Feb 21, 2013

MassDiGi propels game development with AgileCLOUD

Ansley Kilgore

MassDiGi with AgileCLOUDHave you ever had a great idea for a new online game, but lacked the right resources to turn it into reality? Without powerful servers and enough funding for a development environment, your idea could just be dust in the wind, dude. So what’s the best way to achieve success? Learn how one talented group of students, academics and gaming entrepreneurs built an online multiplayer game in eleven weeks with the help of Internap’s AgileCLOUD.

In the summer of 2012, Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI), Becker College and UMass Medical School joined forces to create “On Call,” an online medical simulation game. Designed to educate and train allied health professionals, “On Call” was built by students during their annual MassDiGi Summer Innovation Program (SIP). The process of building a game presented an excellent opportunity for students to be involved in the development process and solve a problem from start to finish.

To transform their idea into an actual game, the group had to overcome a few challenges. Anyone who has tried to initiate a program in a University setting knows that projects don’t survive without funding or research, so the prospect of focusing on this project during the MassDiGi eleven-week Summer Innovation Program made complete sense.

“What are we going to do for a server?”
With resources now dedicated toward the project, the next challenge was the restrictions of campus IT. The team wasn’t sure if the game could be accessed by everyone worldwide if they used the limited resources at their disposal. So this led them to seek an easy, cost-effective way to spin up a virtual server in minutes that could support their development and collaboration needs.

“We had an ambitious plan to build an online multiplayer game in eleven weeks, working within the restrictions of campus IT. Thankfully, we had access to AgileCLOUD and were able to bring up publicly accessible servers in a matter of minutes,” said Monty Sharma, Managing Director of MassDiGI and producer of “On Call.” “We had a distributed source control environment and application servers available to anyone in the world. Without the help of Internap and AgileCLOUD this would never have been possible.”

As a result, a closed beta of “On Call” is currently being touched by hundreds of users. Its Facebook-like concept has the ability to help medical professionals collaborate with each other across geographies. For doctors in remote areas with few staff, this would allow them to ask questions and communicate with medical professionals in other locations.

MassDiGi’s successful completion of this project is an example of how the cloud can revolutionize academic institutions from a technology perspective:

Game development skills create a competitive edge – Students who have experience with cutting-edge technologies are well-positioned for success. With access to game development tools in the cloud, students can gain expertise that may not be available to their peers.

Cloud can differentiate Universities – Like most businesses, all institutes of higher learning are trying to stay marketable and competitive. With access to cloud environments, students can participate in real-world scenarios, giving them a leg up in securing a job after graduation – a benefit that could justify higher tuition.

Alleviate campus IT hurdles – Not only can the cloud provide students with easy access to the computing power they need, it also means less physical space is required for large computer labs and equipment. This alone can be a huge cost-saving measure for campus facilities. The days of disks are over – no more sign-up sheets to use the computer lab.

Internap is proud to support a project that could lead to better collaboration among medical professionals, and we are certain that other big accomplishments are just around the corner for MassDiGi and their team.

Sound too good to be true? Learn more about AgileCLOUD and how it can help you reach your goals.

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Ansley Kilgore

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