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Developer Profile - Stefan Glasauer

This interview was conducted with Stefan Glasauer, author of the EchoView player utility, on June 1st, 2005.

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

Two kids, not bad, isn't it?

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

Actually, apart from Civilization and VGAP, I didn't play any computer games. Programming my own tool for VGAP was necessary, because all other tools at that time didn't do what I wanted them to do.

What's your favorite Planets memory?

I was playing the Borg in an anonymous tournament, the goal being to conquer as many home worlds as possible. The only other player left in my game was the Robots, and part of my fleet was close to his HW. But I knew that he had a big fleet there, too big to beat him. So I played the tow-chunnel trick (that was still possible at that time): I towed a Firecloud to his HW which would chunnel out all of his ships which had warp zero. And it worked, I won that game. I always wish I had seen his face when he opened his RST.

What specifically inspired you? What were the biggest influences?

Oh, the contact with Andrew Sterian and the PHOST team was really inspiring. I liked the way he planned and programmed, very thoughtful, and very carefully.

Were there things that you wished you had added to your Echoview or other projects …etc…?

What I always wanted to do is to program a really good AI for VGAP. Not a cheating one, but one which could learn, get better from game to game, etc. But I never really found the time to even start.

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

The only thing I did is Echoview (apart from some forgotten utils for PHOST), and I think there are still some users out there (HI!!!).

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?

Very simple: it's a good game. And why? Because it's not too complex, you can play almost immediately, but it doesn't become boring, since there's a lot of strategy and thinking involved if you want to beat the cracks. And, it is relatively open so that people could contribute by providing helpful utilities, such as battle simulators or RANDMAX-type helpers, and other stuff such as new balanced ship lists etc.

In your opinion, what are the key ingredients that a game of this type should have?

See above.

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

Well, the game wouldn't be possible without internet.

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

Oh, they only helped, and still help. Most bugs are found by users, and without the users, Echoview would certainly not be the program it is right now.

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

No answer, since I don't program add-ons.

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

I probably wouldn't make a computer game :)

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?

No. I tried to play Planets 4, but I didn't like it. Perhaps it got more comprehensible now, but when I tried, I didn't understand what's going on, and lost interest.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Well, if there are still players for VGAP, I'll play, and teach my kids how to do it. If they want to.

Any last words to the Plants fan base?

Keep on playing!


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