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Developer Profile - Michael Raith

This interview was conducted with Michael, author of the FHost host add-on on August 5th, 2005.

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you have accomplished in life?

Well, being a computer freak since I was young I first wanted to study economics... and did a couple of years- until I recognized that I might be better of with a degree in computer science (this was about mid-90ties when I was already working on FHost for example) - so I changed majors and did computer science instead.
Today I'm working as an it security consultant and a dive instructor (the diving rather for my relaxation than to earn money.)

What are your favorite computer / board games and how have they affected the development of your add-on's?

My favorites - hard to say. I'd say each time had its special favorites… right now, I'd name total war Rome and guild wars, a couple of years I was into flight sims… in general I could say I like intelligent games that have a certain flair about them. Half-life for example was outstanding or earlier in the 90ies "descent". Counterstrike or any other "just death match and repeat all over again"-type of games would be perfect examples of games I did NOT like. :)

What's your favorite Planets memory?

We were playing the so called echo campaign - one of the largest games in that time - and the players from all over Bavaria did meet in real life to discuss alliance strategies over a starmap in a restaurant - I guess the staff there must have thought we're crazy or something when talking about "blockading routes" or "attacking entire solar systems"…

What specifically inspired you? What were the biggest influences?

Well, most obviously Battlestar Galactica… and some logic....

Were there things that you wished you had added to …etc…?

No, it's complete....

What do you think are your most important accomplishments to VGAP and why?

I like the fighter missions - well that's the very reason why I programmed them in the first place. and I think the carrier fleet combat is nice….

In this time of graphically intense PC games, what do you think it is about VGAP that has people still playing a game that is over 13 years old?

Its not all about the graphics - its about entertainment and brain… personally I don't like to buy a new computer for 2000€ every time id like to play a new game… even worse if that game bores me to death, has bugs without end or is simply illogical - so a good strategy game (even old ones) still is more appealing to me than the newest no-brain-high-end shooter…

How has the internet affected the expansion of your add-on's internationally?

FHost has moved around the globe quite a lot - without the internet it would have simply stayed a local application that was available only on my host and on some of my friends...

How has the fan base hindered or helped your projects as you've worked on them?

Seeing how many people liked and still like my work, I enjoyed working on FHost very much... implementing many suggestions from my players… this is why fhost which started out as a tool to just add some fighter missions grew into the FHost you know today... with some specials to please everyone around

When planning your add-on's, how do you go through the process of integrating themes and story with the constraints of the software?

Themes and story? I just thought of what I would like to see in planets and went to build a tool implementing it

If you could make any computer game that you wanted, which would it be and why?

Since I'm not actively programming anymore, I have to wish to make any computer games right now

What's the status of your add-on development and do you intend to continue to develop them for Planets v4.0 in the future?

I think the last public FHost version (v1.23) is mature - and since I'm quite busy with my job as security consultant I have no plans to pick up FHost development again

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Running my own dive center on a pleasant island…

Any last words to the Plants fan base?

Thanks for your support through all the years - it makes me happy to see that people still like and play a game that I wrote quite some time ago. I guess I can take this as a measurement of the quality that I always wanted to deliver…


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