Heroes & Generals

A day in my life: “shipping a new build”-day.

Title: Heroes & Generals
Type: Video Game
Announced: 7th October 2011
Produced by: Reto-Moto
Game modes: Multiplayer game

Today was a long day, and also a special day. Special in a kind of scary, stressful, good and bad sense. It was the day we released a new content patch.

We had planned to release the new patch (build) around a week ago, but those plans were abandoned due to an (un)expected increase in players and activity for our game – Heroes & Generals. For the last couple of weeks we have scrambled to increase server stability and increase the server capacity at the same time. So we have had very little time to focus / fix the content build we had lying around, which brings us up to today!

Today we wanted to ship the new build so we could start building better solutions to the server capacity issues on top of the improvements of the content build. I should probably explain that a content patch / build is rarely only just new content, but always has a lot of bug fixes, optimizations and improvements to many aspects of the game that hopefully make the experience smoother.

So after shipping optimizations and fixing some issues last week, we quickly turned to wrapping up the last bugs throughout the end of last week, yesterday and today. This leads to a lot of people changing things at a rapid pace, on top of adding a new caching system, which primarily will decrease downtime quite substantially. The caching system will be very useful in the future whenever we want to put up hotfixes, new builds or anything like that, but we need to make sure it works well with the player load and unexpected situations that arrive from a live environment.

The day was stressful, because we needed to finish bugs before late afternoon so we could get the content patch applied, check out performance of our new caching system and if something went wrong get the servers back up with the old system before the primetime in the evening. This lead to a frantic rush to get things done, confirm the fixes work and then make sure nothing else was affected. Everyone was on edge to make sure their own things got fixed and work as fast as possible.

In the end we got it deployed, but we saw other bottlenecks pop up almost right away. At least tomorrow won’t be boring! And the next features don’t make themselves of course. My life certainly isn’t lacking in hectic work days 🙂