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CollabNet takes wing for online games

The software development site announces that it is working with Butterfly.net, an IBM-backed effort to create a supercomputing grid for hosting online games.

Software development site CollabNet announced Monday that it is working with Butterfly.net, an IBM-backed effort to create a supercomputing grid for hosting online games.

CollabNet will host the Butterfly Lab, an online environment that will allow developers to test games using a service modeled on the Butterfly approach. Butterfly will also use CollabNet's SourceCast Web application to enable game development teams to share source code, manage art assets and design games for the Butterfly service.

Announced in May, Butterfly.Net is an ambitious effort to apply the grid-computing approach, in which computational tasks are spread over multiple networked computers, to the infrastructure challenges of a hosting online games. IBM, which will provide servers and hosting space for the Butterfly project, has been one of the leading proponents of grid computing as a cost-efficient way to handle large corporate computing tasks.

The increasing sophistication of online games, the most popular of which need to manage tens of thousands of simultaneous players, has made infrastructure a growing concern for game developers.

Brian Behlendorf, chief technical officer for CollabNet, said sharing of knowledge between developers will be crucial as game makers try to adapt grid computing for the first time.

"I think with any new platform, there's a certain learning curve," he said. "I think having a group of people going through that together and able to help each other will make it easier. I think there'll be a lot of work that gets shared on common libraries and common objects."