XBox FastStart and Microsoft intelligent Delivery

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by iroboto, Sep 14, 2017.

  1. turkey

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    I always wondered if they might use that sort of technology but between the dvd and HDD to stream the install in more effectively to allow much faster install to actually be in a playable state.

    The PS4 manages to get itself into a playable state far quicker when installing from my limited experience (don't own a PS4 personally)
     
  2. zed

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    Huh, how is this not already implemented .. since like last century
    Its technically very easy to do, so why hasn't it been implemented before? Only possible answer is Lazy console dev's
     
  3. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    Yup. It's certainly been done before at a custom solution, probably a few other titles as well I'm willing to bet.

    But...

    We're talking about building a platform for all titles at scale, as in all Xbox players playing different games, obtaining content when they need it, for a user base in the multi millions, and ideally not geographically bound; compared with a one off title that serves its own content and has a strong idea when downloads will spool up or down for a significantly smaller population.

    There were certainly a great number of companies that had their own deployment systems before Docker came along.
     
    #23 iroboto, Sep 16, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
  4. Jay

    Jay
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    I know I'm in the minority, but it bugs me that they make it so that the 1X assets update is a separate download. Now also half the game also for FM7 for the base game.

    As they have implemented multi disk support, FM7 should have been the first game to ship on 2-3 disks. Probably still would have required a 10GB day 1 patch.
    Maybe it wasn't ready in time?

    May as well make physical a cd with a digital key file on it, it's not even a delivery mechanism for the data.
     
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  5. Malo

    Malo Yak Mechanicum
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    They should call this tech ObviousSaver.
     
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  6. milk

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    Yeah, right?
    Next up, updates that only download what actually changed.
    Could be called "Took us Long Enough"
     
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  7. Cyan

    Cyan orange
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    kinda agree, I don't find it revolutionary but logical and something that companies should have made long time before. My XB1 HD space is always very limited, mostly because all the games I have are installed to the fullest with features and/or text, languages, audio, that I don't need nor I am ever going to use. For bilingual, trilingual people like me though, having the option to choose which languages you want to install would be a nice touch
     
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  8. Silent_Buddha

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    It's not an obvious saver to go that route. In general it is but not always.

    For example, if a user doesn't upgrade immediately after every patch is offered then they need to download each patch in series as each patch requires the latest version of the game when that patch was released. This is because the small incremental patch is actually patching in data to a larger WAD/PKG/whatever file. In this case, a user would end up downloading far more data than just downloading the updated PKG/WAD/whatever package (which is what consoles currently do) that contains the data that was actually changed.

    Incremental updates that patch files are also more CPU and storage subsystem intensive. This could have a negative effect if a user is playing a game while another game is downloading and applying the patch in the background.

    There's some PC games that go this route. So I've had situations where I had to download a crapton of data via multiple sequential patches in order to update to the latest version. (I'd stopped playing a certain MMO for a couple of years)

    Had I known that before starting the patch process to update the game, I would have saved a lot of bandwidth if I'd just uninstalled the game and installed it using the newest installer for it. :( But I didn't think about it and ended up downloading like 2.5-3x the amount of data that I actually needed to.

    There are short cuts that developers can do to mitigate this, however.
    • Offer both incremental and large block updates simultaneously and let the user choose which one they download. It's pretty rare to see this anymore.
    • Offer incremental updates and then large block updates at certain milestones. Somewhat more common.
    But these days since patching is automatically handled by a launcher in most cases (user rarely ever have to go to a game website to manually download patches anymore) you either get incremental updates or you get large block updates and nothing in between.

    Regards,
    SB
     
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  9. milk

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    The easy path is, of course, to keep doing things the way they are already doing. So was the case with multiple languages and etc. but MS thought it worth it to go the extra mile and refine their data delivery on that front. I'm not saying changing the way patching is done is easy, but if it benefits the user experience, it should eventually be pursued.
     
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  10. phoenix_chipset

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    If it were me id set patch size limits. The 3mb limit on 360 was brilliant. Wouldn't be 3mb nowadays but just enough to fix a few bugs and not gameplay change after gameplay change.

    I echo the sentiment that games should just start shipping on two discs again. Forza is absolutely ridiculous
     
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  11. BRiT

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    Physical media? How quaint.
     
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  12. BRiT

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    At today's E3 2018 MS press conference, they talked a little bit about this, and have it branded as Xbox FastStart technology.

