PlayMesh was founded in July 2008 with a mission to bring social games to the iPhone.% As a premier game producer, they have delivered 15 Top 25 games in the past year including iFarm by PlayMesh which became the #1 iPhone Aand was downloaded 1 million times in just 10 days.
With 9 million registered users on their social network, PlayMesh is one of the most successful iPhone game development studios in the industry. They chose to develop their games in Ruby on Rails because they needed to move faster than their competition. Eric Peng, CEO of PlayMesh explains, "Rails is the evolution of web programming. It provides shortcuts that make our developers more efficient and productive—we can develop code 5-10x faster. Another big efficiency of Rails is that anyone who joins our team can get up to speed quickly, and we can parallelize work so it's easy to delegate tasks across the team." Eric also credits the existing community and infrastructure in helping his company to innovate so quickly with limited resources.
PlayMesh had mixed results with their initial rollout. Because of overwhelming user adoption, the infrastructure supporting PlayMesh games began to suffer from scalability issues. According to Eric, "We were the victims of our own success—we had so many people using our applications we couldn't keep up with the need to expand. On top of that, we're a game studio, not an infrastructure company, so we were inexperienced when it came to configuring servers to scale based on changing traffic patterns. Most people don't know how to prepare for this level of growth because they've never been exposed to it. This is where Engine Yard really shines because scaling Rails applications is one of their specialties."
PlayMesh had launched their application on servers managed by a third party. When they were unable to handle the massive traffic spikes caused by so many customers downloading games, Engine Yard staff went to the facility and reconfigured the PlayMesh infrastructure, so it could keep up with the company's growth. Soon after, PlayMesh switched to Engine Yard. The migration was seamless and incredibly easy. They were up and running within a couple of days. Engine Yard Cloud offered the scalability, affordability, and system monitoring to handle the high growth PlayMesh was experiencing. "With Engine Yard, we know we can scale up easily when we need it. We can add new servers through the web interface and see how our systems are operating. Also, we get full access to our servers without having to do any server configuration. Not only that, the pricing is very reasonable," said Eric.
In social gaming, the pace of application innovation is important because it impacts how quickly new products can be brought to market, or how existing products can be modified to meet customer demand. "Freeing our developers from the creative drag of managing infrastructure and application platform issues has a direct impact on our speed of innovation," Eric continued. PlayMesh relies on Engine Yard with confidence to deliver a Rails-optimized application stack and help them access cost-effective infrastructure. PlayMesh also uses Engine Yard support to tap the company's deep expertise in Ruby and Rails to ensure smooth deployments and high performance. "Engine Yard service is amazing," added Eric. "The support team has extensive knowledge of Rails and how to scale high-growth applications, and they're always available when we need them. Whenever we ask for helit's not just one person that comes in—it's the whole team. This kind of support is unique and has made us a very loyal customer."
PlayMesh has now been running on Engine Yard Cloud for over a year, and they continue to benefit from the scalability and reliability that Engine Yard offers. PlayMesh successfully handles millions of requests per day supporting the company's 9 million registered users. They can easily meet customer demand and still focus on cost savings by using the Engine Yard Cloud pay-as-you-go service. Being able to monitor their apand scale up quickly with high customer demand allows PlayMesh to save money in long run by not owning infrastructure outright and by only paying for the cloud computing capacity they need. "Engine Yard Cloud pricing is very reasonable especially compared to other cloud solutions. We can easily deploy new servers when customer demand increases, so we don't have to invest in infrastructure before we need it," said Eric. "We estimate that our costs are 3-5x lower than if we had to pay the direct and indirect costs of owning and managing our own infrastructure and deploying our large array of applications. A majority of the savings comes from intangibles like the time it takes to learn how to configure a server as opposed to using that time to code a new feature, the stress related to maintaining uptime without additional heland the resources needed to manage servers."
In addition, PlayMesh was able to optimize their application by working with Engine Yard staff members who have deep Rails knowledge. Engine Yard did a database analysis to figure out how to save resources by making the application more efficient. They increased performance by over 50%—removing unnecessary calls and optimizing deep database configurations based on the particular intricacies of the application. "Having this high level of Rails expertise available extends the productivity of the PlayMesh development team, so we can innovate more quickly and deliver new games to our customers," said Eric.
Going forward, PlayMesh plans to introduce real-time games for the iPhone and will continue to develop in Rails and deploy their applications on Engine Yard. Eric advises other companies looking at developing in Rails to take advantage of the shortcuts but also make sure they have the expertise to scale quickly. "A lot of shortcuts have been put into Rails to save time. They can get you from point A to point B super fast—but developers that try to use too many of these shortcuts in combination with each other may run into some challenges. To make sure your application is successful, I recommend working with Engine Yard. The company's combination of affordability, reliability and expertise is tough to beat."