[vworld-tech] ARG's ... anyone interested? 50 million hits / hour

ceo ceo at grexengine.com
Wed Apr 27 13:54:08 PDT 2005

The full live system won't appear for another couple of months, but the 
ARG (Alternate Reality Game ... go look up Majestic for a stunning 
failure, or the Beast and Ilovebees for stunning successes [ILB won an 
award at the GDC this year]) I'm working on has some pretty heavy load 
to handle, and may be of interest to people here?

I can't say much about the game (grumble other depts not as good at 
sticking to launch deadlines as my tech team grumble ;) ) but ARG's 
generally are played simultaneously through a large number of websites, 
on different servers, plus email, SMS, phone calls (game phones you), 
voice mail (you phone game), etc.

Lots of things make them tricky, but the most obvious one is that your 
site tends to get double-whammy slashdotted - when a new site in the 
game is "discoverd" by the players advancing the game (note: in ARG's, 
your 0.1m - 1m playerbase plays largely collaboratively, not 
individually), it gets hit hard by the players; news-sites tend to pick 
it up and run articles about the game at around the same time, and then 
piggyback off each other with a few hours delay. Combined effect is many 
hours of /.ing :(.

It's been fun building systems adapted to this. The simple answer to all 
your problems is "caching", but there's no off-the-shelf 
non-ruinously-expensive software to handle it, so it's roll-your-own 
time :(.


More information about the vworld-tech mailing list