Last week's release of the first version of the US military's online shooter America's Army ran into some fairly hefty problems, largely caused by a serious underestimation of how many people would actually try to download the free game. Speaking in an interview with HomeLAN (the company that hosts the game's official servers), executive producer Michael Capps has responded to some of the resulting issues, ranging from a lack of servers running the online training maps (which must be completed before a player can get any further in the game) to problems with the network and server code causing excessive lag. Probably the biggest mistake was not releasing dedicated server code at the same time as the game itself, leaving the handful of official servers hideously overcrowded until other people started to work out how to host their own unsupported games. To make matters worse, the development team apparently went on vacation when the game was released! So where does the buck stop? Apparently the army itself "makes the scheduling decisions" for the game. "I believe the plan was to perform initial testing of the network infrastructure with just our official servers, before releasing the server kit and thereby increasing both load and complexity", Michael explained. "Demand has been so high that we've accelerated the schedule for the server kit. The dev team came back early from their vacations and finished the kit today, and it's being tested now for release this week." Looking towards the future, Michael is confident that America's Army can overcome and its somewhat shaky start. "We've been a little thunderstruck by the reaction, but please keep the feedback coming. This is a long-running project, so there's plenty of time for us to build all the tools that gamers need for managing a solid community. We're confident that increased server capacity will let the game really shine. We've got plenty of missions that are finished, playtested, and waiting for launch, and honestly, I just can't wait to show off what this team has produced." Related Feature - America's Army flounders
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