- This interview is transcribed from the original thread.
Howdy Dawn of War forums, and anyone else who might have wandered past, and welcome to the ninth in the series of The Moderator Interviews. These interviews, the remainder of which can be found in my forum signature at the bottom of the post as well as in the Relic Community Wiki, are designed to help the members of this fine forum known as Relic News get to know their moderators just that little bit better.
Today we're interviewing Grabnutz, who's one of the Dawn of War section's moderators and whose yearbook entry can be found at the following location:
One of these days I'll come up with a new shtick
And so, enough of my rambling, to the interview...
Obtuse: OK, obligatory bio if you please, Mr. Nutz
Grabnutz: I'm Simon, 18 and some months, currently living in Cardiff (Wales), studying Biomedical Sciences: Anatomy at uni.
Obtuse: Are you originally from Wales?
Grabnutz: I was born in England, then went to Wales when I was about 6 months, then lived back in England when I was 7-8, and came back to Cardiff last year for Uni
Obtuse: Which country do you feel more affinity for? Would you consider yourself Welsh, English or both?
Grabnutz: I really like where I live in England, I've got many good mates there, who I miss like hell, but I have to admit, I've never been as happy as when I came to uni here last year, life is brilliant at the mo. I'd say I was English, but if England ever played Wales in football / rugby, I think I'd support Wales (nothing to do with the fact I'd get beaten to a small bloody mess by the Welsh supporters if I started cheering England...)
Grabnutz at university
Obtuse: Aight, so tell me a lil' about your university course. It sounds a lot like a chance to ogle naked people, is that why you took it up?
Grabnutz: Said naked people are largely over the age of 60, and most definitely deceased, so I'm going to have to say "no" on that account :P I just always liked biology, especially human structure type stuff, so this course seemed perfick. Although we don't get into the dissection rooms until the second year, I'm still really enjoying the course. Oh and "I study *anatomy* " is guaranteed to get you very odd looks from girlies.
Obtuse: Are you hoping to work in this field after graduation?
Grabnutz: I'm not sure what I want to go onto yet, either something medical, or into research. My theory is that since I'm enjoying the course so much, I'll be moving onto a profession that I'll enjoy too.
Obtuse: So you'd recommend that kind of course to others? What kind of person would you say it works well for?
Grabnutz: I'd recommend it to anyone who is interested in human biology, but there are so many courses out there to choose from that saying my particular course is the best, full stop, would be stupid, all I know is that my course works brilliantly for me. On a broader scale, I'd say an Anatomy course works for people who aren't squeamish, aren't afraid of big and/or weird words (Keratinised Stratified Squamous Epithelium!), and most importantly, would enjoy learning about the content, so an inherent interest in the subject is a must, you can't use the course as simply a means to an end (i.e the job at the end), you have to enjoy studying everything.
Obtuse: As far as your university goes, are there any particularly good or bad points about it, or indeed the university experience itself?
Grabnutz: I've met some awesome people who have become my best friends, but then I’ve met some less awesome people (my flatmate in room 1... less said the better). You definitely get thrown into the deep end as far as needing to get along with people goes. Once you've got your main group of mates sorted, everything becomes brilliant, they are your family away from home, I see them pretty much every day, be it just a drink down the pub, wander around town etc etc. Lectures can be varied, I think it mostly depends on the lecturer. Some people can make James Bond look like a grey paper bag, but others can make grey paper bags look like James Bond. Others have hilarious accents / speech impediments, thus making them legends among the students. Its difficult to summarise exactly what life is like, so much happens around here.
Oh, and I saw Muse play live too, that was awesome.
Obtuse: Did you always intend to go back to Wales to attend uni?
Grabnutz: No, at first I was just looking at whatever uni that had a decent looking course, then Cardiff caught my eye. A few mates from school were coming here too, and my half brother also lives here. Eventually it became the obvious choice
What's in a name?
Obtuse: Aight, moving on - the obvious (yet implied) question: "Grabnutz"? o.O
Grabnutz: Before I came to the forums, I was working on my Ork TT army, and also writing a bit of its background stuff. "Grabnutz" I came up with as a suitable name for my warboss armed with power klaw, and then this name just went over onto the forums with me.
Grabnutz and the table-top game
Obtuse: You say that you stole the name from an Ork Warboss. Is tabletop wargaming something that you're still interested in?
Grabnutz: Yep, got 6 armies on the go (not including the Toads - do a search in the TT forums ). Orks have always been my faves though
Obtuse: How did you get into tabletop wargaming in the first place?
