Grim, a game by indie developer More Polygons, is not your run-of-the-mill shooter. I’ve been a fan of low-gravity insane leaping ever since the Low Grav mutator of Unreal Tournament (Halo fans take note: you guys weren’t the first), but Grim actually makes it a core gameplay element rather than a wacky add-on. As you duke it out in the indie shooter, you can also take full advantage of the Leap ability to rocket away from danger or dive right into it. Check out the trailer below if you don’t believe me :-P.
Another thing that sets Grim apart is that it uses Gemini, my online game service. So when Grim managed to find its way to several news sites like The Escapist and RockPaperShotgun, Gemini got its first big test: could it handle a game going live?
The answer? No. As the picture above shows, right around the time Grim went live a massive spike occurred in the number of requests Gemini received. At its peak Gemini was handling a little over 1 request per second, and over the 5 hour span that it managed to stay online Gemini served an impressive 50000 requests.
But then Gemini maxed out its quota and the service went down. As soon as the guys over at More Polygons made me aware of the problem I decided to do what I never wanted to do: start paying Google for a bigger quota. If you’ve ever wondered why Gemini is completely free, it’s because (at least until now) it has been free for me as well. But a free App Engine app only gets a limited amount of data to work with, and while that has been enough for the 10 months Gemini has been up and running, it wasn’t enough to handle a commercial game.
Once the situation was resolved I had to handle the grim (no pun intended) prospect of continuing to pay Google for the foreseeable future. After a bit of debating I decided to start a new Commercial Developer Pricing Plan, which you’ll be able to read about over on the Gemini page very soon. This won’t apply to everyone, which means that for most of you Gemini is still completely free. But for those of you planning on using the service in a commercial game, you’ll need to shoulder some of the costs.
All things considered, it was a pretty interesting experience and I learned a great deal about the reality of commercial gaming. Also, congrats to Grim and the guys over at More Polygons for an otherwise successful beta release!