Game Idea: Server Farm Simulator Tycooninator
The backend of game dev tycoon, where the player maintains and fixes issues that occur when a web site or video game becomes too popular.
The server farm coordinators have to manage the server’s health in terms of bandwidth usage, load balance across multiple servers as well as coming up with solutions when servers start to fail due to normal or irregular usage. Maybe the ventilation for a set of servers blew a fuse and all the machines are overheating, so what will you do? What infrastructure in the form of safeguards did you have in place for when this sort of event occurs? You only started out with $100,000 amount of dollars and only get a $5,000 a month in revenue for the department, so where will you divide your money and time? Building more servers to offset the load among machines? Getting developers to redesign the existing system to make it do better, or automating your system so it can detect and resolve issues before they get out of hand and require the player’s attention?
The Player may also need to track customer satisfaction in terms of low latency between the customer and the system. If this is a game, then low latency and better stability means increased revenue. But depending on who you are serving and where you are serving the customer from, the latency could be hard to take into account so how will you structure your set of server farms to get the best performance per global area?
Difficulty and Modes
The range of difficulty can go from small set of servers to controlling multiple data centers spanning across the globe. Several modes include survival mode, product launch and startup-to-acquired.
In Survival Mode, the player starts with an already healthy and maintained set of servers. Releasing new versions of software are regularly scheduled and can possibly cause stability issues with the server, so rollbacks should take place so someone can fix their mistake until they take care of the problem. On the flip-side though, the software upgrades, depending on what the software development team has worked on, can increase stability or performance in terms of bandwidth, disk/memory usage, or computational usage. The less computations you have to do the faster it should run. The less bandwidth you use, the quicker to send the data. The less disk and memory usage that you use, the more threads can run concurrently on the system thus serving more users at a time. This would be like the “endless mode” to other simulator games and should resemble something along the lines of maintaining the Google or Facebook infrastructure.
The Product Launch a planned event approach. Your website or game hasn’t gone public yet, but you need to design your system to have the smoothest, most stable launch possible. How many people do you estimate will be participating at launch? That might depend on what the hype around your product is. Will the launch be staggered between the various time-zones or a global launch? This could impact the time devoted to each set of servers across the globe. How many servers do you expect needing for each set of regions? You only have so much money, so where will you put the time in planning towards? The better your launch is, the more successful the game or website will be, but you don’t want to go overboard on servers so you can re-cooperate some cost towards your bonus after launch.
Startup-to-acquired follows the path of a startup company with a focus on scaling your servers up from just a handful of machines to being a global competitor. You first have only a few hundred dollars for your “My first server”, but as the company grows, so does the number of servers that you need to build, maintain, and deploy. After decision about where to start building servers next, making design choices focusing time between stability, performance, and latency you’ll be maintaining farms of servers up to a successful product launch and hopefully gain enough traction in the public eye and become acquired by a big time company like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook or Apple.
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