How We Ensure Smooth Launch Days and Resiliency for Live Service Games

By Phil Collins, CTO for RallyHere

Nov 3, 2023 —

Let’s be honest. Launching a video game can be as terrifying as it is exciting, especially for those of us that are responsible for the technical architecture and operations of the game. As a game developer, nothing is more satisfying than putting your game out into the world and realizing that players love what you have labored so hard to create. However, the excitement can quickly wane when server issues disrupt gameplay, especially on the much-anticipated launch day. Drawing from my experience as the CTO at RallyHere, where I’ve had the privilege of working on numerous game launches, including SMITE, Paladins, Realm Royale, Rogue Company, Starsiege: Deadzone, and many more, I am excited to share key strategies for multiplayer game developers and publishers to maintain stability and deliver an exceptional player experience. My goal is to make sure that those who work behind-the-scenes of video games can stop fearing success and the numerous technical challenges it can create, and learn to embrace the joy of bringing your creation to market!

1. Prioritize Resilience, Not Just Scalability

To ensure a technically uneventful launch day, it is crucial to build your game with resilience in mind, not just scalability. Collaboration between the client/game and server/backend platform teams is essential to achieve this goal. Ask yourself, how does your game handle issues? Avoiding “doom loops” is paramount, and you should configure your game for dynamic live operations, including:

2. Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing

Avoid letting non-critical components jeopardize the stability of your entire game. Practice graceful degradation and ensure that failures in independent systems do not cascade into critical issues.

3. Implement a Restartable Central Architecture

Design your game’s architecture with the ability to restart and recover seamlessly. Utilize cached states, scalable components, and an upgradeable infrastructure to enhance the resilience of your game.

4. Swift Deployment of Services and Gameplay Servers

Ensure that services and gameplay servers can be deployed rapidly. Embrace Service In Containers (SIC) and microservices to facilitate quick and efficient updates and maintenance.

5. Backup and Redundancy for Critical Systems

Implement backup and redundancy measures for critical systems, such as clusters and reward distribution mechanisms. Having fail-safes in place will safeguard your game against potential disruptions.

Throughout the development and maintenance of your live service game, maintain an obsessive focus on monitoring, maintain flexibility, and always prioritize the player experience. Launching a video game is a remarkable achievement, and by adhering to these five strategies, you can significantly enhance the resilience of your live service game and reduce the risk of server issues on launch day.

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