What Does Google App Engine Promise Game Developers?
Online video games are among the classes of applications that Google App Engine makes easy to create with the possibilities of serverless technology. Google App Engine manages to respond to the needs of developers, especially for hyper-casual games that work with very simple mechanics and are offered on mobile devices.
Have you ever had a time when you were briefly addicted to mobile games like Subway Surfers, Temple Run, or A Word? These games, which are offered through application stores such as the App Store or Play Store and can be experienced on mobile devices, are considered to be in the hyper-casual genre, one of the most popular game genres of recent times.
These video games, which work with only a few game mechanics, stand out with their simple color schemes and remarkable graphics, can turn into a nationwide or even global phenomenon in very short periods of time. These games, which are used by hundreds of thousands of players at the same time, mostly work on an online infrastructure. For example, users’ scores are included in the rankings in their region or globally, and the game experience is improved with seasonal campaigns and themes of game developers. These games, which reach a large number of users in a short time, need a strong infrastructure because they bring heavy traffic.
App Engine, Google’s solution that uses serverless technology for fast, flexible, agile application development and management, provides the infrastructure needed for game developers focusing on mobile games today. With App Engine, developers in the Google Cloud ecosystem can also take advantage of Google’s additional solutions such as BigQuery, Cloud DataFlow, Cloud Pub/Sub, and more.
As Global IT, Google’s oldest and only Business Partner in Turkey, in this article, after briefly remembering the advantages of App Engine for developers, we will include usage scenarios that reveal how different game companies benefit from App Engine. Next, we’ll list a few reasons why game developers should choose the Google Cloud platform and the ecosystem of solutions that run on that platform.
Key benefits of Google App Engine
We have touched on the definition of Google App Engine, the features of App Engine and the advantages it provides to developers in the following article. Google App Engine offers presets for popular development languages such as Go, PHP, Java, Python, Node.js, .NET, and Ruby, and the libraries they use.
It also offers two forms, standard and flexible, giving developers the freedom to not think about technical infrastructure and scale details in development environments. When developers choose Google App Engine, they are purchasing a backend service from a serverless vendor. This allows them to entrust their infrastructure requirements to a powerful provider like Google, allowing them to focus solely on their software development process.
App Engine users can take advantage of the uninterrupted accessibility offered by the Google infrastructure to get versions of their products to market and end users much faster. Google App Engine, which can be easily managed and scaled according to need, also reduces infrastructure costs to a manageable point. Because Google App Engine, as a serverless solution, works with a pay-as-you-go model.
Success stories from game developers using Google App Engine
Among the references of the game company that uses Google’s App Engine, Nintendo stands out. Nintendo is collaborating with another developer, DeNA, during the development process of Super Mario Run, while simultaneously planning to release the game in 150 countries.
This makes system outages unacceptable. Kenta Sugahara, Team Leader for DeNA’s Systems Development Division, recommends using Google App Engine after evaluating the options. Sugahara explains the reason behind this choice with the following sentences:
“When our game Miitomo was released last spring, the backend was built almost entirely in-house. This means that resources are inevitably consumed in operations and, in some respects, hinder productive development.
While it worked at the time, I knew it would be increasingly difficult to work on more topics without changing our approach. We have learned that the traffic predicted for Super Mario Run will be huge. That’s why we recommended using a managed service like App Engine.”
One of the main reasons why DeNA and Nintendo chose App Engine is the need for a high level of accessibility. Aware of the fact that their cloud platform can scale quickly as they expect a big traffic spike on launch day, the duo chose to take advantage of App Engine’s capabilities to auto-scale and optimize infrastructure in milliseconds based on traffic volume.
Google App Engine is also positioned as the engine of success stories of Crazy Labs , which develops interactive books, games and educational applications exceeding 600 million downloads and 40 million monthly active users. Crazy Labs, which has released more than 350 applications to date, uses the Google App Engine infrastructure because they can carry out faster development processes.
On the backend side, using Google’s synchronous programming language, Go, Crazy Labs manages to reach full development speed in a few weeks. Apps developed on Google App Engine with Go, Python, Java, and other languages integrate seamlessly with Google Datastore, Google BigQuery, and other Google services.
In this context, it is also important to make the access of its users continuous for a family of applications. Crazy Labs, which uses App Engine for code distribution, is able to change outdated versions while upgrading live traffic and keeping the current sessions of active users in the old version. When Crazy Labs releases a new version, it can send it to 5% of users, making sure everything works smoothly before rolling out the change to its entire user base. When something goes wrong, it also has the chance to easily revert to an older version within a few seconds.
5 reasons why game developers should use Google Cloud
As the examples suggest, Google App Engine is an industry standard for game and educational content creators. Google App Engine, which stands out with its flexibility, high availability, easy management and hassle-free updates, offers the following benefits for game companies when combined with other solutions of Google Cloud.
1. Accelerate app development: Gaming companies need to regularly update and improve their existing games, not just developing new games, to engage their players. Solutions like Google App Engine allow teams to focus solely on development, without engaging in infrastructure management. In this way, application development processes are accelerated and the loyalty of players to companies increases.
2. Scale horizontally without sacrificing performance: The Nintendo example shows that even a game that adopts lean game dynamics can reach millions of users from 150 countries at the same time. Game studios that develop games around the world can’t make 100% consistent predictions about where their user load will come from and how heavy it will be. The hardest part is figuring out how to handle purchases, user IDs, and metadata for the entire app. Google Cloud Spanner is a solution that combines the benefits of relational databases with non-relational horizontal scalability and performance, offering a service compatible with App Engine that can be used in the gaming industry.
3. Protect yourself from DDoS attacks: The online gaming industry has been struggling with DDoS attacks for a long time, and the process is becoming increasingly large, complex, and difficult to manage. In addition to the security solutions it offers integrated with App Engine, Google also promises options such as Google Cloud Armor that deliver the security systems of Google’s global infrastructure to users, providing built-in defense against DDoS attacks.
4. Experience uninterrupted access: Google Cloud Platform’s Cloud Load Balancing technology reacts instantly to changes in factors such as traffic, network, and backend health, routing traffic to regions of the world and managing very large, unexpected, instantaneous spikes.
5. Evolve with solutions like machine learning and data analytics: The best way to optimize game design for player retention and growth is to analyze the vast amounts of data that existing players generate in-game. Google Cloud Platform’s (GCP) leading machine learning and analytics solutions enable developers to store, manage, and analyze petabytes of data with minimal overhead.
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