Games help us recharge in quiet moments on the go; they offer catharsis and competition; they thrill us, scare us, challenge us, and teach us new skills. And for that, we have game developers to thank.
Yet to build a great game, devs still need great game tech. That’s why we're introducing this first installment in our ‘AWS is How’ Game Tech series—a collection of customer interviews, where we've focused on a single game from that studio’s portfolio of titles. As we take you through the game’s history and evolution, we’ll look at how technology has helped bring it to life, while celebrating some of the unsung heroes behind our favorite games.
Game Tech Volume 1
Self-publishing, FPS co-operative chaos
"With Warhammer: Vermintide 2, we wanted to build a co-operative game that allowed players to come together against a common adversary. And we wanted this adversary to be something new and squishy, not just the usual orcs and undead portrayed in many other Warhammer games ..."
"It’s time to redefine the idea of friendship. People have often thought of ‘real’ friendships as those made in real life, but gaming is changing the terms of friendship. We’ve underestimated the power of social gaming."
Supercars, spin and split-second timing
"With Asphalt 9: Legends, we had a good idea of what we wanted to achieve right from the start. The game was already a few years old, so we needed to get it up to speed with the latest in technology and car specs ..."
"TouchDrive is one of the main differentiating features between Asphalt 8 and Asphalt 9, and we’re super-happy about how it worked out. There are moments when you want to take every single curve in the best possible way, but other times you just need to complete a race to move onto the next level."
Angry, destructive and explosive physics fun
"There’s so much innovation that’s made possible with machine learning these days. It’s changed how we’ve managed the playability of levels in Angry Birds Dream Blast ..."
"There’s a learning curve when you try something new for a casual audience. A lot of companies are trying to mix puzzles with core elements to gain audience engagement and traction. For us, the one thing we learned was that you need to get to soft launch as quickly as you can. Then you can understand if you’ve made a game that the audience finds compelling."
When Martin met Andjela
Ever wonder what goes into building a hit game?
Find out what the Fatshark team gained from self-publishing Warhammer: Vermintide 2, and the crucial advice Martin Wahlund offers new game developers, as he chats to Andjela Kusmuk, games industry expert from the AWS Game Tech team.
Game Tech Volume 2
Action role-playing, made for mobile
"Nonstop Knight was very approachable and had a really simple, incremental meta attached to it. Nonstop Knight 2 was the next step, so we wanted something closer to classic action RPG ..."
"We wanted depth in the core gameplay itself, so players have to invest more time weighing-up decisions and strategy around the best combos, timing, and how to face different enemies. It’s complexity without complication and, of course, we made the system harder towards the endgame, because players who stick with it, want the game to get tougher, so they can get better."
All that's missing, is the wind in your hair
"From the beginning, we wanted to create a realistic representation of the sport that’s as flashy, dynamic, energetic, and bold as the real MotoGP ..."
"Players should feel as if they’re right there on the track with other MotoGP riders. If they don’t, then we’ve failed. We could build an exceptional online experience using AI and other awesome tech where everything works perfectly, but if we don’t create that raw feeling of riding a bike, then the game is a failure. I enjoy this challenge the most. It’s like black magic."
Gloriously glossy feathers, in a hyper-realistic zoo
"Technology has come such a long way since we developed the Zoo Tycoon games, so we wanted to create something that would really push the boundaries—a game where people could build anything from a small zoo to something utterly amazing ..."
"The biggest challenge facing the sector right now is how to make something that stands apart from everyone else. There are a lot of ‘me too’ games out there, but the goal should always be to make a game that looks and feels different. That’s a good way to look at any challenge in any business—how do you differentiate?"
Meet the Studios
Self-publishing is never easy, but Fatshark is proof it can definitely work. The studio has sold more than three million units of its self-funded game, Warhammer: Vermintide 2. The co-op FPS sees players fight side-by-side in a fantastical universe against nightmare-like opponents. Fatshark’s telemetry pipeline, built with services such as Amazon API gateway and Amazon Elasticsearch Service, helps to streamline its development process.
Gameloft was nervous about how fans would react to the latest installment in the hit Asphalt racing franchise, but they needn’t have worried. Asphalt 9: Legends achieved four million cross-platform downloads in less than a week. The team used physically-based rendering with HDR to create realistic, reactive environments for players to race their supercars across.
In Angry Birds Dream Blast, Rovio has created an addictive casual puzzle game that lives up to its predecessor’s reputation. New levels are released each week to a captive audience clamouring for new challenges. The studio uses a series of AWS services in its templates, enabling game development teams to progress from the start of production to a global soft launch in just six months.
There’s a reason Nonstop Knight 2 scored more than a million downloads in six months. The role-playing game took the best parts of its predecessor and threw a whole heap more fun into the action, from customizable skillsets to AI-powered companions and a new game mode. Cloud services like Amazon RDS and Amazon Aurora meant Flaregames could build the hit game with a core team of just 15 people.
MotoGP gamers demand hyper-realistic gaming experiences. They want an intuitive racing experience that puts them right there on the track with their idols. That means every detail has to be perfect - from the bike and rider, to the clouds in the sky. And Milestone delivers. Moving to AWS enabled the studio to make significant improvements to the online game, including smooth match join and low lag to name a few.
Territorial lions, chimpanzees who don’t like the rain, and visitors who wave placards if you don’t treat the animals with care, are just some of the challenges you’ll come up against when playing Planet Zoo. Frontier had the challenge of providing near real-time statistics for players across the globe, relying on AWS Lambda, Amazon Athena, and AWS Glue to exceed player expectations.
Getting Started with AWS Game Tech
From AAA studios to small teams, AWS enables game developers to create reliable, scalable, and innovative gameplay for their players. Whether you’re just starting out in the industry or you’re a seasoned tech pro, AWS can help take your game to the next level.
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Start building game workloads in the cloud today
Building a game involves many different challenges. We've curated a collection of AWS documentation including game-specific samples, reference architectures, and quicklinks to help you build your game in the cloud.