Online game developer and publisher Wargaming relies on Linux and open source software to produce and distribute its line of popular military strategy games, says Maksim Melnikau, a solution architect at Wargaming.
The growing company joined the Linux Foundation in May as it seeks to advance the gaming industry. And it's off to a great start, having shipped more than 15 titles since 1998, including the armored World of Tanks and World of Warplanes, a free-to-play flight combat game. Wargaming is now expanding to a new mobile platform and continues to hire developers as it opens offices across the globe.
Here, Melnikau discusses how Wargming uses Linux; the company's hardware setup; gaming on Linux; his advice to game developers; and openings at the company.
How does Wargaming use Linux?
We extensively use Linux for multiple Wargaming projects. Servers for all our games, for example, are powered by Linux. Whether you play World of Tanks and World of Warplanes on PC, World of Tanks: Blitz on iPad, iPhone or any Android device, World of Tanks 360 Edition on your Xbox, or World of Tanks Generals in your browser—the server side is always Linux-based.
To run its web services, Wargaming actively uses a wide range of open source tools and frameworks such as, to name but a few: MySQL, Python, Django, Nginx, and RabbitMQ, and when it comes to servers, all our games rely on Linux.
The company’s development studios handle their day-to-day operations and processes, widely applying Linux. Finally, many of us prefer the GNU OS for everyday use.
What’s your server setup?
World of Tanks has client-server based architecture, where everything is being calculated on the server. The major benefit it grants is security—it is virtually impossible to hack in to the World of Tanks. The client does nothing other than translate keyboard and mouse movements into commands to send to the server.
The overall server setup depends on the amount of active players. The Russian game cluster, for example, peaks with more than 800,000 concurrent users, which calls for relevant server capacities. Presently the game cluster has close to 300 powerful servers with 24 threads and 64 GB RAM each. Besides significant computing power, we have huge database machines with a lot of RAM (our largest database server has 384GB RAM, to be exact) and powerful storage (24 HDD x 600 GB in RAID10).
What are some of Wargaming’s most popular titles for LinuxOS users?
Although there’s no World of Tanks client for Linux, the game runs on Wine and other Windows emulators.
The collectible card MMO game World of Tanks Generals, which is now in Closed Alpha testing, will be cross-platform. Another upcoming title—the mobile MMO action game World of Tanks Blitz—will have a version for Android.
How has the recent release to Steam on Linux worked out so far?
Wargaming is not using Steam for its products. The company’s vision is to create and run its own distribution services. However, we are happy to watch Linux evolve as a quality gaming platform, and Steam is what helps it to grow.
What advice would you give developers who want to build games for Linux?
For starters, I’d tell them to be less platform-specific and concentrate more on the quality and robustness of the experience they create. If your game is engaging, accessible, and deep, it will attract players at launch. Don’t stop when the game goes live—improve and grow it to ensure users stick to it for years on. As for the server side, I would definitely advise you to choose Linux.
Why did you join the Linux Foundation?
We rely on Linux open source tools a lot. They help us continuously improve on our server platform and stay in the vanguard of the global technology evolution of this massive movement.
The Linux Foundation contributed greatly to Wargaming’s success, and we hope to continue our collaboration in the future and expand it into other areas.
I see you’re currently looking for a Linux system administrator. What are the skills and experience you look for in new Linux hires?
Besides system administrators, we seek Linux system developers and Web developers. The full list of vacancies and requirements for them is available at Hot Vacancies section of Wargaming’s corporate website. Linux engineers will find plentiful offerings there. As for the skills, we hire both experienced specialists and those only starting their work life.