Google Cloud Platform supports gaming
Five Stars Games plans, develops and operates online game apps and performs a wide range of development activities, from collaborative ventures to commissioned work and contract management projects. It also plans and develops rare native and browser game software. The gaming app “Lost Nia” was released for smartphones in February 2016. We asked Mr. Tanomiya, chief engineer for their online games business department to talk about how they built and released the game on GCP and the benefits of that.
Why did you use GCP?
We’d originally been developing “Lost Nia” in Research & Development.
We began considering public clouds other than AWS when wondering how to progress development as efficiently as possible and determined that GCP was suited to the gaming industry after considering the following points:
・No login, pay per minute, cheaper than the rest
It’s very difficult to estimate resources in the gaming industry as you don’t know when or if a game will be a hit. We could plan ahead very easily on GCP, because there was no need to reserve resources.
Services such as AWS, which don’t apply a discount unless you sign a long-term contract, are expensive.
・You get the benefit of Google technical tools, such as Big Query
Big Quere to analyze logs. We are very satisfied with its performance as it returns results immediately, even for massive volumes of data.
What benefits did you get from using Cloud Ace's services?
We use their Gold Support Partner Billing Service.
We had originally signed up directly with Google and were paying by credit card to use GCP. We decided to use Cloud Ace because we wanted consultation on making the most of GCP and they have a track record of results with lots of customers.
We used to deal with everything ourselves when we didn’t have any support like investigating the causes of systems failures, but it’s very reassuring to have Cloud Ace to consult with on such matters now.
Also, another important point is that we can consult freely when any new services come out.
The fact that they handle any invoicing problems also makes things so much easier.
How will you make the most of GCP in the future?
The question of how to reduce the database load for gaming apps with a lot of hits will also be a factor. We hope to take advantage of any new services that come out, in addition to Kubernetes, GKE and Cloud Spanner.
Mr. Tanomiya discusses various other benefits of GCP
In particular, he rated highly the fact that an environment has been created where GCP can be used at a low price with the same infrastructure as Google.
Before the release of Kubernates (a tool for automatically managing containers), Mr. Tanomiya would set up containers on GCE and manage them all manually.
This has often been introduced to the gaming industry as a ground-breaking case study.
You can see details of configuration diagrams, etc. on Five Star Games, Inc’s game development blog (in Japanese).
Mr. Tanomiya said there are lots of things he’d like to do on GCP starting with “analyzing user movements”.
This is a translation of an article published by Cloud Ace, Inc.
Available online: http://www.cloud-ace.jp/case/detail19/
Effect of GCP’s introduction
Hiroshi: When we initially released “MangaWith”, there was an instant spike in hits due to publicity from press releases and Youtuber videos. Even so, GCP’s scaling and stability of operation was fantastic.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, we link to a lot of external servers, so one great benefit is being able to develop the site while on a loosely coupled system. Another good thing is that we can do coding quickly and easily because GCP services basically gain access using API.
Ko: Although we prepared numerous test environments, until now we couldn’t build source codes freely in those environments.
Hiroshi: We can quickly deploy our preferred branch in the development environment. It’s also very beneficial that the functions provided by API or SDK make resources easy to operate and control.
Tomoyoshi: Similar to Hiroshi and Ko, I also had concerns that people would not know how to handle the development schedule or development workload with GCP, but I think you can make swift progress if you build up knowhow. With that in mind, I think we accomplished our initial aim to accumulate new knowledge and turn new product ideas into reality. It has been a nice challenge.
Rapid support from Cloud Ace to build GCP
Hiroshi: We chose Cloud Ace because we’d heard from an infrastructure engineer that they had a fast response rate. We considered one other company for the introduction phase, but Cloud Ace responded incredibly quickly when we contacted them. This speed of response was a huge factor for us due to our extremely tight development schedule. Also, they set up a development chatroom and gave prompt and thorough answers to our questions in just a few minutes or hours. This gave us a good sense of their reliability and technical capabilities.
Cloud Ace’s server-side engineers and front-end engineers, as well as their infrastructure engineers, supported us with AI development, staging and building a service environment, in addition to the security side of the Manga service - all within a very tight time-frame. It was particularly reassuring to have them build our staging infrastructure. They also supported me personally with development on Kubernetes.
It was, of course, also very helpful that we could consult with Cloud Ace in detail about actual systems development in addition to use of GCP. They promptly raised the upper limit value when we consulted them about, for example, a problem which often occurs with Manifest files, which is “What to do when an error page appears the moment they are deployed?” In any case, we were very grateful for their support.
How are you going to use Google Cloud Platform from now on?
Hiroshi: We want to improve the CD part. The automation is going well but I’d like to install Spinnaker so as to reflect a more stable service. Also, we couldn’t use GCP Cloud NAT as it was released only a short while before we released MangaWith, therefore I’d like to try it out.
At the moment, we are only using the basic package, which gives us about 50% functionality. I’d like to try various other features in the near future.
Ko: I’m currently using firebase to make it easier to develop “MangaWith”, but due to IP address restrictions I had to employ various workarounds, so I’d like that to be addressed.
Tomoyoshi: “MangaWith” was born from a desire to exploit “GameWith”’s main asset, which is its many game users, and to create a new IP. Manga and gaming have a close affinity with adaptations of manga into games. There are currently about 15,000 manga available online through the site’s collaboration with large publishing houses. We also want to strengthen joint promotional activities with games companies. This service has only just been released and has quite a lot of teething problems, but we’re going to work hard at bringing it on.
This is a translation of an article published by Cloud Ace, Inc.
Available online: https://www.cloud-ace.jp/case/detail29/