Entretien avec Pad
Many of you have already heard of or used W3Arena, W3Booster or W3Champions. We went to meet Pad to find out who is behind the Warcraft III « A-B-C » !
(The interview was conducted before Pad’s tweet, dating from Monday, in which he announced that he had to put the development of W3Champions on hold for personal reasons. The editorial staff of Refrogged offer his support by wishing him all the best in this period.)
Source: Twitter @W3Pad
Refrogged.com : Hello Pad and thank you to grant us this interview. Could you start by introduce yourself for all those who does not know you yet?
Hi SuNburSt, thanks for having me! Sure.
I’m Pad, 31 and i live in a small village close to Munich in Germany and am a professional software engineer at BMW.
I’m around the Warcraft III scene for over a decade. I never made a name of myself because by my skill or play. But I got widely known around 2012 with a piece of software, i wrote: W3Arena – a private server for the melee community which fixed the issues, the battle.net had back then.
These days, people know me for two other projects, which I develop: W3Booster – a widely used streaming overlay, and W3Champions – a integrated ladder within the Reforged client.
Allright ! We are all wondering, what’s the story behind your Sheep Avatar and your username ?
Thats a long story – i had a classmate and we both have the same surname « Schäfer ». It’s german and means sheperd.
We had in mind to create a web-development company and call it « devsheep » – for developer sheep(s). I created a sheep as a logo for the companys website. We never created the company in the end but the logo became my beloved avatar. Sorry to everyone who hoped for a lovestory between me and a sheep. I know, there were speculations.
My username has no story. My first name is Patrick and Pad is just a short version of it.
It seems that this sheep has already seen a lot! Let’s focus into the heart of the matter, which is obviously W3Champions nowaday.
How much time do you spend, on average, developing W3Champions per day? Do you receive help, especially regarding development?
It’s a lot more time than most people think. People always says it took me 3 days to create the ladder. And they derive from that how much time i have to put in other features. But it’s a completely different story to create something prototypical compare to maintaining a quickly and vastly increasing codebase.
Development speed dramatically slows down if you stop working prototypical and start doing solid implementations.
That said – i streamed, within the last 20 days, 85 hours of coding. I worked on the project around 120-140h within the last 33 days. 14 days of that I was on vacation which made these time investments possible at all. I’d say i work around 4-12h a day on the project when not having to work in my regular job. A number which i can’t hold in the long run (neither financially nor energy-wise) but it’s important to increment value with a high speed right now.
Every day with a lack of features some more people will leave the community and never come back.
There are other people working on the project with me. We started with a clear split in responsibilities. I maintain the code for the ladder, matchmaking and the ingame integration.
SirKato and modmoto maintain the code for the website. SirKato sadly left the team this week. The work is continued by modmoto and me.
And then there is floss2xdaily – i’m pretty sure, many of your readers know him. He is the person behind WC3Gym and also helping me on the non-dev side, communicating with the people, managing our discord, doing FAQs and so on. A huge help!
I guess when you are passionate you do not count your time ! But as you mentioned it takes a lot more than writing a few lines of code here and there when its comes to develop, maintain, progress on a project of this kind and I think people who are on your Discord or your stream have realized it now.
So perhaps confinement, due to Covid-19, allows you to have more spare time to advance on your project or are you busy home working as well ? How are you living it on your hand ?
As a software engineer i can work from home as well as from my workplace. There is close to zero limitations in my everyday work.
So I’m still working around 40 hours a week in my regular job. The project’s progress would have been the same without COVID. but maybe my motivation would not have been the same. I could assume, the support and interest would not be as high in less difficult times.
When you started W3booster and then W3Champions did you expect them to become this popular ? Since there is now a good amount of people using both, following you and also supporting you ?
I was pretty confident that W3Booster would be used by a good amount of people. It didn’t lift off like a rocket when I made it available to everyone, it was a slow process and I was really disappointed in the first run. In between it became a standard for streamers and it clearly overpass my expectations.
W3Champions was a completely different story. I knew for quite some time, that I’d be able to implement it the way I did. But i did not talk about it publicly because i was feeling confident that it was too early and that we should give the classics team more time to do a proper implementation theirself.
In retrospective im very glad people disagreed and convinced me to start working on it. As we can see, Blizzard did not come up with a solution within a proper time frame and the community would have suffered even more, if W3C would not have been in place within the last month.
Back to your question – in contrast to W3Booster the interest was huge from day one. Much higher then expected by me before i publicly talked about it. But from that point on it was obvious that it would become popular if we do things right.
What do you think, retrospectively, of Blizzard regarding Warcraft III? What would you say to them if you had the opportunity to exchange with them?
I imagine that like most of us you did not expect such a bust from Blizzard regarding Warcraft III : Reforged ?
