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Case Study

VC Mobile Entertainment, Inc. Prepares Creature Quest for a Monster-Sized Audience by Relying on mLab

To achieve the stability and scalability required to serve a fast-growing worldwide player base, VC Mobile enlisted mLab to provide the mobile gaming company with a capable, hosted MongoDB database backed by expert support.

Highlights
  • As more gamers join, VC Mobile is able to seamlessly scale its database capacity.
  • VC Mobile's database has the reliability and performance needed to deliver gamers a high quality experience, and is especially suited for data-critical features such as in-game purchases.
  • mLab's Database-as-a-Service provides the VC Mobile team with the ability to harness powerful database capabilities without hiring dedicated internal staff.
Customer Profile

VC Mobile Entertainment, Inc. is a mobile game developer and publisher led by a team of industry veterans - including Computer Gaming World Hall of Fame member Jon Van Caneghem, creator of the Might and Magic and Heroes of Might and Magic series. In January 2017, VC Mobile launched the fantasy role-playing and strategy game Creature Quest - available on the App Store, on Google Play, and at the Amazon Appstore - to a worldwide audience.

The Challenge

As a small team of experienced PC game developers, making the jump into the mobile market necessitated database management without relying on internal staff.

VC Mobile was founded in 2014 by a team of PC game industry veterans eager to apply their talents and experience to mobile games. VC Mobile's team previously founded Trion World Network (now Trion Worlds), where they developed the massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) Rift and other titles. The team subsequently worked at EA developing a new entry in the Command and Conquer series.

While wanting to tap into the huge audience playing mobile games, VC Mobile also saw the challenges of serving those gamers with a small team - and particularly so from a database perspective. Given the nature of the market and the huge number of devices in use, the team was keenly aware of the potential database scaling issues that could come with success. They had worked on previous projects where the database was a constant cause for concern, and were determined to achieve an issue-free database solution this time around. Their new game, Creature Quest, would include in-app purchases and critical moments where data absolutely had to be preserved, so database reliability and performance were essential. VC Mobile knew that it needed a quick to set up solution that would deliver the best practice expertise, scalability, and reliability required.

The team had experience using Node.js and determined that it wanted a document database. MongoDB stood out as the most attractive option, and VC Mobile then needed to find a solution that could help their small team manage their multiple database deployments.

Solution

VC Mobile chose mLab's DBaaS solution based on its ability to easily scale with the needs of the company, and because it found mLab's service and support to continually exceed expectations.

VC Mobile became interested in mLab as a hosted MongoDB provider because it offered the ability to start small and easily scale up as needed. With work on Creature Quest advancing to the point where the QA staff required its own dedicated testing environment, VC Mobile started using mLab's free tier of database instances, which provided an introduction to the company and its platform. As a startup, VC Mobile found this to be a highly valuable service, enabling it to work with MongoDB in the cloud while keeping expenses to a minimum.

As VC Mobile then debuted Creature Quest through a regional soft launch, it was able to initially rely on mLab's entry-level database package. Once the game evolved, VC Mobile saw that it was on a path to needing more robust, production-level database instances. The gaming startup looked at what they would get with a paid plan and liked what they saw: free database backups, fast support, and a well-defined dashboard offering clear insights into database behavior.

When VC Mobile launched Creature Quest worldwide, it upgraded to mLab's largest database package in order to preemptively prepare for rapid user growth. As it originally planned, VC Mobile has continually expanded its use of mLab, starting with free instances and adding new instances of increased size as needed. VC Mobile now uses a number of production instances, as well as several shared instances assigned to internal QA usage (which have proven cost effective while offering sufficient throughput). Throughout VC Mobile's relationship with mLab, the gaming company has found that its needs have been met every step of the way - and especially so when looking at the responsiveness and care with which mLab's support handles all inquiries.

mLab's service is consistently over and above what you'd expect. As a Database-as-a-Service provider, mLab is everything we were looking for.

Jay Lee CTO, VC Mobile Entertainment, Inc.

Benefits

With mLab in place for the long haul, VC Mobile has the comfort of a reliable database solution that is prepared to expand alongside the company's growth.

VC Mobile interacts with mLab support every few weeks. Recent examples of mLab's support interactions include assisting VC Mobile with implementing continuous integration (so that server unit tests can be run as part of the company's build process), and helping with designing a solution for automatic handling of database restores. VC Mobile has also found mLab's slow query reports very valuable because the reports identify and suggest new indexes that can improve database performance.

Following the worldwide launch of Creature Quest, VC Mobile saw a large spike in users due to the game being featured on Google Play. For VC Mobile's team of game creators - who joined the industry in order to have fun at work every day - mLab helps to make that fun possible through the peace of mind it provides.

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