Saturday, June 22, 2013

Embracing for an overload ... or how to load balance your web server

Almost all mobile games somehow now use a web server. Even if you are using facebook for the social part and friends leaderboards, facebook's leaderboards API is very limiting (at least at the time of writing you cannot have multiple leaderboards for a game for example). So developers tend to roll their own leaderboard system that spams facebook.

But what if your web server used by your game does not hold up the initial rush of users?

Your server gets crushed by the load of users hitting your server. You can set up multiple servers to prepare yourself, but that can be costly especially when you don't know how many users are going to be playing your game.
Ideally you dynamically add/remove web servers depending on the load, so you save costs.

Enter heroku + +

Heroku is a hosting service that supports multiple server doesn't scale them automatically. Originally it started with ruby on rails but now supports other languages like php (1 server is free, 2 servers is 30$/month, 4 servers is 200$/month, 100 servers around 2000$/month at the time of writing, etc). It uses git underneath, and it makes it really easy to push and release updates. Facebook are also collaborating with heroku for easily creating a web app hooked up with facebook. is for doing stress testing (awesome and free) monitors your web app every minute or so, and it auto scales up/down your number of web servers depending on your load. (Will cost you around 10$/month). It's really cool seeing this little app communicating with heroku to scale up/down your servers almost instantly (1min is not a long interval).

They are very easy to set up. I am using them for preparing for the launch of That Monsters Game, which will be available for download July 18th.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Always scary to ship

After working all these months on That Monsters Game, it is now time to see what really the public will think of it. I find this always scary and my mind starts asking the usual questions. What if the reviewers will not like the game? What if the marketing doesn't work and no one notices the game in the sea of games that is available on the app store? What if apple rejects the game for some reason? Will people find a lot of bugs? Should I have implemented X? bla bla bla

Perfection does not exist especially in software. There is only one way to find out what will happen next. Just hit submit and then we'll soon know. One thing is for sure. Whatever happens, it doesn't stop here :)

While Apple are reviewing the game, I've got a lot of stuff to do. I've already got a list of future updates to do, but before that I need to finish off the video trailer and other marketing related stuff.

Bring it on!

That Monsters Game will be out on July 18th!