Wow – what a week. If Team EGO considered itself busy before then we certainly had another thing coming!

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As some of you are aware, last week the game was featured at the very top of Facebook’s New Game section, which we are all immensely proud of. The result of that is we had a sudden increase in new players trying their hand at being Evil Geniuses, which is something a development team, whilst always welcoming, must take into account and take precautions for.

Over the period of three days at the beginning of the week, our user-base doubled in size. This firstly meant we had to make sure that the game’s servers could cope with the increased load. Thankfully some sterling preparation and a healthy focus on optimisation had put us in great stead, and we were able to sail through that concern without a single hitch. Go team! We’ve had horror stories of various other games falling at this hurdle, so the fact we managed to get through it without having to make any changes pleased everyone.

Obviously, just because we’re at this stage doesn’t mean we can’t continue to optimise the game further. In the past few weeks we’ve implemented an update to the way the game renders, which has given players a noticeable improvement in performance even on lower spec machines. We’re also working on an improved way for the game to store its data files which boils down to something like an 85% file size reduction in that area, which is a massive optimisation to make. We like to think that we are really pushing into new territory with what browser games can do with this kind of stuff.

The secondary issue was that an increase in users means an increased spread of hardware, browsers and flash versions that people are using to play the game. This is particularly useful when it comes to making sure the game is working on as many different operating system and browser combinations as we reasonably can, and over the past few days our code wizards have been making appropriate tweaks to optimise the game for plenty of different platforms. This will obviously benefit us in the long run, as the more people we can welcome in through their evil Lair’s doors the better!

In the meantime, the design team are busy implementing a St. Patrick’s Day themed mission series into the game so folks can celebrate the five days leading up to it in style. This time you’ll find yourselves undertaking some rather old-school evil antics after Max discovers a mysterious map promising great treasure, although anyone thinking they can just stroll in and take it for themselves had probably not forget that John Steele and SABRE are always looming large wherever evil may surface...

Talking of things looming large, we’re also busily readying the player’s second Lair floors as I write this. Located in this floor will be the Armoury and Infirmary rooms, both of which will not only play a part in the ever-continuing fight against the Forces of Justice, but also form an integral part to players’ progression in the Global Domination mode. You wouldn’t want to send your Minions off to wage evil across the world unequipped and without medical backup, after all!

I find myself somewhat unequipped currently, having noticed I have an empty mug that needs to be filled with design-inspiring tea. Next week we’ll chat to some of the guys here on Team EGO so you can have a better insight into the game’s development – until then, I hope you all have good (and perhaps slightly evil) weekends.

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