Who are you and where do you call home?
My name is Peter, 36 years old and for a few years now I've lived in the center of Holland in a small town called “Naarden”, famous for its fort town, one of the best preserved town forts in Europe.
Has your career prepared you for the tasks that you face on a daily basis or are you like the rest of us and learn as much as you can aside from your normal job?
Everything I do I have pretty much taught myself. Early in the 2000's I did not even know how to embed an image in a forum post. Nowadays I am coding my own sites. Everything I want to know can be found on the net and although I admit sometimes it is hard, in the end you will get there. Of course there is much more I want to be able to do but I try to keep myself on track by doing things step by step.
Do your friends and family know that you are an armaholic and are they supportive?
Yes, they all do and they all like what I am doing. Most of them have seen us start from nothing to build it up to where we are now.
Where does your username come from?
Foxhound is the NATO name for the Mikoyan MiG-31 airplane, it was the first small airfix model my parents bought me when I was a little boy. I never forgot about the model and so started to use its name as my online name in 2000. Haven't changed it since and I use it everywhere game related.
Which BIS title ushered you into our midst? When was that?
I knew about and played OFP a little but since I wanted to spoil myself, I bought VBS1 in 2004. I met other folks and played that for years until Armed Assault was announced/released. After that I played some VBS2 as well, but the MP scene died quickly and I only played Armed Assault then.
What game(s) were you playing at the time you discovered these titles?
I only played Ghost Recon (the original one of course). I loved that game and it was the only game I played for 4 years without pause, everyday, for several hours. Sure, sometimes I would purchase another game to play but that usually only lasted for a week(end), then I quickly returned to GR. I think I must have played nearly all SP campaigns and missions released for that game in the first few years. I played most of them multiple times from an easy level to the hardest, if possible. Then one night I decided to try MP, joined a server, met a guy there with whom I started playing co-op. He introduced me to some other folks of whom I still meet some every year. Two of them became good friends, one is the Armaholic admin Sunraa who takes care of a few of my servers. I meet him several times a year for drinks and talks. And of course the other guy, which I sadly never met till now although I am working with him for years already, is Big. He is my fellow admin on Armaholic, posting news and helping out on the website where he can. Without Big, Armaholic would have a hard time being here for the community.
Back in those days we had our own website for Ghost Recon, called ghostaholic.com. We were mainly with PvP players but we also formed a co-op squad with whom we joined some co-op tournaments organized by other squads. Two famous sqauds we met and which some people in this community also know are Alpha Squad and Special Detachment(+SD). The AS guys make mods for Arma, like the AI mods from Robalo and some others. I think SD mostly disbanded but for example waxbutter is still around, working on the Hell in the Pacific mod of which the first beta was released only a few days ago.
You're a member of the CAP (Casual Arma Players) group on the BI forums, which stakes your claim as a casual gamer, but, gamers and mission editors are not necessarily one in the same. How much time, if any, do you spend in the mission editor?
None. Since I have Armaholic, there simply is no time left. But in the past I was in the editor making missions a lot. I was into making my own scripts as well.
Have you got any unfinished projects sitting around?
For the game? Many, but I stopped all development due to my lack of time and by now, my knowledge of the editor is equal to that of new players since so many things have changed and I am not doing it anymore.
On a scale from 1 -10, how would you rate your mission designs and builds?
Hmm, that is a tough one. I made some pretty cool and difficult missions that people I played with enjoyed, or at least they said they did, they could have just been boosting my ego. One of my favorite features to implement in a mission was randomness. I always noticed that in other missions, people played the mission as they knew how it would unfold and where the enemy was located. So I made sure most things I placed had a random probability of presence and random placement. I quickly began to create my own scripts to enable me to do what I wanted to do. It was always funny to hear people planning the missions over TS, using their knowledge from a previous attempt, only to get completely shot up because many things changed. Most of the times I only left some key objectives the same but even objectives/locations changed. Nowadays I think my missions would recieve a 2 seeing the quality of missions released today doing all those random things a lot better with way more advanced scripting and frameworks. I am no match for some mission makers out there nowadays. They do a truly tremendous job creating a great experience in game in both SP and MP. Without those mission makers the community would be a lot different.
Have you got any published projects out there for others to try out?
I think on Armaholic there is a simple IED script available that I made. I had a more realistic one in the works but ended up scrapping it due to time restrictions. I released a dynamic minefield script but I think that was only available for VBS1, and I am not sure I ever released it for Arma. I also worked on a dynamic spawn script which was working perfectly but while developing it, Armed Assault was released and thus Armaholic began, and that script too, was left behind.
How difficult was the process of learning to build your own missions?
