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17-01 Interview with w00t
Author: sbanks
Last updated: Never
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Views: 725
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Version: 2.5
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article
After a long wait, here it finally is, my interview with w00t. Nothing ground-breaking, but nonetheless an interesting read. Enjoy and keep the comments respectful :)


<Fingon> The first question is from a fan who would like to know your sexual preference, and whether you're good-looking :p
<w00t> I'm straight, average looking, and taken :P
<Fingon> Some numbers that I've personally always been curious about : How much servers do you have and how much do they cost?
<w00t> We have around 20 servers I think, I'm not sure of the exact number. This has had a significant expansion over the past few years, of course. If you look up the information on our IPs, you can see our host is theplanet. their pricing information is located here https://www.totalcontrolservers.com/ . Prices being per month, naturally.
<Fingon> I guess that's bandwith not included?
<w00t> I believe each server is allocated a certain amount of bandwidth. For reference, if I remember right, last month we used 8.5tb of bandwidth.
<Fingon> Neat. Ok serious now. How come only very few innovations are made to the game? We've seen a few minor changes for each version, but nothing ground-breaking. Why is that?
<w00t> Good question, and it's not a simple one liner to answer.. it has multiple parts. The first stems from the fact the code we're working with now (2.x) is extremly limiting in what it can accomplish, often changing one thing (even minor) has the repercussions of breaking something else. Usually a bugfix ends up as a rewrite of the feature concerned, or leaves it broken.
Also, we have a game a lot of people are happy with. Changes are quite often controversial, no matter how small, and there's the effect on gameplay dynamics.. Especially now that we're working with multiple versions, we can't change something like that mid version, it's unfair.
<Fingon> In that light, most new features have a lot of bugs, like we've seen with capodecina and caposuccessor. Have you ever considered doing *elaborate* beta-testing so that new features are introduced nearly bugfree instead of what is done now.
<w00t> Well, we give all features or changes that we introduce testing, usually on par with the complexity of the change. For example, removal of casino banks on .dm (a relativly minor operation) was given around 1-2 days worth of testing, internally and with the usergroup's assistance. However, in terms of 2.5 things were a little stretched. We effectivly had to work to make a decision on what to do, decide on changes, get them programmed and tested in around a week, a week and a half. For the size of code changes that were required this wasn't as much time as we would have liked, so a few problems have cropped up. Also as I said in previous comments it's been poorly timed in terms of the christmas holiday.
<Fingon> True, but 2.4 couldn't go on much longer. I assume you reset it not only based on player suggestion but also based on lowering income from dc's? Or am i wrong there?
<w00t> 2.4 was concluded due to player opinion.. it became unplayable. We would rather have let it go on until things picked up, but the playerbase didn't want this. So we had to find other options... One proposal was the 'second' .com, or .co.uk. The other proposal was a reset, when it turned out that .co.uk wasn't going to be popular, as it was largely misinterpreted as being an effort to split the community.
<Fingon> Well not so much an effort to split it, but that would probably have been the result.
<w00t> Possibly, yeah.
<Fingon> Ok, are there anymore plans to keep extending omerta with non-played versions like .de and .fr? They draw away money for servers, and more importantly, dev-time and other admin's time for a very little playerbase.
<w00t> A controversial question, for which I can't comment for the whole of Omerta crew or management, in fact, much of this is my personal opinion. I think de and fr were set up to expand Omerta, and give new audiences a chance to experience Omerta. They may not be popular currently, but we are working on that. Omerta is a business, and businesses aim to be successful. Expansion is a part of that. Omerta is also a community of communities, and by introducing different language versions, we are opening the door to more people.. I personally would rather play on a smaller localised version, smaller communities tend to be more fun, and you know people better than just knowing their names.
<Fingon> Many players play just on .com and not on the other versions, just because it is so big and played by many. The more people that play, the more people that will join a game. The big playerbase gives it something "extra". Do you agree?
<w00t> Sure, but from a social standpoint, the more compacted a group of people get, the more chances there are for tension, like the outbursts of racism particularly prominent during 2.3 and other versions, something which we need to keep fighting down. That kind of attention is more likely to drive people away from a game. Basically, the smaller versions give them a chance to make friends, get to know the game, and play in a calm environment. They can then later join .com if they feel they need more action or want to mix with people from around the world too.
<Fingon> Hehe funny description, i'd hardly call .nl or .dm "calm".
<w00t> That's because .nl has grown. But they are still mingling with people that know their culture and customs, in a safer environment so to speak. And .dm is somewhat of an exception, it's sole intention was as a faster-paced .com and as a place where we could experiment without pissing too many people off if we needed to.
