ION LANDS’ CloudPunk lead the charge with three wins
David Jones, Founder of DMA Design wins the Lifetime Achievement award
The winners of the first-ever Scottish Games Awards have been announced following a gala ceremony which took place last night [Thursday, 27th of October]. The inaugural awards ceremony took place at Malmaison, Dundee and was the climax of Scottish Games Week, which saw events take place all over the country in a bid to showcase games as Scotland’s secret weapon in the tech sector.
Celebrating the very best of the games industry across Scotland, the winners include Dundee studio Team Terrible whose title ‘The Baby In Yellow’ was crowned Best Small-Budget Game, Aberdeenshire’s Brilliant Skies Ltd who won the Technical Achievement award, and BAFTA-winning Amicable Animal who have now lifted the Audio trophy for its work on SOLAS 128. With a Glasgow-based lead writer and artists from Edinburgh, ION LANDS’ epic Cloudpunk won three titles- Art and Animation, Creativity and Best Large-Budget Game, while Dundonian games industry veteran David Jones won the Lifetime Achievement award.
The Scottish Games Awards winners in full are:
Art and Animation
Cloudpunk (ION LANDS)
SOLAS 128 (Amicable Animal)
Best Educational Programme
Dundee & Angus College: HN Games Development
Dr Lynn Love
Best Large-Budget Game
Cloudpunk (ION LANDS)
Best Small-Budget Game
The Baby in Yellow (Team Terrible)
Cloudpunk (ION LANDS)
Stewart Gilray Award (Community Spirit)
From the Depths (Brilliant Skies Ltd.)
Tools and Technology
Chaired by renowned journalist and author Chris Scullion, the award winners were selected by a jury of games industry experts with a deep knowledge of the sector, including:
Brian Baird: Technical Director at Bethesda Games Studios Austin
Joe Donnelly: Feature Writer at GamesRadar+
Alisdair Gunn: Director at Glasgow City Innovation District
Steven Hamill: COO at Scottish Edge
Keza MacDonald: Video Games Editor at The Guardian
Jim Trinca: Games journalist and video producer
Jo Twist: CEO of UKIE
Chris Scullion, journalist and author of The NES Encyclopaedia said: “It’s been a huge honour to chair the judging panel for the inaugural Scottish Games Awards. The quality of the nominees is a perfect indicator of the enormous degree of talent that can be found in the Scottish games industry, and I’m looking forward to the awards (and Scottish Games Week as a whole) acting as a catalyst to help the industry grow from strength to strength.”
Angus Robertson, Culture Secretary, said: “Scotland has a world class reputation for games development as the winners of the first Scottish Games Awards have clearly demonstrated.
“The focus this week on the dynamism of the games sector and its growth potential shows the important role the industry has in supporting our economy. The technology and creativity that drives the sector has also brought benefits to other key areas such as education, healthcare, energy and financial services.”
Brian Baglow, Director of Scottish Games Week and Founder of the Scottish Games Network said: “The level of creativity and technical expertise across Scotland is outstanding, as is the passion, enthusiasm and commitment that we see from so many people across the whole games ecosystem. Today we are celebrating those achievements and turning the spotlight on the individuals, organisations and games that make Scotland’s games community such a vibrant and fun place to be.
“As the culmination of Scottish Games Week, these awards are a stake in the ground which proclaim that games are important, that we have a significant role to play in Scotland’s future and that we are going to be a far larger, louder and more prominent part of Scotland’s digital future.”
The Scottish Games Awards concluded Scottish Games Week, an expertly curated week of events across Scotland, with events focussing on onboarding the uninitiated, bringing together educational institutions and the games ecosystem.
Scottish Games Week is being delivered by the Scottish Games Network and is supported by the Scottish Government’s Ecosystem Fund, delivered as part of its Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review (STER) programme. Scottish Games Week is sponsored by 4J Studios, Blackadders LLP, Johnston Carmichael, YAHAHA, Aream and Co, Escape Technology, 4Players, NLAE and The SQA. Scottish Games Week is supported by partners Barclays Eagle Labs, Barclays Games & Esports Team, CodeBase, Dimoso, GT Omega, Digital Xtra Fund and Citizen Ticket.
How game studios can avoid common network and infrastructure issues
Mathieu Duperré, CEO and Founder of Edgegap
It’s common for video game developers to launch a day-one patch for new releases after their games have gone gold. The growing size of video games means it’s inevitable that some bugs will be missed during the QA period and go unnoticed until the game is in players’ hands.
Some of the most common issues experienced by game developers at launch are related to network and infrastructure, such as the connection issues causing chaos in Overwatch 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, as some players experience issues connecting to matches. And while there’s no way of eliminating lag, latency and disconnects from multiplayer games, developers can minimize the chances of them occurring and the disruption they cause by following a few simple steps.
Plan for the worst, expect the best
For many video game developers, the best-case scenario for the launch of their game – that it’s a huge hit and far more people end up playing it than they expected – can also be the worst-case scenario for infrastructure-related issues. An influx of too many players can lead to severe bottlenecking, resulting in lag and connectivity issues. In a worst-case scenario, servers become overloaded and stop responding to requests, usually leaving players unable to connect to online matchmaking.
