At this year's GDC, Scottish studio Tag Games unveiled ChilliSource, an open source game engine it released to the development community.
Now Tag has a new technology to share that, like ChilliSource, emerged as an internal solution before revealing itself as ideal for a wider developer audience.
“ChilliConnect was born out of Tag’s need to be able to deliver free-to-play games with connected features,” explains CEO and founder Paul Farley.
“A number of years ago we had no back-end capability at all and to begin with we were reliant on third-party providers – none of which met our strict criteria for feature set and pricing.”
Motivated by that criterion the Tag team started to develop moConnect, an internal solution which later evolved into ChilliConnect. And now it’s ready to flee the Tag nest.
The suite spot
ChilliConnect is a ready-to-use, back-end service providing studios with a full suite of tools to maintain a live game. It will present users with a range of options, such as metrics technology, user management tools, social integration, game data management abilities, push notifications, DLC management and more besides. And for now it is entering beta.
“The features in our beta, and those that we’ll be brining to ChilliConnect over the next few months, are relevant to studios of all sizes,” says Farley.
“However, Tag itself has grown rapidly over the last few years and we’ve had to continually keep evolving our tools to work well with larger teams. For example, we’ve spent a lot of time making sure configuration can be managed effectively within a large development team, that our management team have quick access to the most important post-launch KPIs, and also that our game economists have full access to the raw data that is captured within each game.”
That means that while Tag believes ChilliConnect should appeal to studios of many sizes and types, the team hopes that as the feature set expands, larger, multi-discipline teams in particular will embrace the offering.
And Farley is confident ChilliConnect users will enjoy numerous benefits.
“ChilliConnect has evolved from systems that have been developed and used in live games over a number of years at Tag, so any studio will be using a proven, reliable back-end they can trust, allowing them to focus on developing their game without having to worry about deploying or scaling servers,” he asserts. “Post-launch, we also provide access to essential game KPIs, such as DAU, MAU, Retention and ARPDAU.”
All those KPIs are captured through a singular SDK, and are displayed in the same ChilliConnect dashboard, the intent being that there is never need to integrate a separate analytics tool, offering what could be a significant time saver.
Not missing a beta
The ChilliConnect offering is also a platform agnostic technology. Tag will offer an SDK for it’s own ChilliSource engine, and the team will support as many platforms and languages as is possible, from Android to other engines such as Unity.
“As part of turning ChilliConnect in to a standalone product, we’ve spent a lot of time simplifying and streamlining our APIs, so even if the SDK you require for your platform isn’t yet available, integrating should still be relatively straightforward,” Farley predicts.
For now, Farley and his team are looking for beta testers.
“We’re going to be moving really quickly over the next six months as we bring more features across from our own internal systems into ChilliConnect, and we really want to speak to as many studios as possible,” concludes the Tag CEO. “There’s a great opportunity for studios that are looking for a proven, reliable back-end to run their games on to get in touch and have a real influence on our roadmap and pricing as we work towards our first v1.0 release.”