As Leaseweb USA is revving up to be part of the great success that is the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco next week (March 1st through March 3rd), understanding why Leaseweb is a proud exhibitor is something I’d like to dive into.
For starters, we are excited to share details of Leaseweb’s services and hosting platform at the largest annual conference of professional video game developers. These gatherings are always an opportunity to have deeper conversations that really focus on the best solutions for their true needs.
We are happy to be bringing a game developer and customer, Citadel Studios, along with us. Citadel is relying on Leaseweb to host its new game and is also part of the Leaseweb Startups Program, which provides financial and technical support to high-potential startups that allows them to quickly build and scale their new businesses utilizing Leaseweb’s Global Hybrid Infrastructure.
Derek Brinkmann – gamer handle “Supreem” – is the former lead engineer of Ultima Online and the point man behind Citadel’s Shards Online, the first massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMO) to support community modding and hosting. Brinkmann hopes the new game that allows players to design and create their own worlds will be a spiritual successor to UItima, one of history’s greatest MMOs.
“In Shards Online, players can run their own servers, which adds a whole new level of technical challenges for deployment,” said Brinkmann. “Leaseweb helped us design a custom architecture that already has the game running with incredible performance.”
I’ve seen the Shards Online alpha build in action and am confident it will launch to great acclaim when it appears on Steam later this year. Right now, our Leaseweb team is working with Citadel to set up a hybrid platform that can accommodate the large traffic spikes that will come at launch, without locking in a resource commitment that exceed the needs of the long-term player base.
Online games grow like wildfire when they get successful and noticed, which creates two problems for game developers. The first problem is a great one to have – with all that new traffic, can your platform actually support your player base? A hybrid hosting model with dedicated servers can handle the high-performance, real-time tasks of online gaming, along with cloud hosting for less millisecond-critical areas like public facing websites and account management.
The second problem is what happens after the initial spike of interest. It’s just as important that your hosting platform can scale down when you don’t need all that performance.
Citadel also faces another challenge that’s common with other hosting providers. The Shards Online virtual world simulates the game’s objects, non-playable characters and map areas with a high level of realism, which demands extensive CPU power in the data center for processing all that activity. However, the memory and bandwidth needs aren’t as high.
Traditionally, cloud providers offer tiers of service with bundled resource pools, which means that if a customer just needs more compute power, they still have to pay for the additional memory, storage and network bandwidth. By scaling these pieces independently and providing transparent pricing, Leaseweb is able to build more cost-effective solutions for non-average use cases, like Citadel’s.
As part of the Leaseweb Startup Program, Citadel Studios receives an account credit for its first year of hosting. Leaseweb has been part of the Internet almost from the beginning, and a component of our corporate DNA is being involved in cool projects that do something new online.
With Leaseweb’s 17 data center locations worldwide (of which 10 are located in the United States), we can put game developers close to their customers, wherever they are and whatever time they’re binging on a quest. This reduces the lag that can wreck quick-twitch online gaming.
“Crowdfunding companies like ours have no choice but to operate in a super ‘lean and mean’ mode,” said Citadel’s Brinkmann. “The Leaseweb Startups Program is allowing us to scale up and move more quickly than we could just with fan support.”
To learn more about our solutions for game developers or the Leaseweb Startup Program, visit us at GDC in San Francisco from March 1st through March 3rd at Booth 2235 in the South Hall.