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I was interviewed by the Times of Malta about the release of our game Scarfish, which was released on iOS and Android Stores. The article was published on the iTech section in the Times of Malta Thursday, 7th 2013  and was also published online. 

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20130307/technology/Time-developers-and-ideas-make-a-good-mobile-game.460597

Download Scarfish for free: https://itunes.apple.com/mt/app/scarfish/id590357639?mt=8

 

The game we (Barbagann Games) had developed during GameDev Challenge 2011 and GameZing 2011 has now been released on the Google Play store. Feel free to download it and leave any comments or suggestions: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.BarbagannGames.ScarFish&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5CYXJiYWdhbm5HYW1lcy5TY2FyRmlzaCJd

Scarfish Android Header

 

Namoi radar Blackjack

My passion for developing and designing games comes from the passion for playing them. I spent most of my teenage years involved in the local competitive gaming community, mainly playing Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4, FIFA and Command and Conquer. I spent my last years active in the gaming community managing and playing with Xynoptic eSports. This is something about our team which I managed to find from our old website’s About Page; 

Xynoptic eSports

History

Xynoptic was formed in October 2007 by Murderer and Cappu. The team, at that time was concentrating on Call of Duty 2, but after a couple of weeks the team decided to move on to Call of Duty 4. The roster for Call of Duty 4 included MurD3rer, POKER, G@S, Xpander and Overlord. With this roster, the team managed to get a decent placing in Reckless Lan, but for Murderer this wasn’t enough. So he decided that some changes needed to take place. Xpander and Overlord left the team, and the likes of nAjil and Desert-Fox got in. With the new roster the team managed to win their first Cod 4 Lan, at Alive Lan v2. 

In late December 2008, just after winning their second LAN, Xynoptic had some major changes. Two of their players left the team. After a while Xynoptic got back on it’s feet by recruiting some of the best local talents;

  • Sam “blakz” Tellus
  • Ryan “Crusher” Sammut
  • Sergio “Pejt” Baldacchino

Xynoptic grew, from being a Call of Duty 4 team, to a Multi Gaming Organisation. In April 2009, Xynoptic made it’s first steps to becoming a Multi Gaming Organisation, opening up for the 3 following games; Counter Strike: Source, Strategy Games (Mainly C&C) and FIFA.

Xynoptic`Cod4 Cod4 Line-Up: 

  • Andreas “Murderer” Giordimaina
  • Niall “Najil” Silvio
  • Claudio “Poker” Grech
  • Sam “blakz” Tellus
  • Ryan “Crusher” Sammut
  • Sergio “Pejt” Baldacchino
  • Steve “Gunr” Silvio

We are currently competing in Clanbase Ladders, ESL, Open Cups as well as local Lan Tournaments. 

Xynoptic`CSS CSS Line-Up:

  • Sam “blakz” Tellus
  • Freddie “Viper” Borg
  • Nathan “Muxi” Galea
  • John “Venom” Peel
  • Philip “Xitan” Bonnici
  • Alexander “Ruski” Nevski
  • Kurt “Wipeout” Crockford

Call of Duty 4 Squad
1st Alive Lan v2
1st Alive Lan v3
2nd Clublan 09*
2nd Hackers 3v3 Tournament*
2nd Clublan*
2nd Hackers Lan*
3rd MMD Cup*
3rd Reckless Lan*
4th Revolution Lan*
4th Malta Cyber Games Cod 4 Cup*

Counter-Strike: Source
1st Vunder Lan
1st Hackers Lan
1st Clublan 09
1st Clublan 09
1st Hackers Lan
1st Gotlan 3 

FIFA
1st Clublan 09*
1st Lanfest 07*
1st iPlay*
2nd Lannihilation*
2nd Gotlan v2*
2nd Revolution Lan*
2nd Hackers Tournament*
2nd Reckless Lan*
2nd Clublan*
3rd Exclusive Lan v2*
3rd Alive Lan v2*

Command and Conquer: Kane’s Wrath
1st Exclusive Lan v2*
2nd Clublan 09*
2nd Hackers 2v2 Tournament*

Call of Duty 2 Squad
2nd Hackers Lan Silver Tournament*

Quake
1st Hackers Lan

* I formed part of the competing team

Hackerz Team

Even before I was part of Xynoptic, I used to form part of another team, called ‘Hackerz Team’ which was sponsored by Hackers Lan Gaming Center at that time. Hackerz Team was also a successful Call of Duty 4 team which emerged from a team called Ghost Soldiers, before we were sponsored by Hackers. We used to place between 1st and 4th place at most major competitions. We competed in around 4 Lan Events between 2007 and 2008.  The below photos are some of our best memories from Hackerz Team. 

