Bringing a vampiric vision into reality
How do you efficiently design a vast open world and responsive gameplay for up to 50 concurrent players in a dynamic world that feels alive? Find out how Stunlock Studios used DOTS to execute their ambitious vampiric vision for V Rising, ultimately delivering a game that sold over a million copies in its first week.
The challengeBuilding a massive open-world, multiplayer, vampire survival game with a small team
Developing on the bleeding edge with DOTS
DOTS and ECS enhance game performance through data-oriented programming, parallel processing, and multithreading. The efficiency gains from DOTS and ECS grants developers more latitude to build bigger and bolder games.
Achieving massive scale with DOTS and ECS
When Stunlock Studios set out to build V Rising, they realized quickly that the scale of their vision would require a different design pattern from their previous titles. “We wanted the world to feel alive with lots of destructables and interactibles,” says cofounder and software engineer Rasmus Höök.
Höök started experimenting with DOTS “because its use cases seemed to fit perfectly with the problems we were trying to solve.” Using DOTS and ECS, Stunlock decreased server strain and minimized client CPU resources, resulting in more concurrent players, lowered system requirements, and a robust tech stack that can scale up to meet Stunlock Studios’s creative vision.
Getting support at critical times
As with any soft launch, Stunlock experienced a few day one challenges. Something was causing player GPUs to overheat. The team needed to get a solution to their players fast, so they turned to Unity’s Accelerate Solutions team for guidance.
This issue was something that Accelerate Solutions had seen before, so they knew what to look for and uncovered some uncapped framerates on the loading screen and in full-screen UI elements. Two days later, V Rising was back on the path to success. Stunlock saw the value in collaborating with Accelerate Solutions, so they invited a Unity Dedicated Expert Advisor to work alongside their development team to expedite optimizations.
“I'm very, very happy I made that decision to trust in Unity and Accelerate Solutions,” says Rickard Frisegård, Stunlock’s CEO. “We have a bigger and better game because of that partnership.”
Building confidently with source code access
Having source code access to DOTS gave Stunlock the confidence to be early adopters of a new technology. This access made debugging easier and provided a deeper understanding of the Unity game engine. With a clear view into the inner workings of Unity, Stunlock was able to improve performance, debug faster, and customize the engine to fit their needs.
As Höök puts it, “having source code access was really important to us. It helped a lot to be able to fix bugs, make improvements, or look under the hood to see how to work better with the engine.”
Through their partnership with Unity, Stunlock Studios leveraged bleeding-edge tech and Unity Source Code to build exactly the game they envisioned. The payoff has been tremendous – V Rising is taking over the night.