The Technologies and Methodologies at Ultra
Better Tools Make For a Better Company
Without the mountain of open-source and paid tools we use day in and day out, we wouldn’t be able to work so fast, and build so much. We thought that you might be interested in hearing a bit about our internal processes as a medium-sized company that is creating both a revolution and going through growing pains. We think that the tools we use say a lot about who we are as a company.
We hope that someday, someone can write up an article like this and include EOSIO and ULTRA as part of what makes their business tick.
First and foremost, Ultra is a development company. We have upwards of 60 employees now, and are quickly ramping up to grow even further in 2020. More than 50 of these employees are involved in building out the technology for Ultra. These are front-end, back-end, dev-ops, and of course, blockchain developers. We’ve been lucky to be able to attract some of the greatest minds working in the space today. Together, we hold the power to create dramatic change for the gaming industry.
Our internal processes are very much modeled around a distributed agile approach, where we have strict sprints, followed by reviews and planning sessions. Each sprint is planned, executed, and completed as we work our way through the enormous task of building out our vision of what the gaming ecosystem should be like. We define Epics, which are large scale vision-driven ideas which we’d like to implement. Think of them as big-picture type stuff. These are broken down into Stories, which describe the expected behavior that we’d like to implement. Stories are broken down into manageable tasks that are then assigned to a developer to complete.
Many of our team members are remote (around half), and we use Google Meet for our daily meetings. Google’s tools are a big help here, with their online sharing of documents and office suite being a big part of the work we do. One of the nicest tools that helps us ideate together is Miro, a whiteboard app which allows multiple users to create diagrams and build visual explanations, all together in real time. It’s a really nice tool.
We use Atlassian tools like Confluence and JIRA to maintain order on the development side. All of our internal documentation is on one giant Confluence wiki which houses the “how and why” defining Ultra. When a new hire comes on, we have a way to get them up to speed quickly and effectively.
JIRA is used for creating and maintaining development issues that are derived from tasks associated with stories. A developer completes the task and it ripples upward to the weekly review by the whole team. Every week the teams show what they’ve built, and it is a better “team building” exercise than any paintball session could be. It’s a cool way to work because it has a lot of structure and every task is clearly defined. This means that the real development velocity of a team can be tracked,. I.e. how many tasks were reviewed, QA’ed, and completed. That which can be tracked can be improved on, which we have done excellently over the past few months! There has been a marked improvement in organization and completion of tasks on time.
For the Marketing team, we use Asana as a way to visualize our content strategy; what we want to say, how we are going to say it, and who is going to do it. Asana has an excellent timeline view that allows our marketing team to go through the list of things we want to accomplish, and organize them by date, and showing what depends on what. It’s a gantt chart on steroids. Very powerful.
Each team at Ultra is laser-focused on building out their piece, and we use these tools to make sure that everyone from each team has access to the knowledge of the company as a whole.
Our backend teams use many awesome technologies like Kafka, MongoDB, Google’s Cloud Computing, and Kubernetes. Our front-end teams have implemented the UI using Angular, which is a well-known and robust framework.
The secret sauce is, of course, what we’re building everything on top of. We can’t give away what we’re basing Ultra on yet because we don’t want to lose our market-first advantage, but suffice it to say that it will substantially change the way you play, socialize, and use the web. We are creating a robust and unique tool that has no peer in the market. It’s going to be crazy cool.
Lastly, we forked the EOSIO blockchain technology and adapted it to fit our specific industry requirements to make it mass market compliant.
Yes, We Are Using Blockchain Tech: Here’s Why
For many, the word or concept of blockchain is anathema. It evokes a strong feeling of distrust and that the underlying technology is a scam. Not even worth a look. We’d like to explain why we chose to go with EOSIO as the backbone of our distribution solution and maybe convince you to take a look at EOSIO technology.
Blockchain technology allows us to empower you to really own your games and their associated assets. Third party app developers can handle use those assets under all kinds of conditions, creating new and exciting business and gameplay opportunities.
You can build a business on our platform, you can engage with your audience.
We want massive transaction speed (up to 100K+ transactions per second, close to what VISA does) that runs on a network full of Block Producers who are KYC’ed and held to account. This ensures that their infrastructure is as robust as it can be, and your application runs on the best network infrastructure possible. Ultra wants to be able to direct where the chain goes and how it develops, and EOSIO is flexible enough to allow for this.
This is because we can make big changes to the core protocols if we need to as we hav forked the codebase (although we are keeping code parity). EOSIO supports deploying upgrades to business logic and core technologies, whereas some technologies like Ethereum required essentially a hard-fork of their entire system. We want a place where people can build stable businesses and for that, EOSIO provides excellent foundations which they can build on going into the future. If you’re already running on EOS Mainnet, it will be easy for you to redeploy on UOS Mainnet as they are compatible.
The resources on our network will be cheaper than competitors and it will be much more user-friendly than what is currently in place on the EOS Mainnet. We have made core changes to how the network delegates resources, with a new CPU/NET policy, and a new RAM market policy. These changes will simplify the UX for end-users, and make for a cheaper, easier deployment for developers. Regular users will never have to know about staking, but for those that do, we support it.
Because that’s what it comes down to, right? We want developers to chose to distribute via Ultra because we provide three great things:
- Easy deployment and distribution through our Game Dev center. We’ll deal with all the hard parts of getting your game into gamers’ hands.
- A built-in user base with effective tools for marketing your app in new ways. Developers will potentially have access to millions of users.
- More money for the developer. We charge a fairer rate than the App Store, Google Play, or Steam.
We are doing our best to provide a fair solution, and have put in place safe-guards that help ensure that the Mainnet remains stable and continues to mature as a product for general availability.
We’re planting a seed and making sure that it grows into the beautiful tree that it should. This is blockchain for everyone. Blockchain that people won’t even realize they are using.
Ultra is the first entertainment platform providing all key games industry services under a single roof, accessible through a single login.
Built around our PC games distribution store, Ultra Games, our platform will provide access to countless centralized and decentralized services: Discover, buy, play and sell your games and in-game items, watch live-streaming feeds, interact with your favorite influencers, participate in contests, compete in tournaments, and much more.
Ultra has been built to provide endless value for players, a fair playing ground for developers, and a whole new world of opportunities for the games industry.
For more information, visit ultra.io and onultra.io and follow along on Twitter, YouTube, Telegram, and Discord.