Grabnutz: Saw it in a local shop when I was about 11, looked cool, got some models, got some mates into it, and it took off. The first armies were a mess, and I've since sold them off, so its only been about 4 years since I started doing it properly.
Obtuse: How do you mean 'doing it properly'?
Grabnutz: Learned how to paint decently, learned the rules to a level at which a proper game can be played, rather than the "use your whole collection and make up the rules as you go along" version that younger players seem to thrive on, annoying little twerps that they are (Yes, I used to be one...)
Obtuse: Ah, I'm familiar with the type. Have you ever taken your trusty Orks to any tournaments or the like?
Grabnutz: Nope, small problem of HOLYCRAPENTRANCEFEE and the fact that the army still isn't painted fully. Never been one for competitive battles, I play for fun with my mates.
Obtuse: Do the games still see much play amongst your age group?
Grabnutz: Not as much as in younger players I feel, but I never played in the GW stores anyway, the staff creep me out, almost as much as the aforementioned twerps with their dribble and their grasping fingers...
There are plenty of older players though, just take a look at most of the veterans in the TT forums.
Obtuse: Do you spend a lot of time in that forum? Are there any particularly interesting things in there that people should be checking out?
Grabnutz: Not so much posting, but I lurk there quite alot. I tend to stick to stuff i'm interested in, but I tend to check out all the painting and modelling threads, there's some awesome stuff on show in there.
Methuselath: Have you ever thought of making a pure grot army?
Grabnutz: I'd love to, but my wallet would kill me. My Ork army has a ton of characterful grots in it, I’m happy with that.
Obtuse: Do they still have the snotling teleporter thing? That was awesome
Grabnutz: Nah, that went out in the 3rd Ed codex. Might be seeing it in the next codex though.
Obtuse: Do you approve of the direction Games Workshop (GW) have taken with the Orks in recent years?
Grabnutz: I was never around before 3rd Edition, so its the only direction I know. I've seen the old models though, and I think the newest ork stuff is brilliant, the Boyz sprue is so easy to konvert and kustomise, which is what every ork needs!
Obtuse: Have you made any konvershuns you're particularly proud of? Any that might be viewable on the 'net?
Grabnutz: Search "Grabnutz" in the TT forums (esp the modelling subforum) to see some old threads of mine - my latest thread has my Warboss in it, which I'm proud of. there’s also some tanks. I'm in the process of painting the whole army, so the new thread's going to get updated with it all over the next few months.
Methuselath: Awesome, hopefully we'll see more of your grots
Grabnutz: Got loads now, thanks to Finaldeath, who got me some in the staff secret santa
Obtuse: Speaking from your Ork perspective, what do you think of the other Warhammer 40,000 races, for example Akranadas' favourites, the Eldar?
Grabnutz: I quite like Eldar if I’m honest, they consist one of my 6 armies. There's no force that I inherently dislike at all.
Obtuse: Curses ;p
Grabnutz: However Akranadas can go boil himself, pansy luvvin git, we'ze all know da Orkses are da bestest!
Obtuse: Woo, or, indeed, Waaagh!
Grabnutz: Ahem, I think you'll find its:
or WHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!! for Grotkind
'Nutz about Relic games and the Forums
Obtuse: Okay, getting onto forum fings, how did you first stumble on Relic and their yummy goodiness?
Grabnutz: I got DoW when patch 1.2 was around. I just stumbled upon these forums sometime, and joined in. Those were the days. As a forum noob, nothing was more joyous than irrelevant smilies and the word "lol"
Obtuse: So how much did/do/will you play Dawn of War and it's expansions? Would you consider yourself a 'propa Ork' when it comes to DoW?
Grabnutz: A fair amount at first, online with my mates, I gave automatch a go just before WA came out, and continued that for a while until I gave up on it. Never got that high, I'm not the best of players. Most of my gaming time was either just friendly games with mates, or GrotFest. Later on (this time last year in fact) I started getting into mapping, and the Horus Heresy Campaign mod was born, so my time went into mapping and play-testing that. Then my computer got shitty, and has only become unshitty in the past week, so I'm playing through the DC campaign now (as Orks), and getting back into mapping again.
Obtuse: What're your opinions on the Homeworld games as well as Company of Heroes?
Grabnutz: I don't have Company of Heroes, and have only played the first 2 missions of Homeworld 2 (having never played HW1 either), so I don't have alot to say on them
Obtuse: Zounds! Why is this?
Grabnutz: Time mainly, and monies.
Obtuse: Well, this seems as good a platform as any to leap off from. Can you explain to the uninitiated what a GrotFest is?
