CCP Games: Unleashing developer creativity with Kubernetes

CCP Games, based in Reykjavik, Iceland has been a leading game developer since 1997, authoring ground-breaking games including the critically acclaimed science-fiction game EVE Online. As its games have grown in size and complexity, so has its computing infrastructure. That has made it difficult for the company to develop new titles and improve and maintain existing ones without adding employees and buying additional computing resources. It needed to streamline game development and automate as much of the process as possible in order to free up its engineers so they could focus on more creative game development projects instead of infrastructure maintenance.

“The success of a gaming company is dependent on the creativity of its designers and engineers. The more they can be freed from mundane and repetitious tasks, the more productive and creative they can be. Over the span of 20 years, we’ve developed a lot of old, legacy code, which requires a lot of maintenance. We were looking to clean that up and standardize and automate how we work. Kubernetes did that for us, made our engineers more productive and helped us do more work with less staff.”

— Nicholas Herring, Development Manager, CCP Games

Using Google Cloud Platform to build better games

Over 20 years CCP Games built up a legacy infrastructure and codebase that was becoming untenable to manage. To solve the problem it migrated from its legacy codebase and development workflow to Google Cloud Platform, particularly to Google Container Engine, a fully managed Kubernetes service. Among other benefits, with Kubernetes engineers no longer need to be tied to a particular language. They can choose whichever makes them most productive.

In six to eight months, CCP Games migrated much of its infrastructure to GCP, and engineers now spend less time managing infrastructure. In addition, CCP Games is working on a mobile companion app for its games, and Google Cloud Pub/Sub will help migrate the company’s older APIs into an easier-to-use standard API format.

“Kubernetes helped us better structure the way we work and saved us a great deal of time. We’re using it for development, testing and production. It has enabled a cultural shift that lets us focus more on the work itself, and less on thinking about how we need to get the work done,” says Herring.

Keeping costs low and quality high to build the games of the future

With Container Engine and other GCP services, CCP Games has handled increasing workloads without adding to staff. Engineers spend their time more productively than previously because they do not have to struggle with legacy code and maintaining infrastructure. Before using Kubernetes, engineers troubleshot problems by searching through internally built Wiki pages. Now, because the legacy code has been replaced with Kubernetes, there are far fewer issues, and Herring says the company saves at least one man-hour a day in troubleshooting work alone. The quality of work has improved because engineers spend more time in creative work.

Now CCP Games is better positioned to thrive in the intensely competitive games market. Its engineers are more likely to build games that will capture the public’s attention and can more quickly fix issues with existing games.

“Ultimately, it’s all about creating great games. It’s a competitive industry and getting more competitive every day. Kubernetes and Google Cloud Platform give us a competitive edge by making it easier to manage our infrastructure and build and deploy our games,” says Herring.