November 2016

USC GamePipe Laboratory Seminar Series

amit_bhurajonathan_albaugh
Title: Introduction to Online Services & Backend infrastructure for Call of Duty
Tuesday, 29 November 2016, 10:00am
Speaker: Amit Bhura & Jon Albaugh, Online Team, Activision Treyarch
Location: USC GamePipe Laboratory, EGG-108
Abstract
When we discuss about game development, we come across disciplines like gameplay, graphics, AI, etc., but a robust online infrastructure is now an almost ubiquitous requirement for a successful title. With the growing demand of networked AAA games, performance and reliability of Online services is as important as any other aspect of the game engine, and these services go far beyond gameplay networking - covering many aspects of backend systems interaction from Social to Big Data. As representatives from the Online team at Treyarch, we will be covering details of some of our services and backend infrastructure. We will be talking about what it takes to keep these Online services running and millions of Call of Duty players connected 24/7.

Bios

Amit Bhura is a Senior Engineer with Online Team at Treyarch. He has been credited for titles like Black Ops, Black Ops 2 and Black Ops 3. He has worked on many different aspects of Black Ops games, focusing mostly on core online and UI. Over these years he was responsible for shipping In-Game Store and various user content creation systems like Paintshop, Emblem Editor and Gunsmith. He received his MS in Computer Science from USC in 2009 as part of the USC GamePipe Laboratory.

Jon Albaugh is a Software Engineer with the Online Services team at Treyarch. Over his four years at Treyarch he has worked on various systems including tools, gameplay prototypes, UI, and eSports initiatives. Before Treyarch, he worked at Activision and Infinity Ward developing tools to connect systems between studio and publisher. He received a Film Production degree at Loyola Marymount University in 2012, and is a self-taught software engineer.

USC GamePipe Laboratory Seminar Series

Anshul Dhawan
Title: Game Analytics for Data Driven Game Development
Monday, 14 November 2016, 2:00pm
Speaker: Anshul Dhawan, Product Lead for Growth Team, Zynga
Location: USC GamePipe Laboratory, EGG-108
Abstract
With advancements in data technologies, the speed of getting feedback has increased many folds that allows for rapid iteration process. Game development process has shifted from “design, develop, release” to “design, develop, release, and fine tune forever”. In the game industry today, analytics is used heavily to develop strategies for monetization and long term player retention. To create successful games, great game design with high production quality is not enough to can keep millions different kind of players engaged. Game developers have to ensure that they are collecting all the data as the player interacts with each aspect of the game. Very granular game data enables diving deeper into analyzing player behaviors that can be used to predict their tenure and spend in the game. As games are a piece of art, data can best inform you on how to make a game better by highlighting the issues, it can’t create the game for you. So maintaining the balance between the science and art is key for creating highly addictive games. Data, psychology, and qualitative player feedback working together can best inform developers. Using data can get you there faster, provide unbiased feedback (depending on who is analyzing it...this isn't perfect) and help ask the right questions.
Bio
Anshul Dhawan is a Product lead for the Growth team at Zynga focusing on new game platforms. He recently oversaw the launch of Words with Friends on the new iMessage App Store. Prior to that he was a product lead in the analytics organization at Zynga where he led the development of an experimentation platform and player segmentation/user targeting tool that allows game developers to personalize player journeys inside the game. He joined Zynga as software engineer on Zynga Poker before switching to a product management. He graduated from USC’s GamePipe Laboratory in 2010.

LinkedIn | Twitter


USC GamePipe Laboratory Seminar Series

pokemon_go_title
Title: Creation of planet-scale shared augmented realities: Pokémon GO and Ingress
Thursday, 10 November 2016, 3:30pm
Speaker: Ed Wu, Senior Product Manager, Niantic
Location: USC GamePipe Laboratory, EGG-108
Abstract
The ubiquity of mobile phones coupled with the availability of highly scalable NoSQL databases and containerized cloud computing infrastructure has enabled Niantic to create coherent augmented realities encompassing millions of users in a single, consistent experience overlaid on top of the real world in multiple titles, first on Ingress and subsequently on Pokémon GO. The latter has been downloaded over 500 million times and has inspired players to walk more than 4.6 billion kilometers. Niantic has conclusively demonstrated that augmented reality in practice is as much about the data and shared world state as it is about immersive hardware technology still on the horizon. We will discuss the challenges of implementing and operating a planet-scale service with demanding latency and consistency constraints, in the face of usage 50x planned capacity.
Bio
Ed Wu is a Senior Product Manager at Niantic who leads the engineering team of Pokémon GO as well as the Niantic Seattle site. Before helping to lead Niantic from its successful spin-out from Google, Dr. Wu was a Staff Software Engineer at Google where he developed machine learning models in ads quality. He received his PhD from Stanford in Physics in 2009 applying Bayesian parameter estimation models to cosmological data.