It's nice to have a chance to talk to you and ask some questions. Thanks for accepting our request about interview. We would like to ask some questions, some of them are concerning Russian KaM fans. So, with your kind permission we eill go directly to the cause:
1. Please tell us about yourself. Where do you live? What do you study?
I live in Canberra, the capital city of Australia. Even though it is the capital it is still quite small, only about 350,000 people. I will be 18 in a few months, which is the age when you become an adult in Australia and are able to drink, drive, etc. (maybe it's different in Russia?) I am at year 12 of school which is the last year over here. After that I plan to go to University and study computer science. At school I am studying: High level mathematics, music, (I play piano in the school Jazz band) computer programming, English and physics. As it is the last year there is a lot of work so I have been finding it harder to find time to work on KaM stuff.
2. Do you have a hobby, something you like to to in a free time?
I haven't had as much hobby time recently, but when I do I divide it between: Answering emails/replying on the English forum regarding KaM questions, maintaining my mission website, (I have to add each mission by hand because it is impossible to fully automate it, as well as moderating comments and correcting mistakes) and of course programming the KaM Remake and discussing it with Krom.
As far as none KaM hobbies go I play my piano, talk to my school friends over the internet, spend time with my friends and play around on my computer/the internet. (I am always doing lots of things at once and trying new stuff)
3. When did you first saw KaM and how did you started playing it?
My dad bought it for us around the time it was released. I watched my older brother play it and as I got older I too tried playing it. We lent it to one of our friends and I remember racing them through the campaign. Neither of us ever won mission 20 though. My funniest adventure in KaM was in the TSK town tutorial when I was about 8. We have the US version and there are no enemies. I played the tutorial for 25 hours!!!! (over a period of a few months) By then I had built buildings on almost every spare part of the map and mined all the stone away. Because I never built the tannery the game never ended. (in the TSK US release of KaM you won the tutorial by building the tannery) I was not very good at the campaign so I just play the tutorial for a long time.
4. How did you decided to start working on your own MissionEditor for KaM, who or what inspired you?
Years later I remembered about it and reinstalled the game. It brought back good memories so I bought TPR on eBay. After playing around with it for a while I found the English fansite/forum. (from looking at the Wikipedia page actually) I was particularly interested in the decoding and tools. I read Litude's (then known as Real_hotdog) information on the mission file format because I wanted to make my own missions. By using a hex editor I was able to decode and modify one of the original missions. I then decided I would make an editor myself because there wasn't one on the site. I was not an experienced programmer at the time and my father helped me greatly near the beginning. It is my biggest programming achievement and defiantly the project that I have learned the most from.
5. Do you still work on Mission Editor?
No I haven't touched the code for a few years. It works okay as it is (it's fairly bug free) and the code was becoming too hard to manage. Also the editor built in to the KaM Remake will be a thousand times better than my editor could ever have been if I continued working on it.
6. How long do you know Krom and how did you met him?
Well I've known of Krom since around the time I joined the forum about 4 years ago. But it was only more recently (past two years or so) that I have come to know and work with him more personally. He is a very experienced programmer and a good friend of mine. Even though we have never met in real life I feel that I know him really well. We started chatting occasionally on ICQ and over time have got to know each other.
7. How did you started to cooperate with Krom on KaM Remake development?
I can't exactly remember, it was quite a while ago. I wasn't involved in the project for the first 6 months or so, but as it was in my favourite language (Delphi/Pascal) I started helping. It took some time to adjust and get used to the project but now I know my way around the code really well. I can't remember if I asked if I could join or he suggested it though.
8. How much time do you spend on writing KaM Remake?
It all depends. Recently it has been less than an hour a week but sometimes it was more than 4 hours every day! Some times I am more motivated, have less school work, less real world activities and during these times I work more on the Remake. It's a hobby, it fills unused time and stops boredom.
9. Are you planning to include new kinds of food into KaM Remake?
Well first priority is to get the original features of KaM working. We do have a list of possibilities that could be added after the "Remake” stage, but to be honest I would prefer to keep the KaM Remake similar to the original game and have new features like this as "Mods” to the game which the player can choose to enable if they want to. Stopping the bugs of KaM, adding online support (eventually!) improving the script, AI and control interface are higher priority in my opinion.
10. What about ships, would you like to see them in KaM Remake?
I'm not sure if ships would fit into the KaM style of game play. I think it might over complicate the game and make it less unique and interesting. Similar to the way as the siege equipment in TPR doesn't really fit in with the KaM style.
The other problem with these new features is that we need artists to create sprits which fit in with the theme of the game.
11. Do you play KaM on-line? If yes, then would you like to join our championship? (kamclub.ru hosts KaM championships)
I have occasionally played Knights and Merchants online, but generally it is hard for me to find enough time. Also because I am in Australia and you are all in Russia the lag would probably be too great. (>100 ping is unplayable in Knights and Merchants)
12. When do we expect next championship on maps at your site?
Probably some time over the holidays in summer. (which means winter for you!) Judging and organising the competitions takes a lot of time so it is not possible while school is on. Some time from November 2010 to February 2011 I will think about organising another one. I am open to suggestions and themes!
13. How often do you add new maps to your site?
Whenever someone uploads one! (you know the maps are mostly not made by me right?) Of course it has to fit in with the rest of my life, but I generally get a bit of time every few days to answer emails and add new maps to my site. Competitions are a lot more work so I don't do them often and generally only when I have lots of free time like during the summer holidays. (which are around Christmas in Australia) Each map takes about 15 minutes to add mainly because I have to make my own screenshots.
14. Did you visited our site (kamclub.ru)? How did you liked it?
I never really looked at it until Krom asked me about with interview. I do not know any Russian at all so I can't read it without Google Translator. It does look like a very thorough and active fansite though!
15. Would you like to say something to our readers?
Yes I would actually. :-) I would like you all to say hi to my wonderful girlfriend Shannen. Once this interview gets published I will show it to her with Google Translator. She thinks Russians are really cool (especially your accent) and I know she'd love to be mentioned here.
Also I heard about the fires and heat waves in Russia on the news. I hope you are all safe and well.
Thanks for reading this interview and keep playing Knights and Merchants!