How Arrive Conquers Lag And Accelerates Esports Traffic With Macrometa Global Data Network
Authors: Taric Mirza, Founder, and CEO @ Arrive, and Alan Evans, Principal Technologist @ Macrometa
Taric Mirza, Founder, and CEO at Arrive, is a lifelong gamer who’s made it his business to redefine the Esports and multiplayer gaming experience. When he hit severe lag playing League of Legends, he tried everything - changing ISPs, home routers, just name it - but nothing fixed it. Eventually, he decided to come up with his own solution to defeat lag for LoL and other games. His current favorite games are League of Legends and Apex Legends.
Today, Taric is in conversation with Alan Evans, Principal Technologist at Macrometa where he explains how Arrive conquers lag by finding the fastest network route. He also talks about how Macrometa’s Global Data Network allows Arrive to manage its global infrastructure very easily and with very low latency.
Alan: It’s great to have you at the Macrometa Developer Week. Can you tell us a little bit about your company - Arrive - and your motivation for building it?
Taric: Arrive is a startup company that is developing new products for Esports players to improve their experience playing games. The motivation behind starting Arrive was I hit severe lag playing League of Legends, and nothing I tried (changing ISPs, home routers, you name it) fixed it. Eventually, I switched from working on multiplayer network programming in my own small games to instead using some of those same techniques to come up with solutions for lag for other games.
Our core product is an application for League of Legends players to improve their internet. We are working on supporting more games. I’m really excited about Arrive, as lag is a problem that impacts virtually every esports player at one point or another, and solving this would benefit players individually, as well as support the gaming ecosystem.
What is Esports?
Alan - I was just thinking, though, some folks reading this might be asking what is “Esports? and how it is different from “normal” multiplayer gaming, and maybe describe what “Lag” is.
Taric - Sure! The main difference is Esports is more competitive in the sense you get an official Rank, much like chess players who are competitive get an “ELO” score that shows them numerically where they stand in relation to other players. For Esports, while having casual fun is of course still the main reason people play, there is a real sense of “serious competition” (that in turn, makes it even more fun!). At the highest levels, players have dedicated gaming teams they are on that receive significant corporate funding. Much like professional sports teams, at this level, players can get traded to other teams. The prize pool for some tournaments can exceed $1 million, and some of the top players earn that much or more from their teams as well.
Alan - Ok, so Esports is more competitive, got it. Plus, the gamers get sponsorship deals, I saw, so there is lots of advertising involved as well, I guess?
Taric - Esports is part of the competitive video game online arena where players play the game competitively. These are games where players play against other players in each game and get assigned a rank based on how well they perform and if they win. The most successful esports games have tournaments that are watched by millions of people worldwide.
Alan - love watching the professionals playing LoL; there is so much happening on-screen. You can really see why lag can be a real problem.
Taric - Yes, and while the official tournaments hosted in person are lag-free (as the computers are right next to each other and directly connected), many LoL tournaments are online, where players sometimes play hundreds of miles away from each other. Lag is a huge problem in these cases, and Arrive would like to play a role in working with some of these tournament operations to help fix these issues.
Why is Traffic Acceleration critical for Esports and Multiplayer Game traffic?
Alan - Ah, I would have loved to have been an Esports player. When I first got into online multiplayer gaming, it was on the Sony PlayStation, and a game called SOCOM Navy Seals. Super competitive, and if you saw people lagging across the screen, it was a real nightmare as you just didn't know what was going to happen. Bad lag can really ruin multiplayer gaming, no matter how competitive the game is.
Taric - Yes, Internet lag is one of the top problems that video game players, particularly esports players, run into. Multiplayer Game traffic Acceleration, which Arrive is building with help from Macrometa on the Global Data Network, is able to reduce or eliminate lag for most gamers.
How does Arrive conquer lag?
Alan - Taric, do you think you could describe or maybe explain what the Arrive solution does?
Taric - The solution includes client software that the player installs on their gaming computer that routes the game traffic onto the Arrive network. It is simple to operate as the gamer – you basically just turn it on and off as needed, but behind the scenes, the solution is scouting and utilizing the best internet routes available on the Arrive network to enhance the gaming experience.
Alan - Ah, since you mentioned Macrometa, why are you using the Global Data Network (GDN)?
Taric - To power Arrive’s product that accelerates network traffic, Arrive manages a fleet of servers in a variety of data centers spread across the world. Macrometa’s GDN allows Arrive to manage this global infrastructure very easily and with very low latency.
Alan - Nice. Yes, our Global Data Network is available in almost 200 locations around the world, providing a P90 sub-50ms RTT to any connected device globally.
How do you leverage Macrometa GDN to Conquer Lag and Accelerate Traffic?
Alan - Do you think you could go into more detail on how Macrometa is being used under the hood for Arrive?
Taric - Sure, we’ve found Macrometa to be a game-changing (pardon the pun) :) platform that has allowed us to develop the end-to-end Arrive solution much more efficiently than would have been possible without Macrometa.
