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Interview

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Tony of Pirates of the Spanish Main
Arr! Ye Scurvy Dogs!
By: Charles Rector | Game Data | 5:10pm, August 6, 2007
Following is an interview conducted via E-Mail with Tony, the creator/developer of the Persistent Browser Based Game (PBBG) Pirates of the Spanish Main :


OMGN:  Were you fascinated with pirates as a youngster? If so, could you provide any details?

No, not particularly. But the idea of buried treasure has always been intriguing.


OMGN:  What was your experience as a gamer before Pirates of the Spanish Main?

Pretty typical computer gamer. Mostly in the action adventure genre.
The only console gaming system I spent much time on was a GameBoy.


OMGN:  Are you the creator of Pirates of the Spanish Main? If so, what was your inspiration/motivation for creating the game?

Yes, I am the creator of TheSpanishMain.com
I started playing a couple of the other major free Persistent Browser Based Games (PBBG) and really liked the concept of a free online game, based on accumulated turns.
I decided that it was something that I could do on my own as a hobby/side project.


OMGN:  Is Pirates of the Spanish Main based/inspired on any BBS games? If so, which game(s)?
 

Nope. TheSpanishMain.com is not based on any other game. Of course many concepts are going to be the same across all pirate games but the only other pirate game I have played is Sid Meyer.
In order to keep the game realistic I did a bit of research to come up with the ships, locations, and other game concepts.


OMGN:  Why was Pirates of the Spanish Main created as a browser-based game instead of say, a downloadable program game?

Being an individual trying to develop a game and present it to as large of an audience as possible, the web was an obvious choice.


OMGN:  Why was the decision made to create a pirates game when there were already many games in that sub genre?

Actually when I started developing the game most PBBG's were base on a Mafia theme. There were no free online Pirate games available for play at that point.


OMGN:  In what ways has running a game enhanced your gaming enjoyment?

Enhanced?! Ha. Well, it has pretty much eliminated any time for personal gaming. It takes an enormous amount of time to develop and run an online game. But I do get enjoyment from the challenge and from knowing that people are enjoying what I have created.


OMGN:  Running a game is often a labor of love as opposed to being a money maker. How active is Pirates of the Spanish Main's community in helping to promote the game, creating fan sites for the game, making good suggestions for new features and ways to operate the game or other help with the game?

The Beta players have been very encouraging and have provided a lot of great suggestions via direct email and the forum that is built into the game.
I have had numerous offers from players who want to help, and donate time.
I don't have any doubt that once the game officially exits the Beta stage, player support will continue to increase.


OMGN:  How much influence has Pirates of the Spanish Main had on other games?
 

I have know idea. Probably very little.


OMGN:  Later this year, two well financed game projects, Pirates of the Burning Sea and Pirates of the Caribbean Online will become full fledged games. How well do you expect to do against this new competition?

I don't really think that I can be considered competition for those games. They have a much bigger budget that I. :)
It's really just a fun project for me. I've enjoyed it. I think that there will always be people interested in a free game, that is fun to play.


OMGN:  What has the response to Pirates of the Spanish Main been like?

I have not done any promotion for over a year. The game is only listed on three free game link sites.
Those links and word of mouth have generated the 4000+ members that have created Beta accounts.
The players have been very supportive. And I have to apologize for the delay in getting the game fully finished. Players have been very patient.


OMGN:  Some say that Pirates of the Spanish Main is just another browser-based game. How do you respond?
 

Yep, it sure is. But it's a good one, and getting better all the time. And what's better than getting to play for free.


OMGN:  There are some who believe that innovation has disappeared from online gaming.  In what ways does Pirates of the Spanish Main break the mold?


Building a game called Pirates of the Spanish Main and then making your players 'farm a plantation' for a year while you finish the Pirating portions of the game might be called innovative, but it would be a stretch. :)
I've done my best to make the game as 'smart' as possible. There are a lot of different strategies and ways to play and win. You can play as if you are a Shipping master, a Plantation Owner, or a Pirate or any combination of the three. You don't have to choose just one.


OMGN:  How many play Pirates of the Spanish Main?
 

Being in Beta mode Players come and go. Rounds typically end with about 100-150 players. (Rounds last about 10-15 days) No promotion has been done at this point.


OMGN:  What is the maximum number of players that Pirates of the Spanish Main can handle?

Bring em on!


OMGN:  What do you think that the future holds for browser-based games?

There is a huge audience out there. Being browser based makes a game available to the masses. Players all over the world can play without having to install anything. This is great for countries and locations where people use Internet Cafe's.


OMGN:  If you could go back in time and start all over, what would you do differently?

If I could go back I would have taken a month off of work and finished the game a year ago. But it has grown organically over the last year with player suggestions and I think it is a better game because of it.


OMGN:  Where do you see Pirates of the Spanish Main a year from now?

Hopefully finished. :) Just kidding. It will be finished much, much sooner than that. Once finished, promotion will start, and we'll see where it goes from there. Wherever it is, the trip will be fun.


OMGN:  How is beta testing progressing?

Great! Nearly all of the bugs have been worked out. The code works smoothly and has a lot of added features. 


OMGN:  Finally, would you like to add anything?

I'm looking for a great artist who would like to contribute and have their work presented to a large appreciative audience. If anyone is interested send me an email me via the contact link on TheSpanishMain.com

And Thanks for the interview. I appreciate getting to share a bit about the game.

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