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Apr 4, 2014

Building for scale: Three things online game developers need to know

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scalable game designAt GDC 2014, we had a great experience learning about the exciting trends and advancements taking place in the gaming industry. When we weren’t busy trying out the new VR headsets or attending informative sessions, we enjoyed interacting with the attendees and learning firsthand about the challenges faced by online game developers. Many of these conversations revolved around the topic of gaming infrastructure, and particularly scalable game design.

Before you launch
How does a game developer plan for a massive game release? Whether you’re working on a new game or redesigning an existing one, you need to consider scalable game design early. You are going to eventually have to solve this problem, so it’s best to go ahead and address it at the beginning.

Here are a few things to consider about your network architecture to successfully launch a scalable online game.

  • Tiering – We recommended a multi-tiered architecture to allow scalability at the web and app level and still get performance out of the database. Web tier, app tier, and database tier.
  • Database design – Decide if you are going to have a distributed database system or a SQL-based set up.
  • CDN – With millions of very small files, you’re probably better off using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) for file delivery, especially if you hope to reach a worldwide audience.

What is your foundation architecture?
Your MMOG needs to accommodate your average number of daily concurrent users as well as sudden traffic spikes. If you are truly building for scale, it’s important to establish a foundation architecture of core servers that are always on to handle your baseline, but with the ability to burst into the cloud when the number of users increases. Building a foundation architecture is much more cost effective than building for peak usage and paying for resources that aren’t needed during normal traffic volume. A hybrid solution which allows to you burst into the cloud or a bare-metal cloud solution is a good option for scaling up and down quickly in a cost-effective way.

Speed matters
While low latency is always important, it’s critical when building a scalable online game. One of the GDC attendees said he was met with a “blank stare” when he asked his hosting provider to increase the ping speed between servers. We politely suggested finding a company that provides better support and understands why he was asking the question in the first place.

One of our goals at Internap is to provide online game developers with the infrastructure they need to launch and support their games. Whether you are building a new game, or redesigning a current game, it’s important to understand your network architecture and make sure you have the capabilities in place to achieve scale.

Learn more about the infrastructure for scalable game design by viewing our presentation with Hi-Rez Studios from GDC.

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Jul 11, 2012

The next big thing

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In the span of a mere six months, not one but two, newer versions of my smartphone have been released. Now, I know I’m not the only one that suffers from what I call “the next big thing” syndrome. You know, you want the latest and greatest — all the bells and whistles. Fortunately, or unfortunately for me, it is only a mere annoyance to have to keep spending more to keep up with the latest technology.

But, imagine if you were trying to do the same with your IT infrastructure, to allow you to scale up and down as needed whether you are testing, expecting temporary spikes in traffic, or you need to address other business-related reasons for upping the number of servers you need at any given time. The costs and resources spent doing this would add up in a hurry too.

That’s where cloud hosting comes in. Whether you are considering a managed, dedicated or hybrid hosting solution, to help you sort it out, here are some recent articles and posts about the options and benefits available to you.

Oh, and if you want to learn more about our offerings, check out our Cloud Hosting Buyer’s Guide.

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