is it feasable in term of cost for an indie developer to add a server for a farming game, to save progress (new buildings) and the friends of each user? I have read figures about Farmville, that were around millions of dollars to just save the data.

So, on facebook the number of users can grow a lot: is it realistic to create a game for facebook as an indie developer as almost all games on facebook uses a server to save progress or achievements?

EDIT: it would be a simple farming game where you add new items and they'll have to be stored on a server. If the game is free, let's say it is downloaded 1M times, what kind of budget should I be ready to pay from the very beginning?

  • \$\begingroup\$ It's probably best to worry about scalability only once you need it. Chances are, you won't make the next Farmville. But even if you do, there are many, many steps along that path which will in all likelihood teach you what you need by the time you get there. (Such things also depend totally on the game you're making.) \$\endgroup\$ – Anko Feb 3 '14 at 22:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually the challenge is not paying for the server. It is a tool to make money and not the other way around like you suggest. Your goal is to make the players want to pay by doing whatever transaction it is you've set up in your game. Servers are a tool to accomplish that goal and professional existing setups like SmartFox are designed to be scalable so you only pay a lot if you have a lot of customers and like I suggested, if you have customers you should be making money like any business that has many customers. \$\endgroup\$ – AturSams Feb 3 '14 at 23:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Only you know the requirements of your app, the projected expenses and expected income. Only with that information can you decide if it's feasible or not. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Feb 3 '14 at 23:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ArthurWulfWhite thanks, if you save any progress you need a server and a database right? So, from the very beginning I guess I would need to pay for a server, maybe like SmartFox (I don't know), I am wondering what are the kind of prices for a farming game on facebook, it would be a simple game where you add new items and they'll have to be stored on a server. If the game is free, let's say it is downloaded 1M times, what kind of budget should I be ready to pay from the very beginning? \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Feb 4 '14 at 0:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Paul Yes and NO! You don't actually need "a server" (as in your own server). You simply may need the resources and services a Server can provide to users. Providing these services to a small amount of users does not cost anything through Google App Engine for instance. You don't want SmartFox if you just wish to store and load data. With a scalable service like Google's app engine, you only pay if you do well.. As long as you have only hundreds of users, you may not need to pay at all and even if you do pay, it will be a modest amount (until you get big). \$\endgroup\$ – AturSams Feb 4 '14 at 5:12

Yes, it is feasible, whether you choose to roll your own or use a third party application.

Making it yourself can give you valuable experience and understanding of the systems behind making even a fairly simple server and database work. For an asynchronous system it is completely realistic to run tens of thousands of players on one fairly inexpensive server host.

Using a ready solution on the other hand will probably be faster and more scalable, but may be fairly expensive, making it a questionable choice if the game does not monetize well.

I would suggest rolling your own first and learning the ropes, making sure that the game itself proves it's worth. Perhaps try out the service of choice on trial, and make your own code use similar structures so the interface won't be painful to convert if you decide you need more features or scale.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Possible and feasible aren't the same. With the information provided, it's impossible to answer if it's feasible for OP. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Feb 3 '14 at 23:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks karmington, I edited my question, maybe this can help to get other answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Feb 4 '14 at 0:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Byte56 I completely disagree. The question is if it's feasible for an indie game designer. In addition, the OP asked about a server for very specific DB transactions and not even multiplayer. How is that not feasible when there are free services provided for this purpose like Google App Engine where you only need to pay if and when you get a lot of traffic and even then, only if you wish to continue providing services. The OP can start a server for free and decide later if the income is reasonable to continue or rethink the marketing strategy and take a hiatus. \$\endgroup\$ – AturSams Feb 4 '14 at 5:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ArthurWulfWhite "Feasible: possible to do easily or conveniently." We can't say what's easy or convenient for someone else. It may be feasible for you, that doesn't mean it's easy or convenient for someone else. Your comments and this answer are simply answering that it's possible. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Feb 4 '14 at 5:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Byte56 dictionary.reference.com/browse/feasible?s=t 1. capable of being done, effected, or accomplished: a feasible plan. 2. probable; likely: a feasible theory. 3. suitable: a road feasible for travel. -> I think he is basically asking how to get it done without spending a fortune and going bankrupt in the process. The answer is simple, using a scalable service where you pay for what you use as you go and monetizing traffic as best you can. If the earnings don't cover expenses, you can just stop. -> Also he's asking if it's doable for an indie dev, not himself per se. \$\endgroup\$ – AturSams Feb 4 '14 at 5:32

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