Call of Duty has become an entertainment phenomenon across the world. On Xbox, 5 Call of Duty titles appear on the Top 20 list every week; players continue to play Call of Duty at an unpresedented rate. And with that, the servers have to be able handle all of this. Call of Duty games are known for their smooth launch – the game functions as you’d expect it too. Other titles like Sim City, Battlefield face issues at launch and even after trying to hold players on their servers.
So how does Activision do it? It’s because of DemonWare. A company based in Ireland, with a staff of 150 people. Activision purchased and now owns DemonWare, and their server rights and management.
“In 2005, when we were still a pretty small group of people, 12 to 14,” John Kirk, chief technology officer at DemonWare told Polygon in a recent interview. “I moved to Vancouver, Canada to set up a presence. Most of our customers were up and down the West Coast and it was much easier to support them on their own timezones.”
Pat Griffith, Activision’s vice president of online technology, said that they began working with the company initially to support matchmaking and storage systems needs on the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3. But it was their work on Call of Duty: Big Red One and Call of Duty 3 that won the publisher over.
“DemonWare’s level of collaboration with Treyarch on Call of Duty: Big Red One andCall of Duty 3 surpassed anything we’d ever seen before,” Griffith said. “We found the crew at DemonWare to be highly capable. DemonWare quickly demonstrated an exceptional level of knowledge and experience with our game engine and practices in addition to their domain-specific expertise.”
Originally, the first Modern Warfare experienced a rough launch. Activision, DemonWare, and the developers weren’t ready for so many people to play the title that the servers came to a halt. No one expected the amount of players would be online and buy the title.
“The launch of Modern Warfare came at a point where there was a lot more adoption of broadband internet connections,” Griffith said. “We had, and the industry as a whole probably had, some issues across the board.”
“We became more successful then we had prepared for,” he said. “That’s not just in the online world. Our sales of Modern Warfare were above our expectations.”
And from this experience, DemonWare learned and understood what they have to change and focus on to fix their mistakes.
“Many of our lessons about measuring and everything else, they come from that,” Griffith said. “It provided a foundation that we build on. I think that the nascent of our philosophy begins in that Modern Warfare game and what happened in that title.”
Another integral part that makes Call of Duty what it is is the fact if a certain feature isn’t available, they entire system doesn’t crash. For example, if the leaderboards have to go down, your gameplay isn’t affected. Same with the player count and the global map. If those features aren’t working, the core gameplay features will continue to work regardless.
“One of the things that can happen in any online system is if one bit of the system goes down it can take the whole system down,” Griffith said. “I don’t think it’s magic, I don’t think it’s anything that nobody knows, it’s just very hard to try and decouple and almost isolate a group of systems so that one will not have a knock-on effect on others.”
“Only a small subset of those are required to play a game,” he said. “If player counts or the service that creates the global heatmap, if those systems are down, they’re down but they’re not affecting gameplay. People can still get their profiles, matchmake and join a game. That’s what we focus on, making sure those core systems get a lot more attention and a lot more love then the ancillary systems.”
The team at DemonWare works 24/7 at initial launch phases to monitor the situations, and once the graphs and charts stabalize, their focus is reduced, until the next title hits. Daniel Suarez, vice president of production on Call of Duty, says that even to this day servers for old games are getting background updates all the time.
“I believe that DemonWare is crucial to the success of our online games for all of the reasons mentioned previously,” he said. “They give us a stable platform on which to build. They provide us with valuable data about how our games are played. And their collaboration with the game development studios like Infinity Ward and Treyarch has allowed our game teams to focus on making great games.”
Clever Warzone tricks lets you land without a parachute
A few players have discovered a fun little trick in Call of Duty Warzone that allows them to touch down on Verdansk without a parachute.
There is a useful trick that you can use in a Call of Duty: Warzone match to break your fall while in mid-air. This will allow you to land safely in Verdansk without worrying about deploying your parachute.
Call of Duty: Warzone will pit you against a ton of other players in a highly competitive Battle Royale match. The instant you land in Verdansk, you’ll have to find ways to get ahead of your enemies through different weapons or gear, scoring killstreaks, and even making use of glitches.
Players have discovered many different maneuvers in the game since its release in March 2020. These grant you an advantage over your opponent, including one that has you take out enemies by firing in mid-air.
