You have an awesome partnership with Microsoft. Microsoft are Cloud9’s cloud services provider and a commercial sponsor, serving as their official technology and performance analytics partner. Your two companies “collaborate closely to create new tools, build predictive models, and provide anything technology-related to help players win,” explains Halee Mason, Lead Data Scientist at Cloud9.
You and Microsoft even host a 3-day hackathon to develop new training capabilities for Cloud9’s teams. And the winning hackathon team deliver a prototype for something that hadn’t existed before: a Valorant VRT (video-on-demand reviewer tool).
This new tool, if fully implemented, would give Cloud9’s managers, coaches, and players the ability to review gameplay video from scrimmages and competitions - which provides a distinct competitive advantage over any other team to enter the digital arena. You want to get it up and running in a hurry. You set an aggressive timeline for development, aiming to have the Valorant VRT production-ready in just one month.
Microsoft stepped in to help Cloud9 find the best possible provider to develop the tool, which would ultimately be powered by Microsoft Azure cloud services. Microsoft recommended SOUTHWORKS as an especially strong candidate “because of their media expertise and reputation as a great development partner,” according to Tom Labuzienski, Brand Partnerships Manager at Microsoft. What’s more, Cloud9 themselves “really wanted to work with SOUTHWORKS because they understood our needs and were ready to jump right onboard and hit the ground running,” said Halee.
SOUTHWORKS mobilized quickly, assembling a team of developers “within a week of our first call,” recalled Halee. A detailed project plan quickly followed, and development began right away.
Starting with the hackathon winner’s single-page prototype, SOUTHWORKS needed to add a variety of new components in order to transform the Valorant VRT into a fully-functional training tool. Development included building back-end processing for a data pipeline to be run in Microsoft’s AzureBatch, multiple deep learning models, an API layer to support the user interface (UI) of the Valorant VRT and updating the UI itself to support entirely new features and pages. SOUTHWORKS was even able to collaborate with the original hackathon team on certain technical aspects of the tool.
The Valorant VRT, is a game-changer. Cloud9’s “managers and players are extremely excited about the future potential of this tool,” said Halee. “It’s going to drastically change the way that our teams operate.”
Cloud9’s Valorant VRT was fully operational, with newly added pages for video uploads and statuses as well as a game history library in just one month. SOUTHWORKS iterated on a single-page application prototype and wireframes to develop a fully- functional tool with multiple new pages, features, and UI enhancements; data infrastructure and processing run in AzureBatch; and an API layer to connect the front and back-end. “SOUTHWORKS really took it a step further by adding in additional UI elements to help make the page more clear and functional from a usability standpoint,” said Halee.
By meeting with Halee every morning and conducting thorough weekly reviews, SOUTHWORKS collaborated closely with Cloud9 and their partners.
“They did a really fantastic job of understanding our needs and being responsive to fixing technical issues. Everyone was connected and had a pulse on the project’s progress... [they] went above and beyond on certain features that really show they understand the space we’re in, adding in little features to make it a better user experience and just going that extra step to make it a more polished product” commented Halee.