the standout features that Titanfall delivers.

Speaking to Xbox Live’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb in a recent podcast, Shiring explains how the new tech has made the lives of Respawn’s designers all the more easier and how the studio was able to incorporate elements that “no one’s really tried before”.

“There’s a lot of things we’re doing in this that’s really different from how any other game has done it before,” he said.

Shiring went on to compare the traditional use of dedicated servers in first-person shooters to the new approach that Respawn is taking with Titanfall.

“In sort of the traditional model of dedicated servers is you go to your server and that is your home base and you love it,” he explained. “One of the key things that is interesting about the Xbox Live Compute that runs on Azure is that they’ve commodotised servers so much, that we just don’t care. I can ask for a server, use it for 10 seconds, and then go like, ‘ah we don’t need it anymore’ and throw it out.”

“We bounce people around server to server, and so you’re hitting a lot of different servers and that let’s us do cool things,” Shiring continued. “But it completely upends the old model of like, ‘I’m going to find my server and stay there forever’. And so there’s been a lot of interesting changes because of that idea that’s gone through everything from matchmaking and skill and how we do the training in the beginning of the game and all these things that are – no one’s really tried before and kind of left everyone scratching their heads for a while when we were figuring out how we were going to do it. But it was really interesting to me.”

Shiring admits that Xbox Live Compute has seemingly been shrugged off as a marketing gimmick by many onlookers, but thinks that all that might change with Titanfall: “And I know that the internet is very sceptical that this is real. Hopefully less so now that Titanfall is out and they realize that they really are playing on these servers out there.”

Titanfall Hackers MP1st

So, what do these servers actually do? How does it make Titanfall better than it might have been otherwise? Shiring explains that the key lies in the amount of freedom in brings the game’s designers, saying that it let them “go crazy and do things like throw AI in multiplayer and have these ships flying around the world and all these things that in a peer-to-peer hosted game – I know this is a little technical, but in a peer-to-peer hosted game, the bandwidth isn’t there.”

He continued: “You’re not going to find all these home consoles that have the amount of CPU and bandwidth you need to be broadcasting that there’s 400 things moving this frame. It just melts down everything that is there. So once we can just tell the designers, ‘yeah don’t worry about it, just spawn that thing and make it move. It’s fine.’

Ultimately, what worked out for Respawn was that their designers “weren’t constantly fighting limitations, they were just trying to, ‘hey you know what’d be cool? It’d be cool if this happened,'” Shiring states. “You know if you had a gun that shot all these things and each one was a real particle and it’s going to travel through the air, you’re doing a lot less compromising and you’re just letting them go do great stuff, cause our designers are really, really good, and the worst thing we can do is tell them ‘no’.

So far, it seems to be making for a pretty good game that is resulting in a lot of happy online multiplayer FPS nuts. With that, be on the lookout for a number of improvements and new features in the near future.

Keep your sights on MP1st for everything Titanfall.

  • Cameron Purdie

    “things that in a peer-to-peer hosted game – I know this is a little technical, but in a peer-to-peer hosted game, the bandwidth isn’t there.”

    Yet the bandwidth would be there if you used traditional dedicated servers, gave us a server browser, and allowed people to run their own servers. So remind me again, what exactly is the benefit of this? Making shit up that sounds good in marketing speak?

    • Derek

      None.. its all marketing crap.

      • Steph

        U would know right? Lol

        • Noobslayr

          Baahhhh… Bahhhhh…. Sheeep

    • Prime157

      Yeah, pc gamers still enjoy them on many games. Matchmaking caused a digression, it could have been integrated with user and official servers better.

    • Connxtion

      Really :-/

      Why quote something that you completely egnore?

      He stated that in a P2P game there is not enought bandwidth to do all the thing they do server side. (That would be your computer)

      So what the hell does traditional dedicated servers have to do with what he said?

      Who cares if bandwidth would be there if dedicated servers were available to the public, that’s got absolutely nothing to do with what he’s said.

      We all know if you want to use a system to host a game (ded server) you need good specs.

      & I’m guessing you want them to buy the dedicated servers for you to play in? Or you going to use you PC/Xbox & have to buy another one just to play on your dedicated server?

      I really don’t get people, want, want, want, there never greatful.

      Be happy we have dedicated servers & the game isn’t P2P.

      • Cameron Purdie

        Standard response from somebody who either doesn’t know or remember how things used to be in every multiplayer game. You realize there are places you can rent servers from, right? The entire argument about buying another computer or having to use one of my own at all is just absurd. So no, I wouldn’t be expecting them to pay for the servers, nor would I have to run one of my own.

