Microsoft Delivers Visual Studio 2019 in a New Azure Virtual Machine for Game Development — Visual Studio Magazine
Microsoft offers Visual Studio 2019 in a new Azure virtual machine for game development
Microsoft offers Visual Studio Community Edition 2019 in an Azure Virtual Machine (VM) as a cloud-based bespoke game development option.
As such, it is aptly named the Azure Game Development Virtual Machine, now available on Azure Marketplace as a public preview.
The custom, GPU-supported Azure VM comes pre-installed with tools to enable cloud game production, suitable for use with Unreal Engine and Perforce Helix Core. It’s accessible via Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) by default, while Parsec or Teradici can provide a high-fidelity, low-latency remote access experience, Microsoft said.
With VS 2019 Community Edition, this pre-installed tool stored in the VM includes:
- Microsoft Games Development Kit
- Windows 10 SDKs
- Epic Games Launcher
- Quixel Bridge
- Unreal PlayFab SDK Plugin
- NVIDIA GPU GRID Drivers
- DirectX runtime
- Azure CLI
- UnrealVS Extension for Visual Studio
Microsoft has positioned the new offering as an option to address remote, hybrid, or geographically distributed work scenarios. The company said the benefits of cloud-based game development include:
- Launch powerful compute, GPUs, SSDs, and serverless file shares in minutes, enabling immediate onboarding of new resources without waiting for hardware game developer needs
- Work remotely from anywhere and use the cloud as a desktop with persistent storage, paying for compute only when you need it
- Leverage the speed and global scale of the cloud to take advantage of dark fiber networks across the world
- Scalable compute capabilities for faster builds, especially when using technologies such as Incredibuild for accelerated compilation and baking of assets across hundreds of distributed cores
- Better collaboration experiences when sharing your desktop or creative work among distributed teams, especially when using Parsec’s screen sharing or even Unreal Pixel Streaming
- Allow fast runtimes for game testers to get compiled builds faster for testing
Microsoft’s move is said to reflect a broader industry trend in which game studios are finding major benefits in moving game development pipelines to the cloud, partially or fully, listing some of those same above, including:
- Powerful calculation: Game studios need the power to run powerful computers for GPU-intensive work, but they need zero-latency access to support their high-performance tasks.
- Activate the studio remotely: Using Parsec or Teradici with cloud virtual machines enables remote working from anywhere. This way, the cloud machine functions like your office, which has persistent and highly scalable storage, so you only pay for compute when you need it.
- Global scale: Speed and global accessibility is a huge advantage of the cloud, allowing studios to take advantage of dark fiber networks around the world.
- Asset management: Centralized asset management helps game developers stay efficiently focused on their task. By deploying Perforce proxies and replicas, you can accelerate partner and staff onboarding.
- Faster builds: Scalable compute capabilities allow for faster builds, which is especially true when using technologies like Incredibuild to speed up compiling and baking assets across hundreds of distributed cores.
- Deeper collaboration: With high-fidelity, low-latency desktop options like Parsec and Teradici, game creators get faster production and testing cycles from anywhere. Parsec’s high performance and seamless screen sharing feature also lets you share your desktop or creative work easily and securely. Unreal Engine Pixel Streaming enables collaboration and efficiency.
- Effective test: And the cloud improves testing efficiency by allowing game testers to get compiled builds faster for testing.
“We want to get the Game Dev virtual machine into the hands of game developers and start getting feedback on how to improve it,” the company said in a March 23 post. “Going forward, Microsoft will build on the Game Dev virtual machine with not only new tools and options, but also with a greater focus on deeper integrations and simplifications using core solutions from game partners that game developers use, working with each partner to provide the best experience for cloud game development.”
Comprehensive documentation includes an overview and quick start, a management how-to guide, and other learning resources.
David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.