Game Development Reference
Interview with Exploding Barrel: Give Them
What They Want—cont'd
because if you're paying for servers, you don't want to be paying for 400
servers for the entire day. Instead, when it's lunchtime on the East Coast,
scale up to x servers, then scale back down later in the day, and so on.
We built all our stuff on Amazon, but we can easily swap our stuff
between Amazon and Rackspace.
SB: And that's important, because sometimes those services go down.
We've been asked numerous times what happened when Amazon went
down recently for a day or so. How did it affect us? It didn't.
JH: And people get this horrible misconception that the cloud is reliable
and perfect, and that everything that you put there just works. It's just
not. Sometimes things crash and you can lose a server. You must build
your stuff to be able to handle multiple machines going down. That's
JH: The cost is about a third of what we've seen out of other systems, and
an even smaller fraction of what some of the older games cost in hosting
and support costs. We looked at the costs here compared to what we'd
done in the past and realized that if our game did well on those systems,
we'd be paying a quarter-million dollars a month. Now we'd pay about
$60,000. That is a lot of money to save.
Q: Are there proprietary tools you guys have built for building and tuning
JH: We started with Unity, because we weren't happy with Flash. We're
not 2D people. We work in 3D, and we knew at some point … if you
look at social games, they've kind of gone through the last twenty years
of gaming history in the last three years. At some point, they're going to
go 3D because people are going to get bored with clicking and interacting
with just 2D stuff. We think Unity is on the forefront.
HP: And 3D isn't just 3D camera stuff. That includes physics that we can
use in design.
JH: Unity is a AAA game tool. You can build anything from FarmVille to
Call of Duty in it if you want to. It was really flexible for us. We found
that it was missing a few things for us, though, and that's where our sys-
tem, Fuse, comes in. That provides a sort of data-driven visual scripting
language like you would see in Unreal's Kismet tool. That way we can
put all of the power in the hands of the designers instead of the program-
mers. This is important because we've made some really serious changes
to design throughout our development. You'd never be able to do that
quickly if it were all code-driven behavior. We've got a whole cinematic