    E3 2018: Jump into Games Twice as Fast with FastStart

    Here’s how it works: FastStart identifies which files are needed to begin playing and prioritizes the download of those files first, enabling you to quickly jump into full-fidelity gameplay while the remainder of your title downloads in the background. Simply find the FastStart-enabled title you want to play in our catalog, hit ‘Download’ and your console will take care of the rest. It’s that simple.

    Unlike the current “Ready to Start” system, which is manually configured during development, FastStart uses machine learning based on how gamers actually play each game. What’s more, as an Xbox platform-level feature, developers will not be required to do any extra work for their titles to experience the benefits of FastStart. While FastStart does not speed up download times, by identifying which files are needed to begin gameplay and prioritizing the download of those files first, you can expect to jump into your game, on average, twice as fast as you did previously. That means if a game previously took 30 minutes to download and play, you will now be able to begin gameplay after just 15 minutes. In addition, since FastStart takes advantage of machine learning, we will continue to improve our algorithm over time getting players into the fun as soon as possible.
     
  13. Jay

    Jay
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    You sure fast start isn't a subset of intelligent delivery, and not a rebranding as topic title suggests?
     
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  14. BRiT

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    I'm not sure at all. You might be right, that FastStart is using Intelligent Delivery behind the scenes.

    Retitled the thread yet again. :)
     
  15. AzBat

    AzBat Agent of the Bat
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    Evidently us Xbox Insiders have been tested it out behind the scenes. The telemetry they received have helped improve the algorithms.



    Tommy McClain
     
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  16. BRiT

    BRiT Verified (╯°□°)╯
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    I haven't seen this one linked yet, but here's an initial Xbox Support page about FastStart and FastStart games: https://support.xbox.com/en-US/games/game-titles/fast-start-games

    Also, for those in the Xbox Insider alpha ring, here's the first few games which support it, and there will be quests/surveys on the tech:
    • The Flame in the Flood
    • Fuzion Frenzy
    • Screamride
    • Spelunky
    • Casey Powell Lacrosse 16
    • Dovetail Games Euro Fishing
    • The Golf Club
     
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  17. BRiT

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    Latest update on FIX Halo: MCC has a section about how they're using Intelligent Delivery to allow separate selection of Audio Language tracks and Text Subtitle tracks.

    https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-us/news/mcc-development-update-5

    However, once the game displays “Ready to Play”, you can launch the game and access the Intelligent Delivery settings to customization your installation specifics.

    MCC Intelligent Delivery offers the following options:
    • Halo: Combat Evolved – Campaign + Multiplayer
    • Halo 2: Campaign + Multiplayer (includes Halo 2: Anniversary MP (w/ Forge) & Halo 2 Classic MP)
    • Halo 3: Campaign + Multiplayer (includes Forge)
    • Halo 4: Campaign + Multiplayer (includes Spartan Ops + Forge)
    You’ll find Intelligent Delivery configuration via the “Options & Career” page under “Settings.”

    In addition to specific Campaign or MP content, you can also choose which language you’d like to use for all the games – both for audio and text. If the default language chosen isn’t supported by some games, you have the option to select a fallback language. Here are the available options:

    Audio
    • English
    • French
    • German
    • Spanish (ES)
    • Italian
    • Japanese
    • Korean
    • Polish
    • Portuguese (BR)
    • Russian
    • Spanish (MX)
    • Traditional Chinese (TW)
    Text
    • English
    • French
    • German
    • Spanish (ES)
    • Italian
    • Japanese
    • Korean
    • Polish
    • Russian
    • Simplified Chinese (CN)
    • Spanish (MX)
    • Traditional Chinese (TW)
    Under “AUDIO”, select “CHANGE LANGUAGES” to pick your primary and fallback voice and text language preferences:
     
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  18. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    This feels like it's going to play a larger and larger factor in reducing install sizes somehow. 500GB HDD for next gen as a base unit? hmmmm
     
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  19. Gubbi

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    Single 2½" platters are at 1TB. The incremental cost going from 500GB to 1TB is likely pennies.

    Cheers
     
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  20. BRiT

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    So with yesterday's roll-out of the latest Xbox Dashboard update, the general public can now experience the benefits of FastStart on select games. I wonder what MS's plans are for rolling it out to additional games, now that everyone can potentially benefit.
     
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