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Interview - (2004-07-09) spin
Title Interview - (2004-07-09) spin
Description Onyx interviews spin for the Phrozen Keep, the man behind the entire current incarnation of the Keep.
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First off, tell us all a little about who spin is.


Well, this spin character that's lurking around here would be me, Remco v. Hest, Self-proclaimed geek

Living in the Netherlands, I'm a 26 years "young" Systems Administrator, with a background in programming and database design. Currently I work for the Rednas Group, where I have too many functions to name here.

My computer experience started when I was about 8 years old, with an ATARI 800XL. Naturally to play games with at first. But soon I discovered the magical "LIST" command that would show me a game's code (It was a BASIC controlled machine, like the C64 for example). This got me into coding, at first changing little things in the games/apps I had on it, later doing things from scratch.... So one could say I started modding quite early

Later I moved on to the ATARI 1040STe, coded mostly GFA-Basic on it (probably the most advanced (non-GUI) basic ever produced) and some ANSI-C. Some years after that I got into the PC-world.


I've read somewhere that you hate to see your nickname with capitalized S. Why?


I never had much of an ego, and don't think I'm important enough to the world for an S. (although this started out as a joke I actually think its true personally. Maybe it's just a minority complex )


What in your opinion is the greatest advantage of Diablo 2 towards other games?


Probably the number one fact is that it's extremely easy to grasp. Just start your first game, and within minutes you’re hacking away. And while it is a hack and slash game, the story is pretty good and gives a little RPG-like feeling to it, which I also find important.


How did you come across the Phrozen Keep?


My friend, Google, told me about this place when I went looking for mods.

This was back in the days when the Keep was still using UBB as forum software (about 3 - 4 years ago) and I believe (it's been a while) 1.06 was the current patch back then.


Could you share with us a little about how you found your way from a regular modder to a Forum Tech Support at the Phrozen Keep?


That's a pretty long story as a lot happen in the background before it, here goes:

At first the Keep used UBB as I already mentioned. During this time I compiled my first versions of the mod I worked on, Suicidal Tendencies. It didn't have a really complex page back then, and I wasn't really looking around for anything yet either.

But, at some point the keep moved from UBB to phpBB.

I really liked the way phpBB worked and the fact that it was written in php. So I set up a forum at my own page using it. Naturally, I wanted it to look different that its default layout (subSilver) so I downloaded a theme, some icons and thus came across downloadable modifications.

After looking over some of these modifications and inserting them in my own forums, things got rolling between me and phpBB.

(note, up until this point I almost never spoke directly with any of the staff members @ the Keep)

It was one morning, I was reading my mail and came across one posted to the bugtraq mailing list concerning a security exploit in the phpBB version current at that time. After finding out how to fix it and applying this fix to my own forums, verifying it worked, I mailed Phrozen Heart with a forward and some instructions.

A few weeks later a similar event happened. This time I also pointed Phrozen to my forums to show what some of the mods could do.

From this point things really went fast. Phrozen became more and more taken with phpBB. At times Phrozen would mail me regarding questions on how to insert certain mods, which he did himself, and hats off to him, he did this with minimal php knowledge.

At some point I got the job. I've forgotten whether I offered or got asked. I setup test boards for the OT and main site, and started inserting mods, and applying customizations Phrozen requested from me.

I earned my title after the first, what was lovingly called "sync".

The reason for a separated title was because at that point, the Keep had plenty of moderators/admins, and I didn't want to perform public admin functions. However, admin rights where pretty useful of course when I had to actually fix a bug in the forum's code.

That's how I became the first admin to have his own title.

(The rest is part of the Keep's history)


The last site and forum upgrade seems to have pushed the limits to the maximum. Are there any features you wanted to add, but couldn't?


No, I'm delighted to say that we got everything in that we had planned or wanted.

The only thing I'm partially sad about is the fact that over on the OT side, the RPG system was too buggy to enable in the end. And the shop/bank mod is too limited in features. But, I wouldn't be me if I wasn't already planning rewrites for them. You'll probably be hearing more of this in the coming months, if you visit the OT forums.


What is the status of your mod Suicidal Tendencies - do you plan to continue the work on it or is it completely scrapped?


Unfortunately, Suicidal Tendencies never became real mod, it was a bunch of plugins and ideas thrown together. The file came with a mile long credit list

I've haven't touched anything about it in over 2 years, heck, I've only played D2 about 4 times the last 2 years. So I don't think I'm going to pick it up again any time soon. However, the files have always been -direct -txt, and I would have had no problem with someone else picking it up.


How do you manage to split your time between the work, the forums and your other activities? You sound like a busy man.


I'm a bit hyperactive by nature, and those projects and stuff indeed keep me busy and content.

Managing it can sometimes be a bit difficult, but at those times it's all about prioritizing and doing to important stuff first. In other words, the Rednas Group will come first at ALL times so long as I work for them. This happened 2 times during the last forum upgrade, and was the main reason for 2 major delays.

On the other hand, there are days when everything runs smoothly at my work, and at those times I'm actually not needed, but must be present in case of ... well anything... Those times I can spend on other things, and I used a lot of these "work hours" while upgrading the Keep's forums.

So it's a double edged sword I walk, one could say I don't have fixed hours, I have a lot of spare time some days, but there are also days when I work almost around the clock trying to fix something important.


What is "Arachnafobic"?


It's based on "Arachnophobia", however, that word is almost always taken when using it on registration forms. The misspelling causes it to be unique and always available.

So it's an intentional typo, in essence

And to answer the next one right of the bat, "Why Arachnophobia?"

My nickname, spin, is Dutch for spider.


What type of games do you like aside from Diablo 2 and what do you seek in a game when you start playing?

Games like Diablo (hack & slash) and Warcraft / C&C (real-time strategy) are my second and third favorite types of games.

However, First and Foremost, I'm an avid fan of Squaresoft and their games, in particular all the Final Fantasy titles and Chrono Trigger/Cross (Role Playing Games).

I love playing out a complex story line and getting completely drawn in by them. The longer such a game takes, the more I like it.


In your opinion, "The 'perfect' user of the Phrozen Forums behaves like..."


hehe, now there's something to dream about

The "perfect user" always uses edit, never double posts. He/She cleans out their own mistakes and deletes their own posts/topics if it wasn't needed. Checks out the announcements forum as FIRST forum on each visit. And.... has read the ToS when first registering, and every update made to it afterwards.


Thanks for your time.


No problem, and thank you for sticking with it

And a big shout out from me to all the Staff and Users at the Phrozen Keep, without you all I'd never would have gotten the chance to produce something as big as the PK forums!

I hope you will all enjoy this place for a long time to come!

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