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Halo MP Is now Free to Play (Gaming)

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Friday, July 31, 2020, 15:12 (6 days ago)

Does this mean simply that it won't require Gold? Or does this mean a bunch of shitty microtransactions?

Also IMO 120fps is a waste of the computing power.

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Halo MP Is now Free to Play

by MacAddictXIV @, Seattle WA, Friday, July 31, 2020, 15:20 (6 days ago) @ Cody Miller

Does this mean simply that it won't require Gold?

All multiplayer games require gold. No, I bet there will be a separate MP game. That's all I can guess.

Also IMO 120fps is a waste of the computing power.

If you have the power, use it.

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Halo MP Is now Free to Play

by cheapLEY @, Friday, July 31, 2020, 16:28 (6 days ago) @ MacAddictXIV

There are rumors that MS might drop Gold altogether and just use Game Pass as their subscription draw. Given that all first party games will be on PC where online is free and also might have crossplay, there’s a slim chance it might be something they’ve thought about.

I can’t see them giving up that money though.

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Halo MP Is now Free to Play

by Vortech @, A Fourth Wheel, Monday, August 03, 2020, 09:03 (4 days ago) @ cheapLEY

There are rumors that MS might drop Gold altogether and just use Game Pass as their subscription draw. Given that all first party games will be on PC where online is free and also might have crossplay, there’s a slim chance it might be something they’ve thought about.

I can’t see them giving up that money though.

In more detail, the rumor is that the silver tier moves to include multiplayer gameplay but not the discounts or free games of Gold, and the gold tier is absorbed into gamepass ultimate. In some ways it makes a lot of sense with MS's attempt to unify gaming offerings across Xbox and Windows and it gives them a hammer to hit PSN with during a year of dual console launches after seeing with this generation what the long-term cost of being the also-ran is.

On the other hand, Money.
It is hard to see any idea that boils down to forgoing a long-existing and widely accepted recurring revenue stream (especially after seeing both of your competitors switch over to your paid way of running things) getting approved. Any time the internet Strats explaining why a company should really give them stuff for free, it's worth adding some salt.

I think chances are better than slim, though. I think it really would depend on what kind of revenue they see from XBLG, what the trend for those subscriptions has been like (probably decreasing, given that they lost out to the PS4 this generation and many XBOX "exclusives" are also available on PC where Xbox live multiplayer is free), what the uptake on GPUltimate has been like (probably high given all the deals they have been putting out there), and how much they think being able to say gaming is "free" on Xbox will draw over PS owners (feels like it would be effective marketing to me). Never underestimate how much Microsoft is willing to break something that is working or force something into where it does not fit if it will support their new all-in strategy (see, "Windows everywhere", or Internet Explorer is your file browser now, for example) and GamePass is CLEARLY their all-in strategy for this division.

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Halo MP Is now Free to Play

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Friday, July 31, 2020, 16:43 (6 days ago) @ MacAddictXIV
edited by Cody Miller, Friday, July 31, 2020, 17:01

Also IMO 120fps is a waste of the computing power.


If you have the power, use it.

I agree, but don't waste it. Make 60fps look better instead. If it were up to me, I'd target Halo ∞ at 1080p60.

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Halo MP Is now Free to Play

by MacAddictXIV @, Seattle WA, Friday, July 31, 2020, 18:11 (6 days ago) @ Cody Miller

Also IMO 120fps is a waste of the computing power.


If you have the power, use it.


I agree, but don't waste it. Make 60fps look better instead. If it were up to me, I'd target Halo ∞ at 1080p60.

Yeah, but I'm going to guess that making more fps is way easier than just "make it look better" and to do that for a game as massive as Halo Infinite, I believe that is the idea, is even harder.

Choices, choices.

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Halo MP Is now Free to Play

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Friday, July 31, 2020, 18:22 (6 days ago) @ MacAddictXIV
edited by Cody Miller, Friday, July 31, 2020, 18:26

Yeah, but I'm going to guess that making more fps is way easier than just "make it look better" and to do that for a game as massive as Halo Infinite, I believe that is the idea, is even harder.

Choices, choices.

Well, their 'choice' resulted in widespread mocking of their 'gameplay' reveal. They are coming off the lowest selling Halo game ever and competing with other gorgeous games that have fresh modern mechanics. So off to a good start ;-/

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Halo MP Is now Free to Play

by CruelLEGACEY @, Toronto, Monday, August 03, 2020, 08:44 (4 days ago) @ MacAddictXIV

Also IMO 120fps is a waste of the computing power.


If you have the power, use it.


I agree, but don't waste it. Make 60fps look better instead. If it were up to me, I'd target Halo ∞ at 1080p60.


Yeah, but I'm going to guess that making more fps is way easier than just "make it look better" and to do that for a game as massive as Halo Infinite, I believe that is the idea, is even harder.

