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Interview

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NigerianRabbi of Quadrant 51
By: Robert F. Ludwick | 8:16pm, September 8, 2005
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We've scored an interview with Quadrant 51's lead man, NigerianRabbi, also known as Sam Gerdt. Quadrant 51 isn't just Solar Empire anymore.

OMGN: So, how about we get to know you a little bit better, NigerianRabbi. Tell us about yourself.

NigerianRabbi: Well, most people know that I am young, but they don't really know how young. My name is Sam Gerdt and I am 16 years old. I've been programming for about 3 years now. Probably the only other interesting things about me are my obsession with soccer, and my love for listening to and playing Bluegrass music. If you're ever in the East Tennessee region, look me up.

OMGN: Before starting up Quadrant 51, what did you do online?

NigerianRabbi: I was heavy into web design, but was still limited to HTML. I didn't really do THAT much online gaming. Obviously, Q51 has opened up some new horizons for me :)

OMGN: What games do you currently play?

NigerianRabbi: Solar Empire and Planets Rising, of course. I also enjoy America's Army and any racing or sports games. Other than that, I haven't really gone too deep. The games I enjoy the most are the old Atari and NES classics.

OMGN: Quadrant 51 was started in 2001 as a Solar Empire server. Why did you begin the server back in 2001 in the first place?

NigerianRabbi: Me and a friend initially started Q51 as an invitational server for our clan. We never thought about going public with it until the DaftVeggie server went down along with Solar Haven and left the SE community with Modern SE to carry the load.

OMGN: What prompted you to add the two newer games to Q51, Planets Rising and Total War?

NigerianRabbi: Before I started writing Planets Rising, I knew nothing about programming. My friend and I started noticing flaws in SE and realizing that a spin-off could be successful. I started learning the necessary PHP and "Solar Empire - Planets Rising" was born. It wasn't until halfway through development that we realized that PR was a different game in and of itself. When PR started beta testing, we dropped the "Solar Empire" bit and stuck with Planets Rising. In case you're wondering, it helped that PR was coded from scratch.

Total War quickly followed. While PR is mostly the brainchild of my friend, who incidently is an old SE player by the name of Kynewulf, TW is all mine. If all goes according to plan, TW will blow the top off anything previously defined as "browser-based".

OMGN: Q51 is growing in popularity. To what would you attribute this growth?

NigerianRabbi: Mainly a good reputation. We were there when no one else was. While there are around 15 SE servers now, in December of 2001, we were 1 of 2. In recent months Q51 has lost some popularity with the SE community, due to the development of PR, but the focus is turning once again to that community.

OMGN: Do you have plans to add any more games to Q51?

NigerianRabbi: As of now, no. PR still needs work, and TW is still in concept design. I may pick up another small game along the way, but we''ll have to see.

OMGN: Do you ever plan to purchase some dedicated hosting for the site?

NigerianRabbi: Absolutely, the immediate future holds a new domain name, but down the road, when our bandwidth doesn't cut it, we will spend the money for the sake of growth.

OMGN: What are in your long-term plans for Q51?

NigerianRabbi: I have no plans to slow down in college, so that gives us a good 5 years to find out. A year from now I hope to have about 2000 users between all the games. It sounds big, but no one knows what I have planned, do they? Really, my main goal through all of this is to have a free gaming server for all ages where players can come and stay. That's the reason for all the new features. I'll touch on that in the next question.

OMGN: You have recently added a reviews section, will Q51 become an "OMGN Competitor?"

NigerianRabbi: As I said above, I want players to come, but I also want them to stay. Right now, players can chat, read reviews, and get help with their games without leaving Q51. I want to be independent. Maybe I'm asking too much, but right now I think we're doing OK. In answer to your question, no, I don't plan on competing with OMGN or any other gaming resource.

OMGN: Total War is a new game that you are developing. What will the game entail?

NigerianRabbi: As of now, it is so hard to tell. I will say that it will be more "pleasing to the eye" than either PR or SE. I will incorporate more graphics than usual and try to make it as much of a realtime game as possible. Other than that, I can say that games will last about a week and will support 5-10 players each. At any given time, I want at least 30 TW games running. My favorite feature will be the modular time periods. One game could be during the Civil War and another could be in the days of Alexander the Great. I plan on having around 10 modules for time periods. There will be a lot of history and research involved because I want to keep the game historically accurate. Due to this fact, development will take much longer than usual. I hope to start accepting beta testers by Christmas 2003, but do not plan on opening gameplay to the public for at least a year after that (Christmas 2004).

OMGN: Do you anticipate Total War to become the lead game at Q51?

NigerianRabbi: Absolutely. Solar Empire will most likely lead for another year or 2, but Total War will be the better of the two games when finished.

OMGN: Would you like to add anything else to finish this interview?

NigerianRabbi: I encourage all to check out PR. Also, I'd like to apologize to the SE community for my neglegence of the SE branch. PR is about to be turned over to another developer (Kynewulf), at which point I will return to SE and in a sense, finish up dev work and make SE as good as any marketable game. Changes in the next weeks will include a completely new layout (some of which is already done).
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