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GDC Sponsor Q&A: InfluxData's Chris Churilo aims to help devs collect metrics better

Hey game makers! GDC 2020 is less than a month away, and as you're planning out what to see and do at the show this year don't overlook your opportunity to check out the offerings from an array of sponsors from across the game industry whose support plays an integral role to the success of the event!

To give you a better sense of what the expect from the show and GDC Sponsor InfluxData, we reached out to product marketing director Chris Churilo to get a lowdown on what you can expect from InfluxData at GDC 2020, how devs can keep better track of performance metrics, and why it matters to the final product!

Hey there! What is InfluxData showing off at GDC this year?

InfluxData will be showcasing the InfluxDB time series platform at GDC, which encompasses a set of tools perfect for developers that allows them to collect and store all kinds of time series data — also known as metrics and events. Time series data is important to the developers at GDC because it can help them with optimizing performance and monetization of the games that they build.

What are some of the key ways that InfluxDB/InfluxData can be used to help game developers?

As a time series data store, InfluxDB provides the flexibility for game developers to collect and store a myriad of metrics that allow them to compare how their game is performing against up to 100,000+ games in the industry. Creating an interesting and unique game is hard enough, and the last thing you want to do is have a great game that is slow and doesn’t engage the user. In order to maintain these users, the developer must discover critical insights about usage and user behavior, and this is done by collecting metrics over time in the form of time series data.

There are essentially four categories of data that game developers should collect and use: performance metrics, basic user metrics, monetization metrics, and in-game metrics. Basic user metrics, monetization metrics, and in-game metrics are the metrics, or business KPIs, that will inform the team about everything from user session frequency and duration, to retention, churn and conversion rates. Game producers and management teams watch these metrics very closely since they can have a direct impact on revenue.

However, performance metrics could possibly be the most important of all. Performance metrics inform you about the experience of the users when using your application. The core metrics include game crashes (typical rate should be 1-2%), API latency (round-trip time from sending an API request to getting a response; should be less than 1 second), network latency/errors (can contribute to slow loading times), and game load time (time a user clicks on the app to the time it is used). Making changes based on these metrics can directly alter the business KPIs. As an example, understanding and optimizing how your game operates on different networks, how loading times may differ by device or OS, and how performance differs regionally will increase retention rates.

What are some of the ways that InfluxDB helps developers take large amounts of data and convert it into usable information?

The performance metrics mentioned above are trying to achieve response rates of less than 1 second. This means that you will need to collect metrics in intervals of at least a millisecond, which will easily balloon the amount of data that needs to be collected. InfluxDB is a purpose-built times series database that supports the natural characteristics of time series data, which includes high ingest rates of millions of data points per second. It is also built to support a large amount of data collected in a high performing store which also supports high query loads.

InfluxDB is focused on the developer and comes with a number of developer tools like a set of client libraries (Go, Java, Python, etc), open APIs for anomaly detection and machine learning, and a powerful query language to perform analytics across all data sets.

Can you explain ways that developers can use InfluxData's tools to improve their games still in development?

Developers can use the InfluxData tools to collect metrics about the performance of the code/function that they are working on during the development cycle to offer assurance that it will not have a negative impact on the overall game.

In addition, CICD pipeline metrics can be collected to measure the effectiveness of their continuous deployment process, private and public cloud infrastructures (e.g., PaaS, SaaS, website) metrics to provide deployment variances for scalability, as well as the collection of custom metrics to identify and resolve problems before they affect critical processes, and most importantly, offers ways to implement Kubernetes monitoring that accommodates developers’ need for instrumentation without overloading IT operations. 

Register now for GDC 2020

GDC 2020 runs from Monday, March 16th through Friday, March 20th. This will be the 34th edition of GDC, and now that registration is officially open, you'll want to take a look at the (ever-expanding) session schedule and your GDC pass options -- register early to lock in the best price!

For more details on GDC 2020 visit the show's official website, or subscribe to regular updates via FacebookTwitter, or RSS.

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