One of the areas we focuse on now is to increase the amount of users our servers can handle at once. This goes for both the action servers (currently limited to 24 people per battle) and the strategy game servers. This post is about the strategy servers.
Of course, we design, build and program the servers, to handle high numbers of players at once. But there will be bugs and unexpected bottlenecks, so we run some internal simulations of lots of people, to test if everything is ok. But no simulation is as good as the real thing, which is why we also run load tests with the players from time to time.
The idea behind the load tests is to get enough people on to get at least one of the servers into trouble. The tests tell us 2 important things:
1) How many people we can handle currently
2) What we need to fix in order to increase that number
In order to maximize the amount of people coming in, we close the servers for about 24 hours leading up to the test, and send out a bunch of new beta keys.
The tests involves a lot more people than are usually on, so they are usually quite chaotic and the servers are less than perfectly stable. The chat channels are burning with questions from new players (and old), while we on the dev team are focused on the performance data coming from the servers. Stressful as it is, i still think it is fun to be part of.
Last time we had a load test was about two months ago. When we reached 300 users, one of the servers started showing problems and at 600 it had all but given up, and we stopped the test (it was the server that handles statistics about everybody’s kills, deaths, captures, favorite weapons etc.). The good news is that all the other servers seemed to be coping just fine. Since the last test, we have been working on fixing that issue, and we are almost ready for another test. Thanks to everyone who joined!
See you soon for another test.