Tell us a little about yourself and how you arrived in the world of OFP?
I'm 32 years old, living in Toulouse, in the southern France. I work as an I&T technician for the French government. I started playing OFP since the demo because I was amazed about the freedom you had in the game, miles away from what other games offered. I didn't have an internet connection at home in 2001 when the game was released so I wasn't really following community stuff but I joined OFP.info in 2002. I proposed my services when the previous French translator left the team. I translated news for a few months then started to post directly in English. When Bojler left the team I had to take the team leader position because no other team member had enough time or will to do it.
How many people do you have working on your site?
Since we opened 3 new language sections our team is really bigger now. Of course we still have our old core team (deadeye, Old Bear, Flyer, Nano19, pMaster) but also new members joined us so our team is composed of 15 active members. Since i'm Evil you can see activity level of our team members on the staff page, automaticaly based on logs *Evil grin*.
Are you always looking for new volunteers?
Of course, if someone contact us with good ideas, a professional approach of work and some free time to spare we're always happy to welcome him onboard.
Do you count on user submitted news, or does your staff comb the BI forums looking for news?
Yes we count on user submitted news, we prefer to have direct relationship with modders and addonmakers rather than just reading and posting stuff from the BI Forums. However some team members don't have the time for it so they just take what they find in the BI Forums.
How much traffic do you receive on a typical day?
Around 10000 uniques IP daily. It's not that bad considering that ArmA didn't work as well as OFP did. In order of comparison on OFP.info we got around 20000 uniques ips daily in 2005.
Do you feel there is a decline in news submitted compared to the OFP days?
Yes of course. Most hard core OFP players have been disappointed by ArmA, also a lot of talented OFP addon makers have been hired by BIS so as a result that makes less modders working for free!
OFP vs ArmA Poll
Could you give us some specs on your servers & setup for ArmedAssault.info ?
We have two racked servers in a datacenter, the first one ( 2,4Ghz CPU, 1GB Ram) is used to host the website pages, pictures, databases and some hosted mods and the other (Celeron 2Ghz, 256 MB ram) is dedicated for hosting all the files you can download by FTP on armedassault.info and ofp.info. We have also a backup server in the datacenter and I have a server at home to do backups/ rsync mirroring.
How many gigabytes of addons does ArmedAssault.info have?
For ArmA there's currently 13,7 GB of files on the FTP server (66GB for OFP).
What separates your news site from others? Yours seems to be the most popular and has been for the last 6 - 7 years.
Well we do not claim that we are the best site around, we are just hard working and we let the visitors make the choice (Vox Populi)... That will sound silly but the only reason that makes a site more popular than another one is due to the hard work done on a regular basis as well as a strong team spirit. Like addonmakers would say about their mods, working on a such website looks almost like a second real life job!
Do you pay for the hosting out of your own pocket, do you accept donations or is the site run totally on money from advertising?
I pay around 800 € yearly just for the two servers in the datacenter. Of course we accept donations but people are not used to pay for something they consider free (you know that already at OFPEC). For OFP.info where we put donations, if we do not count our own team members, we got 5 donations from kind visitors, for a total of 21 €. armedassault.info advertising is variable but we can roughly get around 30 $ monthly which isn't that bad. So, as you've calculated already the site is costing us money... but you know that too at OFPEC! :P
Do you plan to stick with just news about Bohemia Interactive products or do you plan to open your news up to OFP2 from CodeMasters?
We didn't make the choice so far. If the game looks promising why not, but seeing that it will be developed for consoles too isn't a good news. Not only about gameplay but also about consoles like controls that ArmA had, probably reused from the OFP Xbox version (double key tapping, mouse controls in vehicles worse than OFP ones, etc).
If you could see Bohemia Interactive reach out to the community, what would you like to see from BI?
I'll probably receive stones but I'd like to see a mod bringing back OFP controls and gameplay into ArmA. :P
On a more realistic point, I think BIS is doing a great job concerning community, people complaining about them probably didn't see how game developers are used to work (release and forget) in the gaming industry.
How much time, if any, do you play ArmA or does your site use up most of your spare time?
I play ArmA maybe once a month, I'm waiting for mods actually (Come on FDF guys!). I spend at least 3-4 hours daily for the site or ofp/arma related stuff.
ArmAssault.info is really known for its news; if someone wants the rest of the community to know something they generally post it on armedassault.info. What other areas is armedassault.info trying to expand into?
We'd like to improve mission section but it's hard to find someone talented in mission making and having the time to test them and post them too. That would be nice to have more articles and interviews on a regular basis but that requires time too.
Did I mention that we will open our own COMREF and script library in the upcoming days...? Nah just kidding! :P
If you could improve anything in ArmA, what would it be?
Controls and gameplay, I really don't like infantry controls in ArmA. Maybe it's because I was too used to OFP... in my opinion ArmA gameplay should have been like OFP with FDF mod!
Aiming in ArmA
Did you buy Queens Gambit and, if so, did you like it?
Yes, to support BIS, but I didn't play it so far to be honest.
Thank you for the interview; it was nice to reminisce about OFP/ArmA history like old veterans speaking around a campfire! :)