It was an action-packed GDC this year with several announcements making headlines across the globe.
However, one of the most enlightening talks we saw took place in a discrete, but jam-packed conference room. It was hosted by Tencent Games, the well-known, and it introduced the assembled developers, journalists, and games industry figures to a development platform called CROS.
Tencent Games CROS, short for Common R&D and Operation Systems, is a collection of many different tools that streamline the development and optimization of games. More than 200 developers have made use of it so far including giants like Miniclip, Epic, and Supercell.
The talk centred on PUBG Mobile, which is also published by Tencent Games. Over the course of 90 minutes the various personnel responsible for running CROS took turns explaining how they approached common issues in the mobile gaming world and utilized CROS to turn PUBG Mobile into a universally acclaimed hit.
Here's how the four different tools Tencent Games' CROS introduced works. The first, WeTest, massively reduces testing time by employing sophisticated AI to do the job of many humans. It tests apps on the 500 most popular smartphone models, ensuring that 90% of players at the very least have a smooth experience.
Then there's INO (Intelligent Network Optimization), a clever network optimization tool that uses Dual Channel Solutions, among other things, to ensure that networks are specifically optimized for multiplayer gaming. This is vital in eSports where fractions of a second are everything. INO reduces latency by 90%, making its networks 99.9% compliant with eSports industry requirements.
Next up is G6 (Game R&D Solutions). This gives developers a 24/7 data storage solution with data retrieval times of under 3 milliseconds and the capacity for 20 million requests every second. This also allows for high quality voice chat. G6 has an impressive 99.8% connection ratio with a crash ratio of only 5 in every 100,000 instances.
Last but not least is MTP. If you've ever played an online game, you've probably come across a cheater – whether you realize it or not. There are hundreds of thousands of cheat tools, some specific to the game you're playing, some general. These cheats come in many varieties and MTP can spot them all, identifying dishonest players and keeping the contest clean for honest players like you.
Tencent Games' CROS talk was certainly eye-opening. Most players probably don't give a thought to the work that goes into making a game fun – particularly a game like PUBG Mobile which had issues on arrival and failed to get much higher than a 3-star user rating in its first few months (it's now at 4.5, from more than 13 million reviews).
When it comes to QA, network stability, and so much more, it seems that CROS is the secret to several mobile game's success.