My column at Ozlife – SoulSearching

soulsearching

Being a webmaster, server admin and such at Ozlife I also got myself a column on their web page. I called it SoulSearching and the premise was that I would interview well known gamers in the local scene. Here are a number of such interviews


 

DrWoot

When Ozlife started to gather together a team of avid volunteers DrWoot was quick to join.  First he took on the role of one of our CS Server Administrators and contributed much to the efficient running of wars for the clans who use our servers.  When we started discussing upgrading our web page from my original one, DrWoot leapt into the breach again and volunteered his time and skill.  So time to get to know one of Ozlife’s keenest participants.

SoulThief: DrWoot, can you please tell us something about the real life person that you are (hobbies etc).

DrWoot: I’m a 16 year old teenager who enjoys fast cars ( f1, drags ect ). I also enjoy online games, web site design and graphic design. As for hobbies, I race go-karts aka karts. Karting looks like a formula one car, though smaller and slower.

SoulThief: I would say without doubt that you are one of Ozlife’s most popular server administrators – so in your opinion, what makes a good server administrator?

DrWoot:  I think I’m one of the most popular server admins due to the tips notTricky gave me when I joined OzLife. Due to his experience in being an admin, I pick up a lot of information from him as how to admin a war, deal with server bookings, cheats ect. I think part of being a popular server admin is due to the mod. I think Counter-Strike is the most played Half-Life mod there has ever been. I couldn’t have done a great job without my other admins either which include Zanjara, EvoV, RSM and Xintits :P. Those 4 admins have put in alot of hard work too which have made the OzLife CS server the funnest server online.

SoulThief: OK, so CS is as you said one of the most popular mods out there. But the scene is also a very aggro one it seems to me. When you are online on an Ozlife server you are both a player AND a server admin. How do you personally cope with attacks and abuse? Does this sort of behaviour upset you or do you take it all with a grain of salt?

DrWoot: Yeah it does. Though when people say OMG cheater, he sucks his mums di(k and stuff like that, that’s when I take action. I give them a few warnings first. If they do not listen to me, then I slap them around a bit. Though sometimes people like I cheat. :( – They think I’m a cheating admin which sucks, because I don’t cheat. They go Oh I’m going to record a demo of you now haha, you are not going to be admin anymore. – so it has its ups and downs. Most of the people in the server know me so its pretty cool from the swearing side.

SoulThief: People often knock system administrators and want them to interfere where perhaps it is not appropriate. Do you tend to find that this happens to you? As an administrator I sometimes find that friends are behaving in a manner that is incorrect (maybe they are being abusive or whatever), how do you cope with situations where your role as a server administrator causes a conflict with your role as someone’s friend in such a situation? Have you endangered any friendships this way? Do you think that your online mates have trouble distinguishing between “DrWoot the Server Administrator” and “DrWoot the friend”?

DrWoot: I do find people try to knock the sys admin. They do interfere as well. My friends from school play cs. I have pointed them in the right direct to play on ozlife :P. They are also annoying at times. They do behave in a manner which isn’t correct, so I slap them around a few times :D I try not to find too many friends online as I don’t want to BS to them. Most of the time they only talk when they need a server and I don’t find them an ‘online friend’ at all. So I try to avoid online friends.

SoulThief: The big excitement for Ozlife in the near future is the new website and you are the key designer of that site. What is your background in site design and are there any other examples of your work we can look at?

DrWoot: Well I have taught myself to design sites. Its been a long slog, though i’m getting there :D My newest project would be my personal web site @ drwoot.com.

SoulThief: You obviously enjoy this kind of work. Why?

DrWoot:  I prefer graphic design as I like creating things that look cool.. Programming is like pretty boring :P – there is basically one way to do something, though with graphics you get heaps of different variables.

SoulThief: Can you tell us something about your goals and objectives in designing the site for Ozlife and what you hope the gamer community will get from it?

DrWoot: I hope to be a graphic designer when I’m older. I had work experience @ pacific hwy ( not the hwy ), though the graphic industry that does deigns for McDonalds. So I have created some of the menu board for McDonalds. As for games, Its just a fun thing.. There is some skill, though some of it is BS. The games for graphics r0x. Especially games like Quake 3.

SoulThief: Graphics eh? So what are your favourite tools for graphics? Do you do 2D or 3D stuff or both?

DrWoot: Animation, 2D / 3D. Tools :: Flash, Photoshop, 3D Studio Max

SoulThief: You say that you taught yourself these tools. For people reading this interview who want to teach themselves too, how did you go about this? Did you simply read the manuals or did you find tutorials on the web? And if the latter, are there any web sites that you would recommend that are good for their tutorials etc?

DrWoot: Tutorials are good. I think mucking around within the program is the best thing to do. I had to uninstall / reinstall Photoshop a few times as I had NO IDEA what the hell I did, though I learnt from my mistakes. I think its like anything. The only way to can become good at anything is practice. Though @ pacific hwy it was a great help. I learnt a few things there and also shortcuts, keyboard shortcuts too. Big time savers. I don’t have any good tutorials, though www.google.com is the right place to start :P

SoulThief: One of the things we intend to run at the same time as the new site launch is a signature design contest. As a person who is interested in graphic design, what kind of things do you hope to see in the entries? In other words, what makes a good signature?

DrWoot: Well original design for sure! Though well it all depends on the person and what their tastes are. I like blue personally. Its a nice cool colour. Though people might like green or something else. I hope to see more shapes ect sigs than actual CS / HLDM characters ect. I think as it is being a sig comp you are catering for all types of mods. I.e. – the ozlife logo. It doesn’t have any specific mod within the logo due to mod popularity. Some people might not like CS, so why vote for that sig. in ozlife’s case, why go to ozlife’s new site? Another thing is what size do you mean by SIGNATURE? – A sig isn’t really something that is 500 wide. 100 high and 300 wide is a good start as you have to remember its a SIG, not a logo here. Though it should be a good contest, would like to see what the entries are like. With the sig comp what are we catering for? – ie any type of sig? specific mod?

