Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Interview with Andym4n

Recently I wrote about Culdcept Saga, the youngest cult hit out on a console. I'm posting the full transcript of the chat I had with Andym4n, a player who is almost single-handedly trying to preserve its community.

Andym4n: you here?

me: Yes, yessir, I am

Andym4n: how goes it?

me: pretty well
thanks for taking the time to chat with me

Andym4n: np

me: So, I write a column
and it's about game communities
I used to play CS, esp. when I first got it
And for various reasons, I dropped it, but I remembered that there was a website where everyone gathered
and that's where I saw you, though I also saw you at the official xbox forum too

Andym4n: yeah, I post on all of em heh
for CS anyway

me: I take it you still play then?

Andym4n: yeah, often

me: like, one match per day?

Andym4n: I'd say closer to 5 a week... I don't get to play during the week as much as I'd like

me: still, you know what you're talking about : )
Can you even get a match without asking a friend?
Is it pretty much impossible to random?

Andym4n: there's usually a match or 2 available. of course, I'm usually available right in prime time, so I bet it would be very difficult earlier in the day.
it's mainly due to the game matches being 2+ hours in length

me: don't they ever go 1-2?

Andym4n: the more people in matches, the fewer in the lobby

me: ah
You have a long friend's list, so you'd know
I guess I thought hardly anyone still played it

Andym4n: you can make shorter matches, but most folks like a decent-length game
I don't mind the lobby wait, I usually edit books while I'm waiting
CS has a thriving online community, you'd just never know it by the GameFAQs, Xbox.com, or Proboards forums... the culdceptsaga.com forum is where all the activity is.

me: You still there?
(no rush, mind you)

Andym4n: yes

me: So, let's say there are two types of people
one knows about the best forum, the one where the admin is AWOL
the other one has no idea that that forum exists and just tries to use LIVE
Do you think there'd be a difference between these two?

Andym4n: in terms of...?

me: How well they'd be able to play...what kind of experience they'd have
(or lack thereof)

Andym4n: I'd say anyone who frequents a forum is going to have an advantage
as far as how much fun each would have, the edge would probably go to forum guy there as well, as you connect with more people

me: I agree--forums generally enhance any game community

Andym4n: and as you probably know, playing against friends online is generally much more fun than playing strangers

me: (aye); The admin is AWOL; what would happen if that forum suddenly disappeared, do you think?

Andym4n: I'd have to speed up my plan lol
I'm in the process of creating the go-to Culdcept site
www.culdceptcentral.com if you're curious

me: oh-ho, I didn't know about this; I picked the right guy to talk to

Andym4n: a few of us at culdceptsaga.com offered our services as co-admins/moderators
the admin chose three of us, but it's been a month since he last e-mailed and we have no admin access as yet
given that knowledge, I decided I'd go ahead and create a reference site for Culdcept stuff (which seemed a good idea, with a DS version coming in the not-so-distant future)
I have a feeling culdceptsaga.com might just vanish someday here

me: That's the feeling I got too, and I've barely been there, heh
you can't even message each other on there

Andym4n: yeah

me: that's why I had to use LIVE

Andym4n: if I did implement a forum on my site, it'd probably be different than the FireBoard one he uses
a little more robust
nothing against the admin there, mind you... I think he must travel a lot for work

me: or he just gave up, or he lost Internet access, or something bad happened to him, etc.
Hmm...did you tell people at the first site that you are making a new one?

Andym4n: some folks there know
I haven't announced it publicly yet
trying to resolve a few minor issues with it first

me: tick tock, eh?
Oh, I know you probably don't know this, but do you happen to know if this game is still in print? I know you can get it on Ebay or maybe a huge Internet retailer, but they're not making more or selling more to hard retailers any more, are they?

Andym4n: it's still in print as far as I know, but I do know it didn't have nearly as wide a distribution as some games

me: where I got mine, they had 2 copies
and that was the day of or after it came out

Andym4n: yeah, stores tend to get only enough to cover perceived demand
I ran a GameStop up until January, some games we'd get only 1 of (or none)

me: Okay, last questions: what do you think the state of the CS community is right now and where do you think it is headed?

Andym4n: hard to build a big fan base when few copies are out there :/

me: haha

Andym4n: I think its fan base is growing slowly but surely
the forum at cs.com is steadily growing more active, and I think new people are trying the demo and liking it
the community is definitely growing tighter
we did an informal league that went over well, and nearly double the players have signed on for season 2

me: I was wondering how that league went

Andym4n: I just hope cs.com lives long enough to get my site fairly well known, or people will scatter if it goes down

me: So the people who are in it and the number of people..that status won't change much, but there's some stability there, you're saying?

Andym4n: yes, definitely
it's one of those games where if you play it, you want to play it mroe

me: Very consuming
It seems you can't casually enjoy it

Andym4n: and the more you play it, the more you realize that the possibilities are endless
with each match, loss or win, you see ways you can change/improve your book and gameplan
oh you can, it just sort of infects you heh
it looks like a casual game, but it's much deeper
I will say this
it has by far the friendliest online community of any game I've ever played

me: really?
maybe that's from change
I played a game with a couple of not-so-friendly fellows once

Andym4n: there's always a few bad apples online in every game
the nice thing about CS is that they usually shape up or stop playing

me: fair enough
seems like there is a lot more opportunity to chat, too

Andym4n: if they stir up trouble on the forum, there are 10 others there to say "hey man, that's not cool"

me: I played one where the guys talked non-stop

Andym4n: definitely

me: but they were actually chatting, not just singing or talking shit

Andym4n: I talk very little when I play, but it's usually because my daughter's in bed in the next room when I play heh
it's intelligent fun conversation
you know why, right?
in CS, if you talk smack, your opponents stop focusing on beating each other and gang up on you

me: haha
Aren't there 1 v 1s, though?

Andym4n: yes

me: not as popular, though?

Andym4n: people tend not to talk smack in a 1v1
something about it being more personal, I guess
1v1s are probably more prevalent than multi-player matches
due to the small number of people in the lobby

me: Well hmm, I think you answered all my questions
If there's anything you think I should know that we didn't get around to, feel free to email me
this column will give positive exposure to the game and community
I don't know when it will be up, but when it is I'll let you know

Andym4n: sounds good :)

me: Thanks again, sir

Andym4n: happy to, thanks for the chat


Blogger Glenn said...

Could you maybe tidy up the transcript to a "Me" and "Him" type thing? I found it a bit difficult to read with all the times and things all over it....might just be me though

10:27 AM  
Blogger Etelmik said...

I changed it. Is it better?

10:44 AM  
Blogger Glenn said...

Just realised I never came back to this. Yes was a lot easier to read and was interesting :)

I used to play a lot of Magic when I was in my teens...Always feel like I should go find a copy of CS and give it a go. I will one day! Maybe if it comes to PSN or something.

1:23 PM  
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