How to get started on the Epic Games Store with hybrid cloud hosting – A case study – Development News

Developing and operating a multiplayer game is a notoriously complex, time consuming and expensive endeavor. And when you launch your title on the Epic Games Store (EGS), the stakes are high and the world is watching you. [This content was created in association with Improbable]

Games studio RETO MOTO planned to launch their free competitive game Heroes and Generals on EGS and provide a seamless live experience for players around the world while minimizing their hosting costs.

There was a lot to do. They would need a new more flexible and cost effective hosting setup. They would have to make sure the game would scale to meet the high demand. And they would have to prepare for the game while collaborating with partners around the world – most of whom were working from home due to the pandemic.

“The launch on the Epic Games Store was a game changer. We couldn’t have done it without Improbable.

Jean-Marc Broyer, CEO of RETO MOTO

Set goals

Building on the initial success of their competitive first-person shooter Heroes and Generals, RETO MOTO wanted to launch this free-to-play title on EGS. To do this, they would need to scale reliably and on demand, and deliver low latency gameplay to a global player base.

The studio approached Improbable because our game server orchestration technology – zeuz – would allow RETO MOTO to meet unprecedented demand for their game while keeping hosting and operating costs to a minimum. Plus, they knew we were working with Epic Games on a regular basis, so we would know how to meet the technical requirements.

Identify the challenges

Built using RETO MOTO’s own engine, Heroes and Generals had previously been hosted and managed manually on bare metal game servers through up to six different vendors simultaneously. However, when you get started with EGS, you never know for sure how demand might fluctuate. If you mess up your forecast, with a fixed number of bare-metal servers available, you’ll disappoint gamers if the demand is too high, or you’ll pay for idle servers if it doesn’t materialize.

Aside from the technical difficulties, the biggest challenge was organizational. Danish developers are expected to collaborate with engineers in London and Munich who, in turn, are expected to coordinate with a network of hosting sites stretching from Europe and Russia to Australia and the Americas.

And with the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly spreading, it was clear that the entire collaborative effort would require everyone to work remotely.

“We tripled our MAU in the period immediately following the launch on EGS. We have never had so many active users in the world.

Jean-Marc Broyer, CEO of RETO MOTO

Understand the requirements

With these challenges in mind, we met RETO MOTO to establish effective ways of working together and to understand the different technical components involved in migrating the game to zeuz.

Our discussion ranged from the exact content and structure of their existing custom game engine to the specifics of their hosting setup and back-end functions.

Our engineering teams then looked at the studio’s game server binary, analyzing the back-end stack to define how they would integrate the game’s custom matchmaking solution with the zeuz API and server orchestration software. of game.

Once the infrastructure needs were defined, our hosting and operations teams established two main lines of work to achieve the key objective:

  • The integration: hybrid hosting platform integration and management and game server orchestration technology integration
  • Dedicated tests: concurrent with managed hosting, set up a separate environment to run live tests and troubleshoot issues before launch

Results

  • Low-latency hybrid hosting platform scaled to serve a significant increase in the number of concurrent players without impacting the gaming experience
  • The move from bare metal to hybrid hosting established a robust framework that reduced costs by up to 50%
  • Managed hosting allowed RETO MOTO’s development teams to focus on their game content and services rather than back-end technology
  • Quick integration with EGS and our API

“The team’s experience, expertise and methodical approach to difficult technical challenges have been invaluable. I am very happy to have them as a partner.

Jean-Marc Broyer, CEO of RETO MOTO

Co-develop in all clarity

Working together, we agreed on the goals, approach and acceptance criteria for co-development, and established a clear roadmap that would lead us to launch day.

Clear communication channels were then established to make collaboration between geographies and time zones efficient and stress-free, with a natural cadence of catch-up meetings throughout the project.

As a result, everyone involved was able to work quickly, identifying and resolving potential issues before they turned into problems.

For example, if the studio needed a new feature on the platform, we would learn that in the daily catch-up, discuss and define the requirements, and then inform our engineering teams to build it, prepare it for release. implementation and testing.

Testing the stress of the game

Our teams have built a test hosting environment to duplicate the live Heroes and Generals Game stack. This was a cloud-hosted mirror of the existing back-end, and allowed us to perform scale testing and game testing without risking the live player experience.

RETO MOTO had to ensure that it could respond to an increase in demand on launch day, by offering matches at expected prices and avoiding the accumulation of queues. To test the resilience of the new hosting framework, we pushed the game’s scale threshold to twice the capacity its developers thought they needed.

The test environment proved to be so useful that the development team requested to keep the environment running so that they could continue to experiment with new features and scenarios in the future.

Hybrid cloud hosting unlikely

Hybrid cloud hosting is a container-based hybrid of bare metal and cloud servers. And because we are vendor independent and able to integrate with multiple cloud servers simultaneously, we offer the resiliency, flexibility, and the ability of low latency gaming to new players around the world, even in hard-to-reach markets. like South America and Australia. and Russia.

Soft
By deploying hybrid cloud hosting using specialized expertise, we can tailor the solution to meet the specific needs of the game and its launch.

Scalable and resilient
The platform uses robust game server orchestration technology that allows it to react responsively and dynamically scale with low latency for massive multiplayer experiences.

Profitable
By hosting the game on bare metal and using the cloud only when demand increases, the platform minimizes cloud usage and server redundancy to reduce hosting costs by up to 50%.

Rapid migration and integration
Our team helped RETO MOTO to migrate its gaming platform in less than three months. We minimize onboarding time using quality SDKs, with our engineers on hand to resolve technical issues so the studio can focus on their game.

Low latency performance
With over 200 locations worldwide, Hybrid Cloud Hosting enables studios to host games closer to gamers for low latency performance. the game and its launch.

Maximize potential, minimize risks

To ensure that RETO MOTO has achieved – and continues to achieve – the most efficient and cost effective combination of servers, we use our scaling algorithm to continuously optimize it.

This continuous optimization allows RETO MOTO to offer the best possible experience to players, to keep control of their costs and to obtain the best possible return on their investment. In-depth cost forecasts have shown that migrating to hybrid cloud hosting will save the studio up to 50% compared to cloud-only hosting.

“I really appreciate how much everyone did stuff! Everyone was on deck, always grabbing something to fix without asking unnecessary questions.

Jean-Marc Broyer, CEO of RETO MOTO

Successful partnership through collaboration

With the right hosting setup, rigorous testing, and close co-development support, RETO MOTO knew they could deliver smooth, low-latency gameplay at launch.

In turn, our strong partnership has allowed the studio to focus on preparing its game content and services for integration with the Epic Games Store, ensuring that Heroes and Generals was ready to hit the big time at launch – and beyond.

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