Another worst-case scenario is planning for big numbers at launch and building the necessary infrastructure to support this, only for your game to launch and have nowhere near the traffic you were expecting. Not only is this a big problem for your bottom line, but things can get worse if you rush your search for an infrastructure provider and forget to read through the T&Cs properly.
Some infrastructure suppliers will onboard new studios on a fixed contract, not letting them scale back if they’ve overprovisioned their servers. Some infrastructure providers offer a lot of free credits, to begin with, only for those credits to expire after the first few months. Game studios then discover they’re responsible for fronting the cost of network traffic, load balancers, clusters, API calls, and many more products they had yet to consider.
With that in mind, try not to sign up for long-term agreements that don’t offer flexibility for scaling up or down. Your server setup has a lot to gain by being flexible, and your server requirements will likely change in the weeks following launch as you get a better idea of your player base; under-utilized servers are a waste of money and resources.
Test, test, and test again
You haven’t tested your online matchmaking properly if you’ve tested your servers under the strain of 1000 players, but you’re expecting 10,000 or 100,000 at launch. Your load tests are an essential part of planning for the worst-case scenario, and you should test your network under the same strain as if you suddenly experienced a burst in players.
Load testing is important because you’ll inevitably encounter infrastructure issues as your network comes under strain. Still, it’s only by facing those issues that you can identify them and plan for them accordingly once your game launches.
Similarly, you want to test your game in as many different locations as possible because there’s no way of telling where your traffic will be coming from. We’ve had cases where studios released a very popular game overnight in Chile but needed data centers. Thankfully, you can mitigate issues such as these by leveraging edge computing providers to reduce the distance between your players and the point of connection.
Consider the specific infrastructure needs of your game’s genre
Casual games with an optional multiplayer component will have a completely different network requirement to MMORPGs, with thousands of players connected to a centralized world. Similarly, a first-person-shooter with 64-player matchmaking will have a different network requirement than a side-scrolling beat ’em up or fighting game, which often requires custom netcodes due to the fast-paced nature of the combat.
People outside the video game industry assume all video games have similar payloads, but different game genres are as technically different in terms of infrastructure requirements as specific applications.
With that in mind, it’s essential for game studios, especially smaller ones, to regularly communicate with infrastructure partners and ensure they’ve got a thorough understanding of how the multiplayer components of your game will work. A decent infrastructure provider will be able to work with you to not only ensure load testing is carried out correctly but also help diagnose any broader issues.
Too many tools and not enough resources to use them
One thing that large network providers are very good at providing is tools, but these are often complex and require specific knowledge and understanding. It’s worth noting that large game studios have dedicated teams of engineers to manage these tools for AAA games with millions of players.
Smaller studios need to be realistic about the number of players they expect for new game releases and their internal resources to manage network and infrastructure-related issues and queries. You should partner with a provider that can handle all of this, so your studio can focus on making the best game possible. The more automation you can plan into your DevOps methodology, the better!
Takeaways for small game studios
While game studios likely encounter many issues as part of their game development journey, working these three pieces of advice into your DevOps pipeline is a sure way of minimizing infrastructure-related headaches.
Don’t reinvent the wheel – We’ve seen many studios trying to build bespoke systems rather than automate and use what’s already out there. If you can develop your netcode, engine and manage your Kubernetes, that’s great! But is it necessary, or is building these things from scratch just going to create trouble further down the line?
Understand your workflows – Plan for everything, use tech-agnostic vendors to remain flexible, get real-time visibility and logs for your matchmaking traffic, and have a 24/7 support plan for when your game is live. The more potential problems you’re aware of, the better.
Load testing your game – Build tiny tools and scripts to generate as much traffic as you can, breaking your system as often as possible.
BetGames Will Start Accepting Fasttoken (FTN) as a Supported Cryptocurrency
BetConstruct is pleased to announce that BetGames, the leading provider of premium gaming solutions, is planning to add FTN to the list of supported cryptocurrencies.
FTN is the official cryptocurrency of the Fastex ecosystem as well as the adopted cryptocurrency of the leading betting and gaming software provider BetConstruct.
The inclusion of FTN in BetGames’s supported cryptocurrencies will start from January 26th.
To learn more details about FTN, feel free to visit the website www. fasttoken .com.
Game Wave Festival invites everyone to watch the live broadcast of Nordic Game Discovery Contest Grand Finals!
Game Wave Festival announces that it will broadcast Nordic Game Discovery Contest (NGDC) Grand Finals November 28 at 19:00 – EET (18:00). Everyone can join for free on Nordic Game Vimeo channel and Game Wave Festival YouTube channel.
Three days left to the Game Wave Festival and those who are not in the travel mood, can join online sessions as well as have the opportunity for one-on-one meetings. Register with Black Friday 30% off promo code (WHITEFRIDAY) at https://www.gamewave.eu/ and meet 35+ speakers who will share the knowledge on various gaming industry relevant topics.
In addition to that, on-site and online participants will be able to join Panel Discussions, Workshops and Nordic Game Discovery Contest Grand Finals. Right after NGDC Grand Finals kicks off the Game Night – Open Microphone event. Everyone will have a chance to go in front and present a game, service or talk about actual topics! See the full agenda here: https://www.gamewave.eu/agenda
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