Xbox One's cloud computing potential has been one of the most confusing and fiercely-debated features of the upcoming entertainment system. Though latency issues mean that we almost certainly won't see GFX or lighting processing offloaded to Microsoft's server farms in the foreseeable future, Turn 10 Studios believes that Forza 5 will benefit from significantly improved AI thanks to its 'Drivatars' being handled server-side.
Which, in turn, frees up processing power for shinier visuals. Apparently.
"When you've got a learning neural network, more computing power is nothing but helpful," Turn 10's creative director Dan Greenawalt told OXM as part of a larger interview. "Because what you're able to do is process a lot more information, and you don't have to do it in realtime on the box. And that frees up more of the box to be doing graphics or audio or other computational areas.
"So we can now make our AI instead of just being 20%, 10% of the box's capability, we can make it 600% of the box's capability," he continued. "Put it in the cloud and free up that 10% or 20% to make the graphics better - on a box that's already more powerful than we worked on before."
'Drivatars' are effectively AI ghosts that dynamically change their behaviour and skill level depending on the player's own performance; meaning that players of all abilities ought to be assured of a decent race. That said, we'll have to get hands-on with the finished article to see if this much-vaunted feature makes a blind bit of difference in practical terms.
Forza 5 is an Xbox One launch title slated for the holiday season.