        He’s arguing the worth of Xbox Live Compute, as tough they’re running some kind of special unique technology that nobody else could support. This is not a new complaint from the PC crowd. Dedicated servers are cool and all, but but being able to pick from those servers is better, and being able to host your own is even better. I’m not ungrateful, I like the game, I just want some better support for it and not have the lack of said support be explained away with marketing speak that’s really only relevant to console gamers who have been playing on p2p for the last decade.

  • Utedude

    Dedicated servers always impress me, love to play on them. But compute failed to prove anything to me in this game. It doesn’t look impressive at all and the AI is atrocious, if compute is supposed to improve a game from a technical standpoint it will need to show me something else.

    • dieger

      ive only ever had 2 problem with dedicated servers. 1. Battlefield 4 somehow it lags and rubberbands like hell and 2. Call of duty ghosts mostly because you can never tell if you our on one or not

      • VEX_VEHIX

        Still not innovative enough? Lol 😉

      • Hell

        problem is.. both of those game DO NOT USE MS dedicated servers…we all know EA servers are horrible… and COD decided to use P2P again

        • dieger

          wait Ghosts doesn’t have any dedi servers?

          • Ghosts uses a mix of P2P and dedicated, depending on geographical location 🙂

    • DanDustEmOff

      The AI is supposed to be bad, it’s not there to challenge you it’s there for xp farming and decoy tactics like you get in League of Legends.

    • Crusina .

      I remember once I entered a building and saw a bunch of dead grunts and another one screaming “MY FRIENDS ARE ALL DEAD”

      Another time an enemy titan was firing into the interior of a building, and once the titan had gone away I went into the building and saw the only surviving grunt pulling his poor buddies body into a corner, and he sat down next to him and started talking to his friend, telling him he’d be okay, he’d survive.

      Another occasion was near the end of a match I was mopping up everything in my Titan and I saw an enemy Grunt. He stared at me for a second and slowly put his gun on the ground and kneeled. He started to put his hands behind his head in the “I surrender” position but then stopped and his hands dropped to his side. He’d given up. He knew he was going to die.

      The AI wasn’t meant to be incredibly smart, they were meant to be one of two things.

      1. Be like Creeps in a MOBA, easy farmable kills that can give you a early edge.

      2. Make you feel like you’re in a real war. Those situations I described all the time. Pay attention to the backround and the map descriptions. When the Tower falls down in this video:


      You’ll notice the monsters start moving in. Well canonically, the tower is what repels the wildlife so when it goes down they move in. Each and every single one of those guys, including things like the tower itself are things powered by the Cloud. I actually think it’s quite impressive especially with the grunts and how they react to a player.

      If you require more instances, if you call in a Titan friendly grunts will say “Friendly Titan incoming! Move up guys!” and they actually move up. If you kill a enemy killing a friendly grunt his buddy will say “I told you those pilots were amazing!”

      I think it really adds to the game. And if they were any smarter and had better aim and reacted better, people would be complaining that they died more from the AI then other players.

      They aren’t made to win games, they were made to add strategic and cinematic elements to the game.

      • Utedude

        I meant more of a strategic standpoint as far as the AI was concerned, they are very dumb in battle and I wouldn’t think that they would require much at all to power them. That’s why compute doesn’t mean anything much to me yet, I would love to see what they can do with it in the future though… Just my opinion

        • GameonAll

          The Titans also have AI and that AI is smart enough to target and kill most things it runs into. Plus you can work in tandem with your Titan when its in AI mode – which is pretty awesome

        • AI grunts have their strategic use. Often tomes when playing Hard point domination, rather than rush in alone, I enter with a group of grunts and Spectre (I always hack to have my personal little fireteam) and when enemies enter they almost always kill the AI first before they even realize I’m there. The Burn Card that disguise you as a Spectre is really useful for that.

        • kftgr

          You don’t get it. The “dumb” AI appears dumb because that’s what the designers wanted. It actually takes more computing power to make a fallible AI with personality rather than a player killing bot.

          Just take into consideration that something that’s hard for people may not necessarily be difficult for a computer.

    • BroJ

      Actaully having AI in BF would probably help it. Some players are worse then the AI.

    • Landsharkk

      AI can (and has) been scaled up and down instantly without game interruption. Respawn themselves said they scaled the AI up during a test and it was too difficult to play, so they scaled it back down to within the scope of their game.

      That’s what Compute allows developers to do.

