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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Crashing Akademi Fantasia (TV Game)

To the truth, I've never watched one of Astro TV's premier shows in the region, Akademi Fantasia, mainly due to my lustful intimacy with my computer rather than my TV (take note however, I am now two-timing my computer with my cellphone, which probably explains why they never want to communicate peacefully via UBS cable anymore).

But last Friday was one of the hectic-est (can I patent this word?) day for the last 2 months and a half I've ever been in MyGO. Reason pertaining was that completing the new AF game was of the utmost priority, so that Astro can make the most standard-telco-rates-apply money while the momentum is running strong.

I can't really show you the full game we were crash testing, mainly because it's not fully completed yet at time of writing. Furthermore, I'm too cheap to hire a lawyer in case Boss Bun turns against me and sue for infringement of privacy, breach of contract, etcetera-etcetera. Now that I think about it, his attention span of two minutes would make court proceedings slightly difficult.

So I can only afford this secret cellphone snappy.

Everybody! Stop working and start playing. That's your boss's order! Now!

If you're an avid TV SMS gamer or just curious to know how game developers do beta-testing, read on at your pleasure. It was something new for me too.

When a system is done, head programmer (Supervisor-Christy) needs all hands on deck to abuse the game to the max. Once in the company's server, the main programmer of the game, in this case is green-jacket-guy Usuff, starts the countdown to tell the system how long it should run.

Meanwhile, anybody who's glued to a PC has to access this dummy site that simulates a cellphone SMS system (but without the standard-telco-rates-apply) which connects directly to the test server. Since it was a dummy site, most staff of MyGO opened two or three of them, since the game system was designed to accommodate a Mongol horde.

Dummy SMS site. This image was blurry on purpose but I'm guessing you get the idea.

The plan was to hit the AF game system with an overload of players, real-time scenario, so we can check for any bugs, failures or even sudden stalling of the whole thing, which Astro company most definitely don't want that (we work hard so you play hard, hehehe). This is what the cyber-universe community calls a crash-test.

Once the countdown started running, it was like provoking a pack of hell-hounds. Everybody had only 20 minutes to get the highest score possible and with no minimum charge, who the hell wants to be skipping out of the Numero Uno battle, even a mock-up was it was?

Not all the participating 8 staffs of building 2A, Jalan Wan Kadir 1, that's for sure. The greatest reward is in the play.

It was a lot of fun, being the very first players of a very brand new game based on a popular reality show. Especially since it was a shooter style game and pretty easy to catch on. Once the 20 minutes was up, I managed a respectable 6th place (but about 200 points behind the 5th, bleh).

Our top game designer Kenny, master gamer as he always have been, gathered 600+ point on the top. If this was a real TV SMS game, he would have spend over RM20 but since it was a mock-up, I'm sure he enjoyed his rich, dark, very sweet, one gula-gula Hacks prize.

Again, the best reward is all in the play (Head programmer Christy was too cheap-lar~...).

As for the AF game system, it survived our abuse and had kept its smooth run. After a bit of tweaking and a list of credits, it'll be ready for Astro TV's Channel @ 15 soon enough.

Later that afternoon, Boss Bun gave a minor party to everybody to celebrate MyGO's stability.

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