Tag Archives: developers

Ammobox : How Malaysia Can Take Game Dev Further!

Jeremy Choo, founder and CEO of Ammobox, shares how far Malaysia has progressed in game development, and how it can take the serious business of making great games to the next level!

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About Jeremy Choo From Ammobox Studios

Jeremy Choo is not only the founder and CEO of Ammobox, he is one of Malaysia’s top game developers and a former lecturer on game development.

Established in 2008, Ammobox Studios is an independent game development studio based in Malaysia. Ammobox is responsible for developing the genre-breaking FPS/RTS hybrid game called EXIMIUS: Seize the Frontline.

With years of experience both in developing games, and cultivating new game developers, Jeremy Choo certainly knows what it would take for Malaysia to become a world-class nexus for game development.

In the following article, Jeremy will tell us how Malaysia’s game development has levelled up, and how we can take it further!

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Ammobox : How Malaysia Can Take Game Dev Further!

We’ve all been there — the game nights with friends where we gather around the TV, wrestle over a game, and inevitably choose the evergreen classics that everyone used to play. The starter Pokemon of our gaming experiences, you could say.

There is something inherently nostalgic about the early days of gaming, back when things were very much simpler. Graphics quality, gameplay experience, even options for customisation; very few of us could even imagine we would’ve made such leaps and bounds in the couple of decades since the founding days of pixelated console gaming.

In conversations about the growth of the gaming industry at large, it’s all too easy for us to slip into discussions about the software, the devices, the technology that makes it at all possible for people to now even carry immersive, imaginary worlds in their pockets. But I’ve always believed that while technology will always be the medium that brings games to the masses, tech doesn’t power itself.

The indispensable beating heart of the gaming industry is the right talent to understand, complement, and drive the rapidly advancing technology that exists.

This is arguably one of the main reasons why the Malaysian game development scene was slow to boot up — and not for any scarcity of talent, but rather a lack of general support and understanding for working in gaming as professionals.

When I first founded Ammobox, the core challenge I faced wasn’t navigating the tech requirements, but rather hiring the right artists, engineers, and programmers to make use of that very technology. The homegrown gaming scene at the time was largely comprised of outsourced stragglers and all-purpose studios that did not necessarily specialise in games. This made developing local IPs (shorthand for intellectual property, or the entire premise and ownership rights to a game’s content) especially challenging.

Funding was a whole other nemesis in itself. Most fledgling game developers wound up having to bootstrap their projects, which meant working on a project long-term with expected delays and keeping afloat on the bare minimum of time, resources, and abilities. It wasn’t uncommon for full working versions of games to be released an entire decade after its IP was developed!

Perception fed into this problem, and the difficulty in creating Malaysian IPs has led to a vicious cycle that dogs the industry to this day. By ‘perception’, I don’t necessarily mean the snide “so you play video games for work?” comments — it’s also the impression that because Malaysia didn’t have as many IPs to its name as some of our neighbouring countries, investors were hesitant to fund an industry that might not turn out to be lucrative.

Today, the gaming market is projected to reach US$200 billion in value by 2028, and Malaysia is in a great position to benefit from this rich landscape of possibilities if we can rise to the occasion.

Gaming studios and developers are now more commonplace here. Larger talent pools have also mushroomed across the country as more young Malaysians turn to making their hobby their professional craft, and especially as local universities have begun opening up game development courses.

Our current challenge has thus evolved: it has gone beyond identifying and developing that talent, to now ensuring that we keep that talent here at home.

To do that, stakeholders both from within the gaming industry and outside in its many interconnected fields need to join forces, to help Malaysia’s game development scene catch up to where it really should and can be. Digital infrastructure like Internet speeds and geographical connectivity need to reach the heights of our regional peers (making for lower ping in games and an overall smoother experience for consumers).

As for funding campaigns, which have been made easier due to the work of organisations like the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), investments are more likely to be made if the industry itself demonstrates that it is equipped for and capable of success. It is inherently a cycle: we have to first grow the industry and our IPs in order to grow our talents. We need to become those greener pastures that game development talents are seeking.

More employment opportunities, more participation in a globally competitive industry, more potential international investments and projects, more ways to showcase Malaysian talent to the world — the potential economic and cultural benefits that come from a thriving gaming industry are thrilling to imagine.

I genuinely believe that Malaysia, the diverse underdogs that we are, has a unique opportunity to take the global gaming industry by surprise with the local twist in our game titles and IPs. We already have the talent and the know-how! All we need is that little buff — so that we can graduate from mid-game to play in the big leagues.


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AnTuTu : Why They Got Banned From Google Play Store!

If you are wondering why you can no longer find AnTuTu apps on the Google Play Store, that’s because they have been banned and removed!

And guess what got AnTuTu apps banned? Cheetah Mobile…


Cheetah Mobile : An Insidious Developer According To Google

On 20 February 2020, Google posted that they removed nearly 600 apps from the Google Play Store, banning many of their developers for “disruptive ads” and “ad fraud”.

One of those developers – notorious Chinese app developer, Cheetah Mobile, with a history of buying over popular apps to load them with spyware and malicious advertisements.


AnTuTu : Banned From Google Play Store!

