justin cegnar

Delta Cloudgazer

The world's "most boring" game


Lead Developer

Tech: JavaScript, Angular, PHP, MySQL, Node.js, HTML/CSS

Delta Cloudgazer was a web-based game produced in conjunction with Wieden+Kennedy and Delta Airlines. Exploring a giant, realistic, cloud-filled sky, players searched for clouds to score points, with the highest-scoring winner receiving two tickets to fly anywhere in the world on Delta. The twist: the game would automatically end after 30 seconds of inactivity, forcing players to continuously play without breaks.

There were a number of technical challenges involved in Delta Cloudgazer, among them an extremely compressed dev timeline. The game had to function seamlessly on both desktop and mobile, and – given the nature of the game – had to do so for (potentially) continuous hours on end. We had to ensure a robust, fail-safe back end and, generally, fairness on a technincal level, handling all contingencies such as loss of internet connection during game play. One of the biggest challenges we faced was hacking attempts; numerous CS pros wrote home-grown software to play Cloudgazer on auto, a scenario explicitly prohibited in the rules. We put multiple mechanisms in place to thwart these hacking attempts, including a module that recorded real-time mouse position history for every session, which we could later replay and analyze. In the end, we had to disqualify many of the highest scorers due to obvious hacking. Ultimately, we were confident our final winner played the game fairly and honestly.

Delta Cloudgazer was a huge success, attracting tens of thousands of players. The final winner played the game for just over 36 hours straight!! How he stayed awake is anyone's guess; perhaps he had a friend he switched off with (not against the rules).