As a kind of self defense i had really low expectations and was still badly disappointed. I could not believe they would really release something of this low quality – I mean, its Blizzard, the company from which I bought games just because i knew how well they were made, even if i was not interested in the genres.
I remember release night and my first thoughts – I realized they were shutting classic down while going live with Reforged.
I thought they must be very brave to shutdown their fallback option and put all load directly on the new servers instead of letting the classics players be on the old systems and migrating them a few days after the day one inrush. I still think, this wasn’t a good decision, especially because they must have known that Reforged would not fulfill the expectations and this would add to the criticism.
If i had the chance to exchange with them right now, there would be two things I’d like to discuss:
1.) Please explain what happened. I just don’t get it. How did everything went that bad and even worse every week (communication & patch content wise). I really just want to understand it.
2.) Please decide for one direction (most likely they did already) and let us know which one you’ve choosen – give 100%, put in a lot of effort and make the game what it deserves to be; or fix the critical bugs (desyncs, jumping units, game engine related bugs..) and afterwards give it to the community.
But most importantly let us know about your direction.
I wish a clear communication with which all of us can work. My favorite is that they implement all missing features in a high quality. If they can’t because of whatever reason, I’d prefer no solution from them at all but a clear statement. The community will be able to help themselfes in most cases.
Can you tell us a bit about what you have planned for the future of W3Champions ?
Is it conceivable for W3Champions to provide a hosting system for the most under-served regions (such as Oceania or South America among others) by Blizzards servers? If so, what human, financial and technical resources are needed?
I plan to support all relevant gamemodes, their order of implementation is given by the community which can decide by a poll, which feature gets implemented next. That’s it for the short time horizon of the upcoming 2-3 months. I didn’t make plans beyond that – because it all depends on what the classics team comes up (or not) with within that time.
Maybe they will surprise us and come up with a proper ladder and matchmaking. Then we might use our technology for custom game (Footy etc) ladders and automated tournaments. If not, we’ll invest further into the ladder and all features around it and its accessibility.
Regarding the hosting-system: I would love to host games by myself to have the quality of games under my control. Currently i can’t do anything for people playing on instable servers. But currently we don’t have the needed technology to host games ourselfes. In the past this was done by hostbots, which were nothing else then gameservers which you were able to control by the bnet chat. We need the gameserver part of them migrated to the current version of the game.
The sourcecode of hostbots is open source and it needs someone to take care of it and adapt it for the Reforged battle.net. Im 99% sure, its doable but I can’t put time in it myself because I value the gamemodes and other features higher. So I hope someone else will look into that topic and I might be able to use the technology for W3C. I asked people to look into it on Twitter etc. So I hope someone follows the call and gives it a try.
If the technology is given, we would also cover some of the least well covered regions. At least all of the relevant ones for tournaments.
You can calculate around 30-50 EUR per region you want to cover. With a budget of 150 EUR per month we’d be able to cover the cost for a proper network of servers. W3Arena was running 2-3 servers in different regions and had cost of around 70-100 EUR / Month.
Alright, then if someone is reading this and have the require skills set , I guess he now knows where he can start.
On a different kind of topic, what is your thought regarding the current state of the competitive scene? Do you think there has been a renewal with Reforged ?
I think the competetive scene is in a better state than it was within the last 9-10 years. It’s a great archivement for the western scene that the B2W guys gone fulltime and professionalized even further. A lot of ex pros are around again and there is always something entertaining to watch from the competetive scene. I think for alot of this Reforged was the impulse. In my mind people came back or decided for full All ins because of their expectations of the success of Reforged. So the scene got its benefits from Reforged and the hype around it even if the product itself didn’t fulfill expectations.
I enjoy the current competetive scene very much and it already became so active, that i’m not able to follow many of it anymore – thats a good sign i think.
Indeed there’s so much going on right now, despite the current situation and the lack of offline events. And it must be a great satisfaction to be involved in this.
Sadly our meeting is coming to the end, it has been really great to exchange with you Pad ! Thank you again for granting us some of your time. I leave you the last word if you have anythings to add, people you want to thank or sharing platforms where people can follow and support you ?
I want to thank the W3Champions Team for their work and dedication, all my supporters who sent me so kind messages or even support my efforts monetary, and every participant, who makes our ladder more competitive and interesting. I want to thank the countless contributors of the community and especially all the devs, which often face alot of bug reports but the appreciation of people doesn’t reach them. I thank you for your interest in me and my projects and all the readers who care about what I’m doing.
If you want to keep updated about what im working on, check out my twitter twitter.com/w3pad. If you are interested in coding yourself, you might be interested in following one of my coding sessions on twitch www.twitch.tv/w3pad.
I’m very grateful to be part of a great community and i thank you guys at refrogged for your contributions. Thank you for having me.