Excellent question, and one I'm going to have to allow for in my
"offer", since somebody is going to claim voice mixing as "hosting", you
can be sure. Of course, I'll just say "too f***ing bad - you know what I
Unfortunately, what I've heard so far doesn't come near clearing up the
audio issue. In the one game I've heard the most about, only one person
per Xbox was even allowed to use the Communicator, so multiple voices
wasn't an issue. I have no idea if this will be the norm or was just a
fluke of the beta testing environment. They only had one GamerTag to use
and everybody else played as guests. What happens if you have two
As for mixing the voices, I definitely see where you're going and I
don't have any evidence one way or the other. Your theory sounds
eminently reasonable. We already know that the servers will "keep tabs"
on games in progress, so why not allocate some CPU cycles to mixing
voice audio? Another point in your favor is the requirement that all XBL
games support voice audio. This makes me think that the voice APIs "sit
on top" of the regular XBL APIs and game developers probably don't have
to deal with them very much. In other words, so long as your game is
using an active XBL connection, you kinda get voice for free. This, in
turn, would imply that allocating CPU power to game A.I. vs. voice
mixing isn't an issue - XBL automatically takes care of it by...handling
it on the central server maybe? Sounds reasonable.
If I hear anything (woo, a pun), I'll let you know.
> Thanks for* in with this info, and walking the fine line between
> whay you can and can't say. It must be frustrating to be able to put some
> arguments to rest, if only you could divulge what you promised to keep
> mum, LOL!!!
> I suppose I should go over to TeamXbox to see if this has been asked and
> answered, but lately I have only time for this news group, so:
> Intuition tells me that MS is going to redefine online *, and hosting
> will become a blurry definition. I think this mostly because of the voice
> I think that for more than 4 players (and maybe even for more than 2...) it
> is likely that MS' severs will mix and separate voice audio for the players,
> even if the game is hosted in a P2P manner. By hosting, I mean the host is
> where gameplay synchronization is done.
> In other words, for more than a few players in a game, there will be too
> many separate voice channels to work well with a low-end broadband
> connection. They have to be mixed somewhere, and that somewhere
> *must* be at a central server that is receiving all of the voices. The
> then mixes everything (perhaps muting certain ones according to player
> mute commands) and sends the mixes back to the appropriate gamers.
> That way, every gamer has only one channel of upstream voice, and one
> downstream mixed channel of everyone else's voice. It is the only way it
> can work without very extreme and unsynchronized voice lag!
> FWIW, intuition also tells me that game data and voice data are already
> separate network streams in and out of the Xbox, and the voice could
> just get routed thru MS' servers when a large game is set up.
> So, it could be P2P "game data hosting," and MS "voice hosting" all at
> the same time, after Matchmaking is done through MS servers??
> Does this ring true with what your sources will tell you? Am really
> curious about that one...
> > I just posted this over on TeamXbox and, since this newsgroup is my true
> > home, you guys should be notified as well.
> > There is a big debate going on about XBL and peer-to-peer * versus
> > server-hosted *. I have plenty of evidence that many if not most
> > games will be peer-to-peer, but a few vocal individuals insist that I'm
> > absolutely wrong.
> > Due to my contact with an Xbox Live "insider", I am absolutely confident
> > in this assessment. So much so that if it turns out that all XBL games
> > are centrally hosted, either by MS or publishers, then I will purchase
> > any one of the following prizes for one lucky random person:
> > - A new Xbox, 4 controllers, and 5 games of your choice
> > - Any make/model of television not to exceed $500
> > - Any make/model of A/V receiver not to exceed $500
> > Of course there's nothing but my reputation holding me to this promise,
> > but I value my rep and my cred on the newsgroups so if I'm wrong, I'll
> > pay up. To count as "wrong", the following conditions must be met:
> > All XBL games available at XBL launch must have a server-side component
> > that is executing on either a Microsoft XBL server or a server set up by
> > the publisher. There can be no games that rely on the local Xbox to
> > "host" the game. The XBL components needed to find games, locate
> > buddies, store stats, etc. do NOT count as "server component". It must
> > be the actual game logic - player movements, hit locations, A.I., etc.
> > If I turn out to be wrong, I will advertise in ms.public.xbox and
> > anybody (even people who haven't been a part of this or any other XBL
> > architecture thread) can submit their name for the prize. Please don't
> > bombard me with e-mail just yet - wait until I get my beta package at
> > least! :D
> > I will also add a page to my website with this offer.