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 Post subject: Interview with The Swat portals SWAT_OP8R *
 Post Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 6:01 pm 
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[align=center]Welcome to another addition to FreelancerCommunity.net! As Freelancer ages, and us too, we thought it was time to start honoring those who have helped to make this such an enjoyable adventure. From tool makers to coders to mod builders to board admins, welcome to the 'FreelancerCommunity.net Interviews'!

I have gathered most emails for these prominent members of our community and have sent out many of them (but not all). If you think you deserve an interview, feel free to email me [email protected]. You may also nominate someone for an interview, please give me their email.

Interviews will be posted in the order I get them back and will be showcased for at least one week. All interviews will be archived in our forums for prosperity.
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Hello SWAT_OP-R8R, what other names have you been known by in the
Freelancer Community?

-> None, I am known as OP-R8R since the year 2000 when I joined the Starlancer online community and due to my playing skills that name became very well known. I never saw the need to change the nickname no matter where I went. Even in other games such as Freespace and Jumpgate it happened that old FL or SL players noticed my name... and I like to meet old friends again.

What part of the world do you live in?
->Germany

How old are you?
->27

How many years have you played Freelancer?
Well lets say it this way... I played Freelancer longer than it was released.

Have you released or helped to build a mod? Please describe it.
->Oh - lets do a time travel back to the year 2003. Not long after the release of Freelancer the first small mods appeared on the servers... one of them was called "Brainbug Mod" (that was even before mods such as TNG or LVL2 were released). It was the first mod that has been developed on the SWAT Portal. Over the years I created about 15-20 Freelancer mods starting with small balance changes going over to massive system mods and serveral mods exclusivly for different clans (Tournament mods) and servers (RPG + System mods). In 2005 I decided to release a public mod called Crossfire since I was very disappointed by the other mods on the "market". Well and Crossfire has managed to be one of the most successful mods ever.
In 2007 I started to build up a modding team in order to create a bunch of new mods (before that i worked alone). Blaster was the first one which got the chance to realize his vision of a mod and it didnt took long until the release of the first version of the Blaster Universe Mod. The Sirius Expansion mod also belonged to the SWAT Projects at this time.
Later I started to help and teach modding to several other modding teams (including a famous Starwars modding team).
Now I am leading the "SWAT Development Team" which actually contains several project teams with more than 20 members. We are working on serveral Freelancer mods such as Crossfire 1.8, BlasterUniverse 3.4, FastLane Mod, Freelancer: Expanded Universe, Starlancer Reborn and some others.
Additionally to the work with the Freelancer engine one of our projects (Starlancer: Sol War)covers the creation of a Starlancer sequel based on a new engine.

Have you written a tutorial? Please tell us about it.
->Puh... sensitve topic. I am good creating stuff but I am not good at writing a tutorial. Not because I have a problem expressing what I need to say but because I think that tutorials limit the creativity of a modder. Most new mod creators will simply take the code of the tutorial and use it for their mods without really understanding it. These mod creators will never get anything new running. I also need to say that I consider 50% of the existing modding tutorials plain stupid and wrong.
But to come back to the question... yes I created tutorials (shame on me) covering the rights and wrongs of the FL modding, tutorials about dynamic processes in FL and tutorials about how the FL engine is working and how it can be manipulated.

Have you created any tools for the community to use? What does it do?
Well yes I have created various tools covering server maintenance and dynamic universe and dynamic economy. I also was involved in the creation of various other tools.

Have you ever been an Admin of a mod community or website?
->Hehe... I guess you mean only the lancer related stuff.
Yes - I was Administrator of Lancersreactor (www.lancersreactor.com) but resigned due to very stupid decisions that were made by the TLR staff and the continious bitching between the staff members.
I also created and lead the SWAT Portal which is one of the oldest and biggest FL communities next to Lancerreactor.

Okay, let's get to the meat and potatoes! How and when did you first
get involved in the wonderful game of Freelancer?

->In 2001
The Starlancer Online Community always was interested in the development of Freelancer so I decided to get more involved in this topic. Right after the FL release in 2003 we were able to completly cover Freelancer with all neccessary information.

What aspects of Freelancer are you most interested in?
->Community
I was never a big fan of the game. The graphics aint that good and the fights were always disappointing and too easy for me. But to run a community for players which like the game and to make the game better with my mods so the players can enjoy it is reason enough for me to play FL and work for the FL community.

What groups / clans have you been affiliated with?
->In first place I am leader of the SWAT Portal and the SWAT Development Team. Connected with this is a big affiliation with clans. I case of Starlancer I am leader of "Ministers of Death" which is the only remaining SL clan. In case of Freelancer it gets complicated. I am founder of and was leader of Bloodguard (which is the oldest existing FL clan). Right now I am building up a new clan called "Galaxy Rangers". Next to that I am heavily involved with other clans which consider me an advisor.
CFPD, IOC, UAC, FALLEN, SMG, LP, SZ, DC, TRF,... and others (eventhough I am not leader or member of those clans i am heavily involved in their politics and affairs)


List your accomplishments and projects you have participated in.
-> Puhhh - a long list (very likely i will forget half of the projects).
Besides being admin of SWAT and TLR:
Admin 3 BloodGuard servers
Admin of the Crossfire server
BloodGuard RPG Mod
Uniform Mod
BG System Mod 1.0
SWAT Effects Mod 1.0
SWAT Tournament Mod 2.0
Brainbug Mod
Crossfire Mod
Crossfire Tournament Mod
Blaster Universe Mod
Sirius Expansion Mod (not active in SWAT anymore)
Starlancer Reborn Mod
Starlancer: Sol War (indie game)
Freelancer: Expanded Universe Mod
FastLane Mod
Scifi Wars Mod
StarWars Chronicles Mod
Lag reduction Kit
Dynamic Universe
Dynamic Economy
and several other projects that I don't remember at the moment

