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Load testing websocket multiplayer games

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I'm faced with a problem and looking for a good solution.  The problem is how to load test my websocket multiplayer game by simulating n real clients?  My game works great when there are just a few clients while developing, but recently I had about a spike of new players join from a school at the same time, and my game did not scale well at all.

So I have a scalability problem and I need to fix it, but the question is how do I know when it's fixed?  I need a way to on-demand scale up to N number of simulated clients, to test my scalability. 

Problems with load testing websockets:

  •   I can't just open a bunch of browser windows on my computer and connect because my computer doesn't have enough resources to support that many clients.
  • There are traditional web load testing tools like jmeter, but they are designed for opening http connections not websockets
  • There are also websocket load testing tools like thor, but those just open a websocket connection and send dumb messages, and can't act as a real game client.

What I need is a way so simulate a real game client that uses the same protocol as the game, and sends messages as a real player would,  then be able to scale that up to 10, 20, 50, 100.

Has anyone else run into this problem or have any recommendations?

Thank you!

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