Grabnutz: GrotFest started off as a quirky idea of mine, that a few people joined in with, and we had a laugh. Its just the basic game, only all the players use grots, and we meet in pre-designated areas with as many as we can fit, and fight it out. From there it evolved, adding in various other units for flavour, like Mad Docs, Looted Tanks (the grot fest race through an artillery field is still the greatest DoW moment ever for me) Squiggoths etc. These would all be hosted in the DoW forum for anyone to join in with, and a select group of individuals became regulars, and pretty good mates too (Hi Titler! - Hallaonline doesn't count, I know him from school, but just to please him, Hi Halla!) Now its being worked into a full mod, with new grot units etc.
We also managed to get various "Celebrities" playing, such as Moe, Worf, TBS, even the mighty Tranj!
Obtuse: Now Tranj was somewhat of a surprise, how did you get him in on this? He's usually very difficult to pin down at the best of times.
Grabnutz: Just sent a few PMs his way, he seemed interested in joining in (and gave us a mention in his video interview with Buggo!)
However he cheated completely, thus nullifying his and the mods "victory"
Which reminds me, Buggo, play in the next Fest!
Obtuse: I thought cheating was half the fun. I remember busting up the end of one grot brawl with a buttload of tankbustas. That went down well ^_^
Is the mod for full-on grottiness still in development? I remember hearing about it roughly a year ago.
Grabnutz: There was a beta a few months ago, it hasn't progressed further than that so far (as myself and cagecrawler - the coder - are both at uni). Its current rendition works pretty well still for the games we host
Obtuse: So when would you expect the next actual dose of grottiness to occur?
Grabnutz: Soon (tm) Just a shame I can't take part due to my internet connection, so the games are now hosted by Titler and Wargrim. Looted Tanks!
Obtuse: Could you tell me more about the Looted Tanks?
Grabnutz: One of the earliest Grot Fests hosted involved 7 players (and one random Frenchman who had no idea what was going on - we had to gang up on him for a bit to kill him off...), all with 4 squads of grots, and max vehicle cap of looted tanks. We lined the tanks up along a roadway, and made each one "attack ground" along the path, turning the map into one huge artillery field. Then we made all 560 grots run through it to reach the finish line Somehow, 1 grot survived, and made it over, however after seeing the replay, we saw that another grot had won by its nose, as a shell had thrown it over the finish line. It was however dead by the time it had landed, but we still declared it the winner.
Obtuse: Hehe, sounds awesome. So are you planning to personally join some more GrotFests in the future?
Grabnutz: Now that my computer is up and running, I'll definitely be joining in when I visit home in the hols and get a decent internet that lets me get into the lobby.
The Horus Heresy Campaign mod
Obtuse: Okay, now on to talk of your other projects: Tell me about the Horus Heresy shebang, it seems somewhat intriguing.
Grabnutz: The Horus Heresy is a major part of the back-story of the Warhammer 40k universe, it basically tells how half of the Space Marine Legions (and Imperial Army) turned against the Emperor in a massive civil war. Those traitor legions eventually became the Chaos Space Marines we see in "present day" 40k. I had a vague idea of making some simple multiplayer maps of some of the most famous battlefields of that period, then Argonaut came in and said "why not add some SCAR code?". Thus the Horus Heresy Campaign mod for single-player was born
Obtuse: As far as I'm aware this is one of the very few single-player pieces of fan-made content to come out for Dawn of War. Do you know why that might be?
Grabnutz: I think at first, people saw the opportunity to add all the factions from the 40k universe into DoW, so the various race additions were started up. Then people became more concerned with balance, so balance mods started emerging. Single-player has always seemed to take a backseat. I think the prospect of making a campaign has always been daunting, they require a phenomenal amount of work with maps and SCAR code, on top of the models, code, play-testing and balance that race mods are more specialised in. Also I think campaigns were always seen as something you play through once or twice, and then forget, so the effort wasn't seen as worth it, compared to the multiplayer mods that you would hope get played by loads of players frequently.
Obtuse: How far along is the Campaign? I really enjoyed playing the demo, there's very few gaming experiences that really give the impression of being part of a larger army, but it managed it well.
Grabnutz: We've currently got ~6 maps being worked on, 2 currently being SCAR coded, with 1 mission being more or less complete (bar new models/ voice acting etc etc). As for the demo, we've scrapped that, and are working on a much better mission to serve as the opening play of the campaign, which is going to be more epic, and more accurate to the newly released background on the subject (The Horus Heresy series of novels are still being written and released, very convenient timing). We hope to be able to show alot of new stuff really soon, so keep an eye out on the modding forums.
Obtuse: I remember hearing something about a titan, did that ever go anywhere?
