Digital Foundry Analyzes Crackdown 3's Cloud Based Destruction

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by AlphaAtlas, Feb 20, 2019.

  1. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

    Mar 3, 2018
    Fully destructible environments have long been a holy grail of game physics engines. I remember Red Faction: Guerrilla generating quite a bit of buzz when it came out, and according to Digital Foundry, the Crackdown devs have been working on an even more ambitious system that leverages the power of Microsoft's cloud servers. Crackdown 3 is the culmination of those efforts, and while it does have destructible environments that seem to be synced across multiplayer instances, the game itself feels rushed and somewhat underwhelming. The competitive "wrecking zone" mode, for example, has conspicuously small arenas and doesn't even have a party system, while the co-op mode still falls short of the 2015 tech demo.

    Check out the analysis in the video here.

    What Wrecking Zone delivers is still impressive in many respects, but is definitely a simplification of the original demo - a situation which looks like a combination of both technological limitations and gameplay considerations. To begin with, the cityscape of the original demo becomes a series of enclosed holodeck-esque arenas - high on verticality, but small in terms of their overall footprint. What's clear from the 2015 demo is that it's exactly that - a demonstration, with no real gameplay as such. Limiting the scale of the play space means that players can actually find one another, which definitely helps, but there's still the sense that there's not much to actually do. The destruction can look wonderful, but little of the gameplay is actually built around the concept. Technologically, the cutbacks are legion. Micro-scale chip damage is completely absent, while destruction generally is far less granular, with buildings and statues breaking apart into more simplistic polygonal chunks. It's interesting to stack up Wrecking Zone with Red Faction Guerrilla Remastered - a game we sorely regret not covering at the time of its launch. Originally a last-gen Xbox 360 title, it does many of the same things as Wrecking Zone - on a smaller scale definitely, but with more granularity and detail. And this raises the question of whether the cloud would actually be necessary at all for Wrecking Zone.
  2. Gunnerwolf

    Gunnerwolf n00b

    Aug 5, 2015
    IMHO Single Player and Co-Op are a blast. Really wish it was 4 player co-op, but the wrecking zone thing isn't fun.

    Well worth signing up for Game Pass for $2 for 2 months and playing C3 and then moving on.

    Game Pass

    If you sign up for $2 for 2 months you can play Crackdown and Forza Horizon 4 on PC (a few other PC titles are covered too)
    GameLifter and {NG}Fidel like this.
  3. JustinCorrigible

    JustinCorrigible Gawd

    Apr 29, 2011
    Provided you don't get the MS Store error where you can't install after downloading the whole application. It's a fantastic feature built in to the store functionality.
  4. Nolan7689

    Nolan7689 [H]ard|Gawd

    Jun 5, 2015
    Never played crackdown 2 but I put a lot of hours into the first game. Hell I put hours into the timed demo even. I might jump in on that game pass deal for this.
    {NG}Fidel likes this.
  5. Spidey329

    Spidey329 [H]ardForum Junkie

    Dec 15, 2003
    I'm kinda curious what they're planning on doing with the cloud. If it's offloading physics calculations to the cloud, we'd have a round-trip (possible multiple, depending if the calc is done on the game server or offloaded to a compute server) calculation latency to worry about, where the render and physic response don't necessarily match up correctly .. think of it like a piece of floor that clips through another object before responding like it should. Sure, the game server could do the physics (e.g. building destroyed --> push result to clients) itself and cut down on latency. But that means each game-server needs more powerful hardware than normal.

    I believe the way games like Battlefield do it is by pre-scripting most of the destruction, small debris can be done locally as it doesn't affect the gamestate and fades out (so a brick that bounces differently on two different clients doesn't matter in the overall scheme). In single player you can do a lot of physics calculations on the fly and have more dynamic reactions. In multiplayer, you need consistency among all players, so it has to be known at the beginning. By triggering a pre-scripted procedure to all players on command, it can "simulate" the physics response of a building collapse across all clients, with player/vehicle collisions simply resulting in death (so physics response isn't needed).

    Another option would be to have a ton of pre-calculated physics responses based on the game state (e.g. building A has damage, building C receives final damage to X and would fall into building A) and push the closest scripted match to the current gamestate.
  6. mr_zen256

    mr_zen256 2[H]4U

    Dec 29, 2005
    The destruction looks like shit.. Red Faction Guerrilla had better (non-cloud) destruction in 2009.

  7. Rahh

    Rahh [H]ard|Gawd

    Jan 14, 2005
    Looks incredibly boring and lacking for me.
  8. GameLifter

    GameLifter Limp Gawd

    Sep 4, 2014
    I've been playing through the campaign mode and so far I've been enjoying it. It's not the best game out there by any means but it's good for some mindless fun. I haven't tried Wrecking Zone yet but it looks like it would get boring really quickly once you get over the destruction aspect of it. It would have been nice if they managed to put some kind of destructibility in the campaign mode but it was clear from the beginning it would be multiplayer only. Maybe they could expand upon it in a future update? Doubtful, but I can dream.
  9. Derangel

    Derangel [H]ard as it Gets

    Jan 31, 2008
    Its worth the few dollar sub. It feels almost exactly like the original game, for better or worse. If you go in expecting it to feel like an early 360 open-world game with semi-modern graphics and iffy controls then you should have fun. KB+M works surprisingly well.
  10. purple_monster

    purple_monster Limp Gawd

    Jun 1, 2018
    what a throwback. i havent heard "the cloud" being the current useless buzzword since well, 2015. maybe theyll catch up and start using "AI" before the game releases. looks like poop btw.
    mr_zen256 likes this.