SoulThief: The way I have set out the competition it will be all mods and will address both animated and non-animated sigs by having different categories.  But I wont say more til the official announcement.  Anyway, earlier in the interview you mention that CS “is the most played Half-Life mod there has ever been”. So why do you play it? What is the attraction as compared to other mods? What in your opinion is the best way that someone can improve their skills?

DrWoot: I honestly do not know why I play it. Well before 1.4 came out, CS is bs, though now its real bs. There aren’t many people playing HLDM so the servers aren’t as full as they use to be. The HLDM community has seem to die to me. I guess I play CS now for fun. I’m not really in a clan so it makes it fun and not soo serious.

SoulThief: Well Woot, we end the interview with the standard question: namely, what does the future hold for you both in real life and in cyberspace?

DrWoot: Ah well, cyber world I don’t think anywhere.. LOL I don’t have the time to play much games so yes :( As for my part time work as a freelance web designer, I hope to start up my own business when I’m older :P

Horendus

I first met Hori in July 2000.  At the time I was playing as Think_I_Care??? and Hori recruited me into uY.  Since then it has been a rocky ride for Hori and all who know him.  He says what he thinks – be it popular or not – be it correct or not.  But then he has never claimed to be perfect.  As well as a simple gamer he runs his own AG mod server, one of the few in Australia other than the Ozlife one.  He is also a father of another gamer in our scene – Royce.  In this role he has concerns and opinions about the treatment of kids by older gamers.  So here is your chance to get to know Hori better.  NOTE: he calls me “tic” in this interview, a reference to my former gamer name.

SoulThief: Hori, you have been playing online for quite a while now, and I guess that you have seen both the good side and the bad side of gaming. What do you believe ARE the best things about online gaming and what are the worst?

Horendus:  Best thing I feel about online gaming is the ability to meet hundreds of new people in my life and then to meet them in person like hcap, nottricky, Tweeker, Turrican guys like this i would have never of met without half-life :)

Also the clan scene with multiplayer is best to none it gives u constant communication with the real life word and what’s happening around our country

The ability to hit ESC when ur getting Ownd.. is my best luv of multiplaying games eheh

My worst hate of online gaming is LAGGGG PACKET LOSSS eheh other than that i have no hates in online games I luv ’em to death after 4 yrs of it I’m still a constant 5 hour a day man always sumthing new to try out :P

SoulThief: As a parent of an online gamer, what concerns do you have about children and gaming?

Horendus: Abuse is my biggest concern- foul language my second

Hope they don’t grow up thinking they’re going to be some kind of Rambo is one of my biggest scares. Hlife is a game its not real but as u see in Germany fatal school shooting. The guy was heavily involved in counterstrike!!!!

I think if u have a mentally ill child watching batman could be a Risk as i remember when I was Royce’s age I was always told to stop watching those crazy cartoons with violence.

Kids of today don’t watch so much TV – they’re into gaming on PCs which is our fault to begin with.

They see dad owning on Duke 3d its only natural they wanna have a go too.

SoulThief: Abuse and swearing are a big concern.  Once during a chat with my friend Machine he told me that his method of protecting his son is to talk to him (Crafty) about online experiences (and I guess that would also mean talking about abuse he has experienced).  Do you do something similar with Royce and do you find it effective?

Horendus: Yes when we first started half-life I explained to Royce it was just a game and not real and I think Royce knows all about that now being nearly 10 years old but when he was 6 and full on gamer multiplayer I think he was a little over the top once he was offline and back in real life but he has grown out of that.

As for abuse side of things i just explained to Royce that those sort of people —u know who I’m talking about— just aren’t grown up enough to realise what they was doing—in that POINT they was saying all that stuff just to get to me not Royce anyway.

So i simply put a 1 month ban on Royce from the game until it all settled down.

Abuse isn’t good and i know iv been guilty of it a lot myself but i personally do steer away from Sexual Abuse as a Parent I know there is no need for this sort of behaviour and I simply don’t tolerate it.

SoulThief: Also, you may have seen that some servers (eg. Ozlife’s) have swearing filters on them. While it is possible to get around the filters by inserting spaces etc they do tend be be relatively effective. What is your opinion of them?

Horendus: I think what the ozlife servers have up and running is bloody great as u don’t see any swearing I think half-life should be coded like this it could be done with great ease.

SoulThief:  You also mention violence in the games we play and I must admit that I agree with you. I used to watch The Samurai quite religiously as a kid (with all those Ninjas being gutted) and I feel that I am no more violent than I would otherwise be.

Horendus: As for letting Royce play as young as six i was stupid —– but so was my father in letting me watch Gigantor!!! ehheeh

Quote don’t really remember how cartoon charactor was spelt u should remember this huge cartoon of the 70’s and how images in life u can never forget.

And how Robo model reminded me so much of Gigantor. LOL. That model was just bloody Horendus!!!!

And that’s how I came to the name Horendus.  Stupid as it sounds :) its true

SoulThief: But do you think that most kids can distinguish between real life and fantasy? I admit that I was a Gigantor fan myself, and was even daggy enough to download the mp3 of the theme music several months ago :)  However, I always wondered how the control console worked as it only seemed to have 2 levers and no buttons.  I must admit that I enjoyed the cartoon fantasies of my youth, be they Gigantor or Astoboy or Prince Planet (though Marine Boy was a bit irritating with his oxi-gum).   Have you noticed how many gamers are also into cartoons and graphics?  What is it for you that links these?

