Last year at the Montreal International Games Summit, we had an amazing experience partnering with Chris Brunning, Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services, for a live demo during the conference. Chris gave us a glimpse into Lumberyard and its key benefits for game studios, and also demonstrated how Amazon is using the Backtrace crash reporting platform to support their high-quality editor and engine.
Software Stability is a Challenge and Priority
“Lumberyard is a AAA game engine with millions of lines of C++ code. Developers can get the full source code for free, as well as pre-built components. As you can imagine, game engines are complex. You can change a couple of lines of code somewhere and impact the codebase somewhere else for no obvious reason. Clearly that’s not a good thing; we want a stable product for our customers. So stability is both a challenge and a priority for us.”
It’s important for Chris and his team to be able to know when and where an issue occurred and prioritize them to be fixed.
Improving Software Quality with Backtrace
“Before Backtrace, our QA team spent a lot of time deduping crashes, then classifying them as to which team they should go to – graphics crash, low level crash, etc. before we could fix the issue.”
Chris showed a live demo about how Backtrace deduped and classified his crashes automatically (Want to just watch the demo? Jump in right here).
A summary of his demo is below.
Slice and Dice Your Crash Data Instantly
“Here we’re seeing a few crashes live, in real-time. Using the Backtrace QueryBuilder, I can go in and set up my own queries based on whatever I want – in this case, I want to group based on screen resolution.”
In the above 2 screenshots, you can see 1) the list of metadata that is available to group on and 2) a set of query results grouped by screen resolution. This allows for powerful exploration of your crash data to allow you to help you identify patterns or root causes.
Get Full Stack Visibility
“Next I’m going to jump to the Backtrace Debugger because it uploaded a minidump so I get all of the call stack information on these crashes. I can see all the metadata and attribute information, which shows me what was going on at the exact time of the crash – what the application was, what operating system, GPU memory, GPU name, all the device IDs, etc.”
In the above screenshot, you can see the Web Debugger, which allows developers to decode and investigate dump files simply and easily without having to spend minutes and hours setting up a local environment with the proper symbols, DLLs, and and other related information.
“You can also download the original minidump file and open it up in a native debugger like Visual Studio. Backtrace is showing me exactly when each instance of the crash occurred while very quickly deduping all the errors that our QA has picked up.”
Backtrace Dedupes 1,000 Crashes Down to Only 10
“We can say instead of 1,000 crashes, we’re actually down to 10 individual crashes. Even though they’re across different machines, Backtrace gives us the information we need to identify and fix the problem. Backtrace has been an incredibly useful tool for us.”
In the above screenshot you can see the Top 10 list of issues that has been de-duplicated so developers know where to focus their efforts.
For Game Developers
Amazon is here to celebrate game developer ideas and help make them a reality. Lumberyard, Amazon’s AAA game engine, charges no royalties or seat fees, and offers frictionless integration with Twitch and AWS.
Backtrace is helping the Lumberyard team deliver high-quality and stable experiences to game developers. In addition to internal use, Backtrace will soon available to Lumberyard developers using a Lumberyard Gem.
You can watch Chris’ full live demo here.