Alex – ORB Interview

ORB Interviews

Each week Orbis Weekly will produce a number of interviews that we send out to people all over the world. The idea behind the ORB Interview is to shed a little light on people, especially ones we think the world of Orbis should know more about.The questions will range from basic, random, and relevant.

Alex

Alex, previously known as Sheepy, is the Politics & War game admin/owner. I have personally known Alex for quite some time now and although the relationship has been controversial here and there & there have been ups and downs in the relationship he has with the game community – he’s still here, alive and kicking & if you get to know him he’s a pretty cool guy.

“I’m not playing the game currently, so I’m not in any alliances.” – Alex

The Interview

ORB Weekly: Can you start by telling ORB a little bit about yourself?

Alex: Ah, where to begin? I grew up in a small town of about 500 in rural Montana and have had a passion for making games since I was little. Throughout Junior High and High School I was always trying to make a P&W type game. By my senior year, I finally had something decent (P&W). I’ve been working on the game ever since, adding new content and moderating the community. I’ve also been at college these past 3 and a half years at the University of Minnesota, studying Economics (with a minor in Political Science.)

 

ORB Weekly: Is PW the first simulation game you’ve played?

Alex: Far from it. I’ve always liked simulation games. When I was very little, I got a copy of SimCity 2000 which I played a lot of and I also played lots of other computer simulation games like Rollercoaster Tycoon, Zoo Tycoon, etc growing up. (Even now, I just bought Parkitect, a just-released amusement park simulation game.) I also put countless hours into Civilization 3 as a young kid. As I got older I developed more of a passion for government and politics and started googling things like “create my own country” or “country simulation game” and came across a number of early options like Nation States, Cyber Nations, and a couple others that I don’t believe are around any longer. Playing games like these (in particular, Cyber Nations) really kindled my interest in trying to make a game like it.

 

ORB Weekly: What made you create PW?

Alex: Playing Cyber Nations I eventually found myself banned due to some really over-the-top moderation – I was just a kid (maybe 11, 12?) and there was some trolling happening in the Cyber Nations IRC channel, I think these players were saying something about ‘the grinch’ who was hacking the game and anyone who knew about it, but didn’t report it to the mods would get banned. So, I sent a message to a mod on the forum about it and they thought I was trolling them and straight up banned me – both on the forum and in-game (this is why if you get banned on the forum in P&W you are not automatically banned in-game.) They totally skipped their 5-warning due process procedure and issued me all of the warns at once. After that, I was young and naive and thought, “I’ll just may my own Cyber Nations!” and thus began the cycle, starting out with a lot of crap ‘games’ as I learned how to make websites, program things on the server side to do basic stuff like register/login, flesh out modified design for the game, etc. My first ‘success’ was Pixel Nations, which started in 2011. It was programmed really terribly and in the end I sold it because it was a big pain for me to manage at the time. A few years later I came back with Politics & War, and the rest is history.

 

ORB Weekly: Of the environments that you built, why did you stick solely with PW?

Alex: That’s a good question. I guess P&W has just been the most successful and important to maintain. I’d like to create more games, but it takes a really big initial investment of time and effort and being busy with work/school it’s just made more sense to keep going with P&W than to get serious about any new projects. Plus, there’s always more work to be done with P&W.

 

ORB Weekly: A few months back, there was some pretty heavy presence with StateKraft – what prompted you to put all that on the back burner?

Alex: There are a lot of things that I wish I had designed differently from the start with P&W, from the design to some mechanics. Some of it I’ve learned from how P&W has progressed that things should have been set up different. StateKraft was a shot at starting from scratch and redesigning  a better (and also different) game. I threw it all on the back burner because there’s still a lot to be done with P&W and I just didn’t have enough time to dedicate to both projects seriously right now.

 

ORB Weekly: As we all know, you play a bit as a nation – what is the story behind jumping into your own game? Is it strictly for research or do you wish to be a part of the community in secret?

Alex: I think it’s useful to play just to keep current with my understanding of how the game is played and get the player’s perspective. I was able to add a lot of convenience things in-game once I started playing again (advanced nation search features, for example) as a result of me being annoyed or having a hard time doing the things I wanted to do while playing.