Horendus: Ok Tic links to me cartoons and online gaming is yes a fantasy—Fantasy that I can play a game online as a model of my choice and name of my choice i can stir the living hell out of a person i don’t like Yet its not real because i don’t really know the person to begin with –Hence this makes me a bad Hori but i do all in fun and for a joke -I’m a character of life i love a bloody laugh and that’s just who I am :) but in doing this i can see how people get annoyed with Hori -so in a cartoon sense I’m sought of like the Joker in Batman LOL but was the Joker really a bad person – my opinion is “not really” nor am I. I have 2 kids Royce and Shelly and I luv them an life to the max so Horendus is just a character not really my true nature of life as u can ask hcap as iv known him for sum years now an he in gaming life is more like me than anyone could imagine he to is a bit of a Joker as well.

SoulThief: Down another track, several weeks ago you posted a message on a forum where you spoke a bit about your life and how you have built a business from scratch.  Up until I recently lost my job, I felt I had a successful career and had difficulty coping with some of the demeaning crap that goes on in gamer society.  So I kind of wonder whether you too, as someone who has achieved something like their own business, feels similar irritation at times?  Also, what qualities as a person do you think are necessary to successfully build a business?  I include this question for all the younger people out there who may be considering starting one in the future.

Horendus: Business MMM bloody hard work smart with money u have to know how to do the job at hand before u even think of employing people to do the job for u. Lots of highs and lows eg builders go broke and u loose $$$$ big time — but then the ability to say hey I’ll work my way out of this mess and so I have done this a few times in my 23 yrs as a Bricklayer and I have been self employed since 1985 so basically 17 years.

Anyone with a good mind can do almost anything they achieve I do it I’m happy :) I basically contract all my work from one builder and they get a good product off me and in return I think I’m paid pretty well.  I started out working for myself with a 6×4 box trailer and a $40.00 a day labourer.  Its taken me until now to realise how much of a hard slog it has been the last decade.  Up until Xmas just gone I had average of 8 guys working for me and I tell u it was totally stressful but $$$$$ was rolling in nicely. Now work has died down a bit I’m down to myself plus 3 other guys and not so much stress :) and $$$ still roll in nicely :)

But what’s it all for and why as I live day by day I’m never one to look at making $100000.000 a year with my hands as its impossible and very greedy which I am not.

I give guys who work for me a pretty easy week as we usually flat out working a 35 hour week but in return i ask of them to have a go and lets get the job done most guys who work for me stay with me for a few years at least so I’m obviously pretty good to get along with at work :) I really think what hcap told me 1 day was true any man who puts all his eggs in 1 basket is a fool –eg 1 job line only which is why hcap an Optomerist is also now into studying very hard to become a programmer he is looking for good fallback — Good move by Adam

But I’m basically 37 yrs of age but feeling 47 in the body 22 yrs of hard work an sun have taken its toll on my body and i really feel its way to late for me to make a change in life like Adam is doing.

SoulThief: Hori, I think you have hit upon one of the crucial things that most people tend to forget, namely that the people we are in real life are not the people we may seem to be online.  I know that some clans have started posting piccies of people to emphasise the point that behind a cold-hearted fragger there may be a quite nice guy.  As someone who has been gaming for an awful long time, what else do you think we can do to get the message across that we are people, often quite decent human beings?

Horendus: First question is a tuff 1 tic — mainly because people only see each other online gaming –unless we meet up personally like I have done in the last month with [SP]Wild-Beast & [SP]Degen mm I think they might of been a tad nervous on meeting me -But once they did they saw I was a normal average Family guy and had a good laugh n joke — also they saw WOW when they saw all my hl programs I use –like wonid and hlips2 also one called hl_log they was amazed when they saw them working all together on tracking a unknown person by name an wonid to a person we play with daily :) people think I’m nosy but it what keeps me in the game. Then they knew I was serious about my Half-Life :) an they also knew i was just a average Bloke trying to learn new pc Skills.

SoulThief: You mentioned earlier in the interview some people that you like and respect online.  I think that most people would agree with your list.  What is it about them that makes them respectable?

Horendus: Respect for those players I mentioned came from a various range of reasons.  Hcap real decent guy and a lovely wife and now a child could never really meet a nicer guy he is very funny luvs a joke but also has a serious side of him. His work which is his life atm as he puts in enough hours to make some of us cough probably double to mine week in week out but he will benefit from it all I’m sure

Nottricky – well yes I have met up with Richard about 15 months ago in Brisbane.  Seems like good guy with funny side of him but also the respectful Richard on a serious note –he has low tolerance for idiots online – people like myself at times haven’t always seen eye to eye with Richard but I respect the guy he is and he also I think realises I’m Hori and that’s who I am I do the things I do online for KICKS in the game an fun I don’t resort to drugs to get my kicks as I have never been involved in them in my life. Thus why I think guys like 2 so far mentioned get along well :)

Tweeker, Turrican — well what can I say me and the tweekster go back few years now he was here when Shelly was born last year -Always have got along well with him an I think I always will.  Just seem to click he has very good nature about him this is what I like in people –Turrican Bloody great Bloke luvs a Beer an a Big BBQ. Turri has stayed at my house a couple of times and loves Royce and Shelly to death And Anita’s Cooking hehe – thing I admire about Turri is his Big determination to do something for half life he has amassed 100’s of hours setting up a NSW lan comp. Good on ya turri

Then there r guys like casual. Hhey what a guy. Never met him in person but on the phone I cant say iv spoken to a better spoken person in my life -always sees both sides of the story an always sees the funny side of my doings of Halflife.

