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Enterprise gaming CDN: Get started in an hour, with Unity’s Cloud Content Delivery

September 10, 2020 in Technology | 7 min. read

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We’re launching Cloud Content Delivery – a powerful end-to-end content management solution for developers to help you get your game content to the right users at the right time.

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Developing, managing and delivering content is resource-intensive and fraught with challenges. Few reliable end-to-end solutions are available to help studios manage these tasks. Setting up a content delivery network (CDN) can take several weeks to months. You also need to implement and build content management tooling, deal with a third party for storage, and have a team in place to monitor the entire process. It costs you in time, money, and technical headache to set up and maintain a content delivery system for your games.

But what if you could cut down the months of engineering time required for CDN monitoring and maintenance into one hour of setup? That’s exactly what Unity is doing in launching Cloud Content Delivery – a comprehensive management, hosting, and delivery solution that enables developers to provide the right content to the right users. This fully managed service is built with an industry-leading global CDN and will free up your team to spend less time on infrastructure and more time creating. 

Try it now for free with 50 GB of bandwidth per month. You can be up and running in under an hour.

Why Cloud Content Delivery?

Unity Cloud Content Delivery is the first CDN designed from the ground up for game development, making it easy to manage 2D and 3D assets and quickly deploy them into your games codebase.

With CCD you can design your own pipeline by creating as many content deployments (i.e., buckets) as needed, promote releases between these buckets, and create binary flags (i.e., badges) to generate multiple pathways for content to enter production (via QA or for additional work by your Artists). The icing on the cake is that you’ll have peace of mind knowing the product will maintain uptime and performance even under unpredictable circumstances, without your engineering teams having to lift a finger. 

Cloud Content Delivery is not only a CDN service – it’s a full solution for hosting, managing and delivering content to your players. We wanted to build something comprehensive – a powerful yet efficient service that gives you as much control as you want depending on your level of technical expertise. 

Using Cloud Content Delivery

There are two main ways to integrate your application content to Cloud Content Delivery:

  • Command-line interface: The command-line interface (CLI) is the recommended method of interacting with CCD. With this tool, you can use the command line to control every aspect of your project, from file management to organizing your release pipeline.
  • Unity Developer Dashboard: You can also use CCD in the Developer Dashboard to create and maintain buckets, badges and releases. NOTE: use the command-line interface (CLI) to upload, delete and sync files and folders before managing them in the Developer Dashboard.

Most work environments use a combination of both methods. The technical work gets done via the CLI, but the Developer Dashboard lets you collaborate with nontechnical team members to manage an application’s assets using a more visual user interface.

Release management features

  • Bucket: A bucket is a single context for publishing content, such as the platform or environment. Organize your content into buckets to create a clear workflow for your project.
  • Release: A release is a snapshot of all entries (at their current versions) contained in a bucket at that specific point in time. If you want to remove, update, or add entries, you simply create a new release within the bucket to deliver the new or changed entries.
  • Badges: A badge is a release “tag.” When promoting a new release (for example, from the development bucket towards the staging bucket), you can assign a unique badge to this release, and request that content using that badge’s name. 

So, for example, you can use these features to do some A/B testing for your game and deliver content to select users before launching publicly. Your last release of the staging bucket is up-to-date and ready to be promoted to production. When promoting a release from your staging bucket to your production bucket, select the “early access” badge. In this way, the new content will be deployed to the production bucket, and go live to the select group of early adopters.

If you’re taking full advantage of the Unity ecosystem, you can also use the Addressable Asset System to serve your content to CCD. This process should greatly reduce the time it takes to activate your content deployment pipeline. 

Currently, Cloud Content Delivery supports mobile (all operating systems) and PC platforms.

How does Cloud Content Delivery work?

The Cloud Content Delivery solution consists of two APIs: the management API, which is intended to be used by developers at build times to manage content, and the client API, which is intended to be used at runtime by your game client. 

Let’s imagine that a mobile gaming studio is about to launch a new live game. To keep players engaged, they want to release content at least once a week, without requiring customers to reinstall the game each time. For many studios, handling this kind of delivery can be problematic because their current pipeline and infrastructure are either nonexistent or pretty complex, and their technical team is either fully committed to front-end development or already spending too much time managing all the internal tooling and third-party services. Whether a studio has never launched a live game before or it has a complex build process, Cloud Content Delivery can simplify the pipeline and provide users with a great experience. 

For this example, let’s assume the technical team for this new title is composed of a developer, a QA engineer and a release manager.

The developer works on their local machine to develop content and new characters for the next update of the game. They decide to set up a development bucket to push content from their local machine to the cloud by using the CLI. Once they are satisfied with the quality of content, the developer promotes the release to the Staging bucket to enable the QA engineer to test this new release on QA devices before going to production. The QA engineer has a special build of the game on their QA devices. This build is configured to pull the latest content from the Staging bucket. To do so, the app loads content from whichever release on Staging has the latest badge. (Note that the system automatically creates a badge called “Latest,” and applies it to a new release.)

When the QA engineer approves the new content, the release manager has to copy it to the Production bucket. They can simply promote a release from the Staging bucket to the Production bucket using Unity Developer Dashboard. In a few instants, the new content will be available to all the players around the world. Next time they start the application, the new content will be automatically loaded on their device.

In a few clicks, this studio set up its delivery pipeline and was able to quickly and easily upload, test and deliver the new content to its players. No complex pipeline and no time-consuming release schedules.

Get started in an hour or less

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We want to give you the opportunity to try out Cloud Content Delivery and experience the value it can bring to your games. That’s why we made the first 50 GB of bandwidth free (renewable every month). With this trial, you can migrate your existing games into our Cloud Content Delivery solution, or test and launch a new project. And we’ll give you some resources to help you get up and running with your projects, without any technical headache. 

For Unity users 

Connect to your Unity Developer Dashboard, go to the Cloud Content Delivery section, and follow the instructions.

For non-Unity users

It’s easy to get started, even if you aren’t building your games with Unity. Simply sign up for an account on our Unity Developer Dashboard and create your Unity ID. Once you’re connected to your dashboard, go to the Cloud Content Delivery section, and follow the instructions.

Try it now

We hope Cloud Content Delivery will streamline your development process so you can focus more time creating and less time worrying about how to manage your game’s infrastructure. Check our product page for more information on the 50 GB monthly free trial, pricing, FAQs, and other resources.

September 10, 2020 in Technology | 7 min. read

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