 

ORB Weekly: How do you balance game development time & RL Time? Especially around the holidays.

Alex: For the most part if I’m not actively developing anything, the game doesn’t take too much time to manage. Sometimes moderation issues flare up that need a big response, but for the most part, I can get by with spending 10 minutes or so per day checking in on the game and going through all of the messages I regularly get. Around the holidays, I’ll usually put things off for a few days at a time and just come back to a big slew of messages. I’m not playing the game currently, so I’m not in any alliances.

 

ORB Weekly: Do you celebrate Christmas? What is one of your favorite traditions?

Alex: I do! While our family has probably a pretty regular Christmas (opening presents and whatnot) for me it’s mostly getting together with the family. I have a lot of brothers and a sister that I don’t get to see very often, so for me that time of year is really about just getting the whole family together and doing family things like eating, playing games together, etc. 

 

ORB Weekly: Any plans for New Year’s Eve?

Alex: Sort of – I’m actually going to India for about 2 weeks. Leaving on December 30th. We’re landing in Delhi at like 1am on New Years Day, so I’ll be about 7 hours into a flight during New Year’s this year.

 

ORB Weekly: Can we expect any changes before the end of 2018?

Alex: Probably nothing major. I’d like to get those Achievements rolled out soon and then start adding some new projects for testing on the Test Server, but I don’t know if I’ll get those out before the end of the year or not. I’d look for some bigger updates starting in late January

 

 

ORB Weekly: As the admin/developer of this game, do you pay attention to wars in terms of mechanics or do you solely wait for community members to bring up war mechanic issues and then get to work on possible changes?

Alex: Not really – before Discord, when most of the important game communications happened on the Forum, it was a lot easier to keep track of what people thought and what was going on. Nowadays, most things happen in Discord servers and I don’t have the time and energy to read back on all of the logs. I generally wait until a suggestion gets enough positive feedback from the community that it warrants me seriously considering, as I’ve learned that I can put a lot of time and effort into a new mechanic/change only to find out everyone hates it and I wasted my time.

 

ORB Weekly: What’s on the docket for 2019?

Alex: Oh definitely. I don’t have anything concrete yet, but I’ll graduate in May and following a move/transition period my plan is to essentially work on P&W and other projects full time. I’d guess the second half of 2019 will be very eventful for P&W. 

 

 

ORB Weekly: What is something you love doing in RL?

Alex: I’m a pretty outdoorsy person – I like hiking, kayaking, and snowboarding. My biggest hobby is probably being a nerd and doing P&W stuff.

 

ORB Weekly: Got a pet? Share a pic with us.

Alex: Sort of- all of my childhood pets are gone, but my parents do have two new cats that I see when I’m visiting home. Here’s a picture I took over Thanksgiving of one of them, named Hemi.

 

Thanks for Reading!

 

Wanted to give Alex a thanks! I sent him questions for this interview probably three times because they kept messing up. I can’t wait for the new year and the changes that could come to PW!

Keza Purple – ORB Interview

ORB Interviews

Keza Purple

The Interview

ORB Weekly: Can you start by telling ORB a little bit about yourself?

Keza: I’m named after a character that I am writing a book about, responsible college student, and last name is named after another player who plays this game, you can figure it out. Been playing this for more than 3 years now, well technically 4.

 

ORB Weekly: Is PW the first simulation game you’ve played?

Keza: No, CN was my first, horrible, terrible – I would say Trump style.

 

ORB Weekly: What made you join PW?

Keza: Yui made me join.

 

ORB Weekly: What alliance are you currently in and what is your role?

Keza: Church of Atom, I am the Interior Affairs Guy.

 

ORB Weekly: How do you balance game time & RL Time? Especially around the holidays.

Keza: Discord as another social media and treat PnW like a homework assignment.

 

ORB Weekly: Do you celebrate Christmas? What is one of your favorite traditions?

Keza: Not really, I watch basketball and sleep. You know the drill.

 

ORB Weekly: Any plans for New Year’s Eve?

Keza: Going to DC for like a week again.

 

ORB Weekly: Do you have any thoughts you’d want to share about the war?