SoulThief: I also note that you may be back with [uY] again.  That must make you happy.  What role will you be playing with them?  DM team leader again?

Horendus: Yup Back in uY thanks tweeker for letting me back.  Leader of uY dm mm I’m not going to tread on any toes there but if I’m asked to I will for sure.

SoulThief: One thing that I know about you is that you like to laugh.  So what things (real life or TV or films) make you laugh?  What is your favourite comedy?

Horendus: Best TV shows for a laugh are in my opinion Get smart.  Max always breaks me up even if i have seen it 100 times before —always wonder did he ever go the full Monty with 99 eheheh.

SoulThief: A few gamers I have interviewed to date have also said they like sport.  What about you and if so, which sport is your favourite?

Horendus: Sport yup i like my rugby league and da Broncos are my team —other than that only sport i actually do is with my fingures on the key board lol I have been piling on the Kilos for a long time now an in near future I think i will be getting called Norm hehe

SoulThief: LOL.  Know what you mean.  I’ve started visiting Weight Watchers. Finally, the question I ask everyone, what does the future hold for you – both in real life and in cyberspace?

Horendus: Hmm cyber space – I think Hori will be around for few more years yet I’m simply just having to much fun to give it all away :) lol see da pic i sent u its the desktop part of a half-life home made key name and model changer hehe line starts at 001 an goes thru to 999 eheh an they all work so Tic as u can see I’m having to much fun to give Hlife away atm — this is 1 of about 6 programs i use made by brother-in-law Johnk –people think I’m full of garbage but ask a few guys who know me like degen and beast they have seen them all working :) so Yup to much fun for Hori to retire so ill cyas all online today tomorrow hehe an for next few years :)

ps mm maybe Tic i am the Joker from Batman what u think >?????lol

Major 
Major is one of the legends of Australian HLDM.  Many would call him the current champion of the DM scene down under.  Certainly in Stalkyard his skill is awesome to the point that even achieving one frag against him is a source of much joy for even the most experienced player.  As a leading figure in the DM scene he frequents many clan forums and has never been too shy to voice his opinion whether rightly or wrongly.  And of coarse, he stands as the symbol for what MKK stands for.  Some love him, some dislike him, but at the end of the day you have to admit that he has paid his dues and is contributing to the life of our gamer scene.

SoulThief: First questions: Major, in the Australian HLDM scene there is no doubt that you are currently one of the very best players out there. Is this a label that you happily accept or do you find that this places the burden of expectations upon you?

Major: i have no problem with that, the only expectations i feel are the ones i put on my self.

SoulThief: You also belong to a family of superb gamers. This no doubt leads to competition between you all. Is this the case and do you think that the competition between yourself and your brothers has contributed to your skills

Major: There is huge competition between me and my bros and cousins when we get together and lan. Our mouths do not shut when we are playing, always trying to achieve the ultimate pleasure of pissing them off to the point that they are kicked off the pc by our dad. Competition between me and my bros have contributed greatly to our skills. You are only as good as your competition.

SoulThief: You mention your dad. So what do the oldies think about having their sons being some of Australia’s top gamers?

Major: He doesn’t really give a shite. Though he says he wouldn’t mind if we started bringing in some money from it.

SoulThief: Which one of you got into the scene first? How did the rest of you get into it?

Major: Blink got into it first then about 3 months later and after i payed him $20 to be able to play hl multi playa i started.

SoulThief: Did I read you correctly, you paid Blink $20 to play??? Is this some aspect of brotherly love and sharing of which I am not aware?

Major: Yer sharing doesn’t go well with us. We once bought one copy each of the same game on n64.

SoulThief: You seem to have a particular fondness for HLDM over any other game (like CS or DoD). What is it about HLDM that makes it you favourite?

Major: I just like dm cause its what i have the most fun in (winners are grinners), cs i find quite kewl and spent 6 months at it a year and a half a go but after having a game of dm i went back to it. dod i barely played, been a nazi with a sniper rifle is pretty kewl though

SoulThief: Actually, I sense that you two have very different personalities. Is this correct and how would you describe your differences?

Major: Our personalities are almost the same. We are cocky all the time, luv pointing out other ppls deficiencies and boasting of our greatness. we are constantly competing wif each other which is why we may seem different in a way, when u think ur top shit, ur obviously going to have a different view with someone else who thinks his top shit.

SoulThief: Indeed, this raises the question “What is Major like in real life?”. What are your likes and dislikes, your hobbies and interests when not perched behind a PC slaughtering every gamer in sight?

Major: I’m into most sports especially basketball. I don’t have an interest or play other computer games. How u see me in the game is what u get outside of it unless I’ve just met ya and haven’t gotten to know u outside of the game, I’m usually shy and nice at first, you will know that I’ve gotten to know u when I start making fun of ya :D

SoulThief: MKK are currently the kings of Australian HLDM and are an awesome force in clan wars. So tell us about your history and role with MKK? Perhaps something about the origins of MKK too.

Major: I joined mkk about September ’99. I was one of the better players in hldm back then but far from the best. Knitros though was very keen on me for some reason and showed that when he didn’t kick me from the clan when i did something wrong but he kicked 2 other members. This is why i still am in the clan because i feel that i owe mkk for keeping me in. This is why almost every mkk recruited doesn’t leave the clan because of the training we give to them means they feel that they owe the clan for it and do not leave. mkk started id say roughly april or may 99, the clan was originally fill with some guys who were friends outside of hl and gamed pretty late at night.

SoulThief: Did belonging to MKK and being with other talented gamers contribute to your development as a gamer? In this I also refer to self-discipline and training and the such. Indeed, in your opinion how important is the role of training in developing a good clan?