I am sure many people are going to disagree with me and some will call me crazy, but learning mission editing and everything tied to it is actually not that difficult. It is only difficult if you are not prepared to search for info yourself, read any of the many user made tutorials and browse the forums. If you only knew how many hours I read and searched for info back then. I spent weeks reading the many tutorials and forums, especially at OFPEC, I learned everything from there as I did not like the BI forums (VBS users were not very welcome there once you mentioned it). I could spend days searching OFPEC to learn how to make a certain thing work in my script. Its not cause I like to search so much or get all hot and happy from getting stuck on something for days, but only if you search will you find so much info to read and while doing that, you learn much quicker than one would learn from asking question after question. But hey, everyone has their own way of getting into things, this was my way and people I played with back then were amazed at how quickly I picked things up when starting with no editing knowledge but quickly released some simple scripts and missions.
How important do you feel user made tutorials are for the community?
They are very important. Thanks largely to the many tutorials I read, I was able to learn how things were done, how I could do it and more importantly, how I could do it differently. Thats the good thing about this series, you do not have to do it like the rest. Once you know the basics you can expand, learn new ways, different ways. Wether they are better ways is not important, it offers you the chance to follow your own thoughts. And when you're done and discover that your 50 lines of code could also be done with 15 lines of code you just smile and started working on the next project.
Are you the SP gamer, MP or both?
I do not like SP much, it is boring to play on my own. The game has to be very good IMHO if it wants to tie me in SP and to be honest, Arma SP does not belong there. Not because the game is bad but because for me it is simply not possible to correctly get the AI do what I want them to do. I know many people do only play SP so its probably due to my own noob skills nowadays that I fail at it, but I also do not feel like learning it as I am way to quickly annoyed and start talking to my AI, threatening to do all kinds of weird things to them if they do not start listening to my orders. Mostly I just end up shooting them. So, then it must be MP I play? Hardly. If I play, its only for a few hours per month but I haven't played at all lately. I have no time and my PC is in a state where an 80's game looks more appealing than Arma while trying to make it run in a playable state. But for that too, I have to admit I can not be bothered trying to fix my gaming issues spending hours on it while I only play a few hours a month. Priorities shifted I guess.
Got any favorite mission authors out there?
No favorite author. Anyone who takes the time to make content for the community to use, in my honest opinion, is a good mission maker for the community. There never are enough and the community should always make sure they support anyone willing to share his work. No matter if the mission is not good at first, help them improve instead of burning them down!
Another group that you reference to is AMAR (Addon Makers for Authors Rights). Are you an addon/mod maker? Have you published any projects into the community?
I am not an addon maker, I am only there as admin for Armaholic to be able to keep an eye on the content we host.
What Addons would you like to see more of?
I have no specific requests, I am always happy with the content the addon makers already provide us with. But I was very happy seeing a group working on the Dutch Armed Forces. Afterall I am Dutch so I am proud to see our forces in the game.
What do you feel is Armaholics most important role?
Keeping the community informed as to what is happening with the Arma series, both in official development and of course for community created content.
You obviously invest many hours into Both Armaholic and your moderating role on the BI forums. How much time are we talking here?
You can pretty much say everything I do is a full time job, I spend all day keeping Armaholic updated, I moderate the BI forums, I read about web design and try to keep up to date with our CMS and any related releases etc. I also help out family and others with their own sites and ideas.
What are some other interests or hobbies outside of web design that you enjoy?
I like to read books and I like to go for a run now and than as well. Also I can enjoy a good movie. Nothing really fancy but these days the internet has my main interest. There is so much to do, read and learn I wil be busy with that for a long time.
What do you attribute to the success of Armaholic?
Our consistency and dedication to keep the site up to date with peoples work. And of course the way we have set up our website which is very clear and everything is rather easy to find, even with over 14500 pages. Also I personally like to have an up to date site, hosting out of date content only causes issues for their users and their owners. We are trying to make sure Armaholic is as much up to date as possible. Of course we too are not perfect and we miss releases but luckily we have so many people informing us about updates that I can safely say we are pretty much up to date with most of the releases on our website.
How many staff members are currently a part of Armaholic?
Currently we have 6 staff members at Armaholic:
Sunraa: he does not do anything on the website itself but takes care of some of my dedicated servers to keep them safe and strong.
Big: most will know him, he takes care of all the mission related news.
DarkXess: our forum moderator who also runs his own "holic" connected website Modsaholic.
Tom_48_97 : takes care of our French dedicated server.
Pirin: who I recently asked to join the moderators cause he is always helping out our forum members with their editing questions.
And of course I am there.
Armaholic is obviously powered by a dedicated team of staffers and posesses a team leader with passion and tenacity. Are you actively looking to expand your team?