      Or, how about moving tens of thousands of players from one datacenter to another, seamlessly, without interruption? Because that happened during the beta test and nobody notices, because of the ms compute stuff.

      Also, all of those flying ships and other stuff going on in the game are controlled by MS Compute, so is the Titan AI when in follow/guard mode.

      All of that plus a whole lot more is handled by MS Compute (NOT just dedicated servers).

      Don’t be a naysayer just because of ignorance. You’ll end up eating your words in time.

      • Utedude

        lol, I didn’t say it didn’t do anything, just that it doesn’t do anything impressive! It doesn’t make the game stand out or because a super game like implied by Microsoft in so many words. I have seen countless games do more in game than this with AI or otherwise, there is nothing impressive going on, but it is a fun game. I would love to be proven wrong, I love games, but I don’t love marketing BS.

    • Jessika S.

      The Game is great fun but this article makes it seem like they are doing something that we all have never seen before. I love it can’t stop playing it once you start you loose a few hours of your day even if you think your only going in for an hour alone. Also now is Xbox Dedicated Servers what happened to “THE CLOUD” I would also love for the IA to be smarter they just stand and take hits.

  • Ryan Schulze

    Sounds interesting, but they’re gonna have to be a little more specific in order to move this from marketing speak to an actual value added service.

  • Nelson B

    this are the people who took ded servers out of COD, they lower the player count from 48 to 18 and started all this DLC bullcrap so NO i dont trust them or plan to support them either after all they done to other games in the past

    • Steph

      Mmmhmmm sure ya don’t, that’s why u are here right? On a titanfall article….a game u won’t buy….lol yup

      • Diablo_Jambe11

        Haha coming from the same person who`s on Infamous articles all the time bashing it. That is the definition of hypocrite.

      • Nelson B

        im not saying the game is bad but im very skeptical with those DEVS after all they did to MW2 and to be honest for me titan fall is the child out of a threesome between HAWKEN/COD/BRINK …….

  • Thinkaboutit

    All i know is that Titanfall is mad fun


      Yes, lots of action!

      Still hope they release a competitive mode. Less health, increased TitanFall build time, no mini map, annd NO AI. Even if they keep it @ 6v6, although 12v12 would be ideal.

      Just my opinion.

      • Cameron Purdie

        The TTK is already ridiculously low in this game. Decreasing health would significantly decrease the competitive viability of the game, and neither AI nor the current Titan build time are in the way of competition. If anything we need a new mode for competitive play. Hardpoint isn’t going to cut it.

    • Jeff Kazimer

      Yup, did we just become best friends, Yup!! Honestly though I haven’t had this much fun playing a shooter since Unreal Tourment

      • DigitalSyrup

        I was thinking about that the other day. Titanfall is paced similarly to how UT was on the PC.

      • VEX_VEHIX


    • DigitalSyrup

      And THAT is all that matters.

  • pot51e

    They really do think we’re bottom feeders who view technology in the same way as the apes did the obelisk in 2001.

    Stop talking shit – this mammoth circle jerk is wearing thin.

    • Steph

      Yeah, you’re trying to sound clever and no doubt u tried really hard with that lame reply but…..yeah u sound like an idiot who is trying to hard.

      • fatandsloppy

        you should learn how to spell ‘too’ before you go around calling other people idiots…

      • pot51e

        Yeah, thanks for your gormless reply. Maybe they have their audience pegged about right.

  • That guy you might know

    Correct me if I’m wrong but what I’m getting out of this (besides obvious marketing) is that over half of the game wouldn’t work without these “servers”.

    • AZgamer

      Pretty much, yeah

  • Benjamin

    So, what’s the deal with the massive frame rate drops then? Hmm? Bullshiz.

    • mechcell

      Xbone is not powerful enough.

    • Edonus

      That doesn’t happen enough for it to be any real concern, and when does it only happens during really Titan heavy moments.

      Titanfall is plays so well it doesn’t feel like a traditional MP games. I haven’t experienced any lag and the world is so alive it just feels good. This is the model online games should follow.

    • AZgamer

      Framerate and Xbox Live Compute are not even related man.

    • Clarkkent113

      In about 20 hours of play I’ve experienced significant frame-rate dips for about 20 seconds total. Hardly an issue.

    • Gamez Rule

      Agreed.. screen-tearing on Xbone is really bad, as is the pixelation in-game. The frame-rates drop badly and fast making all the above even worse.. DF showed this in their analyst.

  • Steph

    Good now give us DLC with new modes


      I want DLC too, but damn, the game just came out.