Major: It did contribute in a way, not so much when I joined the clan but in the past year it has, part of my development is because i know how to improve myself, or else i would have reached a certain level and stopped improving. training means shit if u dont know how to improve and if ur facing crap competition. From jazon to andi to cibs to hitman to dev to sli have all been severely cained dozens of times, you ask urself how many times u could take been hammered 60-0 over many months straight and keep coming back for more. they do because they enjoy the game, they see that the only way u improve is by learning from ur mistakes, accepting that there r ppl better than u and then telling urself you will get better than them, and see that losing isn’t a bad thing, its a good thing because its hastening ur development. if u win all the time how quick do u think u will improve??? not much, u can only improve slowly by winning which is the case im in. if ur a person of excuses, a whiner, someone who doesn’t accept that they were outplayed, someone who gets cut when they lose then improving when losing will be just like someone who wins all the time, very slow.

SoulThief: I gather from your reply that you believe in certain values (eg. loyalty). What values would you like to see more people in the scene adhering to (in respect to behaviour etc)?

Major: I’d like to see more respect shown to ppl who have skill, instead of ppl criticizing or downplaying their abillties. Also more respect shown to other gamers, I see 2 many ppl saying they own this person they own that person when they haven’t duelled them, and even then u need to have many contests before u can say u own them. And less pointing of the fingers towards ppl accusing them of cheating, there r so many ppl out there who are paranoid beyond belief. There are barely any cheaters in oz hldm yet ppl go out of their way to see if someone cheats this is what causes the paranoia, if you truly care about getting rid of cheaters in dm then don’t go after them and yell at em, most of em are just trying to have sum fun with em and will stop using em after the novelty of it wares off.

SoulThief: You also seem to have a high regard for Knitros. Was he your mentor in the gaming scene or was it someone else?

Major: I had no mentor when i played, only ppl who i respect and there r very few these days.

SoulThief: During the time that I have been involved with the gamer scene I have seen quite a few significant feuds between clans and individuals. I’ve also seen a lot of abuse exchanged between gamers – some of it very nasty. As someone who has spent some of the formative years of their life playing (your early to mid teens) do you feel that such negativity has had an effect upon you (either in real life or on the way you behave online)?

Major: The only affect it may have had on me was when i was 12 and playing this game, copping shit from ppl showed me that 2 many ppl take the game too seriously and need to lighten up and try having fun when playing. This gave me a good sense of humour and i also i made sure that i wouldn’t give ppl shit unless in defence and that i wouldn’t crack the shits when playing because things weren’t going my way, just gotta accept whats happening and not worry about it.

SoulThief:  Stalkyard! Ask anyone who has played for a while and they will tell you that Major is THE master of Stalky. Not only are you good at that map, there is a distinct sense that you really enjoy the design of the map. What do you particularly like about the layout and design of Stalky as compared to other maps?

Major:  I can’t really explain what I like about its layout and design but I’m sure it relates to my answer of why I like it. I like it because its such a challenging map in a duel, 2on2 or war. It is challenging because there are 2 things that need to be done 2 succeed in it and they are very hard to do. The 1st part is been able to control the map, i cant go into great detail on how its done because it would take 2 much text to explain it. The 2nd part of it is been able to kill someone who is in control when you are not. Against me or when I’m playing someone from mkk, it can be extremely hard to do because we all know how to control it. A lot of it is again on what to do but again it would take too much text to explain it. If it is an even contest then u will be seeing ppl going on 5-15 frag runs then dying 5-15 times, this is because of the difficulty of getting control of the map. So being patient and slowly bringing them down is what works best against good competition, so in the end u are likely to find that the winner will not necessarily be because they outplayed the other person its more of the case that the loser was beaten by the clock (timelimit up). Many ppl however have a bad perception of it been a campers map but these ppl haven’t participated in a duel with someone of high quality so they don’t know what its all about, unfortunately these ppl also don’t seem interested in finding out what its really like so they are stuck with the fixation they have.

SoulThief: In respect to real life, you are now approaching the critical years of high school. So what does the future hold for you in real life and will there be an impact upon your gamer life?

Major: I have no idea of my future atm there are a few things I am interested in doing, but I would be interested perhaps most in gaming, if in Australia gaming becomes a bigger thing in been that winners of competitions will be given a fair sum of money. Its alrdy sorta of having an impact on me as I don’t game no more on weekdays because I’m finding myself too tired from getting up early and going to school, im a person if allowed would sleep for 11-14hrs a day.

SoulThief: Finally, if you were given one wish, what would you wish for?

Major: Nothing I’d wish for atm, everything atm is achievable.

 

KiwiGal 

There is no doubt that the Gamer scene is primarily perceived to be a male domain.  But with time this perception may change.  There is a steady flow of women into the scene and they are making their presence felt.  Following a suggestion by [FARQ]JLO one day, I decided to seek out an experienced, well-known and well-liked female gamer and find out her opinions.  [RIP]KiwiGal was an obvious choice for me.

SoulThief: Would you be able to tell us a little about who you are, both in the real world and in cyberspace. I separate these two worlds because some people behave differently in one from the other.

KiwiGal: In the real world I’m an easy going sort of person most of the time. KFC, and burger King are my favorite takeaways…yumm. Pets include one female collie dog, and three cats. I live in Wellington, New Zealand, but was born in Taranaki. I especially enjoy the time with my partner doing the ole computer window shopping and the late nights on the pc’s fragging it out. I still haven’t quite got used to getting fragged by him on death match yet and I get a bit piffed :) Teamplay is lots of fun and I enjoy backing up teammates etc and I become very determined to get frags.

