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Back to the Future! Working with Deterministic Simulation in 'For Honor'

Jennifer Henry (Gameplay Programmer, Ubisoft Montreal)

Location: Room 2001, West Hall

Date: Friday, March 22

Time: 10:00am - 11:00am

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference - Get your pass now!

Topic: Programming

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Intermediate

For Honor gathers 8 players on a battlefield, with a hundred NPCs and many other interactive ingredients. With a traditional network model, it would be a nightmare to replicate while keeping the bandwidth consumption low and preserving the precision and fairness of the fight system. In this session, Jennifer Henry (Gameplay Programmer at Ubisoft Montreal) will present the non-authoritative architecture behind the game, a variation on deterministic simulation that uses time travel to not hinder fluidity and responsiveness. But, as every team that commits to new tech, the 'For Honor' team faced many challenges. From the drastic optimizations needed to run 8 times the gameplay in a single frame, to the constant need to make your tools and processes evolve; from the desynchronization bugs that come with strict determinism, to the hard balance between shipping your game and training newcomers; Jennifer will deep dive into the mysterious world of deterministic simulation, by presenting the lessons she learned with her 'For Honor' gameplay team over the past 6 years.


Attendees will leave with a good understanding of what it means to develop and maintain determinism in a large game simulation like 'For Honor', and what tools and techniques can help. Additionally, attendees will have an idea of the team organization challenges that can arise when exploring a fundamentally different technology to network and simulate gameplay.

Intended Audience

This talk would be most interesting for gameplay programmers working on multiplayer games, programmers exploring alternative network models, or anyone interested in how developing and using new tech can impact a team.