Hiring guide for Action! Engineers

Action! Developer Hiring Guide

Action! is a high-level computer programming language designed specifically for the Atari 8-bit family. It was created by Clinton Parker and released by Optimized Systems Software in 1983, offering a faster and more efficient alternative to Atari BASIC. As a structured language, Action! provides a syntax similar to ALGOL 68, but with elements resembling C, making it easier for programmers to use. It is known for its unique integrated editor and compiler, which allows programmers to write, compile, and execute programs within the same environment. Despite its age, Action! remains a significant part of Atari's software history.

Ask the right questions secure the right Action! talent among an increasingly shrinking pool of talent.

First 20 minutes

General Action! app knowledge and experience

The first 20 minutes of the interview should seek to understand the candidate's general background in Action! application development, including their experience with various programming languages, databases, and their approach to designing scalable and maintainable systems.

How would you describe the key features of Action!?
Action! offers high-definition video recording of desktop view, enables live streaming, audio recording, and taking screenshots. It also supports recording from gaming consoles, other PCs, TV broadcasts, webcams or camcorders. It has a built-in file manager for easy access to recorded videos and screenshots.
What are the system requirements for using Action!?
The system requirements include Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10, DirectX and latest graphics card drivers, running Aero desktop, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz or equivalent processor, and Full Direct3D 10.0 compatible with Pixel Shader 4.0 support.
How would you integrate Action! with other software?
Integration of Action! with other software can be done through API. One can use the API to control the recording functions of Action! from their own application, or to integrate Action! into their software suite.
What are the formats that Action! supports for video recording?
Action! supports a wide range of video formats for recording including AVI 2.0, MP4 (H.264/AVC and H.265/HEVC).
Describe the difference between hardware accelerated video encoding in Action! and software-based encoding.
Hardware accelerated video encoding uses the GPU to encode the video, which can greatly reduce the load on the CPU and result in smoother video recording. Software-based encoding, on the other hand, uses the CPU to encode the video, which can be more resource-intensive and could potentially affect system performance.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a strong understanding of Action! programming language?
Has the candidate demonstrated problem-solving skills?
Is the candidate familiar with the latest trends and updates in Action! development?
Does the candidate have experience with projects similar to ours?

Next 20 minutes

Specific Action! development questions

The next 20 minutes of the interview should focus on the candidate's expertise with specific backend frameworks, their understanding of RESTful APIs, and their experience in handling data storage and retrieval efficiently.

How would you debug an issue in Action!?
First, I would check the log files that Action! generates for any error messages or clues. If that doesn't provide a solution, I would then try to reproduce the issue in a controlled environment to understand the cause. Depending on the issue, I might also use debugging tools or code review.
What are the steps to record a gameplay with Action!?
First, open Action! and select 'Game Recording' mode. Then, open the game you want to record. Press the hotkey (F9 by default) to start/stop the recording. After stopping, the video will be saved automatically in the selected directory.
Describe the difference between Action! screen recording mode and game recording mode.
Screen recording mode in Action! is designed to capture everything on the screen, while game recording mode is specifically designed to capture gameplay. The latter uses GPU resources to capture game footage without affecting game performance.
How would you optimize the performance of Action! on a low-end system?
I would reduce the video recording resolution, lower the frame rate, and use hardware accelerated video encoding. I would also close unnecessary applications running in the background to free up system resources.
What are the possible reasons for audio-video sync issues in Action! recordings and how would you fix them?
Possible reasons could be high CPU usage, outdated graphics drivers, or incorrect settings in Action!. To fix them, I would ensure that the system is not overloaded, update the graphics drivers, and check the audio and video settings in Action!.
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The ideal back-end app developer

What you’re looking to see on the Action! engineer at this point.

At this point, a skilled Action! engineer should demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, proficiency in Action! programming language, and knowledge of software development methodologies. Red flags include lack of hands-on experience, inability to articulate complex concepts, or unfamiliarity with standard coding practices.

Digging deeper

Code questions

These will help you see the candidate's real-world development capabilities with Action!.

What does this simple ActionScript code do?
var myNumber:Number = 10;
This code declares a variable named myNumber of type Number and assigns it the value 10. Then it uses the trace function to output the value of myNumber to the console, which will be 10.
What will be the output of the following ActionScript code?
var myString:String = 'Hello, World!';
myString = myString.replace('World', 'ActionScript');
The output of the code will be 'Hello, ActionScript!'. The replace function is used to replace 'World' with 'ActionScript' in the myString variable.
What does this ActionScript code do with the array?
var myArray:Array = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];
This code creates an array myArray with five elements. It then uses the push method to add the number 6 to the end of the array. The trace function will output the array, which will now contain the numbers 1 through 6.
What does this ActionScript code do in terms of threading?
var myTimer:Timer = new Timer(1000, 5);
This code creates a new Timer object that ticks every 1000 milliseconds (or 1 second) for 5 times. The start method is then called to begin the timer.

Wrap-up questions

Final candidate for Action! Developer role questions

The final few questions should evaluate the candidate's teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, assess their knowledge of microservices architecture, serverless computing, and how they handle Action! application deployments. Inquire about their experience in handling system failures and their approach to debugging and troubleshooting.

How would you implement a custom overlay in Action!?
Action! does not support custom overlays directly. However, one can use a third-party application to create an overlay and then capture the screen with Action!.
How would you automate the process of starting a recording in Action!?
This can be done by using the command line parameters of Action!. One can create a script or a batch file to start Action! with the desired parameters and then schedule it to run at the desired time.
What are the steps to live stream a gameplay with Action!?
First, set up the live streaming service in Action! settings. Then, select 'Live streaming' mode in Action!. Open the game and press the hotkey to start/stop the live streaming.

Action! application related

Product Perfect's Action! development capabilities

Beyond hiring for your Action! engineering team, you may be in the market for additional help. Product Perfect provides seasoned expertise in Action! projects, and can engage in multiple capacities.