SoulThief: How did you get involved with online gaming?

KiwiGal: Quake 2 was my first taste of online gaming about four half years ago. Then my isp at the time ran a HL dm server called “Bloodworks”, so I supported that. There a number of people helped me with gaming hints (which was brilliant) as I was as green as they come to HL multi. One of those people is now my partner. As I played on Aussie servers also and being a patriotic kiwi I came up with my player name.

SoulThief: You say that you met your partner through gaming. Many of us would not associate a DM fragfest with romance and yet stories of online romances are not uncommon in other virtual communities. Why do you think that is? What makes online romances viable?

KiwiGal: Well, I think destiny has a hand in the genuine online romances :) Technology has a lot to do with it also, but it is the signs of the time we are in now. Common interests is also a big contender. Romance was definately not on my agenda at all when I started dm. If Paradise at that time, had not been temporarily down the chances of my partner and I meeting would have been very slim, if not non exisitant. Bloodworks, being not very populated with players gave time for small talk with a common interest and over a number of months things went from there. However caution was always on the top of the list. (For both of us)

SoulThief: And leading from there, how do you compare online friendships to real-world ones?

KiwiGal: Honesty, being yourself and no bull is most important for a viable online friendship. You can have just as great a friendship with someone online as you can in the “real world” i.e. virtual penpal :) I have made some great friendships with online people and I feel if it hadn’t been for the pc making this possible my life would’ve been less richer.

SoulThief: Should we value them as much?

KiwiGal: We definately should value our online friends just as much as our real world buddies.

SoulThief: You seem to have a really good handle on interpersonal aspects of the gamer scene. And you have also said that your name proclaims a bit of who you are – a Kiwi Gal as such. So how do you find the whole gender issue in the gamer scene?

KiwiGal: I feel females are accepted and respected a lot better now without too many hassles from other players on the local gaming servers. When I started hldm in June/July 1999, it was very hard going. I received a lot of name calling & hostility from quite a number of players. It’s really in the last 9-12 months that the “hassles” have lessened considerably which is great. On the flip side, there were also a number of players that retaliated against the “hostile” players. I’m very grateful for the support of these players.

SoulThief: Does it change the way people interact with you?

KiwiGal: In the “real world” when I tell folk I play single/multiplayer shoot’em up type games, they are a bit taken aback. However, with explaining how it works & the fun/social time that can be had, they can become very curious & like to have a hands-on/visual experience. Others give me the impression that I need to get “professional” help :) In the online gaming world, I still get fragged like anyone else.

SoulThief: Do you think that there are invisible barriers that discourage women to take up gaming?

KiwiGal: Yes. a). I think the word “gaming” is a stigma. b). It’s the attitude that gaming is for the children. c). Not be embarrassed and admit to having fun when playing. Gosh there’s the “big kid” in all of us!! d). Don’t let age restrict you. i.e. “I am too old”….bah. I was reading in a popular pc mag where a 15yr old played with his 72yr old grandfather on the playstation. Now that is great. e). An assumption it’s mainly a male domain. This is to due lack of publicity on the female gaming scene. f). It’s okay for females to play shoot ’em up games like their male counterparts. g). But most of all, change the attitude and don’t worry what other people may think. If you want to game…do it!!

SoulThief: I don’t know whether you are aware, but [FARQ]JLO and [SP]Mishelle are trying to get an all-female deathmatch war happening. What would be your opinion on this plan? And why?

KiwiGal: Full marks for giving it a whirl!!! A big positive step for the female gamer scene :)

SoulThief: Gender aside, you sound like you have a broad experience of games, so what do you think are the elements that make an enjoyable game?

KiwiGal: There are lots of elements but I’ll only mention those that I feel are most important. To me an enjoyable game includes having fun. Though I fully understand how frustrating it is when the game is not going too well. Enjoying the company of interesting and sometimes very funny people that play. But the biggie for me is having a reasonable attitude and being respectful to the other players.

SoulThief: One question I ask all interviewees is who was the person who has inspired them the most as a gamer – so I’m asking you it.

KiwiGal: This would have to be my partner with his competitiveness, fairness, good sportmanship and his supportiveness to others players.

SoulThief: Finally, what does the future hold for KiwiGal – both in cyberspace and the real world?

KiwiGal: Keep with halflife dm until a better game comes along. Serious Sam multi co-op could be a good contender here but there are no local servers :(. In the real world I’m very happy and contented so I hope the future will continue along these lines. I plan to play lots more single person shoot ’em up games i.e. Unreal 2 and Doom3 and of course Duke Nukem Forever when (hopefully) it comes out.

 

ZANJARA

VII is a well-known and well-liked clan in the scene and their presence on Ozlife servers brings us is something that we value.  Zanjara is the Ozlife CS servers’ most frequent visitor, he is also a bit of a legend in the scene.  So lets find out who Zanjara is.

SoulThief: Who is Zanjara, both in real life and the person you portray online. I differentiate between the real-life and the online because for some of us there is a distinct difference (me being a much grumpier person in real life than online for example).

Zanjara: Well Zanjara is a 20 year old male who lives in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. In real life I am just a guy who has a girl friend, I go BMX rideing with some of my mates now and then, help fix there computers as well as my own, looking for some type of job just to get some money to help out the family with. When I am online I am totally different I play just for fun but can get a bit pissed off at times with some people who just act like 12 year olds. I really have no time with the younger people who play counter strike as they have a very bad attitude problem and are very immature towards the older people who play counter strike.

SoulThief: Do you think that as gaming is a fantasy environment to some extent that players should act out characters?

Zanjara: Yes I do think that gaming is a fantasy environment but you get little kids acting as they are part of the game which is good but not for older people.

