Respawn Talks About Titanfall 2 Multiplayer Test Weeked One Tech Success
In a post over on the official Titanfall 2 site, Titanfall 2 Lead Engineer Jon Shiring detailed some of the “success” Respawn has managed to get from this past weekend’s Titanfall 2 multiplayer test. While the info shared aren’t your usual X Pilots killed X Titans and so on, it does offer us a glimpse at the deeper, more technical side of these multiplayer tests and why they’re important.
First off, according to Shiring, “The goal for the Tech Test is to stress our server infrastructure to make sure it’ll scale and handle common events that are seen during a game launch.” He adds that they are doing two weekends of the tech test because the studio was sure it would encounter new problems that it has never seen before unless it launched the game to a massive number of players.
Check out some of the details shared by Shiring regarding Titanfall 2’s servers and infrastructure.
First – Dedicated Servers
For Titanfall 2, we are running on a new server infrastructure with a company called Multiplay, who is responsible for running our fleet of dedicated servers to host games. And we run a LOT of servers – many thousands of servers all over the world. We also run them dynamically, so we boot them up before people need them, and shut them down when they aren’t needed anymore. We learned a lot this weekend about how fast players will join matches, and we’re using that knowledge to verify that we can spin up servers really quickly so players aren’t left waiting.
We made sure to have a lot of datacenters for Titanfall 2, to give us the ability to scale very rapidly as well as to move games to another datacenter if we hit issues. We actually tested datacenters going offline completely and we learned how quickly we could move 100% of users from one datacenter into another datacenter. We weathered network attacks as well using this same system. After having done it a few times, it gives us a process to follow so that we can move players around even faster in the future. And for launch, we’ll have even more datacenters available!
We collected useful information about how long it takes each datacenter to spin up new servers – some datacenters are faster than others, and since we are spinning up servers in advance of players needing them, speed is important.
Second – “Stryder”
Aside from servers, we also have our own “Stryder” collection of backend services.
As players saw, our new matchmaker is FAST. We learned that we could reliably make up to about 24,000 matches every 2 seconds, which thankfully allows us to handle player counts that no game sees. We did see some problems with matches not being full on startup, so we both improved our Join In Progress path, and we dug deeper to find the root cause of the non-full match starts. Our matchmaker had a trial by fire this weekend, and we’re really happy with the results.
Networks were a big unknown for us – we didn’t know how people would use them, or which parts they would use most. We had over 200,000 networks created by Sunday night, and we saw thousands of users in chatrooms creating parties and going into matches. We were amazed by the creativity and fun that gamers brought to the game through their own Networks.
We had some times where we were fixing issues with the brand new Invite Network functionality, and we could actually see the impact of those in the player counts in real-time! We saw a huge amount of players who ONLY joined games using the Invite Network popup in lobbies. With the Network Invites, Happy Hour, clan tags, and Inbox functionality, it seems like people really embraced our new Networks system. This was a huge success for us, and they were something that was hardest to verify before this weekend. Networks were created for real humans to use, and no simulation can prove that it would be successful like real people can.
Shiring also reaffirms that the build we’ve played was from a June “snapshot” and that some of the issues players have noticed have already been “fixed” for weeks or months now. Respawn will also share more details regarding the tech test very soon, and I gather this one will focus more on the gameplay rather than on the more technical side.
Don’t forget that the second weekend of the Titanfall 2 multiplayer tech test will be happening this August 26 to 28, and will feature an increased level cap, more weapons and even a new map. In the meantime, check out our hands-on impressions piece of the technical test, and of course, our top five video where we list down the changes we think Respawn needs to make in order to make the game better.