Game On: SoftLayer + Game Developers + GDC

March 14, 2012

Last week, I spent a few days at GDC in San Francisco, getting a glimpse into the latest games hitting the market. Game developers are a unique bunch, and that uniqueness goes beyond the unbelievable volume of NOS Energy Drinks they consume ... They like to test and push the IT envelope, making games more diverse, interactive and social.

The new crop of games showcased at GDC is more resource-intensive — it's almost like watching an IT arms race; they're upping the ante for all online gaming companies. The appetite from the public remains relentless, and the pay-off can be huge. Consider that gaming industry research firm DFC Intelligence predicts that worldwide market revenue generated solely from online games is set to reach $26.4 billion in 2015, more than double the $11.9 achieved in 2009.

That's where SoftLayer comes in. We understand the high stakes in the gaming world and have tailored our IaaS offerings for an optimal end-user experience that stretches from initial release to everyday play. Take a look at what game developer OMGPOP (a SoftLayer customer) achieved with Draw Something: Almost overnight it became the #1 application in Apple's App Store, tallying more than 26 million downloads in just a few weeks. To put the volume of gameplay into perspective, the game itself is generating more than 30 hours of drawings per second. That's what what we refer to as "Internet Scale." When YouTube hit one hour of video uploads per second, they came up with a pretty impressive presentation to talk about that scale ... and that's only one hour per second.

Draw Something

Gamers require a high-performance, always on, graphically attractive and quick-responding experience. If they don't get that experience, they move on to the next game that can give it to them. With our core strengths of automation and extensive network reach, game developers come to us to easily enable that experience, and in return, they get a platform where they can develop, test, deploy and yes, play their latest games. True "Internet Scale" with easy consumptive billing ... Get in and out quickly, and use only what you need.

Some of the most interesting and innovative use cases of how customers take advantage of our platform come from the gaming industry. Because we make it easy to rapidly provision resources (deploy dedicated servers in less than two hours and cloud servers in as few as five minutes) in an automated way (our API), many developers have started incorporating cloud-like functions into their games and applications that add dedicated resources to their infrastructure on-demand as you'd only expect to see in a virtual environment. Now that Flex Images are available, we're expecting to see a lot more of that.

As I was speaking with a few customers on the show floor, I was amazed to hear how passionate they were about what one called the "secret ingredient" at SoftLayer: Our network. He talked about his trials and tribulations in delivering global reach and performance before he transitioned his infrastructure to SoftLayer, and hearing what our high-bandwidth and low-latency architecture has meant for his games was an affirmation for all of the work we've put into creating (and continuing to build) the network.

The rapid pace of innovation and change that keeps the gaming industry going is almost electric ... When you walk into a room filled with game developers, their energy is contagious. We ended GDC with an opportunity to do just that. We were proud to sponsor a launch party for our friends at East Side Game Studios as the celebrated the release of two new games — Zombinis and Ruby Skies. Since their NomNom Combo puzzle game is one of the most addicting games on my iPhone, it was a no-brainer to hook up with them at GDC. If you want a peek into the party, check out our GDC photo album on Facebook.

Draw Something

To give you an idea of how much the gaming culture permeates the SoftLayer offices, I need only point out a graffiti mural on one of the walls in our HQ office in Dallas. Because we sometimes get nostalgic for the days of misspent youth in video arcades playing Pac Man, Donkey Kong and Super Mario, we incorporated those iconic games in a piece of artwork in our office:

Retro Gaming Mural

If you are an aspiring game developer, we'd like to hear from you and help enable the next Internet gaming sensation ... Having a good amount of experience with our existing customer base should assure you that we know what we're talking about. For now, though, it's my turn to go "Draw Something."

-@gkdog

Comments

March 16th, 2012 at 6:10am

Aspiring game developer but still a newbie so from that point of view I got good info from your blog.

March 27th, 2012 at 11:33pm

Hi George it was an informative article about gaming which got me curious. I am not a hardcore gamer but still , now I have interest in developing games. Can you tell where to start from ? what to start with? from the scratch.

March 28th, 2012 at 10:42am

Thanks for the comments, Ricky and Julianne!

Julianne, that's a tough question ... There's not really a "best way" to get started in game development, but a pretty safe bet would be "Learn as much as you can." If you're already familiar with development, you might study platform-specific development, and if you already know the platform, it's a matter of coming up with the next great game idea. If you are starting from ground-zero, there are a lot of resources online that can help you through the process of learning about coding, level design and graphics.

Depending on the type of game, the infrastructure you'll need will vary, and what you'll use while you develop is going to differ significantly from what you'll use when you push the game into production.

It's pretty intimidating to get started with game development because it seems so difficult, but the effort you put into learning will pay off in the long term.

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Comments

March 16th, 2012 at 6:10am

Aspiring game developer but still a newbie so from that point of view I got good info from your blog.

March 27th, 2012 at 11:33pm

Hi George it was an informative article about gaming which got me curious. I am not a hardcore gamer but still , now I have interest in developing games. Can you tell where to start from ? what to start with? from the scratch.

March 28th, 2012 at 10:42am

Thanks for the comments, Ricky and Julianne!

Julianne, that's a tough question ... There's not really a "best way" to get started in game development, but a pretty safe bet would be "Learn as much as you can." If you're already familiar with development, you might study platform-specific development, and if you already know the platform, it's a matter of coming up with the next great game idea. If you are starting from ground-zero, there are a lot of resources online that can help you through the process of learning about coding, level design and graphics.

Depending on the type of game, the infrastructure you'll need will vary, and what you'll use while you develop is going to differ significantly from what you'll use when you push the game into production.

It's pretty intimidating to get started with game development because it seems so difficult, but the effort you put into learning will pay off in the long term.

Leave a Reply

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