      Whats the rush? There is no way you have played each map enough to be bored. So many routes, I still get lost. Lol

    • You are flat out wrong

      lol begging for content already. Guess they should have finished it properly, huh?

    • Leon

      Why in DLC? It should be there to begin with. The new modes should be free, as the game is short of content.

  • Dennis Crosby

    All the A.I in the game is controlled by the severs that includes when you put your titan in follow mode, the grunt’s, Spector’s, the ship battles in the sky, the dinosaur like creatures. All why your playing and a very nice connection. Forza also use the cloud for there adaptive A.I. Two games that show you that cloud compute actually work but still people don’t believe it lol the internet is amazing

    • Clarkkent113

      Best part is, while the grunts are intentionally dumb (which people don’t seem to understand) the Titan AI when you put it in follow/guard mode is actually not bad. Is it comparable to a human player? Of course not, but i’ve gotten killed as a pilot by an AI controlled titan plenty of times, and my AI controlled titan has killed plenty of pilots as well. And it’s pretty incredible that’s all powered by servers.

      • Dennis Crosby

        Yea if the actually grunt’s and Spector’s were good people would just cry about dying to much from them

        • Hell I’ve been killed by Spectre. Two melee hits will down a pilot

      • Enochrewt

        I’ve made the mistake of forcing a pilot out of his titan by rodeoing it while keeping tabs on another pilot that might shoot me and completely forgetting to account for the AI titan. The AI titan smoked me on the second shot. They definitely serve their purpose.

        As far as the Grunt/Spectre AI, people should really equate them with little spots of fire on the ground that takes minimal damage from like in BF4. People read too much into the AI’s importance.

    • GameonAll

      Thank you – so many people seems to forget that sometime that Titan than just killed you was AI in follow or guard mode

  • Obambush

    Power of the cloud

  • I’m skeptical the smart pistol is real….

    • jlcurtis

      Why dont your videos work on the xbox youtube app?

    • jlcurtis

      Why do your videos not work on the xbox youtube app?

  • incendy

    Pretty crazy stuff, never seen a game that has so much going on at the same time. And it is so fun. Job well done.

  • Marcus Roue

    Oh yeah XBL Compute works wonderfully giving me the ability to play TitanFall in 1080p…er….I mean 792p but with frame rate issues….shit…..that didn’t work out so well.
    At least dedicated servers were available at the snap of my fingers….but …..couldn’t sign in during the last few days….ahem…err…..

    So what benefit does XBL Compute again besides marketing fluff??

    • Resolution and frame rate have nothing to do with dedicated servers. Now you know. Your trolling attempts are getting a bit rusty, hey?

      • Marcus Roue

        Except you’re the one trolling me! Hypocrite.

        • Well someone slap me on the wrist!

          (On a more serious note. I’ve already warned you about these flame-bate comments. Stop it. Seriously.)

          • Marcus Roue

            Davy, as I’ve told you before, I have multiple Disqus accounts. Go ahead and try to silence me. I’ll come back under another name. Everyone will see how you resort to threats instead of debates. We can play this cat and mouse game all day baby!

            • Hey man. I’m just trying to make MP1st a better place for everyone. You’re making that really difficult.

              I’m not really interesting in playing “cat and mouse” with you. I’m just asking you to be polite, respectful, and reasonable with others. If you can’t, then – multiple Disqus accounts or not – you won’t be commenting any more. It’s that simple.

      • Marcus Roue

        XBL Compute was so supposed to alleviate the cpu resources of the XBone thereby freeing up the CPU/GPU to concentrate in delivering higher resolution graphics. Didn’t work out so well according to “da Cloud” architects.

        DigitalFoundry looked into these claims last May and concluded it was just bunk.


        • When does alleviate= eliminate?

        • Except nowhere in that article did it directly correlate an increase in resolution or frame rates to additional cloud storage…

          • Marcus Roue

            Do you need someone to point it out to you? It’s quite obvious Respawn was drinking da “cloud” koolaid and wanted it to come across as a way for the XBone offload its workload. This in turn allows them to increase the resolution and/or frame rates. Their interpretation, not mine.

    • Gamez Rule

      Q =”So what benefit does XBL Compute again besides marketing fluff?

      A = To show people what pixelation in-game looks like☺

  • Ace Pilot

    Wolfenstein Enemy Territory, the FPS game came out in 2003, has a better and smarter bot system. They actually can revive, heal and kill each others, make, repair and destroy the objectives. Even they can call motar or artillery fire.

    Titanfall’s AI is just fucking dumbest shit compared to this. Cloud compute? Fuck my ass.