Grabnutz: Titans will be included, yes.
Grabnutz: Yes, depending on the mission however. At some stages you'll need to provide support to a titan, or the titan provides support to you.
In other cases, you'll have to try and take out a titan
Obtuse: So what timescale should we expect for new materials pertaining to the mod? (Hey Andkat!)
Grabnutz: Soon (tm) on that as well. I don't want to put a definate date down, because we just don't know, anything can happen (like the time Argo's son played around with his computer and fried the hard drive..)
Obtuse: That's fair enough. Okay, on to the moderation side of things. As a renowned grot botherer how did you manage to infiltrate the ranks of the moderators?
Grabnutz: A complicated process involving several badgers, a tribe of emu farmers, and the loss of two fingers... And posting in the application thread a while back in forum issues
Obtuse: But what motivated you to do it?
Grabnutz: I'm not entirely sure myself. I think that the mods have done so much for the community, including myself, so I just wanted an opportunity to give something back
Obtuse: How have you found it so far? Any surprises?
Grabnutz: It took a lot of getting used to, I think I’m setting into it now though. I was surprised by just how much goes into moderating, beyond just keeping your eye on threads, and the massive amount of discussion that goes on behind the scenes about the forum. What was great though was seeing how all the mods and admins help each other out with everything, and really support each other, they're really a great bunch
Obtuse: I heard that starting out new moderators had a mentor, who was yours? What were they like?
Grabnutz: I was lucky enough to get the almighty Moe. It was good to be able to go to someone like him, he advised me on how to deal with different situations, how to word stuff (and things need very careful wording when giving warnings or locking threads etc). It was just very helpful to have someone behind me making sure I'm doing the right thing.
Obtuse: Did you have any particularly memorable situations to deal with at the start? (Not mentioning names)
Grabnutz: I think on pretty much my first day I locked a thread which basically just said "lol why do teh eldar talk gay?". The guy then made a post in Forum issues complaining about the lock, which was mildly amusing
Obtuse: Hehe, I remember that. Have there been any occasions that you've especially had to seek guidance from the other mods on?
Grabnutz: Nothing major, but there's always been situations, even now, where I'll see something and think "hmm, I'm not exactly sure how I should be dealing with this..", thats when all the other mods are a big help
Obtuse: If you weren't moderating the DoW sections of the board, where would you rather be moderating?
Grabnutz: I'd probably either go in the DoW Maproom, as thats where I could help out the most, or the TT section would be fun.
Obtuse: Is there anything else you would like to talk about?
Grabnutz: Just to say thanks to all the Higher Ups for helping me out with moderating, thanks to everyone working with me on my various mod projects. Also, go read the forum guidelines, they're great, very well written, superb plot. And keep an eye on the mod forums for updates!
Tiresias: If DOW had no grots, would you still be here?
Grabnutz: Hell no. Or at least I would mod them in.
Titler: Ask him about whether once he became one, his opinion of the EVIL that is Relic's mods changed.
Obtuse: You just did.
Titler: Im not talking to him directly, he looked at my grots the wrong way, so now I keep him at arms length. It was a sort of smouldering, longing look... don't trust da nutz!
Grabnutz: I did not change in the slightest, nasty types, the lot of them. P.S I found some green fluff in the corner... smells like plushie to me, might be onto something..
Titler: If Grabnutz could get the Relic community to understand ONE thing, what would it be?
Grabnutz: I'd have them understand that behind every name and avatar on the forum, is a person, and behind every one of their posts are many people, reading, judging, watching always... >_>
Tiresias: What's the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
Grabnutz: African or European?
Tiresias: Oh noes! AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH
Titler: Speaking of which, another question then, which would help the modding community, shameless pimpage but... "How much of a fan of the games themselves are you, and what community mods are you really excited about for the future"
Grabnutz: Really looking forwards to the Inquisition: DeamonHunt mod, also the Tyranid mod looks awesome
Titler: What side benefits of being a moderator have you experienced? Such as discovering interesting new people or unique perspectives? Or is it all just secret grot porn stashes that keeps you chipper during those long lonely nights with thread-lock in hand?
Grabnutz: Reading deleted posts gives a strange insight on some members...
Titler: *looks innocent* Come on, you should have seen the skirt that grot was wearing, she WANTED me to publicly declare my feelings on the board. No red blooded man would have been able to resist that green, green.... wait, yes, leave it there, I agree!
Obtuse: And on that somewhat horrifying note, we’ll leave it for today. Hope y’all enjoyed the interview, but if you didn’t, don’t go tellin’ no-one, y’hear? Yee haw!