Choices, choices.

My understanding is that increasing the FPS above 30 gets exponentially more difficult. Developers need to account for the inherent lag time baked right into the hardware (while insanely quick, it does take time for a signal to travel from your controller into the hardware, and then for the hardware to respond accordingly). I have no idea what that lag time is on current or next-gen hardware, but the important part is that the lag time is the same regardless of how many FPS the game is running at. For the sake of example, I’ll use some simple round numbers that I can actually keep track of :)

Let’s say your game is pushing a new frame every 100 milliseconds, and this hardware lag time is 10 milliseconds. That means you actually only have 90 milliseconds for your hardware to do all the engine processing that it needs to do, because 10 milliseconds is gobbled up just by electronic signal travel. Now you decide to crank up your FPS, so you target 1 frame every 50 milliseconds. 10 milliseconds are still being used up by lag time, so your engine needs only really has 40 milliseconds per frame. Double the frame rate again to 1 frame every 25 milliseconds, and now you’re down to 15 milliseconds of actual processing time per frame.

Long story short, doubling the frame rate requires better than double the processor efficiency. As I understand it, this is one of the main reasons that do few games even aim for 60 FPS. It’s so much more demanding than other visual upgrades (such as slightly better lighting or particle effects or draw distances) and every survey that developers have done tells them that the vast majority of gamers don’t even notice the difference between 30fps and 60fps. So most developers look at it as a waste of resources. Personally, I think it makes a huge difference, but maybe I’m more sensitive to it than most players.

As far as Halo Infinite running at 120fps, my guess is that 343 wants a consistent look for the game across platforms, and decided that the best way to do that was to create a fairly simplistic looking game so it will run decently well on a basic Xbox One, and then crank up the FPS on other platforms rather than create new assets or fancier lighting, etc. I agree with Cody that I would much rather see that extra processing power go into areas that make a more meaningful difference. I much prefer 60fps over 30, but I think going beyond that is travelling pretty far into “diminishing returns” territory.

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Halo MP Is now Free to Play

by Vortech @, A Fourth Wheel, Monday, August 03, 2020, 09:14 (4 days ago) @ CruelLEGACEY

Also IMO 120fps is a waste of the computing power.


If you have the power, use it.


I agree, but don't waste it. Make 60fps look better instead. If it were up to me, I'd target Halo ∞ at 1080p60.


Yeah, but I'm going to guess that making more fps is way easier than just "make it look better" and to do that for a game as massive as Halo Infinite, I believe that is the idea, is even harder.

Choices, choices.


My understanding is that increasing the FPS above 30 gets exponentially more difficult. Developers need to account for the inherent lag time baked right into the hardware (while insanely quick, it does take time for a signal to travel from your controller into the hardware, and then for the hardware to respond accordingly).

Input lag probably isn't the right thing to focus on, since, if that signal gets there after the train has already left the station, there will be another train leaving in just one frame. The game does not think of control input as essential for process so it won't slow the render waiting for it. Other more internal stuff, though it will, which is why they are spending so much time talking about storage and system buses. (And why we see solutions like interpolated frames where the processing is less dependent on the data storage systems)

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Halo MP Is now Free to Play

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, August 03, 2020, 11:13 (4 days ago) @ Vortech

Input lag probably isn't the right thing to focus on, since, if that signal gets there after the train has already left the station, there will be another train leaving in just one frame. The game does not think of control input as essential for process so it won't slow the render waiting for it. Other more internal stuff, though it will, which is why they are spending so much time talking about storage and system buses. (And why we see solutions like interpolated frames where the processing is less dependent on the data storage systems)

Some actual numbers.

30fps means 33.3ms per frame
60fps means 16.6ms per frame
120fps means 8.3ms per frame

The delay in wireless controllers is on the order of 4ms. Even at 120 fps this alone is not going to be an issue. The real issue seems to be how the game logic handles inputs. Factoring in Vsync, wireless delay, and display latency, you're looking at 20ms if you optimize it (put the TV in game mode).

And yet modern games have much higher latency than this, with these elements factored out. Between 4 and 8 frames in general. That's 64-128ms at 60fps.

The delay would appear to be in the game logic itself. I have always wondered why it is so high. There should be a 1 frame maximum no? The worst case scenario would be receiving input right as a frame is beginning to be rendered. Which would mean the next frame could get the input. And yet, it takes many frames.

Anyone know the reason?

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Halo MP Is now Free to Play

by CruelLEGACEY @, Toronto, Monday, August 03, 2020, 12:47 (4 days ago) @ Cody Miller

Input lag probably isn't the right thing to focus on, since, if that signal gets there after the train has already left the station, there will be another train leaving in just one frame. The game does not think of control input as essential for process so it won't slow the render waiting for it. Other more internal stuff, though it will, which is why they are spending so much time talking about storage and system buses. (And why we see solutions like interpolated frames where the processing is less dependent on the data storage systems)


Some actual numbers.

