Darling Family “Maker” Project
MICHELLE, Product Management
CHLOE, User Experience
Case Study: Online Video Games
YOURCraft Online Video Game
Very popular MMOG (massively multiplayer online game.)
Wide appeal: Kids aged 5+ to Adults.
“Indie” game: not commercial, similar to OpenSource software.
Distributed: Thousands of YOURCraft servers throughout the world.
Educational: builds logical, analytical, spatial reasoning, math, problem-solving skills.
Crowd-sourced: Users build worlds using blocks similar to“virtual Legos”.
Examples: Cities, Sports, Harry Potter, Disneyland & more!
GRIEFING – bad player behavior. Mixed-age,
unmonitored play leads to bad language, block
destruction & online bullying.
BIG DATA VOLUME & VARIETY – One
busy server = 100GB/month 1.17TB /year of
saved maps, weblogs, player messages, game
Online “Virtual World” Games
STICKINESS - Increase user time
spent in the game through:
CUSTOWNERS – Ability to build fun,
engaging, immersive worlds builds
customer loyalty & ownership.
DATA MYNING – Game personalization
based on user data (age, hours played,
FREEMIUM - Give away game for
free, then charge for premium services.
Case Study Problem Highlights
GOAL: Set up YOURCraft server to ensure safe, engaging &
educational experience for family, friends & classmates.
Analytics: Monitor player behavior to block griefing, encourage building, improve game
features, find monetization option$ (so we can pay the bills!)
Skill Level: Must be easy enough for teenager, 8yo and busy mom.
Fault-Tolerant: Can’t afford to lose user data such as world maps.
High Availability: Provide 24x7 access to games.
Low Startup Costs: $0 if possible.
Scalability: Start with dataset from one server…
ingest datasets from hundreds later.
Analytics: Splunk Storm ingests
weblogs & player comments.
Scalability: AWS & Splunk scale
“from laptop to datacenter.”
Fault-Tolerant: AWS S3 provides
secure data storage.
Skill Level: AWS AMI template
enables easy setup.
High Availability: AWS EC2 provides
Low Startup Costs: AWS EC2 Free-
Tier for 1st Year = $0
• Splunk Storm for Weblog &
Sentiment Analysis, Anomaly
Detection, Dashboards. Splunk
Indexes files directly; no need for
ETL or database management.
• AWS S3 (Simple Storage Service) --
similar to Hadoop HDFS.Data Storage
• Game Hosting AMI (Amazon
Machine Image) for YOURCraft
Server. Wizard-based template.
• AWS EC2 (Amazon Web Services
Elastic Compute Cloud)Infrastructure
Proposed Solution - Architecture
• Game Web Logs
• Player Messages
• Game Metadata
• User Data
Game Web Logs
Proposed Solution Benefits
Cloud-based game hosting – No need to buy any hardware. Secure,
scalable, high-availability, fault-tolerant storage & resources, 1st year
free. Easy enough for teenager to setup and maintain.
Web log Analysis to track user “stickiness” and player activities. Easy for
an 8yo to monitor dashboards and report “griefing” so users & IP
addresses can be blocked if needed.
Sentiment Analysis & Data Visualization to gain insights on attracting &
retaining users, fee-based services, monetization. Splunk works directly
on AWS S3 files – no ETL or database needed. Easy for busy mom to
define new algorithms & business questions.
Sample YOURCraft Weblog
Data elements we can search,
summarize or graph:
• Player logins
• Player IP Addresses
• Player session time
• Blocks placed
• Blocks broken
• Dangerous block placement
(fire, water, lava)
• Player deaths
• Player in-game messages
• Player issued commands
Splunk Anomaly Detection
“Griefers” vs. “Busy Builders”
“Blocks placed” point to high-
value players who do a lot of building
and should be rewarded.
“Blocks broken” can signal destructive
behavior. If needed, can block:
• Specific users
• All users from a specific IP Address.
Splunk Data Visualization:
User Behavior, Stickiness
Splunk Sentiment Analysis:
Sentiment analysis can reveal
popular themes, characters, game
features. Users can be banned if
they engage in negative comments
or online harassment.
Setup YourCraft Server
Use Analytics to gain insights on
server admin best practices.
Use insights to improve user
experience, game features.
Share insights with other
YOURCraft admins (9,000+
Recruit other server weblogs for
bigger, richer analytics datasets.
Rinse and repeat…
Innovate & Monetize
AWS Free Tier expires! Start
offering premium fee-based
services such as:
Safe sandbox – parents control
game content; limit playtime
Members-only access to videos,
tutorials, game objects,
“playdates” with other players.
Use analytics to check
Rinse & repeat…