List any awards, offices or positions you have held.
->Mod of the Year Awards 2007 (Top100 mod)
Web award 2004 for the best non-violent clan/game site
Top5 Starlancer player (rank2)

How has the Freelancer scene changed since you started playing?
->Over the years the community has changed heavily. Looking back to the beginnings where there were hundreds of servers with thousands of players I need to say the FL community got harder. Ok we don't have all the problems of the past with bugged mods and hundreds of cheaters jumping from server to server but there are new problems. Nowadays the serveradmins seem to jump from one server to another to convince players to switch servers, nowadays there are so many mods and mod creators which create their first mod. When i look at these mods then i need to say that its hard for them being hosted on a server and be successful.
The will to help new players has dropped and the FL communities are splitted. Many wrong decisions have been done in the past 5 years and the community had to pay.

Are you currently active on any servers?
->Yes. Being server admin I have to be active (well I should ^^).
24/7 SWAT Crossfire

What mod really stands out in your mind?
->Hard question. I easily could say "one of my mods" but I don't really consider this fair. There are many good mods out there and since everybody has a different taste i would recomment that everybody makes an own oppinion about what fits best.

What do you find most interesting about Freelancer...the single player
aspect, clan wars, being a pirate, a cop, vanilla servers, hugely
modded, Star wars, what?

->Don't laught now... the first time I played the FL singleplayer was 3 years after the release of the game... and that only because I was forced to (due to modding). In all those years being clan leader I naturally was confronted with many clan wars. For gods sake I was never in the situation of loosing one ^^. But honestly clan wars often turn into really nasty situations so I tried to avoid them in the past 2 years. Maybe I have been influenced too much by the wars that we had in Starlancer where the loosing clan was completly destroyed (yes - that were though times).
I think Roleplay is the most interesting part of Freelancer. Players enjoy good fights between roleplay factions, read the results in a roleplay story. Everybody has fun and nobody gets hurt. Not to mention that many players turn out to be very creative.
In case of mods I can't really say that I have preferences. Basically I like the mods that stick with a clear definied theme. Either you stick with "LANCER" as it is and develop a good mod around it or you create a total conversation of lets say "StarWars".
Crossover mods where you can find everything mixed... FL, Starwars, Startrek and such stuff is nothing for me. It simply does not fit together.

What will be your role in Freelancer in the coming years?
->Of course I will go on modding, there are so many running projects which deserve a chance and Im going to give those mod creators this chance to realize their visions.
I also will keep teaching modding and I will try to continue my work with the SWAT Portal (and maybe other communities) in order to keep the community together.

Describe in detail any memorable Freelancer experiences.
->Hmmm there are so many... it's hard to choose which experience is worth being shared and which not. Therefore I just want to say that I considered it always extremly impressive how small communities (with "small" i mean "located close together") can stick together in times of need and what they are willing to do for their community.

Why do you spend countless hours building mods, making tools, answering
questions or writing tutorials?

->Because I am absolutly crazy. Yes that must be the reason. On the other side its a fact that the human being starts to feel good if it can help others. Yes... its a good feeling to see all the players having fun and knowing "yes I did something good". Then all the time and all the work was worth it.

What other games do you regularly play?
->Hahaha... good joke^^
Being involved in so many projects there is not much time left for other games. From time to time I still play Starlancer and Quake 3. And due to my community work I am partly involved in beta testing of new games (space sims).

Do you have any hobbies other than games?
->Besides the usual (to met friends and have fun) I keep myself busy with my pets (dog, cat, parots). From time to time I still do sports but its getting less and less (I guess I'm getting older or busier).

Is there anything new coming up in the future for you?
->Many new mods. Many new space sims in the next 2 years. Yes... much will change.

How do you view the future of Freelancer?
->People will say now that I am a pesimist but actually I am a realist... I expect the worst and hope the best. In the past years the FL community took a negative development. Many wrong decisions did lead to the current splitting of the FL community and the decreasing numbers of players. If we look at the facts then we need to realize that FL is more than 5 years old and Mircosoft stopped the support. The once biggest FL community (lancersreactor) almost broke together and the other remaining communities try their best to keep everything together. But for sure we can not expect increasing numbers of players. The day will come when its not worth anymore to create a mod or a server for just a hand full of players. Hopefully that day will come later than sooner.
I think we should do the best out of the situation and keep up our work for the community. We should enjoy the time that is remaining and when this time has passed by we should look forward and not backwards. We will find other games (several will be released in the next few years) and maybe the communities can stay together moving from FL to new games.
The game is not important but the players are.

Can you recommend any others in the community for an interview?
->I could but it is pretty hard to find these people since they have left Freelancer long ago (but I guess since they developed the most important tools for FL they are the ones which made all this possible)
Oh wait... yes I really like to recomment one person ^^
Bargib

Are there any last things you would like to add?
->Dunno... should I? Do you have another hour time for me?
Well I guess I better stop here ^^

Thank you for the interview! It is the contribution of folks like you
that help to keep the game and the community alive!



SWAT_OP-R8R
www.swat-portal.com


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