These are some of the results we had achieved with Ghost Soldiers and Hackerz Team:

Call of Duty 4 Squad

1st Lannihilation
1st Hackers 3v3 Tournament
3rd Alive Lan v2
4th Reckless Lan 

I was lucky to attend a 5 day in depth course which was organised by Bank of Valletta and was offered by Dr. Bart de Win who holds a Ph.D. in Software Security. The course focused on Secure Development in Java and .NET. I will not going in detail about all the topics covered during the course, however, I would like to point out some things which can be done in .NET applications to greatly help the security of the application using the least amount of effort required:

  • Disable Caching
  • Validate all Inputs, if using the .NET validation components which come out of the box, they will be validating both on the client and server side. Therefore, this should be quite a good solution with minimal effort since the validation control is specified once. It is important to handle server side validations and not just client side validations because the client side validation can be by-passed easily by disabling JavaScript or using a program like BURP to play with the packets. 
  • Check the HTML Header for manipulation. This can be easily specified in the web config file by adding <httpRuntime enableHeaderChecking=”true”/> within the <system.web> tag. 
  • Output Encoding
  • Error Handling Redirects – as to ensure that the attacker cannot view the stack trace of any exceptions which are raised. Error pages should be created and the user will only see the 403, 404 and Generic Error Pages. The exception should be logged somewhere secure such as in a database or text file on the server which can only be viewed by the authorised people. 
  • Use of SQL Commands and SQL Parameters – This elimanates the risk of most SQL Injection techniques
  • Protect Connection String
  • Use HTTPs
  • Clickjacking Protection (add this to the code: ‘Response.AddHeader(“X-Frame-Options”, “SAMEORIGIN”);’ this should work on most recent browsers
  • Disable .NET Version Header <httpRuntime enableVersionHeader=”false” />
  • Protect against automation with a tool like CAPTCHA
  • Use Virus Scan on File Upload

Comments and suggestions are appreciated.

I have now finished university and have found myself a full-time job at Malta’s largest Bank (BOV) where I was already a student worker for the last two years. I am currently fulfilling the role of a Junior Software Developer and I form part of a small team which builds web based applications. On the programming side, I have been working a lot with C# and asp.NET 4.0 Web Forms and I’ve had a very enjoyable experience so far. The .NET framework is great, C# is very similar to Java which is what I was used to, and the IDE is amazing. I have found tasks like stress testing to be a breeze with load tests and web performance tests. This is why I’m so excited to try out the new Visual Studio 2012 and the asp.NET 4.5

Thanks to Dream Spark, I am downloading the Visual Studio 2012 Professional version at this moment!

 

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Me and some friends from Barbagann Games were at the Digital Games Forum 2012 yesterday, which was held at Corinthia San Gorg. The day consisted of talks from the Prime Minister Dr. Lawrence Gonzi, the Minister of Finance Tonio Fenech, Prof. William Latham (Games Audit UK), Ian Shaw,  and Mr. Chris Deering (Chairman at TRC Media Entertainment, Ex President at Sony). When the talks were over, a panel of professionals were discussing about various topics related to the gaming scene in Malta. After the discussions, we had the chance to showcase our game, Scarfish, which placed 2nd at GameZing 2011 to those who attended. 

digital games forum 2012 

Barbagann Games were asked several questions about gaming, mobile gaming, and the challenges faced during game development and this article was featured on the TV Guide which is handed out by The Times. The game Scarfish is still being developed and should be released some time next Summer. In the meantime, follow http://www.barbaganngames.com and https://www.facebook.com/barbaganngames for the latest news.
barbagann games, tv guide When I have a full, readable copy of the article, I will try to share it here so all of you can enjoy it 🙂

PaperOpus

The Sunday Times dated February 26th 2012 featured an interesting article about creativity in the technology centrefold, and part of the article included  an interview with myself and nine other participants in the GameDev Challenge.  We were asked several questions about the GameDev Challenge such as; why we chose to participate? what makes a good game? what makes a good team? and others which you can follow in the link below:

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20120226/technology/Ten-young-game-developers-get-a-high-score.408779

Other Articles where we were mentioned:

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20120223/business-news/Seven-St-Martin-s-Institute-of-IT-finalists-in-computer-games-design-competition.408134 

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20120226/technology/And-the-winners-are-.408778

Scarfish, the game we developed snapped 2nd place and an honourable mention from Vince Briffa, one of the judges during the GameZing 2011 awards ceremony who is the head of department of Digital Art within the University of Malta.   The competition consisted of 13 teams in total from St. Martins Institute of IT, University of Malta, and a competitor from the University of Copenhagen.  After achieving third place when we were competing at the GameDev Challenge 2011 we were quite happy that we improved our position in this competition, with more competing teams.  We were also quite delighted we got an honourable mention from one of the judges for having the best graphics amongst other qualities. 

After this success with Scarfish, an iOS/Android/Web game we have developed during the last 7 months, we would like to improve the game further until we see it is in a position to be placed on the Apple and Android App Stores.  I would like to thank St. Martins for the support and tuition in the area of game development, GameZing for the awards ceremony and prizes, my team mates at Barbagann Games with whom we have worked so hard to achieve this placing and all of our supporters and testers.

GameZing 2011 Trophy

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