Cheap and plentiful multiplayer online gaming is one of the miracles of our time. But when you’re playing a game like PUBG Mobile it’s easy to give all the credit to the developers and not enough to the people who make the fun possible.
Without a stable, fast, cheating-free virtual environment in which to play the game it would be no fun. You’d spend the whole time getting picked off by aimbots while frozen to the spot by lag.
So let’s hear it for CROS which developer Tencent Games showcased to a packed room at GDC last week. Common R&D Operation System, to give the platform its full name, is a patented tool developed by Chinese tech giant Tencent to help mobile online games shine.
Here’s a little rundown of what CROS does.
The platform is made up of several discrete services. WeTest, introduced by the senior product manager Gunther Gong, is a testing environment that does neat things like recording player behaviour in real time and observing effects on a heatmap.
Making a game for Android is incredibly complicated since there are over a thousand devices and 19 OS versions to account for. WeTest has all that info and tests games on all the important hardware and software to ensure the maximum possible number of gamers are having a good time.
It does all sorts of other things too, but the headline fact is that it managed to get PUBG Mobile from a disappointing 3 stars to an impressive 4.5 by testing 500 phone models, carrying out penetration testing for account security and cheating, and optimising the network environment to improve everything from game performance to voice chat.
As a result, Tencent virtually eliminated crashes, increased compatibility, and optimised network performance.
Basically, WeTest and CROS are huge reasons as to why PUBG Mobile is fun.
Kate Meng, the product manager of network engineering, presented how INO (Intelligent Network Optimization) helps developers optimise networks and provides support on transmissions which are specially designed for multiplayer real-time competitive mobile games. The advanced technology from INO reduces the game latency by over 90% and can meet 99.9% of eSports industry requirements. What’s impressive is that INO promotes the next generation of WiFi standards to be formulated by IEEE and WLAN alliance.
MTP is another element under CROS. It’s a powerful game security protocol that uses a number of ingenious techniques to frustrate various types of cheaters from aimbot-users to wallhackers. Yue Wang, the director of security engineering, mentioned that MTP is the largest professional team in the world, providing real-time solution and security protection for more than 400 games.
Finally there’s G6, a development platform run by engineering lead Shiwei Zhang. G6 gives developers a 24/7 resource for global game connections and data storage with a ridiculously low latency of under 3 milliseconds.
Of course, PUBG Mobile isn’t the only game to have benefited from CROS. Over 200 games have gone through the process including Arena of Valor, which came out the other side faster, more synchronized, and more capable of accommodating updates and new players.
As eSports and mobile games continue to grow it will become ever more important to have a stable, fast, and secure environment in which to play games like PUBG Mobile and Arena of Valor. Nobody wants to be shot through a wall or trapped in a hell of jerky lag.
Whether or not you realise it, CROS is the thing that will allow mobile eSports to flourish – so spare a thought for it the next time you dominate in a round of PUBG Mobile.