Yes, we are always looking for people who are willing to help us. Sad thing is most people join for the wrong reasons and have no real intention to become an active and helpfull staff member. We have had, I think, a few hundred people become members of the Armaholic Team (this is a section I use to add users who might make staff as nobody gets staff access from the start for obvious reasons). We invested numerous hours explaining how it all works, how to write news and make pages but it was mostly in vain where we just waisted our time. So I pretty much gave up on this. I am not actively searching for staff and also do not even accept any application anymore, to many idiots tried to join, some even went rogue against us afterwards.
Have your expectations of the site been met, exceeded, or is there more that you would like to accomplish with it?
Oef, the site went way beyond what I ever wanted at first. I never ever imagined Armaholic to reach the level we have reached now. All we wanted when we started was a nice website where our friends could find info about (at that time) Armed Assault and we could play some fun co-op games. However, soon after we went live with the website things turned in a direction I did not expect so I quickly adapted to what the community was asking for. With a few million unique visitors a year where I only aimed at a few I can say my expectations were more than exceeded by far. Things exploded. But it all turned in a good direction thanks to it because now I am really into all this website related stuff (building, maintaining, server, etc).
Yes, there is more I want to accomplish, both inside and outside of this community. I have many plans but in the end it all comes down to time and how much of it I have.
I already added another website dedicated to a BI game "Carrier Command" but sadly the game is not as active as I hoped due to some bugs the game had upon release causing many people to just leave. Sad, cause it really is a fun and good game with many possibilities (in essence it can even be modded way more than Arma) but some issues where just to much.
Through the years, so many great community members have arrived on scene, left their mark and moved on. Do you feel Armaholic has done this for you?
I have no plans to leave at all. I will stay till the end (my end or the communities end). And lets be honest, I cant leave. The community would miss thousands and thousands of files which would then be lost........
With that said, Is it safe to state that Armaholic is in no danger of teetering on the edge of existence as some sites have, when their staff become less involved with game and community?
It depends on the community and BI. If the community dies everything dies. If BI goes another direction and the Arma series dies, yes there is an end. But as long as I can, I will try and be there till that end. If BI goes in another direction I will watch with them and if I like it, follow. If not, I'll look to other games to see which ones I like and for which I could make a website.
How did you come to be a moderator at the BIS forums? Armaholic didn't steal enough of your time?
I am tracking the BI forums so much I see many wrong things, so after W0lle asked me a 2nd time to join the moderators I decided, why not. Its not costing me much time anyway.
Do you find it difficult to balance the two sites, as well as real life duties or do you have a system that works?
Not hard at all, Armaholic goes first as well as other personal things and then moderating the BI forums come. If I am too busy or just do not feel like it, I do not moderate, we have that freedom. As for real life duties, that's not difficult either. I guess after so many years the way I do it I have found a balance where I can do all the things I want/have to do. But I admit I am not a person who can just sit on the couch and look through the window or lay in bed. I do not sleep long into the morning as I prefer to do things during the day. But of course I too casionally put myself down on the couch for a few hours and watch some movies or read a book. Everyone needs to relax at some point.
What genre of movies and books interest you?
Action/war/thriler movies is what I like to watch. But I can also enjoy a good documentary if the subject interests me. Same is for books, I like thrillers a lot but in the end I can read anything. All I need is a good story and well written book.
Arma3 inches closer to debut, you've already made some changes to the site to accomodate the title. How much of a traffic increase do you anticipate in the site?
I plan a major overhaul of the website, moving to another version of our CMS. Carriercommandaholic.com is already using that. Armaholic will also be changed. The current Armaholic site suffers from some real bad issues which need fixing but I cant really bring myself to fix them, knowing I want a whole new website for Arma3 anyway. Doing double work is a waist IMHO.
Growth? That depends on BI and whether Arma 3 is successful at attracting more new players. I hope it does, I really do. Its time that more players discover the possibilities Arma gives them, a game to enjoy longer than a few weeks/months. DayZ has done that as a first step, with DayZ we also saw an increase in our visitor numbers, so there have been DayZ players who also checked out and are still playing the base game with other community made mods and addons. I hope BI delivers Arma 3 in such a state it will be a success from its release. But in the end we can not do anything about that, we will have to wait and see.
It's great to know that you are so dedicated to keeping the treasure trove of Armaholic alive and pulsing while seeking to enhance the user's site experience in the future. Are there any words of wisdom, requests or suggestions that yo would like to express to the readers out there?
Respect! It always saddens me when I see people within the community taking anything for granted and complain and moan about something given to them by someone else without wanting anything in return, except maybe a little gratitude. Complaining is so easy, instead try to be a valuable addition to the community, no matter your involvement.
Really, not everyone needs to make or do something for the community, all you have to to respect all those efforts which so many people take each day.