Keza: My opinion is I kinda expected it from the start as TKR was just becoming number 1 for a long time. Couple of first round were fun, but towards the end it got very boring, but lopsided seems to work in the favor, didn’t really expect many targets to begin with.

 

ORB Weekly: What kind of ‘global’ changes do you expect post-war?

Keza: I expect a war mechanic or a project mechanic to happen. Either a couple of new projects that can extend the gameplay further.

 

ORB Weekly: Was your alliance involved in the war? Who did you attack/who attacked you and how do you think it went for your alliance?

Keza: Yeah we were. Mainly attacked TKR. I think it went well, it’s the first time participating in a global and my first time in over two years that I was warless.

 

ORB Weekly: A lot of times in a war, whether you’re involved or not, post-war brings a lot of changes and restructuring. Will your alliance be going through any changes internally or externally?

Keza: I don’t think we will be going to change much cuz we are in a comfortable position. Maybe for me internally, I am possibly going to get my feet more wet in many of the areas that I am good at.

 

ORB Weekly: What is something you love doing in RL?

Keza: Reading, basketball, baseball, sleeping, eating, drinking, you name it, and oh traveling.

 

Thanks for Reading!

  Keza – I had a great time deciphering your broken English. Hope you don’t mind that I fixed it for some of the readers. Fun Fact: Keza sent his replies back to me in a PDF file. Thanks!

Max – ORB Interview

ORB Interviews

Each week Orbis Weekly will produce a number of interviews that we send out to people all over the world. The idea behind the ORB Interview is to shed a little light on people, especially ones we think the world of Orbis should know more about.The questions will range from basic, random, and relevant.

Mad Max

This week we are interviewing…myself? That’s right! Mostly to test out this new interview format & it is kinda a bit of a retirement interview. Retirement in terms of dropping off the game? Sorry – probably not – more of a shifting focus and delegating type of retirement. Y’all who know me either love me OR you’re like Ashland and fucking adore me – here goes, enjoy.

“Finding time to play this game is often hard – especially when you’re balancing a demanding career, relationship, social gatherings & of course the #1 in my life – my pup Copper.” – Max

The Interview

ORB Weekly: Can you start by telling ORB a little bit about yourself?

Max: Sure, I’m just a dude who enjoys getting lost in virtual worlds to hide the fact that my real world sucks. haha – nah, I’m just a guy that enjoys strategy – even if my strategy is shit, I think that what brings me to these types of games. Building somethin is fun. In real life I lead a pretty professional career, maintain myself fairly well, and just started dating again – yay for me.

 

ORB Weekly: Is PW the first simulation game you’ve played?

Max: Actually no. I started out way back in 2007 playing nationstates for a day. Saw a link for Cybernations and then started playing that forever. Wasn’t till like beta time that I was being pushed to join here.

 

ORB Weekly: What made you join PW?

Max: I had a friend that kept telling me to play – we were hopping around to other simulation game sites trying to find the best one, ended up here, been here ever since. Sometimes I regret it, but other times I think of the friends I’ve made and the laughs I had and I’m glad I found PW.

 

ORB Weekly: What alliance are you currently in and what is your role?

Max: I am in ‘The Island’ – a relatively micro alliance, especially now since we got our shit pushed in! My role here is among leadership even though many people see me as the face/sole leader of the alliance. Being small and so close-knit we operate mostly internally. We use slack so our members usually just chill on there and to be honest, I love it. This will be changing though pretty soon – I’m stepping down from a few things here and delegating/restructuring the leadership so that we are more efficient.

 

ORB Weekly: How do you balance game time & RL Time? Especially around the holidays.

Max: Finding time to play this game is often hard – especially when you’re balancing a demanding career, relationship, social gatherings & of course the #1 in my life – my pup Copper. I think the best thing to do is to just be yourself – come on the game when you can, it’s just a game. Real life interactions are far more important in my opinion and will allow you to break out of the shell of online gaming. You could also find yourself a significant other who might also be a gamer, thinks its cute that you play an online simulation game, and supports you in your ruling endeavors. As far as everything else – I always find time for my pup even on my most tired days & when it comes to holidays, I just usually work anyway…

 

ORB Weekly: Do you celebrate Christmas? What is one of your favorite traditions?

