Crafting a compelling online experience can be a challenge and having to manage online infrastructure for your multiplayer-focused game adds an extra layer of complexity that many developers might not be equipped to handle. Recently released as a free plugin via the Unreal Engine Marketplace, GPORTAL Connector is providing free dedicated test servers in all global locations in order to ensure that Unreal Engine developers are able to think about their game’s online infrastructure early and often.
We caught up with Markus Schneider, CMO, GPORTAL, to learn more about best practices and how the plugin can assist Unreal Engine developers.
In your experience, how early in the development process of a multiplayer-focused title should server implementation be evaluated and tested?
Studios developing multiplayer-focused games should start with testing in a real environment with servers of data center quality as early as possible. Since the gaming experience for players is heavily reliant on server performance, we strongly recommend searching as early as possible for the right partner to set up multiplayer infrastructure with the studio.
What are some of the biggest mistakes that small teams make when planning to go live with a multiplayer-focused game?
The biggest mistake in our opinion is that many studios do not research potential partners when it comes to multiplayer infrastructure, instead thinking that it is something that can be easily resolved late in development. This ultimately ends up robbing the team of crucial development time and resources.
As an example, by the time we overtook the hosting of Citadel: Forged with Fire from our partner Blue Isle they had invested significant development resources into updating and deployment systems. Because this is done by our systems for over 100 titles, the studios working with us do not need to manage this aspect and can instead concentrate on developing the game and its core features.
Please tell us about the GPORTAL Connector Plugin that recently arrived on the Unreal Engine Marketplace. What does it do and who is it for?
Right now GPORTAL Connector helps us get in contact with studios working on multiplayer-focused titles as early as possible. Using the plugin, they can simply apply to receive a free server and consulting. As the official host for Conan Exiles and the first hoster to realize in-game server rental on a console (Xbox One, Conan Exiles), we also have a lot of experience which we love to share with studios.
Why do we do this? It’s pretty simple – we generate revenue by selling game servers to players, so if there are more successful multiplayer titles for players to enjoy it is a win/win for everyone.
You’ve worked to support teams of varying sizes. What types of projects do you think your services are best suited for?
We think our services are best suited for indie studios with a professional approach. As we see with our partners — Unreal Engine developers like Blue Isle (Citadel: Forged with Fire), Gamepires (SCUM) and Funcom (Conan Exiles) — it is no matter of size. That said, I would estimate that projects with 5-150 people are typically best for working with us when establishing multiplayer infrastructure.
What are the direct benefits that Unreal Engine developers stand to gain from utilizing the G-Portal Connector plugin?
They will get direct connection to our team and consulting. They can apply for free test hardware in one of our global locations, no matter if it is US West, US East, EU, Asia, South America or Russia. Nine out of 10 applicants receive a free server, so all interested teams should give it a try.
Why did you want to offer the G-Portal Connector Plugin on the Unreal Engine Marketplace?
As a company, we do a lot of research to connect with studios at the earliest possible stage so that we can establish a connection and produce a positive start for their game when it comes to multiplayer infrastructure. Despite our efforts though, it is often the case that studios get in touch with us 6-8 weeks before they launch, which is way too late. We recommend connecting with us to evaluate your specific needs 6-12 months before closed alpha launches. We are offering this plugin to facilitate that connection with the Unreal Engine community.
How can Unreal Engine 4 developers apply for free global test servers in all global locations?
Simply download the GPORTAL Connector plugin. Fill out the application and we will get back to you within 48 hours!