HyperReuts' Evolvation bills itself as "a class based and fast paced multiplayer arena space flying shooter with multiple game modes which can be played solo and team-based." Until earlier this week, not many people had heard of it. Yesterday evening, a peak of 172,870 concurrent players caused its servers to buckle. And it all started with a misclick.
As reported by Eurogamer, HyperReuts inadvertently deactivated a host of the game's Steam keys in a bid to combat codes being sold illegally online. In an update posted on October 1, the dev acknowledged the "mistake" after selecting to "ban key options".
From there, Evolvation was hit with a number of negative Steam reviews from disgruntled players, and, after three failed attempts at obtaining new Steam keys from Valve, the dev was eventually advised to run the game as free to play on a temporary basis.
The fact that Evolvation is now free, but doesn't contain microtransactions or any other form of monetisation, means the two-person dev team isn't currently making money—even considering its 170,000+ player influx. Likewise, its servers aren't designed to cope with such numbers, and have buckled under the pressure.
"Concurrent logins are exploding!" explained HyperReuts earlier today. "My server is not made for 180K people logging in at the same time so the servers are overloaded. You will encounter issues like not be able to log in (or long login times). And if you are logged in you probably cannot see any spaceships since they are loaded from the database.
"I am sorry for the inconvenience. In the meantime we are upgrading the servers but we cannot act in a matter of hours. We hope this is fixed within 24 hours! I also expect a lot less concurrent logins at that time. I do not have the money (or receiving any) to setup a server which is able to process 180K concurrent requests. So bear with me and try the game in a couple of days."
At the time of writing, SteamDB says Evolvation has 34,118 concurrent players. Here's hoping players do continue to give the space shooter in a chance in the coming days—and if the server issues have settled, I for one hope HyperReuts can make a bit of cash after the whole ordeal.