Max: I do! I usually just work the holidays – so other people with family can celebrate – I live pretty much on my own in Texas so my family isn’t here. It’s my good deed to let them take a break with their family. Traditions, this one stretches back – but its my ultimate favorite. It’s called the Peppermint Pig. Basically it’s a tradition that stretches back into the 1800s (Saratoga Springs, NY) – after christmas dinner a peppermint candy pig is placed in a cloth sack and is handed to the youngest member of the family. They hit it with a little metal hammer and pass it around the table from youngest to oldest. As you pass it, everyone takes a piece of the pig which represents good fortune for the upcoming year – everyone tells a story of a good fortune that happened to them in the current year. Not many people know about the peppermint pig or even had it in their families – so explaining this tradition growing up was pretty damn funny, people thought we put a real pig in a bag and beat it to death. Feel free to search it up tho, it is real.

 

ORB Weekly: Any plans for New Year’s Eve?

Max: My little brother is going to be on leave from the military so I’m sure we will get up to some type of shenanigans – I’m also off work!

 

ORB Weekly: Do you have any thoughts you’d want to share about the war?

Max: Thoughts? To be honest I was active and around for the first part and then ended up traveling for wor and being terribly busy. I lost control of the gossip and back channel drama so as far as I know, its just a war that is currently being worked out for peace.

 

ORB Weekly: What kind of ‘global’ changes do you expect post-war?

Max: I think a lot of people ‘think’ there are going to be tremendous changes post war, but to be honest, I’m not convinced. Syndisphere has just started its growth and stacking of alliances pre-war..why would they just drop off alliances/why would alliances leave synidsphere? IQsphere really has no reason to change – they dominated the war pretty well, the only thing I see changing there is possibly VG leaving IQ, but tbh where would they go and who would take them? Polaris, stay with IQ, White Rose go be something greater, TUE – disband. The only huge change I bet we will see is TKR, obviously they need to regroup themselves and get into some friendship with others. Whether that be BC or not – that will likely be the only huge change post-war…minus of course the beginning of a TGH/KT sphere build-up. They are being quiet. Too quiet.

 

ORB Weekly: Was your alliance involved in the war? Who did you attack/who attacked you and how do you think it went for your alliance?

Max: Hell yeah! After getting blueballs every fucking day from BC, we were finally hit by Arrgh and then Oblivion, then Camelot, then GoG, and some other alliances that decided to just come in for the fun. As far as the alliance, it went good and bad. For the most part we got rekt. We also kicked VM members (and gave their nation links to arrgh and oblivion) and we had a deletion from a dude who didn’t want to go to war…which sucks, because he was a really awesome guy. Everyone who is left did a pretty good job holding up their own, coordinations went great, the way we raised our membership worked out for the best, and everyone did the best they could. Can’t be butthurt about that. For the most part, it opened our eyes up to a lot of things we NEED and a lot of things we NEED to do better – which is why we are changing things up.

 

ORB Weekly: A lot of times in a war, whether you’re involved or not, post-war brings a lot of changes and restructuring. Will your alliance be going through any changes internally or externally?

Max: Yes, tons of yes. We are currently restructuring as we continued to get slapped by Ashland’s wrath. hahaha  – love that guy – we are changing the way we provide for our members and just changing the way we react. With slack being part of our life, we are creating a system that allows us to be hella organized. As far as externally, yes, I see tremendous changes in our future post-war.

 

ORB Weekly: What is something you love doing in RL?

Max: One of my most favorite things is exploring. My bro and I used to search for abandoned buildings and shit back in NY and just explore. It’s even great just to explore parts of the world that are closeby – just seeing whats around and taking a drive. Another thing is dipping some copenhagen wintergreen while I do it….but that’s something I gotta be putting on the quit list.

 

ORB Weekly: Do you have a pet? Want to share a pic?

Max: Sure, his name is Copper. He’s a Dachshund/English Terrier mix.

 

Thanks for Reading!

 

I know this is a little off-standard of other interviews. Maybe for those of you who don’t know me that well, this was a bit of a spotlight. I mostly did this to test formatting without messing up someone else’s interview (which we have more of!) We will start doing this 1 per week instead of mashing them out daily.