Three Tips for Game Developers Building to Scale

If there is one thing developers struggle with it is scaling an application from the very beginning. Standard infrastructure can handle a few dozen users, but it can’t support thousands of users especially concurrent connections. Even worse, some developers worry about scaling once their user base expands, but this only leads to a loss of your original gamers. It’s imperative that you scale for a larger audience from the very beginning, and this strategy has much to do with your gaming infrastructure.

Tier Your Infrastructure

Software developers are used to tiered design (presentation layer, database layer and business logic), but it also applies to infrastructure. With a CDN and cloud architecture, it’s easy to tier your infrastructure and roll out changes as you need them. At the very least, you should have an application layer, a web layer and a database layer. For more complex applications, you might need more.

Don’t forget the database design. Your database infrastructure can be distributed to scale. With a CDN, you can host millions of files across several data centers, so you won’t see performance degradation during patch days.

Creating Architecture Based on User Count

When it comes to scaling, it’s difficult to identify your user base in a few years. You’ll need a user count to create a foundation for future scalable infrastructure added to your  design.  You want an application that performs well even during peak usage. Gamers have low tolerance for any game that runs slowly, and peak times are when even the best infrastructure can fail you and your customers.

Quality Assurance (QA) testers can help you determine the maximum amount of users that you can support before performance degradation occurs. This should be a part of your design and testing phase to analyze the number of user acquisitions before an upgrade on your system is needed.

When using the cloud as your infrastructure, you can scale up or down depending on your season. You just need to recognize when your season is about to peak so that you can scale resources up before performance degradation. Add a CDN and even a slight change in your user base can be accounted for when several users download files at once.

Watch Your Game’s Ping Speed

Ping speed is everything to a gamer. It tells the gamer if a gaming experience is running at peak performance. Poor ping speed for a gamer means that game play puts them at a disadvantage should they play against other players.  It’s the death of a game for any gamer.

Network latency depends primarily on infrastructure and your game’s ability to respond to changes in the environment. When content changes, the gaming server must respond quickly. A gaming CDN can help with network latency by having a point of presence server near your customers. CDN.net has PoPs in dozens of locations, so any gaming developer will have fast performance regardless of their target user base geolocation.

For the best gaming infrastructure, you need a CDN and a good tiered design. Speed is everything for a gamer, so make the design process a priority before you launch your game.

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