Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Interviews with Runescape Fan Sites:

Here we go, the first interview is with Clooth (founder, owner and developer of Enjoy!

Q: How would you describe your site in a few words?
A: Draynor provides cutting-edge tools and services for beginners and experienced players alike.

Q: Can you tell us about major milestones of your site? A little bit of a history?
A: I suppose the biggest milestone of the site was when I decided to make the signature system in the beginning. Since then I haven't really had time to work on innovative features or new stuff.

Q: What inspired you to start a Runescape fan site?
A: Back in 2005, when I started actively playing RuneScape, I was browsing all these fansites like Zybez and whenever I needed something, and thought I could do better than them.

Q: What were your original goals for the site?
A: I hadn't had much experience with creating websites back then, so my goals were pretty much take what the competition is doing and do it better. I didn't create my first website myself, a friend I met on our forums was a better developer than I am and offered to help me. I was just the brains behind it.

Q: Had your goals changed over time? If yes, how and why?
A: A lot. Right now my goals are to provide the best possible help and services to the visitors of the website, listening to community feedback as a whole instead of creating something I think is just fine, I made that mistake before and the site started dying slowly cause of inactivity.

Q: Was it the first web site you ever created?
A: No, the site I've been talking about now was a RuneScape site called "Rune-Town", where we had calculators, guides and some other useless weird stuff.

What technologies were used to create the site? Did you add new technologies into the mix after you created the original version?
A: The first website was created with PHP/MySQL with no ready-made content management systems or commercial scripts (I've always been a fan of creating my own stuff). The current site is powered with the open-source PHP application framework called CodeIgniter.
The next version of the site will also include CodeIgniter, but for all of our database-handling has been moved from the raw PHP mysql functions into the full-blown object relational mapper called "Doctrine", which acts as a really robust backend for any kind of service we create.

Is there a unique feature/service your site provides to Runescape players?
I suppose right now our flagship product is our dynamic signatures, but we have so many new things cooking up in our oven right now that I can't really say which will become the biggest and/or most used feature on the site.

Q: Which feature/service took the most time and effort to create?
A: I don't really know, everything on Draynor is very simple to create, I only focus on good ideas and excellent implementation, I don't see how much time or effort a certain feature takes. I enjoy pushing things out when they look good and work well.
Q: Which feature/service was the most complex from the programming stand point?
A: The main website backend has taken the most time to implement, all the integration between site features, to create a unified method of building and serving the pages on the website and everything else included.
Q: Is there a feature/service of the site you are most proud of?
A: Everything the outside can't see. The backend of the new website is pretty elegant, extendable and re-usable and I'm proud of how well everything works together. There are some new services coming along in the near future that I'm really proud of.
Q: Did you start the site alone or with friends?
A: I started Draynor completely alone, since I was afraid of people stealing everything I made (and this has happened so many times). But nowadays we have some interested content-team members, developers and moderators ready to work hard to contribute.
Q: Are you the only developer of the site's code?
A: Right now I am, I have been for multiple years but there are team members who are very interested to create features as well, so we'll see how that works.
Q: How much time do you normally spend supporting the site? A few hours a day? A few hours a month?
A: Well considering I'm working on the new website, I've been working many many hours a day to hit the deadline we're currently on. This interview is keeping me from my work! :)
Q: What is the most difficult/challenging task you have to do to maintain the site?
A: Focusing. I strongly believe I have ADD, even though it's not diagnosed I have really big trouble focusing on working on a single thing at a time, so I'm creating pieces all around the website at all times. I'm trying to get out of that habit, if I can.
Q: How many staff members do you have? How did you find/chose them?
A: I'm not sure how many we have, we have some community moderators and several community administrators. I don't have much to do with the community but we hand-pick staff from the active and helpful members of the forums.

Q: Are there aspects of web site management you were able to completely delegate to others?
A: Community management is something I chose to give away, since I enjoy doing the dirty development work in my dark basement.
Q: Did you even had to deal with hostility and/or attacks from other fan sites?
A: Well, as I mentioned before, there have been multiple other competing sites copying and pasting my content and using them in their almost identical services in the past. I know a few websites that still have my old content in their tools, doesn't make my blood boil though, I guess some people are unoriginal.

Q: Did you ever consider making money with the site or is it just a hobby?
A: I didn't have any ads on the website until when the traffic started growing too high to manage for free on a shared host. We are thinking through some minor income options to use in the future.

Q: What do you think about the current Jagex's fan sites support program? Do they do too much, too little? Is there something you'd wish would go differently?
A: I like the fact that they are trying to help, but I'm not sure about the big picture and how much they are willing to help. I must say that they have helped me quite a bit in the development of some of the new features.
Q: Do you still play Runescape? If yes, how often?
A: I started playing like a month ago, I play every day while I work on the website.

Q: What's you Runescape goals, if any?
A: Right now I'm 1.7m away from 99 Woodcutting, which after I will do both fishing and thieving. I joined a skiller clan when I came back to playing so I don't focus too much on combat.

Q: What kind of Runescape player are you? Which Runescape aspect is most appealing to you: quests, role-playing, skilling, pking, minigames etc.?
A: I'm a skiller to heart, with 14% combat experience. ^_^
Q: Are there other Runescape fan sites you personally use as a Runescape player?
A: I sometimes use other sites for calculators and skill experience reference tables, but that's about it.
Q: Do you follow/read Runescape blogs and news papers from other sites?
A: I don't have the time to really read any blogs anymore.
Q: Is there something you don't mind revealing about your RL (age, country, hobbies etc.)?
A: I'm 20 years old, 21 in like 7 months. I live in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, and I work as a web development professional for a digital solutions company. My hobbies would only include RuneScape I guess. :) I moved in together with my girlfriend a few weeks ago and am currently thinking of starting my own firm in this industry.

Thank you very much, Chooth!


Merch Gwyar said...

That's really interesting. Thanks for the interview both.

I think that was one of the first RS fansites that I went onto. So Clooth must have only been 16-17 back then. Wow!

I started with a signature (covers up the Runewise one that I have now). >.>

Downfall said...

Aah good ol' Clooth! I've been with Draynor since 2006, seen the highs and lows and right now the site is on a definite high! I'm so happy to be a Moderator there, and I can't wait for you all to see what's coming up in the future!


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