Eurogamer has a fantastic interview on Titanfall.
seems kind of like the Left 4 Dead model of a campaign (which really wasn't a campaign).
some excerpts below:http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-vs-respawn-the-titanfall-interviewDigital Foundry: You're attempting to merge single-player narrative into multiplayer gameplay. How does that work?
Drew McCoy: The idea was that when you're making a first-person shooter, you have a single-player campaign and a multiplayer game - you're really dividing your time and resources. We only have around 70 developers, we wanted to pool all of our resources into one experience. We had guys that were really good at single-player cinematic presentation and all that kind of stuff and other guys that were really good at core gameplay, multiplayer - so we wanted to mash that together. Basically we'll play through a story in an order and it's not just a random level here or there, and so each level tells its own little story. It's not so much a by-the-nose linear three-act thing - each level is more like a portion of the bigger picture of what's happening.
Digital Foundry: So can you replay the same level and get a different part of the narrative depending on what you do or where you are?
Drew McCoy: No, each level in the campaign will be like the level of a single-player game. It's telling its own story.
Digital Foundry: So are you still using the original Valve tools for things like level design?
Drew McCoy: At this point I hate to say that it's the Source Engine.Digital Foundry: In the same way that saying Call of Duty uses the Quake 3 engine?
Drew McCoy: Yeah, I mean we've replaced... it's a whole new renderer, all-new audio code, all-new net code, all-new input code for gamepad. There's some stuff that we've just improved but we've done massive changes. We have our own level editor, we have our own lighting, the way that maps are compiled...
Digital Foundry: But Source is fast, right? It has to be if I can play Portal 2 at 720p60 on a Surface Pro.
Drew McCoy: The thing about the Source Engine when we got it is that we actually branched from Portal 2. It was DX9, very single-threaded and they used the way that engine worked to its best possible potential for Portal. It can't render that much on-screen. The main thread just can't push out enough jobs, so we've done a huge amount of work. We didn't choose this engine because it was going to be 60, we chose this engine knowing that we'd be spending the next two years making it fast.
It's actually a pretty slow engine for showing stuff on-screen. What we have in a level now would run in single digits on what it was before - if you could even get it to load at all. It's been a huge engineering task, so what we did was put all the engineering [team] on the back-end so design [team] could be up and running at the task, otherwise engineering would have to be creating tools and design would be sitting around twiddling their thumbs. We only have a dozen or so engineers - it's pretty small for the amount of work they've done.Digital Foundry: What's the approach with the renderer?
Drew McCoy: It's all-new. It's like going from a 360 engine to a PS3 engine - or more. It's now a 64-bit app, it's DX11, we've rewritten the way lightmaps are rendered and we have our own lighting system in it. It's not the crazy global illumination real-time everything. It's very tailor-made for our needs. We don't tend to add the whizzbang technical features just because they exist, so that's what we should have. We put more of our effort into design, gameplay and giving our artists the tools they need to make stuff look good. Good performance is our goal.Digital Foundry: Let's talk about the cloud. One story we've heard recently suggests that the gaming subset of Azure functionality is not available for PC.
Drew McCoy: That's not true.Digital Foundry: So you have server code in the cloud that all versions can access?
Drew McCoy: Our network engineer John Shiring wrote a really good article for our website (http://www.respawn.com/news/lets-talk-about-the-xbox-live-cloud/
), so you understand the basics of how it works. Based on demand in the region it'll spin up virtual machines and we have a package that has our server code in it that we can update whenever we need to, and it'll spin up an instance.Digital Foundry: Exactly the same code for each version?
Drew McCoy: No - it's not done yet. Technically, if we worked really hard we could have the same server binary for all platforms. I don't think that's going to happen but it doesn't really matter. It'll just spin up 100,000 PC servers, 200,000 Xbox One servers...Digital Foundry: So what are you actually doing with the cloud? It's more than just a dedicated server, right?
Drew McCoy: Right, so all the AI is server-side, the physics... Well, some of the physics are still client-side.Digital Foundry: With the speed of the action, you can't wait 100ms to see something play out. So there's still an element of client-side prediction?
Drew McCoy: Oh yeah, you have to. Even running a listen server - you know, playing on a server you're running - on any game there's still latency between the server and the client and without prediction there's still a weird feeling of disconnect. Prediction exists no matter what.Digital Foundry: What advantage do dedicated servers have for latency? In P2P, there's one hop from each player to the other. In a dedicated server, there's one hop from the player to the server, then another from there to all the other players. Is it actually faster?
Drew McCoy: Well, absolutely. It's going to be a more consistent experience. On a client-hosted game you have one person who has zero lag. Everyone else depends on their route to him. If he's in North Dakota, everyone's going to North Dakota.Digital Foundry: Client-hosted - that's the current-gen Call of Duty model, right? Using a listen server with weightings for each player according to lag. So now you're fully dedicated.
Drew McCoy: Yes. It's fairer. It's faster. It reduces headaches with parties and matchmaking, you don't need to worry about NAT traversals, host migrations. It frees up quite a bit of CPU time. On a client-hosted game anyone can be the server so you can't assume we have all CPU and memory resources available for the client. So you have to say, OK we'll set aside whatever it is - one, 10, 15% of CPU time - in case they are the server. Now we know that the client won't be running the server at all, so we have all available resources.Digital Foundry: Physics - what is tracked server-side and client-side?
Drew McCoy: There are various types. I think ragdolls are client-side as they don't have any impact on gameplay. If it has an impact on gameplay we'll want it to be server coordinated. If it's not, like shooting a Titan with a rocket and pieces of him fall off, we'll run it client-side.Digital Foundry: You're demoing on PC. How's Xbox One coming along?
Drew McCoy: It's great. We have dev kits, tons of them. We have as many people seeing it as possible as often as possible. There are currently no visual rendering effects that aren't on Xbox One versus PC or vice-versa. Performance is always something we're going to be working on right up until we ship. I mean, the hardware's not done yet, the software's not done - our software's not done. There's tons of optimisation to do.Digital Foundry: You won't be shipping Titanfall at launch...
Drew McCoy: We're spring  - I'm not sure if that's still the launch window or not. A lot of people will be launching ahead of us, which hopefully smoothes out the [development] process a bit. We would have loved to make launch because there's a certain amount of pride in coming out when the system does, but schedules... that kind of thing.Digital Foundry: Can't you say anything about the Xbox 360 version at this point?
Drew McCoy: Other than we're having someone else do the porting of it.Digital Foundry: Will it run at 60 frames per second?
Drew McCoy: We're not talking about it [laughs]. I'll say that the guys who are doing it are really smart and they're doing a good job on it. We're fairly hands-off on it. We're not telling them what to do but we have calls about it, we see it, we sync our Perforces... it's not going to be its own separate crazy off-shoot game with different content. The goal is to have the same gameplay experience.Digital Foundry: 1080p60 on Xbox One?
Drew McCoy: We'll see how performance goes. Frame-rate is king.