Behind every great online gaming experience is an even greater technology solution.
Getting injured, under attack from vicious enemies, running to safety, mobilising your team, ammunitions stock check and getting back to the combat. Sneak up on the evil monsters, a few well-placed shots and you emerge, frayed but triumphant. Another level conquered.
You think that was busy?
The server technology behind the game
The servers on which games are hosted are even busier. In real time, whilst ducking bullets, millions of calculations have been made. Everything must be calculated and verified in milliseconds, or gamers will experience lag, delays, or even worse, mishaps in the game.
The capacity of the servers to cope with the actions of the gamer is in fact the main limiting factor for multiplayer online game developers today. The need for immediate response means that all the data must be processed in the random-access memory (RAM) of the server. It is a complex puzzle for the hoster. As Adrien Viaud, Senior Technology Manager at Kingston Technology, puts it: “it’s capacity versus speed. You need enough capacity to load a colossal volume of data, but that cannot come at the expense of the speed needed to give an instantaneous response”.
Getting ahead of the game
Having become a member of the Ubisoft group, i3D.net* is now able to work with the developers in a much earlier stage than what was until recently the norm. “It used to be that the developers would start thinking about the hosting challenges once the game was in Beta release. Now, because we are integrated in the group, we can bring our knowledge and insights to the table when the game is in the early stages of development.
Bringing our own experience and the expert knowledge of Kingston to the table we can interact with the developers, inform them of what the possibilities are, today, but also in the future. It’s exciting!”
Making the smart choice
Stefan Ideler, CTO of game hosting company i3D.net, has been working with Kingston Technology for over a decade now. “You need to think carefully about how you will populate the memory of your servers” he says. “You know you will need a large volume of memory, and it needs to be fast. But there is also a financial element. Hosting is a large part of the cost of operating a game. We have to work within the budget possibilities of the developers.”
“We chose to work with Kingston because we need a partner who can actively think along with us and bring a level of expert knowledge to help us support the developers. And, not least, who is able to deliver worldwide, as gaming is a global business that needs to offer the same level of quality across the planet” says Ideler.
As the capacity of RAM increases, both in terms of storage and of speed, the way games look, feel, and interact with their users are going to change dramatically. Says Ideler: “We’re moving towards a world in where we will be able to tell developers to use their imagination freely to design the gaming experience they want, without any limitations from the technical side. The next generation of games will be even more immersive and interactive than what we’re seeing so far”.