The Destiny beta helped Bungie test the limits of their infrastructure, and will lead to a better final product.
In an interview with PlayStation Blog, Bungie developers and designers Jonty Barnes, Derek Carroll, and Jesse van Dijk revealed how crucial the one week beta was for game development.
The beta was not merely a chance for players to get their feet wet, it was an instrumental experiment for Bungie to ensure that their systems could handle the strain.
Creative director Jonty Barnes says that “from the very beginning, the Destiny beta was a very big test for us – we put a huge investment into our online infrastructure and we needed to make sure it worked.”
Lead concept artist Jesse van Dijk added that Bungie “deliberately knocked over a number of systems to see how that would work and if we could handle it.”
“To have 850,000 people playing all at once on that Saturday on the moon was just amazing,” says senior designer Derek Carroll.
“The number of concurrent players during the moon mission was higher than any other Bungie game in history.
“Having that many people allowed us to test better, to kick over some of the systems so that we could get some meaningful data – we can ensure that certain problems, some of which we created on purpose – would not occur at launch,” Carroll said.
Bungie would make full use of the data it drew from more than 4.6 million people that took part in the beta.
Carroll said: “On the gameplay design side we got heat maps from all the multiplayer maps to see where the kills were made, where people died and if they fell off the map for example.
“Also, if there was an area with particularly high traffic, or an area that we thought should have high traffic but didn’t – we could really dig into that data and see if we could make simple changes to help improve things.”
The developers were also heartened by the “overwhelmingly positive” response from the beta community.
Jesse said: “People really seem to understand what kind of a game Destiny is.
“We’ve made an attempt at explaining that prior to the beta, but it was only once people got to play it that we felt like… this is the moment where it clicks, where people get it.”
Destiny is set to launch for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4 on September 9.