Macrometa is our primary - and only database - and PaaS. It handles 100% of our persistent (and mostly real-time) data needs which is pretty incredible for a single technology. We use Macrometa GDN for many areas but the basic approach is that we use Macrometa to contain both our primary event and transaction data, in terms of being a “single source of truth” for data, but also operational data such as aggregations, analysis, and reporting.
In addition, we use Macrometa for our User Management system, handling everything from registration, authentication, and logins to what features the users have enabled.
Macrometa also powers our server management and resource allocation technology. This is the system that figures out which of our servers or network paths have sufficient capacity to serve more players who want optimization. There is quite a bit of complexity in keeping track of all this, and Macrometa makes it easy.
Macrometa takes care of Caching data too. This is just another aspect of how Macrometa shines – in the old days, you’d have to research and integrate with a separate caching system requiring its own command language/API, integration between the databases, and pricing. With Macrometa, we get an easy-to-use, cost-effective, high-performance Cache system built right in.
And finally, we use Macrometa for our internal reporting systems, too. Things like aggregating data and generating reports with it are easy with Macrometa. If we want to know how many players used Arrive today, Macrometa by itself answers that question. So yeah - we use Macrometa across the board as the platform that enables us to focus on building the world’s gamer service for multiplayer gaming - it lets us focus on what we do best - making games awesome for gamers by eliminating lag, improving jitter and latency by leveraging the edge in ways that are impossible to do in the cloud.
Alan - Wow, impressive, that’s quite a bit! It’s interesting to see how much you are using Macrometa for the gaming industry. I’m particularly curious about what made you choose Macrometa to be your primary platform as opposed to one system as a part of many others.
Taric - The biggest gain of leveraging Macrometa handling everything as opposed to a patchwork of various systems is it drastically reduces complexity. That, in turn, leads to many significant benefits:
First of all, we don’t need to pay for 3rd party ETL or spend a considerable amount of time developing it ourselves. This is all done automatically by Macrometa for us. This saves us quite a bit in both financial and labor costs.
Secondly, a few systems make our application much easier to operate. Things like configuration, software releases, testing, and general day-to-day development are all more straightforward. Even onboarding new developers is much faster when they can learn just a single system instead of 5-20 that all have to fit together.
And last but not the least, we also benefit from reduced risk and tighter security. Generally speaking, the more complex an architecture, the greater risk there is for an outage or security incident. It is more challenging to secure and operate a whole patchwork of various databases, ETL, and reporting systems, all with various synchronization processes, authentication keys, etc., than a single system.
What problems does Macrometa help solve?
Alan - Excellent! So, could you talk about what challenges Macrometa has helped Arrive overcome?
Taric - One of our greatest challenges is building a system that can handle users globally, with high performance, and that can scale very well as we continue to grow.
One of the great things about Macrometa is you can come up to speed incredibly fast, which is critical for us as a startup company, as getting a great product out as soon as possible is essential.
At the same time, we wanted to find a technology that would handle users around the world and scale. Macrometa handles all this for us seamlessly. With other technologies, this generally takes very expensive projects consisting of top consultants to help get all the geographic distribution, redundancy, security, and scaling aspects. What previously might take 6-12 months of work, best case, you now get on day 1 with Macrometa right out of the gate!
What does the future hold?
Alan - Thanks Taric. So, where do you see this going? I mean, what do you think the next steps are for Arrive?
Taric - For Arrive, on the product development side, we want to support many more popular Esports games. We want to expand to support players in more cities and countries around the world. We plan to improve the algorithms we use for internet traffic routing to improve gamers’ experience further. On the distribution side of things, we will partner with enterprises like ISPs to help get our product out to more players.
Alan - Can Macrometa help in any of these areas?
Taric - Macrometa can help with all these areas, actually!
For game expansion, Macrometa will play a critical role in this, as many of the other games we want to support require considerable data processing. Macrometa is ideal for this. We will evaluate using Macrometa’s Streaming technologies for some aspects.
Same story with the routing algorithms. Our next iteration uses more involved logic, and Macrometa’s data processing capabilities will make this part much easier. The Graph database features of Macrometa might be particularly powerful in enabling some of the features we want to add.
Macrometa will help not just on the tech and data side but also on the business side in terms of helping develop and bring a product to ISPs using the Macrometa GDN PoPs inside the ISP networks.
Alan - Hey Taric, this has been great. Have really enjoyed our chat, as usual, and I'm sure our readers have as well. Have you any closing remarks or ideas you would like to share? and where can our readers find out more about Arrive?
Taric – Thanks so much, Alan!
I’d first want to say I’ve really enjoyed our discussions and would extend that to some others at Macrometa. When I first reached out to Macrometa with a list (some might say a book!) of questions on how the technology works, Justin Johnson was amazing at answering everything. I also had the pleasure of meeting Macrometa’s CEO, Chetan, in person in Dallas earlier this year. Not only was it a productive conversation, but as a human being, Chetan is amazing and inspiring.
We’re excited about the future, not only fixing lag for video game players as we’re doing today but expanding into providing valuable tools for players in other aspects of their gaming experience and helping support the greater Esports ecosystem, and extending our network optimization technology into all sorts of other areas where real-time performance is key.
Alan - Thanks again, Taric.
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