Intel Depot

OFPEC Spotlights "SickBoy"

Jul
01
2012

 

Our next community member has had a hand in bringing us projects like War Games League from OFP, Advanced Combat Environment from Armed Assault and now Arma2, Six Config Browser, Community Issue Tracker, Dev Heaven and the Six Updater. Please welcome SickBoy to center stage.

Tell us who you are and where you reside in our world?

Hi, my name is Patrick (nickname Sickboy), 28 years old, I was born and raised in the Netherlands, where I still live and work as a System and Network engineer.

What sort of support structure do you have at home; are you married and do you have children?

I own a small house in the south of Holland, which I also use as development workspace.

Can you share with us a little background about how and when you entered the community?

My first contact with the Arma community was back in 2004, as together with some friends I started 6th Sense, a gaming community that supported Vietcong and also OFP, the predecessor to Arma. OFP was really amazing to us due to its freedom and modability, and all the wonderful mods that were available. However as no advanced mod managers were available, downloading, installing, combining, and synchronizing modifications was everything but easy, this gave me my first task. My career in software development began as I compiled and maintained custom mod- and mission sets. Later I started creating my own mods and programs. Things really kicked off (publically) once I joined the ACE Mod.

What were your initial feelings on Bohemia Interactive, their title(s) and the community that surrounded them?

Simply wow, the amount of modding, and community support going on was amazing.

Everyone starts as a player and it's only a matter of time before they discover the power of the editor. How long did you play before you began to dabble in the editor?

Editing started fairly early, I think several days/weeks after starting to play OFP. The potential was pretty obvious.

Your contributions started out in the missions area and quickly jumped to addon editing. What sort of missions did you enjoy building? Have you released any missions of your own?

I was mostly into Coop, so I mostly built coop missions. Dynamic missions always interested me because it felt so much more flexible and interesting than (more) static missions. Silola's DAC, DMA's COIN, Kronzky's UPS etc always intrigued me.

It didn't take long before you became a heavy hitter in the community, by your affiliation with mods like WGL, CBA and ACE. How did your involvement in these projects begin? What was your initial impression of the other developers sharing the work load?

I really liked the WGL mod and I think kju either invited me, or I requested to join the team, in a short while I assisted with the mod, but due to time constraints I quit fairly soon also, which was a shame. Later in ARMA1, I gave it another shot, the Mod back then had become A.C.E. (Advanced Combat Environment), and was again under lead of kju (who I always enjoyed working with) and Sig. At some point kju and Sig left and I took over the lead together with Rocko, and later also Xeno and ViperMaul. For ARMA2, ACE was redesigned and CBA was born to let the community enjoy some of the core scripting systems we created, and to improve compatibility of community addons. From the beginning I found it very interesting to find people working together on free projects, and it inspired me to join in. I am proud to have worked with many great people in the community.

You continue to introduce projects that enrich our Community such as Six Arma Tools, Six Battle Center, Six Config Browser and dev-heaven; you've certainly set a great example for others to follow. What does your inspiration come from? How much time do you dedicate to these projects and how do you preserve your sanity?

Initial inspiration always came from the active modding community, today inspiration mostly comes from seeing shortcomings in existing systems or finding things that are basically unique. The community mostly inspired me. I spend a lot of hours each day on the projects, I suspect at minimum 8 hours, there's a lot of maintenance, support, development, etc tasks. Switching focus between projects and tasks is what mainly keeps me sane :) But sure there are times I need to take a break too.

Your latest project, Six Updater, carries forward the concepts of previous OFP tools such as Kegety's OFP Launcher and Certa's Ofp Watch. How much influence did these two projects have on the Six Updater?

Mentioned utilities both stand at the dawn of launchers and updaters in regards to the flashpoint universe, and both have probably been stepping stones in the development towards more advanced softwares like the SIX Updater.

What is the greatest challenge (aside from not having enough time in the day) that you face in our community today?

Tough one.. I'd say.. Getting the right feedback and bug reports, to the right people and places.

I can't imagine that you have much spare time, with all the projects that you maintain. Do you still make/find time to enjoy the game for what it was designed for; playing?

Ha, you're right about that, time is always an issue isn't it, however I find myself enjoying development and management more than gaming. Currently I don't really play Arma2 that often, however I hope to be able to pick it up again, once Arma 3 is available.

No one can spend every waking hour of the day in code and we all must blow off steam somehow; what is it that helps you shrug off the stress of the long days?

I usually cool down and relax while watching some TV series in the evening / late evening, other times, less often, I play some games to let go, sometimes with friends on the couch on the PS3, other times on the PC.

With so much of your work being out there, what sort of feedback have you received from other community members? How about BI developers?

Generally people are enjoying the projects, there's as well the occasional negative response, but that's how it is and it can help further improve the projects and workflow (but people need to realize things can cost a lot of effort, time and even money). There's a close relationship with many community members and mod teams. BI is also very helpful and supportive, especially in regards to the Community Issue Tracker.