<Fingon> Ok something different : what is being done about scripters? We've all seen you catch a couple (pillory), but still the anti-script codes remain the same.
<w00t> The latest generation of scripts uses a different method, which means captchas [anti-script codes] aren't useful at all. We have a few ideas based on analysis of scripts of characteristics users of those scripts will demonstrate ((usually there is at least one). Also we've been experimenting with a few other plans involving captchas, but nothing concrete. Scripts are a focus of ours, because they give an unfair advantage, and we will do what we can to stop their use
<Fingon> Good :) Now the inevitable question about 3.0, which you've all been working on for a very long time. How is it going? Any rough estimate on when it will be done?
<w00t> 3.0 is something we're putting a lot of time and effort in so it hopefully gets done right. We've actually finished the initial framework, and part of the current Omerta will be rewritten to use the framework for testing, to see if it scales, etc. 3.0 is a *complete* rewrite, so it will need a lot of testing, coding and planning yet, as it's also more than likely involving gameplay changes. So essentially we've hit another really really big milestone with it, but it's still a fair way off.
<Fingon> I assume the testing will be done by players too then? Possibly from the UG ?
<w00t> The UG will probably be involved with testing, as they often do for us
<Fingon> Do you think the UG is populated by the right people now? Some players left it because the UG is too noobish or doesn't make any change in the game.
<w00t> The UG is selected based on applications Tigre and Quellor recieve (Bramblerose too I think). Some people of course turn out to be unsuited to this, there to get a tag, to look important, whatever. We get the same people into crew.. they tend to get booted quick :p If people have a problem with a UG member, this goes for other UG members too, they should talk with the people running the UG. Leaving for that reason just means that's one less good person, one more bad person.
As for being the right people, it's hard to judge a group all at once of course.. I think the majority are well intentioned and are a help. We do listen to their ideas and suggestions, and a lot of the bigger testing of Omerta is done by them (small changes/fixes generally aren't).
<Fingon> But some stuff remains crew-only. I think now about the .co.uk debacle, about which the UG never was informed.
<w00t> They were not, no. One aspect of this is due to timeframe : decisions were made quickly, and were needed quickly. The other reason of course is that this was a managerial decision. I believe they were consulted later on in the process, I am not certain.
<Fingon> There's been a lot of discussion about the revives of victims of hacked accounts, and the policy about that. Most players disagree with the admins and think that an innocent victim who has been shot by a clearly hacked account deserves a revive. How do you feel about that?
<w00t> It's not ideal, but it's fair. If we revert the policy to what it was, if we investigate and don't revive, we are called favouritist (we are anyway, but this happens a lot more :P). I'm not sure there is an easy, clear path to follow with hacks, especially since the majority (sorry, but it's true) are caused by player ignorance or mindset. But even for those who got in the target line, things get a bit murky. I think it may be opened up for discussion if someone outlined comprehensive guidelines on what we *should* do instead of the current policy, but so far this has not eventuated.
<Fingon> In case it's a cheater (scripter) shooting, or in case admins were planning to akill anyway he DOES get a revive. How is a hacked account any different from a cheater or a case where admins were planning to akill anyway (as you should plan to akill all hackers, no mercy for those)?
<w00t> It isn't a constant rule there. It's usually in things like "I was about to freeze this guys account as he shot", in which case it seems a bit hard not to revive.. I don't know. I think that's something we need to talk about inside crew and make a firm decision on.
<Fingon> What if a family dies because of hackers, will the fam be revived? What if it's killed by cheaters or accounts that admins were planning to akill?
<w00t> In the first case, no, the fam won't be revived. As to the other, we don't have a firm policy on that.
<Fingon> Ok, why did Illusion receive money when their don was killed for cheating?
<w00t> A-killed is different. Generally we get the family handed over to the successor, or someone else.
<Fingon> A question from a disgruntled player : Why can't real life friends send honourpoints to each other, when they play on same ip's sometimes? Of course you can clearly distinguish between rl friends and mass dupers?
<w00t> It's not that easy, what's to stop them creating 5 friends all sending their don account hp to try get it up to cdtc? It would probably be allowed if hp had no advantages.
<Fingon> Does it? Other than cdtc (for which it can clearly be seen if he dupes) I personally don't see much advantage in it.
<w00t> It's easier just to create a blanket rule I guess. Means it's one less red flag on their account we're worrying about.
<Fingon> Ok, thanks for having this and thanks a lot for all the honest answers.
<w00t> No problem :)

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