WWIIOL:BE has always boasted some of the most dedicated community members I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. Countless fansites, squad pages, training pages, and tools have been created by some really smart cookies. This week I'd like to introduce you to Xiper, the creator of Battleground Europe Game Monitor.
What is BEGM, you ask? BEGM is a third party external game monitoring utility for Battleground Europe. Xiper has spent years designing a desk-top utility that monitors activity in-game and keeps you updated on everything from captures, attack objectives, firebase changes to brigade movements and factory damage. You can even set the map as your Windows desktop wallpaper and have it update on a regular basis! Xiper took some time to answer my questions about the origins and development of BEGM.
Xiper, how long have you been playing WWIIOL?
I was introduced to the game in 2003 by a work colleague, back in the days before MSP's or even spawnable depots (the earliest installer i have is 1.8.1). I remember it took me about a week of getting shot before i even saw an enemy infantry in the wild, and another week before i got my first rifle kill. Ever since then i've been hooked.
Do you work in the gaming sector or is this just a hobby?
I work in IT but not as part of the gaming industry. BEGM started out as a small hour-a-day hobby project while teaching myself C#. As it progressed and i started getting feedback it grew into a major project that takes up a fair bit of my time, especially leading up to a release.
What motivated you to create the BEGM?
When wiretap was informally announced by KFS1 on his blog i started thinking of ways to use the data that would be useful to the community. I recalled a few threads in the forums where players had mentioned it would be great to be able to see what was happening in-game while they were at work. The design just kind of grew from there.
Keep tabs on map movement and the status of any town
How long has it taken to get it to it's current version?
I started planning and development in January 2007, spending around six months working on a prototype before giving the rats a sneak peek. After another three months a beta version was released under the GPLv2 open source license. This received a lot of positive feedback from the community and led to 12 more releases over the next year, addressing issues raised by players and adding requested features. The latest v1.2 build is now available after six months development and contains a long list of improvements including support for multiple languages.
Have you tracked how many downloads it's had?
Since release BEGM has had over 7200 downloads, averaging around 45 per day for the past few weeks. This continues to grow as more people become aware of it via word-of-mouth (or the online equivalent). It is linked to by many WWIIOL community websites and even used as a promotion tool for recruiting new players.
Select features have a pop-up option to alert you of status changes
How often do you play WWIIOL?
I've played on and off over the past 5-and-a-half years, taking breaks every now and then (which usually coincide with my framerate). I try to play every few days as free time allows and in US prime time over the weekend - that's Saturday morning here in Australia. I've always been a lonewolf, joining other groups of players to help out as needed.
What keeps you playing WWIIOL?
I love the fact that everyone is on the same level and their success is determined by their own actions. You can be a seasoned player and still make an in-the-moment error of judgment that will get you instantly killed. There's no ranking up to uber-leet gear that no-one else can touch - spawn the heaviest tank in game and without teamwork and coordination you still fear the lowliest infantry giving away your position.
Likewise you can be a fresh recruit clutching your rifle, and if you have the skill and patience to out-think and out-flank the enemy then you'll be rewarded for it. And it's those heart-pounding moments when you're in position and about to pull the trigger that other games still struggle to achieve.
Xiper's BEGM is just one example of the dedication and passion of the Battleground Europe community. CRS will continue to work with Xiper and others like him to expand and develop these tools to provide our players with some unique features that just can't be found in other games. And now I've got to jam, Virton is under attack!