Ganz Webkinz World Multiuse Server

Posted on Aug 01, 2008
Aug. 2008 - Nov. 2008
Technologies: PHP 5, TCP Sockets, System V Shared Memory, Gentoo Linux

Ganz' most popular product is Webkinz, a series of cute plush doll pets that come with a unique code and web url around their neck. The code allows you to enter Webkinz World and adopt an online version of your pet. Once you're online you can earn KinzCash by playing games, which allows you to buy furniture for your room, clothes for your pet and several other items.

Webkinz had grown so much in recent years that the system in place for multi-use (eg multiplayer games & chat) was quickly becoming unmanageable and even unstable. I was contracted to create a new solution which would scale better and perform better.

My role on the team was to design and program the core socket handling functionality to receive requests from users, generate resulting events and deliver these back to the relevent users. I was also responsible for creating a system which could manage and store information about users, chat rooms and other multiuse-related functionality in shared memory, allowing it to be accessed by multiple processes.

The new network architecture and completely rewritten code base provided a significant performance boost over the previous java solution. The new system handles the same user capacity with only a fraction of the number of servers, and provides a noticeably faster ping time for requests.

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Mike at Chance Cove, NL - photo by Angelina Friskney,