Hi, Akananto our first questions, in order to introduce you to our community is, how old are you, what did you study and how much time you have working for CipSoft.
Hello everyone! My nickname is Akananto, I'm 35 years old, I studied computer science at a German university and in October 2004 I began to work for CipSoft as a programmer.
How did you meet Cipsoft and how you got the job?, did you play Tibia before that?
No, I did not play Tibia before, nevertheless I knew that it existed. In 2004, when I wanted to get into the game development business, I remembered that "very old MMORPG made in Germany" and sent an application to its developer, CipSoft. Then I had the luck to be chosen.
How is your regular day at Cipsoft, how much hours do you work per day?
We all work 40 hours a week in average with a very flexible schedule. Nevertheless, our bosses care make sure that nobody is working neither too many nor too few hours over a long time, because "work life balance" has a meaning for them. I do not really have a "regular" day because everyone of them is different.
What are you working at this moment, projects, etc?
Too much, hehe. No seriously, I currently have responsibilities for too many projects at the same time. A first step to reduce those again is that we hired another programmer to work on the stand-alone client instead of me.
Next to the stand-alone client I'm also working on my very first project at CipSoft, the content editing tool for both Tibia and TibiaME. In addition, I'm the team leader of the testers and head of the programmers which are time consuming tasks, too, especially when the recruiting process for open positions is running.
You also are in charge of hiring and interviewing programmers, what do you look for in an interview, what skills are needed to be a Cipsoft programmer?
Having studied computer science at a university is the most important requirement. It's not a "hard" requirement, but if that is not fulfilled, the candidate has to impress us about her or his qualifications in other ways.
In addition, there is my saying "projects are worth gold" - which means that any project the canditate has done, no matter whether it was for the studies or for work or just for personal interest, is a good demonstration of her or his abilities. Obviously, the best project is a little self-made game which is really a good way to get into the game development business.
Having a good amount of "soft skills" and being a "team player" is very important, too, and finally, a love for games is awesome - I don't think there are many other companies outside the game development business asking for your favourite computer game in a job interview.
What is your major satisfaction about the client, about working on Cipsoft?
Regarding the stand-alone client, my emotions are somewhere inbetween "love" and "hate" and contain way more screaming than appropriate for this interview...
Regarding CipSoft, I basically love two things: first of all it's about making games, about creating fun and that is simply awesome. Next to that, it's the people here at CipSoft, everybody including the bosses, who are a great bunch to work with.
What do you see in the future for the Tibia Client?
Ooooh, a lot, some more radical things than others, but so far that's only ideas and speculation. To be honest, I don't want to get precise in this answer because it's not my job but the job of the product managers to decide about changes in the current Tibia clients (note the plural, please).
People doesn’t like change, and at this moment there is some reject on the flash client, do you think it will change or people will always use the actual client?
The Flash client is still actively being worked on and eventually more people will start to use it. But obviously the Flash client didn't receive the "hearty welcome" we expected it to receive - despite the fact that it contains a huge amount of features the community had been asking for for years.
When the flash client is finished, which one would you use as a player and what advantages, technical advantages as a programmer; do you see on both of them?
I'd use the Flash client because of the waaaaaaaaay better user interface. Both clients have strengths and weaknesses though and we'll decide somewhen how both clients will evolve further.
In the flash client, you can save the hotkeys for many configurations for any vocation, why that feature is not on the regular client?, people is really asking for it.
It needs time to be implemented. Time the responsible programmer (me) didn't have so far. But as I said, we just hired another programmer who will be working full time on the stand-alone client.
Lately, there have been really important bugs, some of them even fun for some players, but frustrating to others, like the Mirade massacre! and some not that fun like the leveling bug when you had to delete many accounts, what is your first reaction, human reaction, when you see a bug like that?
These days, besides antivirus, there are very good antikeyloggers software that can read hooks and a lot of techniques used by hackers, have you used them?, do you recommend them in order to have less hacks on our community?
I haven't used those and will not recommend them. My advice is to keep your PC up-to-date (operating system, antivirus program, browser, Flash) and to simply not download each and every program you find in the internet. At the end there is only one thing that will help you with staying safe: your own brain.
About the lag, whats your opinion of the many tunnel services that are using a VPN to give more priority to the packets and dismiss lag?
I haven't tried those services yet but based on my current impression I cannot imagine that they are helpful.
Do you think that someday Tibia would have sound and music?, if so, what kind of music would you choose?
It worked without sound for 15 years so why change that now?!
Now these are questions made by our community, keep in mind that if you ask 10 people 9 of them will ask about the bot issue so almost all of those questions are bot related:
So the first is, how do you deal with so much pressure of the players about the botter situation. You obviously cannot tell what actions are you doing but, can you say that botters or you think that with your actions, botters will be gone in 2012?, yes or no?
Botters will never be gone completely because it's a neverending battle between game developer and bot developer - as sad as that is.
You don’t play Tibia but please understand that our community feels, tells us and is always angry because they feel that the game is ruined at this moment with the botting situation, even with the deletions is out of control, are you aware of how botters affect the Tibia gameplay as a gamer?
Personally I hate botters, with a passion. But unfortunately the whole topic is far more complex than most of the suggested solutions from fair players in the Tibia forum.
About the illegal program detection, right now there are programs that dont modify the client at all but still are doing illegal actions on the game, is it possible to control that?
Guys, seriously, stop asking, because we don't talk about details of the whole "cheating" topic. Reasons for this have been repeated over and over and over again.
People just want simple thing, a botter free game, kinda balanced and big stuff like a new vocation or something, why not a new vocation?, that would be huge in the community and will bring a lot of players.
I'd say we first balance the existing four vocations before introducing a new one, shouldn't we?!
How is your contact with the community and how much influences your work, considering the much responsibility you have over the game?
I try to stay in contact with the community at the test servers and the test boards. After somebody else is responsible for the stand-alone client, which is my only directly customer related project, that might (unfortunately) change.
My influence on Tibia is that I can tell the product managers my opinion and I think they respect that opinion. But at the end it's them to decide what gets done and what not.
Why is your name Akananto?
When I started working for CipSoft they demanded that I choose a nickname. "Akananto" is the one I took. As far as I remember there is no deeper reason behind it. In general I seem to like fantasy names starting with "A".
Why you like pirates so much?
They get the hat. A really big one.
Last, do you know something about Venezuela?, any message to the Venezuelan players?
I've recently read about "Colonia Tovar" (http://www.coloniatovar.net/
), a "Bavarian style" village in the middle of Venezuela - "Bavarian" as in "the part of Germany where the office of CipSoft is located".
To be honest that sounds crazy. Like totally crazy. In a positive way because it shows that people are interested in the cultures of each other even far beyond any borders.
For the Venezuelan players I have the very same message as I have for every player: "have fun!" Well, that and "YARR!"
Thats all, thanks for your time, we know you are one of the busiest persons on Cipsoft and that you had a hard time finding time for us, thanks for accepting to be interviewed as well!.
Thanks for being players of our game!