Action! Developer Hiring Guide

Hiring Guide for Action! Engineers

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

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.

First 20 minutes

General Action! knowledge and experience

The next 20 minutes of the interview should attempt to focus more specifically on the development questions used, and the level of depth and skill the engineer possesses.

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.

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).

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 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 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.

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What youre looking for early-on

Can the candidate communicate effectively?

Effective communication is important in a development team to ensure everyone is on the same page and to prevent misunderstandings.

Has the candidate shown the ability to work well in a team?

Software development often requires teamwork. A candidate who can work well in a team will be able to contribute more effectively to the project.

Does the candidate have experience with projects similar to ours?

Experience with similar projects can indicate that the candidate will be able to quickly adapt to our work environment and project requirements.

Is the candidate familiar with the latest trends and updates in Action! development?

Staying updated with the latest trends and updates is important for a developer to ensure they are using the most efficient and effective methods in their work.

Has the candidate demonstrated problem-solving skills?

Problem-solving skills are essential for any developer position. They will need to troubleshoot and solve issues that arise during development.

Does the candidate have a strong understanding of Action! programming language?

This is crucial as the position requires the candidate to develop using Action! language. Their understanding will determine their ability to perform the job effectively.

Next 20 minutes

Specific Action! development questions

The next 20 minutes of the interview should attempt to focus more specifically on the development questions used, and the level of depth and skill the engineer possesses.

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!.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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The ideal back-end app developer

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

A skilled Action! engineer should display strong technical knowledge, problem-solving skills, and excellent communication ability. Red flags include lack of detail in responses, inability to articulate complex technical concepts clearly, or signs of poor teamwork or collaboration.

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.

What does this ActionScript code do with the class object?

class MyClass {
  public var myVariable:Number;
var myObject:MyClass = new MyClass();
myObject.myVariable = 10;

This code defines a class MyClass with a public variable myVariable. An object of MyClass is then created and the myVariable of that object is set to 10. The trace function is used to output the value of myVariable in the myObject object, which will be 10.

What does this advanced ActionScript code do?

function myFunction(callback:Function) {
myFunction(function() { trace('Hello, World!'); });

This code defines a function myFunction that accepts another function as a parameter and then calls that function. The myFunction is then called with an anonymous function that outputs 'Hello, World!' to the console. So, the output of this code will be 'Hello, World!'.

Wrap-up questions

Final candidate for Action! role questions

The final few interview questions for a Action! candidate should typically focus on a combination of technical skills, personal goals, growth potential, team dynamics, and company culture.

What are the challenges in developing an application like Action! and how would you address them?

The main challenges include handling different video formats and codecs, ensuring high-quality video recording without affecting system performance, and supporting a wide range of systems and configurations. These challenges can be addressed by using a robust video encoding library, optimizing the code for performance, and thoroughly testing the application on different systems and configurations.

How would you handle a situation where Action! is not recording the game audio?

First, I would check the audio settings in Action! to ensure that it is set to record the game audio. If the settings are correct, I would then check the audio settings of the game and the system. If the issue persists, I would try reinstalling Action! or updating the audio drivers.

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.

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.

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!.

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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.