SoulThief: So what is the answer to such immaturity among gamers? In your own clan you are described as a Major Leader I think. Do you try to influence your fellow clan members in online etiquette? Indeed, do you believe that it is incumbant upon clans to promote a code of conduct?

Zanjara: I think the answer for this such immaturity among gamers is to try and get them to stop, by saying “can you stop flashing your team members” or “ can you stop abusing other players please” if they just keep on doing it then I take a screenshot of there nickname and wonid and report them to the admin of oz life eg: Dr w00t. I think that oz life has been cleaned up a lot and with the people who play on there kind of know each other only in the game that’s all. Yes I am one of the Major leaders in clan VII aka Seven. I try and do my best as a leader for Seven, we try to apply rules to our members so they become better players, some of these rules are in the nature of being a good sport, even when losing or being abused :) I try to encourage other clan members to embrace sportsmanship while playing CS :)

SoulThief: Its always good to meet someone else with good attitudes :) What got you into CS? When? How does the scene compare now to when you started?

Zanjara: Well what got me into CS was last yeah when it was still version 1.0 and I was at Tafe with some guys who have played CS for ages. One of my clan members in Seven Aftermath got me into CS when I first got my ADSL. It was a few weeks into our second term at tafe and he said when you get ADSL I will hock you up with CS, and it happened. I still remember my first game was on a Netspace server the map was de_Aztec I was pretty crap but that happens got a few kills hehe J Back then when I started I was not very good I just downloaded some bots cant remember which ones they where and just prac with them day in day out and played online with some mates. I found that I got better and better at CS controlling the fire power of some guns, jumping and shooting was a bit hard at first then got the hang of it, listening out for foot steps not always running around like a chicken with no head, and just to sitting there reading tactics or just even watching good CS players show there stuff.

SoulThief: One of my other interviewees – namely Blink – talks about the physical toll of being a gamer. In his case he mentions pains in his hands. What effects do you believe that being a gamer can have upon you either physically or mentally or socially?

Zanjara: Physically yes after awhile I do tend to get some pains in my hand maybe coz I am getting old I don’t know what. I think that my socially has stayed the same I don’t like to much during the day I play mostly in the evenings and at night. Mentally hehe I have no brains to start with heheh, nah I think Mentally at times it can make you a bit pissed off and you do get a bit toey with people that are around you but that does not happen all the time depends on what my moods are when I play CS I guess.

SoulThief: In your opinion, who is the most inspirational player you have met during your gamer career? Not necessarily the best player, but the one who stood out as a fine player and a top person. Why?

Zanjara: Well I think a player that has stood out in my gaming career so far with have to be the head leader of Seven, XiCoNiAN. He is always there for the clan no matter what always plays late nights with me even if he has to work earily in the morning always there for me if I need help or anything. In other words he is like a good friend a real friend that is there for you no matter what. When I play I don’t say hey XiCoNiAN I just say hey daddy as we are his sons hehehe J I rate him as a top person to play cs with he takes no crap from little kids he just sits there and laughs at them all if they call him a cheat or anything like that, he is just one pure CS player.

SoulThief: You mention your clan and it is obvious that you are proud of it and proud of your leader. Indeed, being part of a clan with an inspirational leader can be an excellent experience. And yet you are also a Major Leader in the clan yourself. How do you cope with the necessity of having to lead and inspire others? What are the best things and the worst things about leadership in a clan.

Zanjara: Well yes I am very proud with the clan I am in right now coz they are not either fighting with each other or anything they help out each other. As being one of the Major leaders of Seven it has its ups and downs, I do cope very well with this I have not had any complaints from any of the members at all, they are all saying I am doing a good job. Well we had a war in the Game Arena ladder about 2 weeks ago, the team we played was PowerC0re we won 20 – 0 which was pretty cool I lead them to the win so that was a big boost to myself so it means if there is no other leaders around in Seven I could lead the clan myself with help for the members within. I think the best thing about the leadership in the clan would have to be the members asking me some questions about issues or members having a few personal issues. Seven is like a big family everyone is there to help out each other. The worst thing well I have not had any yet thank god which is good so far but when something bad happens I guess I will have to try and handle it.

SoulThief: Are there any other games at the moment which are interesting you and why? What do you think the future holds for you in both real life and in the gaming scene?

Zanjara: Yes there is other games I play some guys I that I play CS with play Tribes and I have been playing that for about 2 weeks now its pretty good just learnt some new moves so I will see how it all comes together when I play again. I also play games on my PS2 as well as PC but the only games I play online really are CS and Tribes. The future I am hopeing I can find a good IT course to do and find myself a good job but at this point in time any job will do. IN the gaming scene I think I will just keep playing CS till it dies hehehe but who knows I could turn around tomorrow and say I don’t want to play CS anymore. Anything can happen it’s the way life goes, you are the life you control what you do no one else can control it for you.

 

TORN

Many of the games we play have a distinct army feel to them.  By their very nature they emulate the exploits of real people in combat situations.  For my second interview I decided to speak with a member of our gaming community who has real army experience.  -WAR-Torn has been gaming for a long time.  I first met him as [POD]AntiSocial back in 2000.  He is ending his career as a Corporal in the Australian Army after 13 years which included a tour of East Timor.  So let’s go soul-searching with Torn.

SoulThief: If I calculate my time-frames correctly, you were probably already in the army when you first played a FPS. What was the game you first played and did you see any correlation between that game and tactics you were learning in the army? Similarly, once you started playing online did you bring much of your army training with you?

Torn: Doom was the first I had played. I didn’t use so much as tactics in the game but skills and instincts that I had picked up along the way.

