How indie studio, Blinkmoon, builds games entirely in the cloud
When Hugh Behroozy started building Blinkmoon Games, a new independent studio based in Vancouver, Canada, he wanted to bring together the best talent from across the visual effects (VFX) and games industry to create the next generation of interactive experiences. The only problem was, how do you attract talent to a Vancouver-based studio when some of the best developers available live on the other side of the world?
Blinkmoon, a company that is all-in on Amazon Web Services (AWS), quickly discovered the solution: create a fully functional studio in the cloud. To do this, Blinkmoon turned to AWS and Arch Platform Technologies, a full-service AWS Partner Network (APN) partner.
“Building a creative, next-gen game studio from scratch is a truly monumental task, especially at a time when great talent is hard to come by,” said Hugh Behroozy, CEO and Founder of Blinkmoon. “With the advent of hybrid and flexible working, it was clear to us that we would need to attract talent from across the globe, which is why going remote-first and building on the cloud was a no-brainer. We needed to build an infrastructure that was accessible across numerous time zones while considering challenges like security, accessibility, technical support, and scalability. AWS and Arch addressed all of those challenges and created an opportunity for us to quickly build even more robust infrastructure than some traditional game studios.”
Today, Blinkmoon has over 20 developers logging in to its cloud studio from 8 countries around the globe. To deploy its studio in the cloud, Blinkmoon uses the Arch Platform from Arch Platform Technologies. The Arch Platform is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that can create and manage fully scalable cloud-based creative facilities for content creation and collaboration in AWS. By leveraging scalable cloud services including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and AWS Storage Gateway, Arch has enabled Blinkmoon to launch highly secure virtual workstations integrated with desktop streaming services Parsec and Teradici.
Using Arch Platform, Blinkmoon can also launch and manage multiple facilities with centralized secure storage with elastic storage capacity in a virtual private network only accessible to Blinkmoon’ artists and engineers. The Arch Platform supports multi-AZ (Availability Zones) deployment from AWS so that Blinkmoon’s studio in the cloud is built on top of highly available and durable servers that support remote teams in multiple regions throughout the world. Blinkmoon can securely manage remote teams using the most cost-effective graphics processing units (GPU)-enabled EC2 instances for designing immersive worlds with 3ds Max, creating captivating characters with Maya, Substance 3D, ZBrush, and developing games with Unreal Engine.
“Working with Blinkmoon has helped us hone the Arch Platform so that it can build secure, complex, multi-region game tech studios in the cloud that support the many workloads in the game development process. We are excited to support the infrastructure needs of Blinkmoon and the game industry at large.” said Laura Teodosio, CEO of Arch Platform Technologies.
To support all of its developers working simultaneously across high fidelity projects, Blinkmoon needed a performant storage solution. The company’s artists and engineers needed a development environment with a storage solution that supported 15,000-25,000 Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) for reads and writes while compiling code and accessing project assets. These storage requirements are necessary for the team to develop a next-generation game efficiently using Unreal Engine 5. With help from the team at Arch, a workflow was devised to sync Unreal Engine project workspaces with Amazon S3 with the local NVMe solid state drive attached to the EC2 instance. The workflow uses Amazon S3 high availability and high throughput to sync project assets on demand to create an integrated workspace with the NVMe storage interface. This workflow was key for Blinkmoon to deliver a scalable solution working with Unreal Engine projects for the entire team.
AWS Authors: Nathan Graves (Account Manager), Adam Hatfield (Senior Solutions Architect) Blinkmoon Authors: Hugh Behroozy (CEO), Steve Baker (Head of Technology) Arch Platform Authors: Laura Teodosio (CEO), Edward Churchward (CTO)