Care to share with us what the greatest and worst feedback you ever received from the community was and what projects they were for?

Tough one, at least a recent positive quote for SIX Updater: "Easy, Easier, SIX Updater"

We all become discouraged at some point, often bordering the all too familiar feeling of obligation. Do you ever feel like you just took on too much or that you just want to drop everything and enjoy the game?

I've had those moments more often in the past, but I think after years i've come to a point where I've reached a balance between working and time off, so that I do not really end up in the situation anymore. There's still sometimes similar moments though, but they are easily solved by doing something else temporarily.

What do you see for your future in this community?

Continuing what i've always been doing; working on mod and software projects, and providing services to benefit the community. We're having big plans for the future of SIX Updater and related projects and hope to be able to share more on that in the future :)

Arma 3 is just around the corner. That means more features, more improvements, more work overall. Are there any plans for you to stop supporting your Arma2 projects with updates?

I've always supported the latest installments in the series as soon as possible, this should be no different with ARMA3. Focus will be on ARMA3, however support for previous games will not be dropped anytime soon, and due to a lot of shared functionalities, previously supported games probably will still benefit from improvements. To be realistic though, to enjoy the latest and greatest to the fullest, people will have to move on to ARMA3 etc at some point.

Any plans for A.C.E in Arma 3? Have you already began preparations for it?

ACE should be coming to ARMA3 yes, we have done some preliminary planning, however the real planning can commence once the A3 alpha becomes available.

The acceptance of the A.C.E mod is fairly mixed. Some love it, some don't care for it. What would you say, in your own opinion, is it's best feature that the original game fails to offer?

That's perfectly healthy, people are entitled to their opinions and preferences, the world's a diverse place ;-). In relation to ARMA2 original, IMO The Rucksack and CSW (Crew Served Weapons) system. Both have been implemented in some form or the other in the Operation Arrowhead expansion. So in relation to Operation Arrowhead i'd say the enhanced Armor and Damage simulation for Infantry, Vehicles and Weapons (so Vehicles/Weapons characteristics, Armor Simulation, Wounding System etc).

I feel it's safe to say that the Six Updater has proven it's worth repeatedly and many will be looking to you to produce it again for the next title. Do you see that happening and if so, how difficult would that transition be?

Definitely planning ARMA3 support and beyond for the SIX Updater and related projects.
The transition should be smoothly and relatively easy, assuming similar or slightly adjusted operation of ARMA3 compared to the previous games. The software has always supported multiple editions and families of the game (and there are quite a few already :)), and thus is prepared at it's core to handle new games.

Where does your username come from?

My username comes from a film favorite back in my teen days, called "Trainspotting".
I found the name interesting and it kinda felt fitting with my usual sick and sometimes intimidating humor, back then ;)

What does SIX represent?

SIX stems originally from the 6th Sense community back in the day, I was using an editor highlighting that marked any class starting with '6' (e.g '6th_something'), as wrong (RED), here SIX_ was born, and eventually I also started to tag the product names with this.
SIX also represents "Sick's" so "Sick's Updater" etc :) and made more sense once I was more on my own.

Do you feel your SIX updater contributed to the success of DayZ at all, given the complexity of mod handling in Arma titles and the amount of newcomers that flooded the scene for it's popularity?

DayZ is an amazing modification, with a very unique gameplay approach. It is hard to say, how much the SIX Updater affects its popularity, however it is safe to say, that the installation and synchronization procedure has become a lot easier. The goal is to make modifications easier to handle, especially in multi-player, where synchronization procedures still provide one of the biggest obstacles to multiplayer mod development. As well as to decrease bandwidth requirements and other hosting obstacles.

Are there any final words or tips you would like to offer to the readers?

For starters, thank you for the opportunity to participate in this interview, thanks to all modders/developers/designers out there creating wonderful content, and the gamers who enjoy the content. For the latest changes to the SU, especially to the recently released SIX launcher, I have been working together with a team of developers and graphic designers, that share my vision on improving game and mod distribution for users. Stay tuned for more great improvements! Finally a request to support your favorite developers by using, testing and providing feedback and bug reports for the mods or software you enjoy, they inspire progress and commitment, to everyone's benefit.

PICK 3

What do you feel is BIS' success to longevity?

Providing gamers with something different than what the mainstream is providing, offering great support for both their players and modders alike, for people to enjoy their games in whatever fashion they desire. Their interaction with the community through their forums and the community issue tracker further strengthens the bond between them and their customers, steering their development. Multiplayer and Endless new content provided either by the community or themselves further increases the longevity of the games.

What is your favorite vehicle/unit/weapon of all BIS or user made content, including past titles?

CoC's Unified Artillery with Nukes, Cluster Bombs, and the whole shebang :)

If you were a superhero, what would be your superpower?

Writing bug-free code, and in a fraction of the time.

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