Today at the annual Game Developers Summit in San Francisco, Microsoft announced the Azure Game Development Virtual Machine. In partnership with Unreal Engine, Perforce Helix Core, Parsec, Incredibuild, Blender, and Teradici (HP’s remote desktop platform), Microsoft now offers cloud-based game development studios that can be deployed in minutes. The new virtual machine is now in public preview.
As Microsoft points out, game studios can start with a built-in default workstation, then use that as a base image and customize it as they gain experience with Azure. The company also hopes to build on the first iteration, adding new tools and deeper integration with its partner network over time.
“At Microsoft, we’re focused on strengthening our commitment to making Azure the cloud of choice for game creators so they can take advantage of the benefits of the cloud,” Ben Humphrey, a chief software engineer for Microsoft Azure, wrote in today’s announcement. At the heart of the development workflow here is the Perforce Helix Core version control system and Azure DevOps as the default CI/CD solution.
Microsoft believes such a system would make life easier for distributed game development teams. Not only does it eliminate the need for local specialized hardware, but it allows teams to work from a centralized server.
In addition to the new virtual machines, Microsoft also used its GDC announcement to roll out new capabilities for its platform-agnostic Azure PlayFab service, including new real-time notifications and a new PlayFab lobby service to manage multiplayer sessions, as well as convert user-generated content The new service integrated into the game, which the company unsurprisingly calls PlayFab User Generated Content.