Friday, 5 August 2016

DevBlog #31 - Managing the Atom Universe Servers

Greetings Atomz,

Friday is upon us and we’re ready for the weekend, let’s kick things off with one of our DevBlogs shall we?

Managing the Atom Universe Servers

For some time now, we’ve been hosting the Atom Universe Parties for our Early Access month on a fortnightly basis. While some Early Access members have been able to join in on this meet-ups some of you have had difficulty joining in.

With this DevBlog, we’ll be taking a closer look at why some members have difficulty joining and what we’ll be doing to improve the servers to prevent this forum happening further down the line.
Speaking to Alex Grona, we look at some of the potential issues that could be causing the connection drop outs.

“They are two possible factors to consider when players get disconnect from the Atom Universe servers. Firstly, connection timeout with the server. This can either be caused by the Atom Universe client or the server itself. Potentially, the client can be slow and causes the server connection to drop.  (e.g memory leaks, bugs or low performing machines). The server can also become slow and start dropping connections in order to perform more effectively. (e.g. too many are trying to connect the server at once).

Secondly, the server has crashed. Currently, there isn’t any in-game messaging to notify players that this has happened. If this issue occurs then all players will be removed from the server and returned to the main menu. The servers will then create a new instance and players will be able to log back into the game.”

This can be a very frustrating experience, especially if this is continually happening to yourself. We need to remember that we’re still in Early Access and Atom Universe is still in development. Unfortunately, that’s just the nature of the beast at this stage in development. The question now is how can we improve upon this?

“Behind the scenes, we’re currently focusing on stress testing running all kinds of scenarios that we may encounter further down the line. By running these tests we’ll be able to identify any issues that are affecting us and we’ll be able to implement a fix. Over time we will start to see the servers become more and more stable and these connection drop outs will become less frequent.”

With this issue being common for some Early Members during the Block Party events we host fortnightly, it’s left us with a question and that is should we continue these events, or hold off until the servers become more stable? 


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  2. Thanks for posting this DevBlog Dave. I appreciate the explanation from Alex about the connection issues for AU as I have seen that it has indeed impacted users' ability to join the Block Parties every other Saturday (the last one was last Saturday). It has also impacted our Community Meetups which are every Sunday. We did manage to fill a server last Sunday (pics here: but many were saying they were getting errors. We've reported the errors to the forums and via email and so hopefully that will give the devs more information on what is going on because I do see the game freezing and crashing when there aren't many people trying to connect simultaneously too. Of course we understand that we are in Early Access and that issues are to be expected, and we need to continue to load test the game so that it can be made read for full release to the public which would be a lot more people. I recall that in past DevBlogs, it was mentioned that automated tests were being run to test server scaling and so hopefully more of that can be done with various user usage patterns. I have been attending all the Block Parties since they started and still think we should have them. We've been having Community Meetups since the Alpha and think it has been a good event for users to meet others, share info and ideas for the game, talk about bugs/issues, all while having some fun in the process with random chit-chat. To date, we have great attendance for those and then when the Atom Republic Block Parties started a little over 2 months ago (last Saturday was the 7th Block Party) it was yet another event on AU that community members could attend. The difference in times between the 2 events gives more opportunity for people to attend. In any case, thanks to all the efforts of the Atom Republic/Atom Universe team. Keep up the great work! :)