★ TouchArcade needs your help. Click here to support us on Patreon.

Handling online features... server issues...

01-14-2009, 09:38 PM
#1
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 439
Handling online features... server issues...

I was hoping those of you that have implemented online features for your app can talk a bit about it.

Where do you host your data... I have a website hosting account with networksolutions.com... Will something like that be sufficient for hosting high scores... or at most a turn based game...

What concerns me is the server not being able to handle the multiple users... I really don't know what issues I should be concerned with...

Thanks.
01-14-2009, 10:05 PM
#2
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 28
We use Dreamhost for 7 Cities TD, and get around a thousand submissions a day for the high score board.

Looking at the lowest web hosting tier at networksolutions, the 300MB limit should be sufficient unless you plan on storing a lot of information. Considering load, if it's just high scores there shouldn't be a problem unless your users decide to submit all at once at a certain time, which is unlikely.

Monster Dice Theatre, dice-throwing kiddie fun! Get it from the App Store
Tap-Fu, everyone loves Tap-Fu fighting! Get it from the App Store
7 Cities Tower Defense - Get it from the App Store

01-14-2009, 10:22 PM
#3
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 439
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipse View Post
We use Dreamhost for 7 Cities TD, and get around a thousand submissions a day for the high score board.

Looking at the lowest web hosting tier at networksolutions, the 300MB limit should be sufficient unless you plan on storing a lot of information. Considering load, if it's just high scores there shouldn't be a problem unless your users decide to submit all at once at a certain time, which is unlikely.
Thanks! Appreciate the info. Hope you don't mind if I ask a few more questions.

Did you use SQL server?

Did your iphone code connect directly to the database, or did you use something in between like PHP?
01-14-2009, 10:29 PM
#4
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 28
No problem. We used MySQL and a PHP script.

Monster Dice Theatre, dice-throwing kiddie fun! Get it from the App Store
Tap-Fu, everyone loves Tap-Fu fighting! Get it from the App Store
7 Cities Tower Defense - Get it from the App Store
01-14-2009, 10:38 PM
#5
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 439
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipse View Post
No problem. We used MySQL and a PHP script.
Thanks again!
01-15-2009, 08:39 AM
#6
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 18
If you feel like learning a bit of Python, you can host the scores on Google App Engine for free - will require a bit of learning, obviously.

For a more "multiplayer", more data/cpu intensive setup (turn-based or real-time games), I can recommend Amazon EC2 for a variety of reasons. Or, come check out what we are doing here at byteclub.com - feel free to ask questions.

Developer of the multiplayer online game Scramboni | FriendFeed
01-15-2009, 03:48 PM
#7
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 439
Thanks byteclub.

I have another question for you guys. How long do you plan on running multiplayer features... it just seems to me like a huge committment to run it forever... and if the app doesn't sell very well, and you're forced to pay for hosting... The google app engine seems like a good free option though...

How do you plan for this... do you have like a certain number of years you've committed to giving the multiplayer feature after which you're willing to shut it down?

Since there's no subscription fee with these apps... I'm just curious how companies deal with this...

Plus once the apps are bought and some sort of saturation level is reached and no more people are buying the app... how do you still keep making money with the app... do you consider it as advertising for your other apps?

Sorry if I seem like I'm rambling here...
01-16-2009, 10:00 AM
#8
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 18
As long as your game sales can pay for the hosting, you can afford running it - will you WANT to keep running it forever, after nobody is buying your app anymore? That's a slightly different question, separate topic, if you will.

As a developer of individual apps, you need to factor in the cost of hosting. Simplest amazon EC2 setup will cost you around $70 a month. If you sell 100 copies of $0.99 app in a month, it would pay for hosting (and that's about it, you are not making any money, not covering any other expenses). So for one developer, this option only makes sense if your volumes are large - if you have several games or if the game is popular and brings in a good chunk of money. You need to find a balance between how committed you are to your users to keep the multiplayer features around vs. how much it's going to cost in terms of money/effort. The rest is simple budgeting - put some money into the "pay for hosting" pile and don't touch it until the next time the ISP bills you :-)

But from the experience of running Scramboni, I can tell you that $70 a month on Amazon EC2 can go a long way - you could support 2 or 3 multiplayer games for that same amount of money on that same hardware (unless we are talking "very successful" app, of course, which is a good problem to have).

Developer of the multiplayer online game Scramboni | FriendFeed
01-16-2009, 08:26 PM
#9
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 439
Quote:
Originally Posted by byteclub View Post
As long as your game sales can pay for the hosting, you can afford running it - will you WANT to keep running it forever, after nobody is buying your app anymore? That's a slightly different question, separate topic, if you will.

As a developer of individual apps, you need to factor in the cost of hosting. Simplest amazon EC2 setup will cost you around $70 a month. If you sell 100 copies of $0.99 app in a month, it would pay for hosting (and that's about it, you are not making any money, not covering any other expenses). So for one developer, this option only makes sense if your volumes are large - if you have several games or if the game is popular and brings in a good chunk of money. You need to find a balance between how committed you are to your users to keep the multiplayer features around vs. how much it's going to cost in terms of money/effort. The rest is simple budgeting - put some money into the "pay for hosting" pile and don't touch it until the next time the ISP bills you :-)

But from the experience of running Scramboni, I can tell you that $70 a month on Amazon EC2 can go a long way - you could support 2 or 3 multiplayer games for that same amount of money on that same hardware (unless we are talking "very successful" app, of course, which is a good problem to have).
Thanks byteclub. Something I'll have to think about.