30fps means 33.3ms per frame
60fps means 16.6ms per frame
120fps means 8.3ms per frame

The delay in wireless controllers is on the order of 4ms. Even at 120 fps this alone is not going to be an issue. The real issue seems to be how the game logic handles inputs. Factoring in Vsync, wireless delay, and display latency, you're looking at 20ms if you optimize it (put the TV in game mode).

And yet modern games have much higher latency than this, with these elements factored out. Between 4 and 8 frames in general. That's 64-128ms at 60fps.

The delay would appear to be in the game logic itself. I have always wondered why it is so high. There should be a 1 frame maximum no? The worst case scenario would be receiving input right as a frame is beginning to be rendered. Which would mean the next frame could get the input. And yet, it takes many frames.

Anyone know the reason?

I don’t know the answer to your question, but just to be clear the lag I was referring to is a separate issue from the external lag sources that you’re talking about. I was referring to the processor headroom that the engine requires between frames, above and beyond any external issues. I don’t have the technical knowledge to discuss it properly... I’ll see if I can find the article I read about it (I believe it was an old interview with Ed Boon)

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Halo MP Is now Free to Play

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, August 03, 2020, 14:03 (4 days ago) @ CruelLEGACEY

I don’t know the answer to your question, but just to be clear the lag I was referring to is a separate issue from the external lag sources that you’re talking about.

That means you actually only have 90 milliseconds for your hardware to do all the engine processing that it needs to do, because 10 milliseconds is gobbled up just by electronic signal travel

By electronic signal travel, you weren't referring to the encode/decode stage of the wireless signal coming from the controller?

If you're referring to the time it takes data to move around the chip… that shit happens at light speed dude. Electrons travel about a foot in ONE NANOSECOND.

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by CruelLEGACEY @, Toronto, Monday, August 03, 2020, 14:29 (4 days ago) @ Cody Miller

I don’t know the answer to your question, but just to be clear the lag I was referring to is a separate issue from the external lag sources that you’re talking about.

That means you actually only have 90 milliseconds for your hardware to do all the engine processing that it needs to do, because 10 milliseconds is gobbled up just by electronic signal travel


By electronic signal travel, you weren't referring to the encode/decode stage of the wireless signal coming from the controller?

If you're referring to the time it takes data to move around the chip… that shit happens at light speed dude. Electrons travel about a foot in ONE NANOSECOND.

No I wasn’t talking about wireless signal encoding/decoding, and I’m not talking about the travel speed of electricity. Again, this stuff is way out of my area of expertise, but the way I understood the explanation was that for any console, there’s a bare minimum amount of time that it takes the various chips and processors to speak to each other about anything at all. The amount of information and complexity of the processing will add to that time, but no amount of efficiency or simplification can get the processing time below that floor. So when dealing with things like frame rates, developers need to treat that floor as a sort of constant tax. So the less time the console has between frames, the larger a percentage of that time is taken up by this minimum processor floor. Basically, 60 FPS is more than twice as difficult as 30fps, and 120fps is more than twice as difficult as 60fps, etc. Its a non-linear scale.

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by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, August 03, 2020, 15:57 (3 days ago) @ CruelLEGACEY

No I wasn’t talking about wireless signal encoding/decoding, and I’m not talking about the travel speed of electricity. Again, this stuff is way out of my area of expertise, but the way I understood the explanation was that for any console, there’s a bare minimum amount of time that it takes the various chips and processors to speak to each other about anything at all. The amount of information and complexity of the processing will add to that time, but no amount of efficiency or simplification can get the processing time below that floor. So when dealing with things like frame rates, developers need to treat that floor as a sort of constant tax. So the less time the console has between frames, the larger a percentage of that time is taken up by this minimum processor floor. Basically, 60 FPS is more than twice as difficult as 30fps, and 120fps is more than twice as difficult as 60fps, etc. Its a non-linear scale.

Oh, I think I understand you now. I've not heard of this but I'll look it up for sure. But my suspicion is that this is a very low number… after all these are machines that do billions of things every second.

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Halo MP Is now Free to Play

by CruelLEGACEY @, Toronto, Monday, August 03, 2020, 17:08 (3 days ago) @ Cody Miller

No I wasn’t talking about wireless signal encoding/decoding, and I’m not talking about the travel speed of electricity. Again, this stuff is way out of my area of expertise, but the way I understood the explanation was that for any console, there’s a bare minimum amount of time that it takes the various chips and processors to speak to each other about anything at all. The amount of information and complexity of the processing will add to that time, but no amount of efficiency or simplification can get the processing time below that floor. So when dealing with things like frame rates, developers need to treat that floor as a sort of constant tax. So the less time the console has between frames, the larger a percentage of that time is taken up by this minimum processor floor. Basically, 60 FPS is more than twice as difficult as 30fps, and 120fps is more than twice as difficult as 60fps, etc. Its a non-linear scale.


