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Thoughts on Clustering Ouya Game Units

03.12.2013
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Recently it was announced that there will a new $99 Ouya unit released each year to take advantage of better technology that comes up each year.  At this price point, I assume that many US users will be able to upgrade their units annually, leaving behind the previous year's model, to be stored away or dumped.

Rather than giving up or giving away the old models, wouldn't it be great if the older units could be clustered (linked) with the new units or additional units to get a better game experience? There are articles discussing the use of Ouya units for a High Performance Computing clustered system but in terms of price/performance, a low-end Intel unit may provide better value.

But what about using Ouya units for better gaming? After all, the first Ouya unit is targeted to use the NVidia Tegra 3 Quad Core CPU and it has decent GPUs as well.

Some of the use cases that I can imagine would be:

- Each additional unit, which has a Video output and Game Controller input device could allow additional players to join the same game environment like in multiplayer games. But this is not really a new or unique idea

- Alternatively, the additional units in the cluster (which can be automatically discovered within the same network) will add new game components such as enemies (and better AI), active obstacles or obstructions or even more sophificated game modelling (perhaps a simulated weather environmental model)

- Another idea might be to leverage the CPU power to "compute" or "provide" alternative suggestions, scenarios, advice to your current game play or a "wingman" player.  An example of this might be a system which  computes a benefit value for each possible option that the user
has at each point in the game, like the Iron Man Jarvis AI unit.

So you might be wondering what this article has to do with Javalobby.  Well, as far as I know, the Ouya will be running Android and that means games can be built using Java Android (Dalvik engine).

Perhaps what is needed is a Java-based gaming framework which allows the developer to create a model world, rules on how the game players (avatars) interact with the model as well as
model entities (enemies, rockets, obstructions, etc). Even the model's environmental behavious such gravity, explosions, could be abstracted into agents that are responsible for its effects. If we integrate in a Scripting language environment, these additional agents, components or entities can have customized scripts, tweaks or behaviours to add some complexity into the gaming world.

We will also need a protocol to distribute the model changes to all the agents and distributed agents in the network and for these agents to send updates or messages to update the model.

Hopefully these thoughts can spark some developers to try out these new gaming approaches and perhaps reduce the obsolesce of these cheap gaming units.

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Chee-keong Lee.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)