Articles - Community Interview: Tshaar, creator of AOSpeakThis week we've managed to interview Tshaar. He's the Project leader of AOSpeak (http://aospeak.com). AOS is a community supported teamspeak 3 chat server available for free to the entire Anarchy Online Community.
Hello Tshaar, could you give us some background info about your AO life?
Hello! I started playing just before the Shadowlands expansion was released, as a froob crat. I upgraded not knowing much about all the cool new playfields and perks, all I cared about was that awesome blue effect paying crats had! I've had many toons since, kept “quitting” and taking breaks but nothing can really keep me away from AO for too long.
Back in July of 2010 you offered the AO Community a Teamspeak server, what inspired you to offer such a service?
That was completely random. The server I was running for my organization wasn't used much at all, so I asked around in-game and a lot of people seemed interested in a free channel. For some reason though the idea didn't catch on then and the server was quickly rendered unused again.
AOSpeak went live in the middle of April of 2011 and has been growing in the past 6 months. What prompted you to offer the free service to the AO Community a second time?
I saw the AOU forums initiative to offer similar service, we tossed around ideas and suggestions for a while but I quickly realized I should “fork” those into my own thread and start working on the project alone based on players suggestions and outlines we established there. And it's been fun ever since! I dare to believe the same progress (at start) could not have been made in a shared effort, waiting for all the participants to finish their tasks.
Were you surprised at the amount of positive feedback and support you gained from the community with AOSpeak?
Yes, and occasional “thank you” I receive as a PM still surprises and flatters me. Positive is the key word, I met some really nice people contributing and using the project.
From what we've heard, you practically worked on the code related to the project on your own, is this true?
It is, in-game bots and the support software were coded from scratch (don't blame downtime on other bot coders). This fact is what keeps me going, I love programming and I do it for a living.
How is the project funded, is there a sponsor or is it based on donations?
The project is completely funded by me, I'm sponsoring the two servers and I'm not accepting any donations at this time.
If there was a feature you could add, what would it be?
There are many! But the next priority should probably be providing more feedback from the bot in-game, some players complained about the alts feature being a bit confusing to use (it's 34% magic). I want to expand the definition of “AOSpeak” beyond Teamspeak though, and possibly start other projects if time allows.
The AOSpeak project started in Rimor and then expanded into Atlantean. Has the interaction between rimoreans and atlanteans been positive?
Project was exclusive to Rimor only for the short time it took to develop a stable version of the bot, as it was much easier to maintain and test one instance. Since the service started on both dimensions as originally designed I've seen many players commenting how nice it is to meet people from the other server (since most of us play only on one). Players sponsored others to switch, join orgs... AOSpeak inspired a lot of changes and made AO a lot more dynamic for the people using it, we no longer have two servers, we have one community, and that's beyond my expectations.
Has there even been a problem moderating the server?
There are currently 0 banned players after 6 months of service =De I think our “behave as you would on the official AO forums” instruction contributes a lot, we outsource our rules.
There is a rumor that you're working with the Dev Team of Budabot to implement an AOSpeak plugin for the next version of the bot, is this true?
It is! BudaBot 2.3 features the !aospeak command that lists players in your organization's channel (87% magic).
I also released an API so other bot developers (and website owners) can easily integrate the same functionality.
With the recent upgrade to the aospeak.com website with the new forums, what is your hope with the change?
One thread on the official forums was hardly enough, especially if we wish to expand to other projects. Forums are the interwebz' cliché, expecting people to register and post spontaneously is unrealistic, but we need a centralized place where players can seek support and get faster resolution of any issues the might be experiencing. With that said, I hope we'll get some more suggestions and ideas, I love working on features players request.
Where do you see the project a year from now?
AOSpeak brought a quite few players back simply because they wanted to experience the game with a twist, and from what I gather they have stayed with us. If any of the AO revitalization features are completed we can expect many more old and new players coming to the game and thus to AOSpeak, and I'm looking forward to it!
Thank you for your time Tshaar, is there anything else you wish to add in closing?
Thank you for the opportunity! I would just like to thank all the players I met on AOSpeak for being so nice and friendly, knowing this makes the game even more exciting for you really motivates me.
Article written by Windguaerd
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