But this interview is a bit different. Not only did I enjoy it, it ends on a pretty high note. As in seriously high. You should read this interview, and if you don't, at least read the ending. Otherwise I guarantee you that people will laugh at you. And you'll deserve it.
Anyway, I met meep-eep, core member of the UQM team at a bottling factory near Amsterdam by pure chance. My company sometimes builds things that put things on stuff that is not quite bottles but not really jars either, and meep-eep is either a pretty good corporate spy or some sort of IT consultant who tells people how to fix the systems that tell our things when it is time to put things in fun places. Alas, I'm short on time, so I can't give you a detailed description of the hilarious events. Instead, you'll have to settle for just the questions eventually asked and answered. While most of you will probably miss my rapier wit and classy demeanour, I know some of you will cherish the chance to just read an interview instead of experiencing it.
Anyway, questions and answers as follows:
Q: How did you get into the UQM project? Did you apply, was there a test to see if you knew enough, a rite of passage?meep-eep wrote:Before we begin, I'd like to make it clear that contrary to what is often believed, I am not the leader of the UQM project. I merely have been the most visible core team member. And lately, fossil and McMartin have done a lot more for the project than I have.
A: Puun-Taffy of course. Actually, in the beginning, Chris Nelson was working as an intern at Toys for Bob, preparing for an Open Source release. He had some files in 3DO formats which he couldn't read, and asked for help in reverse engineering them on the SCDB. I took up the challenge, and got drawn in.
And when the source code was eventually released, the people in the newly created IRC channel got the source code first. When the new SourceForge project was created, a few days later, those who had already made actual contributions became the new core team.
Q: Is there a division of labour in the UQM project? Do you all work with different parts, or are you all jack's-of-all trades?
A: A bit of both. We work on whatever we feel like working on, trying not to get in each other's way, and when one of us contributes a large part -- a new component, or a rewrite of an existing one -- future work on that part is usually done by the same person.
Q: Have all the people on the UQM team ever met in person? If so, when? If not, do you plan to?
A: I don't think that any one of the core team member ever met any of the others in person. We're all in different parts of the world, and there hasn't been an effort to get together in meatspace. But if we're ever in each other's neighbourhood for one reason or another, I'm all for a meet-up.
Q: What has the UQM project taught you in particular? People skills? Source control? Programming? Something else? Nothing?
A: A little bit of everything. Source control, writing portable code, release management are a few things which come to mind. And working with specific libraries, such as SDL and zlib. And of course whenever you are using your existing skills, you're gaining experience points in them.
Q: With the things you have learnt since you started this project, is there anything you'd do differently if you could do it again?
A: No big things come to mind. We should probably have made more, smaller releases.
Q: Do all the programmers on the UQM team have real life jobs as programmers of some sort, or are some of them hobbyists?
A: We're all in IT in some way, but not necessarily programming. I'm personally an IT security consultant.
Q: UQM has revived and inspired the Star Control scene like nothing else before it. Among all the spin-off mods, the clones, the fan art and so forth that you've stimulated, what in particular has impressed you?.
A: Let's see... I particularly admire the drawings of Arne and Zarla (and once upon a time, Yukki). And it's always surprising what Anthony manages to find.
And now I think about it, it's pretty inspiring how some people, such as yourself, are still actively trying to keep the community engaged.
I have actually played very little of the mods. Project 6014 sounds very promising, and I must play that one some day. But I know that I don't need to rush, because the longer I wait, the better the experience will be.
Q: So in the next version of UQM, 0.7 the "resource handling" is apparently going to change. What does this mean in layman's term?
A: People who just play the game won't notice it. It is the way in which the resources (graphics, music, sounds, etc.) are organised internally. The new system makes it more flexible, which should help mod-makers.
Q: So do you think 0.7 is ever going to be released? Is there progress on it that the public just can't see? Or is the game as good as it is probably going to get If there is progress, what is actually happening?
A: Progress has slowed down quite a bit; we don't seem to have as much time on our hands as we used to, nowadays, and priorities have shifted.
But we haven't abandoned the project, and we do plan to release 0.7... somewhere in next few weeks.
Q: After 0.7, how much more is left? what are the 0.3 finishing tuches that you'd still like to add?
A: The period is not a decimal point. There may be an 0.11 before an 1.0.
But 1.0 is just a number. There are a number of things which I would like to see in the future, such as UDP network support, a netplay lobby, support for graphics in other resolution, 'skinnability', scriptable dialogs, but this does not have to happen before 1.0, and it may not happen at all.
We may decide to call the next release 1.0 -- we haven't really talked about this recently -- but my personal view is that we should have at least all the features which the original SC2 games (PC and 3DO) had. And UQM still lacks nameable save games.
Did you follow those last two? UQM 0.7.0 is on the way baby! It's been a long time since the last update, but now it is finally here! That's as good a reason as any to strap in and kick some Hierarchy butt!