Nothing lasts forever, however much we’d like it to. The Scirra website has served us well over the years. Back in 2011 when we first launched it we were happy we were getting 1,000 visits a day. Since then, we've steadily grown and are currently serving around 30,000 visits and over 100,000 page views a day... far more than we ever dreamed we would be serving all those years ago! Over it's life, it's handed out over 125,000,000 page views to 30,000,000 visits and 14,000,000 visitors.
Along with all this traffic comes significantly more demand on our servers. We sometimes serve over 300gb of bandwidth on a single day (yes, three hundred gigabytes over a 24 hour period!). During peak hours we're serving three page views a second.
As I'm sure you've noticed 5 years on things are cracking round the seams a little. When the site was originally built, I built it under the startup mantra of just make it work. However it's now outgrown the luxury of being able to just build it to work. As some of you have validly pointed out, the current stability of the site is a concern with the nature of what Construct 3 is.
Unfortunately, the current site is beyond "repair" in it's current state if we want to be confident of having more space to grow. We need a scalable solution, and retro fitting scalability onto a pretty large website is so difficult it's better to just start over!
First, it's probably going to make more sense to talk about our re-branding and then I'll talk about how the new website fits into this all.
When people search for us online, or talk about us as shows and in game jams only a small percentage of people refer to us as Scirra (we estimate ~5-10%). Most people look for "Construct" or "Construct 2". It's apparent that our brand is Construct and not Scirra. (Also there are a million ways we've heard Scirra pronounced!)
For this reason, we will be rebranding as Construct. We'll be changing our social media accounts to reflect this change (for example our Youtube channel can now be accessed at youtube.com/c/construct).
We will be launching Construct 3 on www.Construct.net. You currently won't see anything there (unless you're visiting us from the future in which case what are you doing here, check out the new site!), but it will be up and running for the Construct 3 public beta.
We're investing significantly into our web infrastructure, the new site will be hosted on Azure and we've hired Rackspace to manage our cloud deployment and help set up processes to deal with failures. During development, Rackspace have proven themselves invaluable, exceptionally talented and are always available to help when something goes wrong. One thing I've learnt over the years is I'm not a server admin, it's expertise we're lacking in the company. We do view Rackspace as an additional employee for these reasons!
This all comes at significant cost but the benefits over our current website should be well worth it.
The new website will have a host of advantages:
As we're hosted in the cloud going forwards, we'll be able to deal with additional demand on our infrastructure easily by simply deploying more resources.
The new site has better error reporting, monitoring and has been written from the ground up to be more reliable and stable.
The new site will be blazingly fast. I've spent a lot of time ensuring everything is aggressively cached at every possible level. We've also installed additional infrastructure such as Cloudflare's Railgun server to make things even faster. Everything is served through Cloudflare's CDN over HTTP2. Every static resource is immutably cached.
Cold page loads on the new site for light pages (eg the registration page) should be around the 100kb mark (4x smaller than Scirra.com's). Once most resources have been cached (and ignoring any unloaded images/videos on the page) new page loads should only transfer around 5-20kb of data.
Some pages on Scirra.com take in the region of 100-400ms to generate on the server. On the new site I'm targetting and seeing ~5ms to generate a page on the server.
There's numerous other small features and tweaks implemented to ensure every page load is as absolutely fast as possible, I feel we've done everything we can here!
In internal tests (granted we do have fast internet here) we can cold load a new version of Construct 3 in around 1.5 seconds. Downloading the latest Stable version of Construct 2 takes around 10 seconds, AND you have to install it which can take a bit more time.
I know, I know. A company telling you their emails are going to get better will not fill many people with a sense of excitement, however we know we've had some teething deliverability problems in the past and present with email which has been a bit of a pain point for us and our customers. We're now moving to SendGrid who will provide a far more speedy and reliable delivery of emails on our site.
I'm building better admin and support tools in parallel with the new site which will let our support team to deal with your queries and problems faster, more efficiently and more directly.
The site is responsive and should be fully mobile ready. It will be lightweight, and serve beautiful high DPI images for devices with high DPI displays.
The new architecture of the site allows for more rapid development and deployment of new features. Once the ball is rolling you'll see big new features quickly.
Paulo's been hard at work giving a new look to the site, here are some mockups showing how it looks on both desktops and mobile devices. Ignore the text for now (the ink is still drying on that) but it should give you an impression of the look and feel of what will come.
Scirra.com Long Term Plan
The long term plan is to shut down scirra.com, and move everything over to Construct.net. This will be a fairly tricky and lengthy process so it's not going to happen overnight. Tutorials, games, forum posts the lot will not be lost and the goal is to move them all over to the new site.
Construct 2 is not being abandoned as we've mentioned several times before, we will be moving all Construct 2 content over to Construct.net, the eventual new home of Construct 2 and Construct 3.
What to Expect at first?
At first, Construct.net will be fairly bare bones (that's not to say there isn't a lot behind it). You'll be able to login with your current Scirra account, look through Construct 3 releases and change-logs and of course launch Construct 3.
The initial goal at first is to prove it's reliability and stability. Then, the transfer from Scirra.com over to Construct.net will begin.
Construct.net is a huge jump above Scirra.com in every way and will be a lot more enjoyable to browse and use!
Missed our earlier announcements? Here's a list of all the news about Construct 3 so far: