Azure game- Cloud game development

Saturday, February 13, 2021
Azure game- Cloud game development

Finding the right environment to develop your games in can be difficult. Below we’ll discuss the offering Azure brings to the table to see if it’s the right cloud to develop your game in.

What is Azure?

Azure is Microsoft’s cloud platform infrastructure. So as you can expect from a branch of Microsoft, it has an extremely strong technical and financial foundation. If we look closer at Azure, it provides for 140 countries in over 30 different regions. Microsoft boasts that this is more regions than any of the other cloud providers. That being said, there are some areas that have limited coverage, particularly South America and Africa. 

Azure is extremely widely used, with 95% of the companies in the Fortune 500 using it in some capacity. Some of their notable customers are Coca-Cola, Harper Collins, Chevron, FedEx, and BMW. 

Azure tries to set itself apart from its competitors by providing a unique hosting service. Azure is purely dedicated to cloud computing and nothing else. As part of its cloud computing offering, Azure claims to provide more than 100 services, however a lot of these are for special instances.

Azure is a powerful choice for those looking to use cloud computing, artificial intelligence and blockchain within their website hosting. Because of the sophistication of the solutions, entry into the ecosystem isn’t the most suited to beginners. However, the platform is suited to a broad range of uses. It does this with multiple off-the-shelf solutions that can help with a variety of situations, such as connecting devices to the Internet of Things (IoT), powering AI, and machine learning (ML) algorithms. But this article is about developing your games within the Azure framework, which will be discussed in the next sections.

Can azure be used for cloud game deployment?

The short answer to this question is yes. Azure is extremely well suited to cloud game development. In principle, setting it up should be similar to other streaming services for film and TV such as Netflix. The games are streamed remotely from the Azure servers to the player’s device.

In terms of maintenance for the players, hardware is the only concern, but this is minimal as you can stream a game to almost any internet capable device. To set this up there are a few requirements for what you’ll need, which are listed below.

  • To compress and decompress video and audio between the server and the client, you’ll need a codec.
  • You will also need an open channel for the player input to be received by the server
  • An internet connection of a minimum 20 - 30 mbps.

To bring up one of the forbidden words in online gaming, latency is the big test of cloud gaming. The other parts of the process are done in real time, these include converting the player input, encoding and decrypting the video, and running the game. However latency has improved dramatically over the years to the point where many gamers won’t notice an issue.

Azure game- Cloud game development

For those looking to develop within the Azure ecosystem, they offer a range of services to help you reach a global audience. This is done by utilising the geographical coverage we discussed earlier in the article. By using this in conjunction with their global traffic manager, traffic can be directed through the closest data center to the player. This means that performance is much improved when playing with multiple people.

The platform is well set up to help with the growth of games as well as spikes in usage. Virtual machines can help you to scale with built-in virtual load balancing. This is alongside deploying and managing containers to create a quicker deployment time.

In terms of analytics, you’ll be impressed by the data you have to optimise your games around player behaviour. Using Azure event hubs, you can collect millions of events every second. Game play can be analysed in real time and machine learning can help to leverage the gaming data to customise gameplay.

The Visual Studio is perhaps one of the biggest upsides for people looking to develop in the Azure cloud. Within Visual Studio, you are able to write and debug alongside a gaming engine of your choosing, including Unity3D, Unreal Engine, and Cocos engine. 

For those looking to develop their games in the Azure cloud, there are a lot of benefits to choosing Azure. First of all, you have the global reach of one of the largest companies in the world. Secondly, you have all the technology that they utilise themselves at your disposal.