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#StartupsOnAzure – Azure PlayFab is Gavra Games’s powerup for multiplayer

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Small game development teams often lack the expertise or resources to handle the server-side and runtime infrastructure issues that are critical to a game’s success. It does not matter how exciting the UX is if players cannot easily and securely find and interact with each other, or if runtime performance is slow or unreliable. This case study shows how Azure PlayFab and its partners provided Gavra Games with a complete, cost-effective, and performant framework for testing, staging, and hosting its turn-based RPG multiplayer video game, at scale.

The game development dilemma

Indie game developers are primarily interested in the creative side of game development. They are motivated by the thrill of engaging users in a great gaming experience that keeps them coming back for more.

In reality, however, the behind-the-scenes infrastructure and architecture issues are just as critical to deploying great games as the client-side UX. Yet it is rare for a small team to have the expertise or resources to handle all the ins and outs of server-side deployment so that their game will consistently perform as designed, at any scale.

A popular solution to this dilemma is for game developers to rely on out-of-the-box game development and management platforms that seamlessly take care of scalability, performance, and availability, while tracking and analyzing real-time user behavior.

About Gavra Games

Gavra Games was founded by two cousins, Lior Hadashian and Shay Shem-Tobi who are gaming enthusiasts, with a combined 20 years of game development experience. They dreamed about creating globally accessible games for mobile and PC that were fun and easy to learn, but hard to master.

After about five years of development, during which other talents and investors joined the journey, they released their ambitious, flagship game “Warriors: Rise to Glory” on Steam in January 2022.

“Warriors: Rise to Glory” is a turn-based, role-playing game (RPG). Users start as weak, low-level warriors who get stronger by defeating other warriors in battles. With the spoils of war, they acquire better gear and skills.

The game can either be played with up to six players in online multiplayer battles, or against an AI-based robotic opponent in a single-player campaign.

About Azure PlayFab and GitHub

The Azure PlayFab platform gives game developers a backend infrastructure that is quick to deploy and easy to use even without prior server-side knowledge. Azure PlayFab delivers:

  • Secure multiplayer services that seamlessly handle cross-network identity, player authentication, dedicated and scalable multiplayer servers, player matchmaking, party networking and chats, tournaments and leaderboards, and more.
  • LiveOps for running games as a service, with built-in telemetry, automation, experimentation, content management, and in-game commerce capabilities.
  • A privacy-compliant data and analytics engine that aggregates game performance and player metrics for real-time visibility and insight into game health and UX quality.

Azure PlayFab is fully integrated with leading gaming OS (Windows, Android, and IoS), platforms and stores (Nintendo, Steam, Xbox, Facebook, and PS4), and engines (Unity, Photon, and Unreal Engine). The Azure PlayFab ecosystem comes with all the infrastructure, deployment, and management tools that game developers need, including easy to implement and customizable automation CloudScript. PlayFab today hosts more than 2.5 billion player accounts for over 5,000 games.

“Azure PlayFab saved us a TON of money and resources, which allowed us to focus on the game itself and bring a much bigger and richer experience to our audience. All of that was without any compromise on the technical side. Also GitHub was very useful, giving us tools to help our developers collaborate, allowing us to work on multiple branches and revert if needed,” said Lior Hadashian, CTO of Gavra Games.

GitHub is a code hosting platform for version control and collaboration. It lets you and others work together on projects from anywhere. Developing games is a complex process that often requires the work of multiple people. GitHub makes it easy for developers to collaborate on game projects. By hosting code and assets in a single place, developers can easily work together on game development. GitHub also provides a platform for developers to share their code with the world. This can be a great way to get feedback and improve your code.

If you connect a GitHub repo to your title’s CloudScript, every time you commit to the master branch, the contents of the files in the repo will be pulled in as a new revision of your Azure Playfab CloudScript.

How Gavra Games leverages Azure PlayFab and GitHub

“Warriors: Rise to Glory” is built with the Unity engine, which paved the way for using the Azure PlayFab Unity SDK for testing, pre-production, and deployment. As shown below, during runtime, Azure PlayFab takes care of user login, game data management, matchmaking, and communication among the multiple remote clients participating in a game session. All this backend activity is handled transparently by the runtime Azure PlayFab engine, which ensures real-time game performance and availability no matter how many concurrent sessions are active.

Azure PlayFab is also helpful for testing and pre-production with its GitHub integration using CloudScript. CloudScript makes it easy to define and run testing and staging environments that are then seamlessly deployed to production. Yet another advantage of PlayFab’s backend services is that most changes to be tested can be made server-side, thus saving the time and cost involved in building a new video game client for each testing iteration.

Gavrra Games on Azure architecture

Image shows “Warriors: Rise to Glory” as deployed on Azure PlayFab using GitHub and CloudScript

About ID@Azure

ID@Azure is a new program from Microsoft that empowers independent studios and startup game developers to take full advantage of the cloud to build and grow their games. By joining the program developers get free access to developer tools, including up to $5,000 of Azure credit and free PlayFab services, a dedicated developer hub packed with curated educational resources, and top-tier support from Microsoft’s cloud gaming experts. ID@Azure is completely free, and open to game developers developing for any platform. Interested game creators can join today at

Nick Ferguson, director, ID@Azure, said, “We offer Azure PlayFab services at no cost, to help developers like Gavra Games transition from a single player to a multiplayer game and provided solid foundations to build on as they look to expand beyond Steam in the future.”


The Gavra Games team had a quick and easy learning curve to using Azure PlayFab as its server-side platform, due to their experience with client-side development on the Unity platform. The easy migration meant that they could start focusing quickly on getting the game mechanics right and accelerating time-to-market. With Azure PlayFab, you don’t need to worry about scalability; the service can handle as many players as you have. It also opens and closes multiplayer servers based on usage.

Azure PlayFab also provided features for live operations, such as player authentication and leaderboards. This allowed the team to manage their game servers and keep their players engaged.

The Gavra Games team used GitHub to store their game code and to collaborate on development. Any changes made to the game code on GitHub were automatically deployed to the Azure PlayFab servers. This helped ensure that the game was always up-to-date.

“Azure PlayFab saved us a TON of money and resources, which allowed us to focus on the game itself and bring a much bigger and richer experience to our audience. All of that was without any compromise on the technical side. Also GitHub was very useful, giving us tools to help our developers collaborate, allowing us to work on multiple branches and revert if needed,” said Lior Hadashian, CTO of Gavra Games.

To get access to GitHub Enterprise, Azure PlayFab and the whole range of Azure products and services, sign up to Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub today.

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