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The MAW: Safely Multithreading the Deterministic Gameplay of 'Age of Empires IV'

Joel Pritchett  (Technical Director of Age of Empires Franchise, Microsoft)

Location: Room 2006, West Hall

Date: Thursday, March 24

Time: 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass, All Access Online Only Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Programming

Format: Session

Viewing Experience: In-Person/Virtual Livestream

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: No

The Age of Empires franchise has a long and storied history. We wanted Age of Empires IV to be playable by our global audience on a wide range of consumer PC hardware. Regardless of whether you are running the game on a single-core CPU or a massive gaming PC with many cores our game simulation must always produce the same results. This talk details the multithreading, debugging and verification tools we built into the engine to achieve this goal with minimal burden on the gameplay programmers writing multithreaded code.


We will present our multithreaded debugging tools, show how they operate internally and how they are used to write multithreaded gameplay code in Age of Empires IV. These approaches can be applied to other game engines to simplify the process of parallelizing gameplay code. Attendees will learn how to scale their game code to reach broad audiences across a wide range of consumer PC hardware.

Intended Audience

Any engineer interested in writing multithreaded game code or building tools to help a game team with that process.