Rolling out updates in Roblox can be a bit trickier than usual due to the nature of the server infrastructure: Each game has multiple servers running and not every server may be up-to-date. To get all players into new servers, the only options I know are available are:
- Using ‘Shut Down All Servers’.
- Using ‘Migrate To Latest Update’.
- Waiting for old servers to naturally die out.
- Teleporting all players into a newly created server instance and then back.
However, there are some concerns regarding the user experience with these options.
The first two options are not the best user experience because pressing those buttons suddenly interrupts gameplay for the majority of the player base. The third option can lead to an awkward situation where players want to experience the new update, but they are put into old servers. The last option is arguably the only option that does not harm the user experience because you can notify players before the teleport happens, but implementing such a system can be complex or expensive because the developer has to implement some sort of system to broadcast this action to all out-of-date server instances, and on top of that teleports may fail.
Additionally, with options two and three there is the concern of player data being corrupted. If a new content update adds new items that have to be stored in the player’s data, their save files have to be modified or upgraded. When old and new servers are running simultaneously there is a chance (albeit very slim) that players with upgraded save files join older servers. And so those servers have to be prepared to deal with such save files.
Given the concerns I mentioned above, I would like to know how other games tackle these problems. What approaches does your game take to keep player data safe when a new update hits? What do you do to smoothly transition players from old servers to new servers without harming their experience? I’d like to hear from you all!