Scaling a Live Battle Royale Game With No Budget

Game developers are often the first to encounter some of the complex problems we’re trying to solve on the web. In this talk, Em Lazer-Walker shares her trials and tribulations trying to build a multiplayer game on the web in terms of scaling and stability and how she ultimately overcame them.

Scaling a Live Battle Royale Game With No Budget

When my collaborator and I built a silly online HTML5 multiplayer game as an open-source side project — Flappy Royale is a 100-player battle royale version of Flappy Bird — we didn’t expect it to go viral. But when we found ourselves going from 0 to nearly 200,000 daily users in just three days, we also found ourselves facing equivalently huge server stability issues and server costs. This talk will walk through our journey rearchitecting Flappy Royale’s backend services, and what we learned building a low-cost, low-maintenance backend for a live HTML5 multiplayer game without a dedicated operations team.

We’ll cover how serverless technologies can enable small teams to make interesting and experimental live multiplayer games, as well as the importance of game design in designing scalable architecture. Just as designers of the first online games in the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s made games suited to the bandwidth constraints of early Internet and pre-Internet networking tech, we’ll talk about how Flappy Royale’s fundamental game design lends itself to modern serverless infrastructure.

Em is a Cloud Advocate at Microsoft based in Toronto. She’s an artist and engineer who makes interactive art, experimental games, and open-source software tools to empower creativity. Most of her work focuses on using nontraditional interfaces to reframe everyday objects and spaces as playful experiences and to inspire people to become self-motivated learners.

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