SoulThief: Do any of the games capture even a little of the feeling of real combat, whether through tactics or atmosphere or whatever?

Torn: The best one to date that remotely would come close would have been Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, then Medal of Honour. I rank them first as they were released, then for realism. I rate GR highly. If I had ten thumbs, they would all be up.

SoulThief: Do you think that games are too violent in their content and please explain why/why not? What things about real combat zones do you think should not be included in games? And what was your scariest moment while in the army?

Torn: Depends on what one would call violence as many people perceive violence in different ways, Example a tiger hunting its prey, takes it out then starts eating it. One would call that nature, another disgusting and vile. But I would say graphically they are quite tame. As the horrors of wars/battles and conflicts are just not blood and guts. Its the suffering, torment, psychological aspects that are what makes thing memorable or shocking. You see a dead dog on the side of the road it may be torn apart, and you think that’s grouse, a couple of days later its forgotten about. But watching something happen particularly to something/ someone that is close to you would make ones thoughts and stomach turn. But in a game your there to have fun care is placed aside, because its only a game.

I cant speak from experience of seeing anything like watching a comrade fall in the sense of near death or death itself, but I believe that violence is something that’s in the eye of the beholder, Just like beauty is.

But coming closer to that then any other person (combat wise) I would say that games are becoming realistic in terms of physics/A.I

SoulThief: In your opinion, what is the best thing about multiplayer gaming? And what is the worst? Is there an answer for the latter?

Torn: The best thing about multiplayer games is the camaraderie/animosity of your friendships. You can become close to a group of players and form alliances. Then you can play against arseholes and brush it off like lint on your jumper, cause they only exists while you play online.

SoulThief: When you first started online who was your role model or mentor and what was it about them that inspired you? Has the scene changed much since then?

Torn: I don’t know if they’re still around, possibly moved on or using other aliases, but I looked up to players like [DTA]Muntook he was the main one the guys from [GOG], there are a couple of others that I cant remember their names. But they kicked arse, severely. They were mature, respected others, took shit from nobody and were generally nice guys.

SoulThief: Your career is about to change and you have a large clan to lead, so what does the future hold for Torn – both in real life and in cyberspace?

Torn: In real life is to get a place of our own for the wife and I to settle into, and make a family soon, very soon after and to get CABLE!

Ease back into the scene as I’m very rusty in many aspects of gaming online. To maintain a healthy relationship with my co-leader and continue to build the greatest clan ever to hit the Australian cyberspace scene with him.
BLINK

Go look at the stats for the Ozlife servers and check out the top five.  One name repeats itself: Blink. First place on the CS Server. Third place on the DM and AG Servers.  Blink is known to many as a significant member of ACT (Australian Counter-Strike Team) and also leads SD (Seek and Destroy) in DM.  Today I go soul-searching with Blink.

SoulThief: When did you start playing online and with what game?

Blink: I started playing around 4yrs ago….my parents got me half-life for x-mas, turning to computer games as a last resort to motivate me at something. I played single player over ‘en over for 4months until my cousin, an already experienced quaker, suggested i play hldm online. I played on US servers with 1337 sliding 600 ping on snark pit. Got a decent score of 22/20 and havn’t looked back.

SoulThief: What is your favourite game and why?

Blink: My favourite game will always be syndicate. I use to try and see if i could kill everyone in every mission, giving names of friends, class mates and family to my victims.

SoulThief: Who really inspired you before you were 1337?

Blink:  Who inspired me before i was 1337?Dale ellis from the seattle super sonics. He didn’t fly around dunking at will or pulling off fancy shots/passes. Nor did he have a huge build to bump people around or a small nimble frame to dodge defenders. But was a 3-point master….i’ve always believed that aim is everything. He was a sniper beyond compare.

SoulThief: Do you believe that gaming will successfully go professional in the same way that many sports have?

Blink: It already has. Certain cs players from europe apprantly live off the winnings from LAN/net cafe’ prize pools. The cs clan im currently in is recieving sponsorship.I suffer from pains in my hands caused from gaming much the same as a AFL footballer suffers from weathering of the knee caps.It all starts with a game…then turns into man sex.Yes,you watch those footy players carefully…as if they arn’t feelin each other up in those marking contests.  LOOK DAMN YOU LOOK!

SoulThief: You are a very good player, so will you try to go professional if the scene goes that way?

Blink: No I wouldn’t go pro. Im not that interested. I play games to pass time, waiting for the day that boring uneventful day when I die.

SoulThief: What do you believe is the worst aspect of the gamer scene at present and can anything be done about it?

Blink: Worst aspect is being called/using a cheat/script. I’ve stuck with aim for 4 years oppose to going for the splash damage weapons and it’s paying off. If the game wants to go pro’m people need to fix their attitudes and see things a little more lightly. Wilt Chamberlain was never called a cheat. :). And how would i fix the problem of cheaters? I wouldn’t. Fuck them, Playing cheats pisses me off but i tell myself that their only forcing me to aim just as good as them. Gota luv HJ :D

SoulThief: What does the future hold for Blink, in real life as well as the gamer scene?

Blink: Future for me in real life? who knows…I write massive amounts of ideas, poems, stories, beliefs in 3 books. The Book Of Spam. The Book of Flame. The Book Of Frost. Maybe i should be a writer? I did a course with NIDA where my director demanded I become an actor, expecting me to be in plays along side her within few years. Maybe i should be an actor.My teachers and father go on about how I have an extraoridinary understanding of mathematics and arithmetic but I don’t apply myself. Maybe I should be an accountant like the rest of my so called friends. My councellor told me I crave attention like a drug…ar bs I do :P My Future in gaming? I dunno…Am i really here?

 

Leave a Reply