Oh, I think I understand you now. I've not heard of this but I'll look it up for sure. But my suspicion is that this is a very low number… after all these are machines that do billions of things every second.

Yeah and I would suspect it’s a smaller problem now than it was when I read about it 5-6 years ago. But it probably also varies from console to console. The PS3, for example, was famous for having all this untapped horsepower due to bandwidth bottleneck constraints. The individual components under the hood could process information faster than they could share that data with each other. That’s not the exact same thing as I was referring to above, but it might be related. I’d need to check with someone who knows what they’re talking about, lol.

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by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, August 03, 2020, 20:35 (3 days ago) @ CruelLEGACEY

Yeah and I would suspect it’s a smaller problem now than it was when I read about it 5-6 years ago. But it probably also varies from console to console. The PS3, for example, was famous for having all this untapped horsepower due to bandwidth bottleneck constraints. The individual components under the hood could process information faster than they could share that data with each other. That’s not the exact same thing as I was referring to above, but it might be related. I’d need to check with someone who knows what they’re talking about, lol.

Well, there is a certain amount of 'overhead' when you are dealing with multiprocessor / multicore systems, which amounts to synchronizing all the threads that are being executed simultaneously (and often out of order!). Perhaps this is what you are referring to. It's actually an issue when it comes to software design when things are multithreaded.

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Halo MP Is now Free to Play

by MacAddictXIV @, Seattle WA, Tuesday, August 04, 2020, 07:25 (3 days ago) @ Cody Miller

Yeah and I would suspect it’s a smaller problem now than it was when I read about it 5-6 years ago. But it probably also varies from console to console. The PS3, for example, was famous for having all this untapped horsepower due to bandwidth bottleneck constraints. The individual components under the hood could process information faster than they could share that data with each other. That’s not the exact same thing as I was referring to above, but it might be related. I’d need to check with someone who knows what they’re talking about, lol.


Well, there is a certain amount of 'overhead' when you are dealing with multiprocessor / multicore systems, which amounts to synchronizing all the threads that are being executed simultaneously (and often out of order!). Perhaps this is what you are referring to. It's actually an issue when it comes to software design when things are multithreaded.

You. Have. No. Idea.

As for component talk, I would suspect the same thing. You could probably try and make the amount of time that components talk to each other less in comparison than trying to do as much work without talking before they have to send stuff to each other. But again, you are min-maxing tasks on average of how often they come up. So that could kill some games vs other games.

That's my thoughts, I'm a software guy not a hardware guy, but some rules still apply.

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by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Tuesday, August 04, 2020, 09:02 (3 days ago) @ MacAddictXIV
edited by Cody Miller, Tuesday, August 04, 2020, 09:07

But again, you are min-maxing tasks on average of how often they come up. So that could kill some games vs other games.

Alain Roy is sitting around one day with nothing to do. So Jason Jones tells him to profile Marathon's game code. He wanted to get the graphics routines running faster. So Alain looks at the code, and finds something… it turns out that almost 30% of the runtime is calculating the positions of platforms.

He takes this back to Jason. Jason's like "Wow, you're so full of shit! There's no way. You must not have used the profiler correctly. Read up on it, and do it again right. Alain does it again. Same result. 30% of the time the game is figuring out where platforms are.

Confronted with this, Jason still didn't believe it. He took it and looked at it himself. Ten minutes later, he came back to Alain.

"Okay, you were right. The code is so busted."

That day Jason rewrote the platform code, and it ended up being about 20% faster.

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Halo MP Is now Free to Play

by MacAddictXIV @, Seattle WA, Tuesday, August 04, 2020, 09:32 (3 days ago) @ Cody Miller

But again, you are min-maxing tasks on average of how often they come up. So that could kill some games vs other games.


Alain Roy is sitting around one day with nothing to do. So Jason Jones tells him to profile Marathon's game code. He wanted to get the graphics routines running faster. So Alain looks at the code, and finds something… it turns out that almost 30% of the runtime is calculating the positions of platforms.

He takes this back to Jason. Jason's like "Wow, you're so full of shit! There's no way. You must not have used the profiler correctly. Read up on it, and do it again right. Alain does it again. Same result. 30% of the time the game is figuring out where platforms are.

Confronted with this, Jason still didn't believe it. He took it and looked at it himself. Ten minutes later, he came back to Alain.

"Okay, you were right. The code is so busted."

That day Jason rewrote the platform code, and it ended up being about 20% faster.

I mean, yeah, that's a thing. But you can't compare a game and hardware from that era to now. You don't compare a walkman to an iPhone even if they can do the same thing.

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