This will have you deploy your parachute when you’re near the ground, and is a great way to score kills in mid-air. Now a neat new trick has been discovered that removes the need for a parachute altogether.
How to land in Warzone without a parachute
This trick was pointed out by Reddit user Thexer0, who posted a clip of them dropping into Verdansk in the Call of Duty: Warzone subreddit. Here they showed that you are able to land on different surfaces without deploying your parachute.
- Read more: Best Warzone Rebirth Island landing spots
Al you need to do is try hitting certain edges and surfaces in mid-air to break the fall before landing on your feet. In the clip, the player used a Satellite dish for this purpose, and slid off the curved edge before taking out their weapon.
While this trick is useful, it’s not guaranteed to work unless you’re precise with your landing. If you don’t hit the right type of surface, then you’ll find yourself in a world of hurt. The player pointed this out and mentioned that you should try this “at your own risk.”
That said, this trick is absolutely worth trying out. Other players also commented on the thread about their own attempts at this neat little exploit, and many of them reported that it worked out successfully for them.
One Reddit user said “You can do it as well with some of the telephone/electrical towers,” and another mentioned “It works on stones and stuff too. You gotta land on the edges, something around 45 degrees.”
Parachutes are a vital component in Warzone matches, so you should definitely go for this trick. All it takes to succeed in pulling it off is some practice, along with a ton of patience. You can learn some more helpful tricks in our Warzone tips and tricks guide.
Image Credits: Activision
Treyarch dev Tony Flame’s Twitter account hacked
On this Christmas morning, Treyarch’s Lead Designer, Tony Flame, has had his Twitter hacked.
A user hacked Tony Flame’s Twitter account in the early morning hours of December 25, and has gone on a posting rampage, including posting racial slurs and more across the account. The hacker is @wixyV3.
We’re not going to showcase posts here with any racial slurs. The Twitter account has been locked by Twitter for the amount of slurs the hackers have posted, per images sent around in Discord servers.
One of the hacked tweets that has gone viral is about SBMM, asking Activision to remove it from his “game” he “worked hard to make.”
The account still remains hacked at this hour, but it does appear that tweets are being blocked from posting at this time. Twitter locked the account due to the content being posted.
Tony Flame’s account is not verified on the platform.
Flame has been active in posting since Black Ops Cold War’s alpha launched back in September. He’s been posting updates and thoughts around what the team is doing in terms of balancing and content updates.
The last tweet from Flame himself was a Merry Christmas post on the night of December 24.
Activision has not stated anything yet on this hack.
Sledgehammer Games adds 150 new people to team in 2020
Sledgehammer Games’ expansion continued in 2020 with a massive new hiring spree.
Sledgehammer Games has continued to steadily expand their studio throughout 2020, despite the pandemic.
Back in May, the studio announced a massive recruitment effort to bring on many new developers, in all fields, to their studio.
The studio’s Chief Operating Officer announced on Twitter that their effort brought 150 new people to the studio over the last several months.
In a video on Twitter, the studio shared some stories and a look at these new people who the team as the year wraps up.
Beyond already hiring 150 new people this year alone, the studio’s website still has over 65 job positions still listed.
In addition to their recruitment effort, Sledgehammer confirmed earlier this year that they are working on ‘multiple projects’, presumably within the Call of Duty franchise.
We’re now a multi-project studio and we’re looking for a substantial number of new team members to join us. We’re looking across every discipline and various levels of seniority. It’s a pretty exciting time for our studio.
What some of those projects are remains unclear. Sledgehammer Games has played a role, as a support studio, in the development of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.
The studio was a lead developer on Call of Duty, kicking off the three year development cycle in 2014 with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. In 2017, the studio released their second main project: Call of Duty: WWII. Following WWII’s launch, the studio collapsed. Both co-founders and lead, Michael Condrey & Glen Schofield, left. And the studio lost hundreds of developers.
The team was set to work with Raven Software on the 2020 Call of Duty title, but due to the number of employees who left, Treyarch stepped in with Raven to create Black Ops Cold War.
What Sledgehammer Games is working on, in terms of their own projects, has yet to be revealed publicly. Whether they even become a lead developer again is also unclear.
Looking into 2021, there’s no clear indication yet as to which development team is leading the Call of Duty 2021 project. The three year development cycle was upended in 2020 with Treyarch stepping in to salvage the 2020 title. 2021 could be Infinity Ward or see the return of Sledgehammer Games.
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