And now, it appears that AnTuTu have also been affected by the Google ban hammer, with these apps removed :

  • AnTuTu Benchmark
  • AnTuTu 3DBench
  • AITuTu

Why? It appears those AnTuTu apps were banned, because AnTuTu found to be associated with Cheetah Mobile :

  • Cheetah Mobile CEO Fu Sheng is listed as the Chairman of Beijing AnTuTu Technology Co. Ltd
  • The AnTuTu privacy policy link used the Cheetah Mobile (cmcm.com) domain.


AnTuTu Shares Their Point Of View

AnTuTu clarified the issue in their statement to Android Police that :

  • Cheetah Mobile was merely an investor and shareholder, but they remain independent.
  • They purchased and used the legal services from Cheetah Mobile, so the privacy policy link used their domain.
  • They are now working to change their “legal supplier”.
  • Listing Fu Sheng as the Chairman of Beijing AnTuTu Technology Co. Ltd was a requirement of “the investors”.
  • They have already asked Cheetah Mobile to solve these problems.

AnTuTu apps are still available as APK downloads on their website, but installing them outside of Google Play is not without risks, so caveat emptor!


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Kaspresso : FREE Android App Testing Tool Released!

Kaspersky just made Kaspresso, their automated testing framework for Android apps publicly available for FREE!

Find out what Kaspresso is all about, and how it is superior to automated tests like Espresso and Appium!


Android App Testing Tools

One of the key challenges that mobile developers have is choosing the right automated testing tool to look for bugs, and reduce the lead time for their app’s release.

There are a number of existing frameworks and tools for conducting such automated tests, like Espresso and Appium. However, these frameworks do not adequately address issues like readability, flakiness, logging and UI test architecture.

Flakiness refer to unpredictable test results, with different reasons behind each failure, despite the app working without malfunctions on the developer’s device.

Those issues prevent mobile developers from writing clean, stable and easy-to-maintain UI-tests that are also easily understood. To solve those problems, Kaspersky introduced a new Android app testing tool called Kaspresso.


Kaspresso : FREE Android App Testing Tool Released!

Kaspresso is based on two libraries for creating automated Android tests – Espresso and Kakao. Hence, the name – Kaspresso – which coincidentally rhymes with Kaspersky.

With the inclusion of the Kakao library, serving as a DSL wrapper over Espresso, Kaspersky improves the readability of UI-tests, making them more understandable.

Kaspresso also solves the problem with flaky tests and logging – Espresso does not log its own actions. It also provides a rich set of default interceptors for handling flaky tests and improving the logging process.


Kaspresso : Where To Download

You can download Kaspresso from its Github repository.


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Sony Interactive To Open First SEA Game Studio In Malaysia!

Sony Interactive will soon open their first Southeast Asia game development studio in Malaysia! Here are the full details!


Sony Interactive To Open First SEA Game Studio In Malaysia!

Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios (SIE WWS) announced their partnership with the Malaysian Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, at Level Up KL 2019 Biz.

The new game development studio, which Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios plans to open 2020, will provide art and animation services for the development of global titles for Sony PlayStation platforms.

Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios will also work with the Malaysian Ministry of Communications and Multimedia to create more opportunities for the local and regional games industry, as well as establish a partnership with local educational institutions.

This is a major win for the Malaysian Ministry of Communications and Multimedia that have been actively pushing to build up Malaysia as the premier digital creative content development hub in Southeast Asia.

Over the past 20 years, their efforts have created a strong local digital creative content industry with 149 IP titles that generated RM 7.6 billion (US$1.84 billion) in revenue, and a global reach to over 120 countries.


Recent Sony Interactive Games

Here are some of the best games Sony Interactive released for Sony PlayStation in 2019 :


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Acronis Cyber Platform APIs Are Finally Open After 16 Years!

Great news for developers and software companies! The Acronis Cyber Platform APIs are finally open after 16 years!

Here is a primer on what it means for software developers and users worldwide.


Who Is Acronis?

Acronis was spun-off SWsoft in 2001, with a focus on backup and data protection software and services. They have since launched anti-ransomware solutions, helping to blunt the highly-debilitating threat.

Last year, Acronis claimed to have stopped over 400,000 ransomware attacks, which they estimated to be worth more than $208 million in damages. That’s an average of $522 per attack!


Acronis Cyber Platform APIs Goes Open

Like many software companies, Acronis derives some revenue from providing access to their APIs. Even their partners would require special permission and fees to connect their software to the Acronis Cyber Platform.

After 16 years of doing this, Acronis has finally realised that it would benefit them more to open up their APIs.

By opening up their APIs, Acronis hopes to encourage more software companies to integrate their software with the Acronis Cyber Platform, instead of a competing, rival platform.


Opening Up Will Expand The Acronis Cyber Platform

Acronis claims they are taking a chance on the company’s future by opening up their APIs. But the days of milking proprietary APIs for revenue is fast vanishing, especially when it comes to cybersecurity companies.

Acronis may boast 5 million end users, and nearly 50,000 channel partners, but that may erode as their competitors offer easier and cheaper (if not FREE) ways for ISVs, OEMS and service providers to integrate their software.

The decision to open up the APIs should make the Acronis Cyber Platform more attractive, and expand the platform’s reach.

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