"server farm" for the upcoming Gears of War 3 multiplayer, which will give a "level playing field for everybody."
It eliminates the 'host advantage' problems of Gears of War 2, but "lag is a reality" of online play between millions. Planned beta will get community "goodwill".
"Dedicated servers will be a huge help," said Epic's Cliff Bleszinski. "You can't always guarantee a perfect game in the wild, though." It's the evil tyranny of lag that can throw a spanner in the works for a lot of multiplayer games.
"I've had lag in Reach, I've had lag in Call of Duty. Lag is a reality of the internet when you have millions of people connecting. That said, as a developer, it's your job to do whatever you can to bulletproof a new game as much as possible and dedicated servers, again, will help that," explained Bleszinski.
"It's more about online performance because when you have a client-server architecture with Gears, you have somebody hosting and that host has somewhat of an inherent advantage over everybody else, which becomes this big thing."
"Like, in Gears or in Counter-Strike, if somebody kicked your ass, you claimed they were wall-hacking even though they weren't. And now if you win in Gears it's, 'You have host advantage!'" he added. Could this eliminate whinging? Ha! The answer is 'no'.
By ditching client side servers "you suddenly have a level playing field for everybody. We have a server farm that Microsoft is helping us out with, so people will have a level playing field," he said. Gears of War 3 with the game due fall 2011.
"Thankfully, with the release date shift, we have time to do a proper beta for Gears 3, which I think will get a lot of goodwill with the community," said Bleszinski.