Rayark launches social games with Google Cloud Platform

Rayark needed infrastructure to support creating network-enabled games for iOS and Android. The company chose Google Cloud Platform because it scales quickly to meet demand, offers sophisticated analytics tools and works well with Kubernetes open source software for deployment.

Building games using containers

When Taiwan-based game maker Rayark decided to switch its focus from standalone games to mobile games with social components, it also chose a new way to deploy them — using containers. With containers, companies can deploy software more easily and quickly while using fewer resources than with competing methods.

“We chose containers for the main part of our technology stack because with it we can build a continuous integration pipeline and deploy to our publisher’s platform in China,” says Rayark CTO and co-founder Alvin Chung. “That makes it much easier to launch new games, and maintain and revise existing ones.”

Initially, Rayark used Amazon Web Services in concert with container technology, but ran into problems. Rayark found the Amazon documentation incomplete and difficult to understand. Deployment sometimes failed. And because of Amazon routing issues in Taiwan, Rayark’s bandwidth was slow and limited.

“It simply wasn’t reliable enough for us, so we had to come up with an alternative,” Chung says.

Synergy between Google Container Engine and Kubernetes

Since Rayark was using Kubernetes container technology, it immediately knew switching to Google Container Engine was a smart decision. Google developed Kubernetes, made it open source and donated it to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. Container Engine is built on top of Kubernetes, so the two technologies work seamlessly together.

Rayark uses Container Engine to store and retrieve user-generated data including player scores and all user interactions with its games. The information is used to create user profiles and leaderboards. Data is a key component in the social aspect of Rayark games because it lets users see each other’s profiles and add each other as friends. Social gaming engages people more than playing standalone games, and leads to increased time spent playing them. In the future, Rayark will also use Container Engine to create and host anti-cheating and anti-cracking algorithms.

“Google Container Engine is a key component of our move to network and social games,” Chung says. “We believe it will help set us apart from ordinary mobile gaming because people are looking for ways to connect with one another when they play.”

Other Google products play important roles in Rayark’s gaming infrastructure. Google Cloud Platform hosts the companies downloadable games. Rayark uses Google Analytics to track retention rates, the ages and interests of its users, and based on that, makes improvements to its games. Rayark also uses Google Analytics to track the number of concurrent users, and see how that affects performance. It then fine-tunes the number of servers it deploys.

Accelerating development and improving game play

Rayark has gained considerable benefits from GCP. When users log into games, their personal information downloads quickly from Google Cloud Storage, so they can start playing immediately and find and interact with friends. And by freeing engineers from managing infrastructure, GCP has allowed Rayark to keep its development staff small.

“Google Cloud Platform has accelerated our development process because it’s easy to use and has an excellent management console,” Chung says. “With it, we can focus on development and improving gaming performance, and not have to worry about managing the platform itself.”

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