    • kftgr

      Some fanbots are so dumb, they can’t seem to get that the AI was intentionally dumbed down to be farmed, not be player killing bots. Apples vs. oranges.

  • Arron Clements

    Its a server and its does what all servers do. I’m sick of the total PR bullshit on this subject, I wont buy a single respawn game for the current gen now. The same applies to every other developer that pulls this crap.

  • TriPpKinGs

    If respawn relied so heavy on Azure this time around, whose to say they won’t again next time? Making a PS4 release less plausible…

  • Jecht_Sin

    What? Titanfail should be running on Cloud computing for real? As a proof of concept it blew, didn’t it? 792p, frame rate in the low 20fps, screen tearing. I bet that if it was single player it was running better!

  • kevin

    I truly feel bad John & his fellow comrades in the industry, cause no matter how they try to explain things to people or how much fun the tools they are using are and sometimes how great ,tough they are . They will always be told what thier saying or discussing is bs by a bunch of no experience having keyboard tools , who neither have an education or experience in the field of gaming but they always think they know more than those with hands on experience. Just sad sometimes.

  • alex

    Titanfall changed my mind for “Online only” games. i said in the past that i will never buy a game that is “online only”. But here i am, 3 levels away from gen2 pilot 😉

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  • LOL

    Downplayers allround…

    We can recieve updates while playing, can you?

    AI is dumb… No shit. As many have explained time and time again, they’re essentially creeps from a MOBA. It’s designed that way… Are Sony fanboys that retarded that they cannot process one sentence of information?

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  • GameonAll

    The Internet is also choke full of idiots. The forget that there are more than just the AI for the bots which are purposefully dumb and bad shots. But when you set you Titan to Auto it is also an AI and that one has no problem locating and killing things in its vicinity.

    Not to mention the fact that the game consistently give me a 16 ms ping and runs butter smooth. But hey its hard to explain things beyond certain folks simple comprehension.

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  • datdude

    What a load of crap. The proof is in the pudding. The game doesn’t look particularly good, and is having problems with framerate in certain situations on the xbone. The screen tear can get excessive, sub optimal hd resolution, bots as dumb as rocks, etc. etc. etc. The game doesn’t suffer these same maladies on pc. Yet Respawn and Microsoft swore up and down in the months leading up to launch that the clooouuudddzzzz were critical to this game and the xbone version was the better version. Sure. If you people are still buying this marketing bullshot, that is a you problem. Good luck with that.

    • Retro

      Your comment was the “load of crap”.

    • Aaron ray

      The bots AI is dependent on the players level and generation as a whole. If you have a group that is higher in levels and generations(prestige), the bots are more mobile and lethal. I’m surprised that nobody has really said anything about this yet.

    • Chad_7Eleven

      Same cloud servers are being used for the PC version also.

      • datdude

        Precisely the point guy. The cloud is crap and complete bs. Thanks for playing.

        • Chad_7Eleven

          reread comment – gotcha now, Whatevs – enjoying my time on the X1.

  • Iain Chambers

    hey you know what’d be cool? It’d be cool if this game was fun for more then 3 hours

    • Must be just you and that’s understandable. I already have 10+hours. But that’s just me, see?

      What’s “fun” and what’s not, is subjective. Some serial killers feel its fun to do what they do.

      • Iain Chambers

        Remindes me of the later unreals just too arcadey and there is a lack of game play with very little game modes would have been a good free to play but for £40 I want some more game

  • cusman

    Amazon AWS > Microsoft Azure

    Sony uses Amazon AWS for many things

    • kftgr

      So they’re abandoning their foray into Rackspace?

      • cusman

        It is just Infrastructure As A Services. The days of businesses building out their own server farms just doesn’t make sense when there are reliable “cloud” infrastructure options available.

        I know that Sony uses Amazon AWS S3 for the cloud save files used by some games and the PS+ save-game backups.

        I actually think many of the Sony PSN services like the PSN Store, Music Unlimited, Video Unlimited, etc are running off Amazon AWS as well.

        Ever used Dropbox or similar services? Those tend to run on Amazon AWS as the backend as well.

  • albatrosMyster

    not that it’s not real, but I think people doubt the big deal they are making about what is essentially the same as dedicated servers… you had better AIs in games like world of warcraft, much more people… etc. and no stupid PR BS to try to make you believe they re-invented the wheel.

  • Dirkster_Dude

    This also sort of explains in non technical terms how the cloud servers work and seriously offloading to the cloud instead of forcing the XB1 to use its internal resources.

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