On the Technology Requirements for a Database to Support Minecraft. Q&A with Charlie Joseph
” I chose SingleStore’s self-managed solution for Analyse, as it was more cost-effective for a bootstrapped startup. At the beginning, when every dollar counts, opting for a cloud solution wasn’t financially sensible.”
Q1. Please tell us in a nutshell what is Minecraft?
Minecraft is a popular sandbox video game primarily built around exploring, creating and building. From surviving against hostile creatures, gathering resources and exploring the world to creative mode, where players can build anything they imagine such as famous landmarks, towns and more. Minecraft is hugely diverse user-generated content (UGC) platform allowing creators to build custom modifications that change how the game functions.
Q2. How many people do you estimate are playing this game?
Minecraft is very popular with hundreds of millions of players logging in monthly, despite the game launching over 12 years ago. Minecraft continues to gain traction with a reported 173 million players logging in during January 2023 alone, with a peak of 17 million players being logged in in simultaneously.
Q3. You are the founder of Analyse. What is it useful for?
Analyse is a Minecraft analytics platform built to aid server admins in better understanding and growing their Minecraft server. With more than 7 years of experience in the Minecraft server scene, including running my own servers, I was frustrated by the lack of good player insights and existing solutions.
After trying different options, I found they all had a similar problem: overwhelming to setup, took too much server ram and packed with useless metrics that wouldn’t help me grow my server. That’s why I chose to develop my own solution, starting in September 2021, and successfully launching it by February 2022
Q4. How do you provide insights into how players interact with your customers’ game servers?
We provide these insights by offering server admins with a lightweight and easy to use solution that takes a minute to install. Customers simply sign up on our platform, follow the onboarding steps, download our plugin, and execute an in-game command – that’s all.
After the initial setup, the rest is managed on our end. The beauty of our analytics system is that we can introduce new insights without requiring customers to update the software each time.
Q5. What are the technology requirements for a database to support Analyse?
A key goal for Analyse was using a query language was similar to MySQL. When looking at database solutions focused around high throughout and fast aggregation, many of the solutions would have required rewriting queries.
This wasn’t a viable option for Analyse as it was being built whilst living off savings, and additional time spent would slow down development. Our queries are also very complex which would be harder to recreate in a new query language.
Self-hosting was also important for Analyse as a bootstrapped startup. It needed to run on minimal hardware while still handling high throughput efficiently.
Q6. Could you tell us what is SingleStoreDB self-managed option and why is it important for you?
I chose SingleStore’s self-managed solution for Analyse, as it was more cost-effective for a bootstrapped startup. At the beginning, when every dollar counts, opting for a cloud solution wasn’t financially sensible.
It also meant that by utilising their self-managed solution it allowed us to run SingleStore on our existing hardware, minimising expenses and enabling us to automate nightly backups.
Q7. Do you use SingleStore’s MySQL connector? How does it work in practice?
The MySQL connector has been one of the biggest selling points for SingleStore, primarily due a smoother migration process moving from MariaDB.
This was appealing for me as other translytical databases I looked at used their own query language instead, a learning curve that would take time away from Analyse while also not working with my existing SQL-backed code base.
This would’ve meant rewriting our application due to being incompatible with Laravel out of the box. Ultimately making maintainability harder and limiting future team members that may join the team.
Q8. What are the outcomes of using SingleStoreDB for your business?
The biggest outcome with Analyse using SingleStore has been offering live dashboards to our customers. It has been a great boost to the user experience on the platform, allowing customers to gain real-time metrics as they happen.
In addition, this has led to us being able to instantly query across 400 million plus records, handling over 130 million API calls a month, all which ultimately end up as database transactions.
Q9. Analyse.net has been recently acquired by Tebex. What is the road ahead for you?
Joining Tebex and the Overwolf family has been a game-changer for Analyse, opening up so many new doors and allowing us to reach more creators than ever before. It’s been an awesome ride so far!
Since I joined Overwolf in October 2022, I’ve been able to focus 100% of my energy on developing Analyse. We are looking forward to release custom events to the platform soon, which is super exciting and opens up even more possibilities for us.
Now, I’m devoting myself to making Analyse the best it can be, alongside working closely to make the Tebex plugin even better. I’m excited about improving my web design skills, mastering new technologies, and taking the user experience to the next level.
Qx. Anything else you wish to add.
If you’d love to learn more about me, feel free to check out my website at charliejoseph.com.
Charlie Joseph is a Software Engineer and Entrepreneur from London, England. He is currently the Head of Analytics, Tebex at Overwolf, mainly working on Analyse after it was acquired in October 2022.
Sponsored by SingleStore.