Magazine Software Design October 2023: Interview “Challenges Behind the Scenes at Pokecolo” with Yongshik Cho and Eunmi Hong [ Part 2 ]
※This article is machine translated.
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Part 4: Challenges Behind the Scenes at Pokecolo
Since its release in 2011, the dress-up application “Pokecolo” has been loved by many fans. Although growth was sluggish at first, the tide turned with the introduction of gacha. How did the development system change to accommodate the rapid growth? Mr.Yongshik Cho, who knew “Pokecolo” when it was launched, and Ms.Eunmi Hong, who has been involved in “Pokecolo” for a long time and is currently the development team leader, talk about the past and present.
– Please introduce yourself.
My name is Yongshik Cho, Cocone Service Infrastructure Development Office.
My name is Eunmi Hong, team leader of Pokecolo Development.
Improved framework and overall structure for large-scale use
– I know that the introduction of the gacha has been very popular, but have there been any new challenges that have arisen?
Cho: While we were happy to see that “we have become a major player,” we also needed to strengthen our development system and infrastructure environment. In the beginning, we developed iOS and Android separately, but in 2013, we realized the unification of iOS and Android by changing the framework “Cocos2d for iPhone” that we used for iOS to “Cocos2d-x.
Hong: “Cocos2d-x” is based on “Cocos2d” and ported for C++. It is open source and cross-platform, so you can develop iOS and Android applications at the same time.
Cho: In 2014 we revamped our entire system. We call it the CA project.
Hong: As DAU (Daily Active Users) grew, the server system at that time may not have been able to withstand the growth, and the CA project strengthened that area as well.
Cho: However, at the time, there was no engineer on the team who was in charge of servers, and the person in charge of clients was also in charge of servers. So we asked an engineer who was familiar with servers to join us and decided to revamp the entire configuration (Fig. 1), including both servers and clients.
– You laid the groundwork for large-scale use in 2013-2014. What are the major additions since then?
Hong: When we held an event called “Festival,” in which up to 25 avatars were displayed on a single screen for a lively and enjoyable performance, we developed a special avatar to display smaller avatars so that they would not be too heavy. Now, up to 25 avatars can be displayed on a single screen.
Cho: Apart from the “Festival,” there is also a friend room where friends can gather at the same time and play in real time. You can chat, take pictures together, and change clothes in front of your friends.
Hong: In a friend’s room, up to 6 players can enter and play on the same screen, and up to 20 players can be displayed if you just want to watch them. We set the limit while looking at the limit for comfortable play.
– What would you list as the most recent major change?
Cho: It’s the Cocos2d-x version upgrade I mentioned earlier, v3 in 2021.
Hong: We release new items every week, so we cannot stop the production environment. In total, the project took about a year.
Cho: However, this is not the end, we will eventually move to v4. Since we cannot proceed to v4 in one step, we first upgraded to v3. v3 and beyond should not be that difficult.
Hong: The reason for the upgrade is to match Apple’s (iOS) Metal (a low-overhead computer graphics API). iOS is expected to improve performance.
“Pokecolo” is like an anticipation of the Metaverse
– What would you like to work on in the future?
Hong: Since many years have passed since the release, the various systems are a bit disjointed; what we want to do in 2023 is to clean up the legacy, for example by discarding what we don’t use.
Cho: Because we have been repeatedly adding functions, saying “I want to try this,” we are in a state of chaos like a secret sauce (laughs).
– By the way, Hong, you are a female engineer and a transplant from Korea, how do you see the diversity of Cocone?
Hong: I think the reason I have stayed in Japan for 10 years is because it is easy to work there. If I didn’t like it, I would have gone back to Korea. At Cocone, since I am a foreigner, everyone naturally speaks to me in simple Japanese, and I feel that they are kind to me.
Cho: you also hold women engineers exchange meetings.
Hong: Since there are still very few female engineers, we get together regularly to exchange opinions. We try to help each other if there are any problems, but I have never heard of any difficulties or consultations that are unique to women. It has become a meeting where we just eat delicious food and talk (laughs).
– What is it about working at Cocone and developing “Pokecolo” that attracts you to the company?
Cho: “Pokecolo” is a pioneer of applications that focus on communication through avatars, and we have a history and track record of pioneering this area. It is loved by many fans, so I think it is very rewarding. In addition, avatars that take the place of oneself are in the virtual world, enjoying communication with friends, and business with digital items is also established. This is the same as the Metaverse; it can be said that we have been anticipating and practicing the world of the Metaverse for more than 10 years.
Even if you try to enter the Web3 or Metaverse now, it will be difficult to succeed as a business if the platform and items are not well known. However, Cocone has the know-how cultivated through “Pokecolo” and has actually released an application that is a Web3 version of “Pokecolo”. I believe that engineers who are interested in Web3 as well as avatar applications will find it challenging.
Magazine Software Design August 2023: Interview “The birth story of the popular dress-up application Pokecolo” with Yongshik Cho and Eunmi Hong [ Part 1 ]
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