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BigWorld Instrumentation

As developers build the next generation of MMOGs, the sheer complexity of games is becoming an increasing bottleneck. The BigWorld Technology Suite helps reduce the complexity of MMOG and Virtual World development enormously by providing the results of six years of intense R&D, while at the same time recognizing that developers still need to know what is happening inside their game.

A large cluster with 100,000 players.

BigWorld’s Instrumentation system offers developers simple, solid tools for routine and efficient collection and analysis of game data. Thanks to tight integration with the BigWorld development platform, our instrumentation presents game information in an intuitive manner that is powerful, flexible and a natural fit within your development pipeline.

Our instrumentation is functional and logical; it is simple to interrogate any aspect of a game in real time, improve it and measure the results. Developers have the power to understand and control huge amounts of useful information about how their game is running.

Optimized Interfaces

The incredibly intuitive color gamut instrument in our world editor helps artists and world builders ensure the game uses color consistently. The powerful command-line interrogation that allows server programmers complete access to every variable or state in the system as well as the animation blending graphs available in our 3D client. Every team member has access to the information that they require, presented in a format appropriate for their needs.

CAT can connect local or remote clients.

Comprehensive, Current & Accessible

As a game is developed and play-tested, BigWorld’s Instrumentation keeps the developer up to date with important information, live and at your fingertips. There is no requirement for developers to run instrumentation on the same machine on which it is being tested. To take an extreme example, it is possible during development to sit in an office and remotely access the current frame rate of a client running in Beijing.

Unparalleled flexibility that’s Ready to Run

Regardless of the analytical needs of a development team, or the aspect of the game requiring analysis, BigWorld’s Instrumentation provides the flexibility to access information when it is required. As MMOG development is complex, BigWorld has built an extensible system that smoothes the flow of information so that it can aptly manage the various complexities of development in this genre.

BigWorld provides simple hooks that programmers can use to allow artists, world builders and QA staff to ‘watch’ the inner workings of a game. Once a ‘watcher’ exists in code, it can be used across any of our interrogation tools.

Client Access Tool (CAT)

Our powerful Client Access Tool allows developers to trivially instrument aspects of a game and save a couple of lines of Python into a shared directory, immediately exposing that code to CAT users through a user-friendly GUI. In a production environment, this is an effective method of sharing arcane knowledge from programmers to artists. Not only does CAT allow nontechnical people to interrogate a game, it also provides them with the facilities to interact with the world in interesting ways. It is a simple process for programmers to create a CAT interface into the game using a rich palette of buttons, dropdown lists, sliders and other UI elements that manipulate game variables for experimentation, testing and validation.

CAT can connect local or remote clients.

Extensible

The BigWorld Technology Suite comes pre-instrumented, with a large number of watchers provided within the example code as well as a system that allows for the trivial instrumentation of any aspect of the game that is of interest through our HTTP, Python or C++ interfaces. Our tools are extensible, allowing quick creation and optimization regardless of the game-specific UI desired.

Lifetime Development

MMOG development does not stop when a game ships. With this in mind, BigWorld Instrumentation has a low run-time overhead that allows game developers to continue using it throughout the life of a game; through the development process, QA and beta or live operations.

Solving Real-World Problems

BigWorld’s Instrumentation systems, like all of the BigWorld Technology Suite, are designed to solve real-world game problems and live crunch time issues rather than problematic academic theory. It is flexible, powerful and provides information as and where it is required.