4–7 Nov 2019
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Replacing your gearbox at 100 mph: How live games monitor and change with millions playing

Jon Manning (Secret Lab), Paris Buttfield-Addison (Secret Lab)
14:2015:00 Wednesday, 6 November 2019
Location: Hall A4
Average rating: ****.
(4.33, 3 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Anyone who wants to use telemetry to monitor and change things on the fly




Games move fast. In order to adapt to a large population, developers make use of telemetry coming from the players, both to ensure that the game is performing as expected and to get an idea of how the game is being played. This data is often surprisingly rich. Because the players exist in a simulated world, extremely fine-grained detail about how a player interacts with that world, such as their location, what they’re looking at, and what they’re carrying can all be used to fuel decision making by the game’s designers.

Jon Manning and Paris Buttfield-Addison explore how video games use telemetry and analytics to monitor and change their state, live, with millions and millions of players engaged at the same time. They dive into the types of telemetry that games use, how they relate to the world outside of games, and how games go beyond and make changes on the fly, stay performant, and monitor everything from suspected-gaze (position of eyes) to input speed.

Games can teach the software world a lot about performance, monitoring, change, and beyond. Jon and Paris outline current best practices for gathering large amounts of data from ongoing user activity, finding the best modifications to make in the analysis of that data, and how to roll out changes while hundreds of thousands of users are right in the middle of the game. You’ll learn how real-time systems can be monitored, modified, and deployed on the fly, and how to apply the same techniques to non-game environments.

What you'll learn

  • Discover how to use telemetry to monitor your products and change them on the fly quickly and without errors
Photo of Jon Manning

Jon Manning

Secret Lab

Jon Manning is the cofounder of independent game development studio Secret Lab. He’s working on the critically acclaimed award-winning adventure game Night in the Woods, which includes his interactive dialogue system Yarn Spinner, and Button Squid, a top-down puzzler. He’s written a whole bunch of books for O’Reilly about iOS development and game development. Jon holds a PhD about jerks on the internet. He’s currently writing Practical AI with Swift for O’Reilly.

Photo of Paris Buttfield-Addison

Paris Buttfield-Addison

Secret Lab

Paris Buttfield-Addison is a cofounder of Secret Lab, a game development studio based in beautiful Hobart, Australia. Secret Lab builds games and game development tools, including the multi-award-winning ABC Play School iPad games, the BAFTA- and IGF-winning Night in the Woods, the Qantas airlines Joey Playbox games, and the Yarn Spinner narrative game framework. Previously, Paris was a mobile product manager for Meebo (acquired by Google). Paris particularly enjoys game design, statistics, blockchain, machine learning, and human-centered technology. He researches and writes technical books on mobile and game development (more than 20 so far) for O’Reilly; he recently finished writing Practical AI with Swift and is currently working on Head First Swift. He holds a degree in medieval history and a PhD in computing. Paris loves to bring machine learning into the world of practical and useful. You can find him on Twitter as @parisba.

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