Hello, Trusis (and OSM community)! Sorry for keeping you waiting so long, but here we go:
So, you are a 22 years old (young) man and the creator and owner of the game called Oneskillmanager.com. How and when did you come up with the idea to make this game? Perhaps share with us the first steps of creating OSM? Was the beginning hard or easy?
Hi, actually I'm 23 already, but thats not important. It's a very long and complicated, but interesting (at least I think it is) story. Actually there was a couple of versions before this one, so I don't know which one is actual start. I`ll give here a short version of the story, because I want to make some kind of a "About us" section in future, where I could write everything out. Ok, so the very first version of OSM (not called OSM at that time) was coded in Excel using Visual Basic. Then I somehow enrolled in Riga Technical University and studied IT for almost a year. After picking up an injury in basketball practice, I left university and with basic knowledge of coding started to looking into PHP (Coding Language). When first version was ready to be played, me, Karalis and later on Liga, started to playing it on localhost. At that time bots were smarter - they used transfer market, change their line-up more often, hired coaches etc. In few words - it was enternal competition vs bots. After playing couple of seasons that way, we decided to make something bigger out of it, so we started to look for a ways to launch OSM (called Mini Football League at that time) online. Then after sometime, we faced major issues all accross the game. At that point we needed to close game we love. It was one of the hardest decision I have made so far with OSM. Then I enrolled in another university - University of Latvia. And after picking up some more skills there and some experience from my work place, I decided to re-build OSM. After more than five months of coding, first version of new OSM was open for public on 11.05.2011. Since then it's been my pleasure to work on it everyday.
Hints to people, who have also thought about creating a similar online football manager game?
First question from most of people that are considering about learning to code is, will I need good math skills to code? No, you don't. My maths skills are average or below, compared to other students I had in university. Most important thing you need is ability to turn your mind in a way coding asks. You have to think and look on things different. You have to be ready to enter a world where you should actually create every single detail, otherwise, I just wont be there. You have to look at a task in a very detailed way, you should divide it into smaller parts, and then just divide it futher untill there is a plenty of little tasks around you. And then just order them, and start saying computer how to do every little task on by one. Anyone still reading?
Is OSM your so called full time job or just a hobby? Tell us something more about yourself.
It's definately been a hobby for me so far. But my future plans are to turn it into a full time job, as there is nothing better than having a full time job which is also a hobby at the same time. I really love OSM (developing and playing) and I can not imagine my future life without it. I just want to have more time actually playing it, as I can't call my team as one of the top teams in OSM.
About myself? I'm 23 years old. I live in Riga, Latvia. I have a girlfriend and a dog, who is a bit bossy time by time. I work for an IT company as a website developer. I like to play basketball, table tennis and ride a bike. And like most of us I like to drink beer time by time. :)
People usually don`t want to talk about money, but I still ask - how profitable (if at all) is OSM?
Well.. at the very first months I was actually paying from my own pocket for OSM to run - server + domain. At this point, OSM is running on one of our servers were I work, so I don't have to pay for server. I still have to pay for domain few bucks a year, but that doesn't count, I guess. As I don't have any employees atm, that part doesn't generate any expense also. To summarize, there isn't much of a expense, if we talk about money. The other thing is that I have to actually spend my time working on OSM, which is a lot, to keep things running. If I would count those hours by the rate I work in my regular job, expenses would be big.
The revenue comes from two aspects. The first one is when users click on those ads all around the game. Google then pays us few cents for that (sometimes even $0.01 :D). The other source of revenue comes from our beloved supporters. At the end of the months both of those sources generates about the same sum of money. Can I call it a profitable bussines atm? I guess, no. But as we have saved all that money we got from ads and supporters, we can do a lot of cool stuff for OSM. For example, at the moment we are working on OSMs new design. As design is made by a professional, naturally we had to pay for that. Thankfully, we had enough money saved, so we didn't have to pay from our own pockets. When work on design will be finished and few bugs will be fixed, we will start to use that revenue for advertising and try to turn this game more popular. So at this point, all money that OSM generates, is put back into OSM.
What is the difference between how you have thought the game will develop until this point and how it actually developed? What are your long term goals for OSM?
If we look globally, game is developing in a way we wanted it to develop. We wanted it to be fast-paced. And with games in almost every day and training updates three times a week, I think we have managed to achieve that. We also wanted OSM to be simple, but still interesting to play. With players with only one skill and four positions, I think we have achieved our wanted simplicity. With those tactics, coach types, boards, energy loss, etc.. We have brought in some strategies, so it's definatly become more interesting.
While working on OSM, constantly communicating with community, we have developed many features that I didn't thought about when I started working on OSM. As "Saved tactics", "Saved market froms", etc. All those little things surely turned OSM into someting bigger than I actually I thought it will be. For example, at the very start of OSM, before one year break, we started with all teams in one league hierarchy. So there weren't Latvian leagues or Estonian. There were pure World League, everyone played together. But that was changed by the season 2. Also the very first transfer market wasn't in auction format. Teams just put players in market fo certain price, and other team bought them, if they found price acceptable. This caused a tons of cheating accidents, so we had to change that system pretty fast. And there is other things that have been changed and even more that will be in future. All this just to make this game better.
I don't really think about far future, in any aspect of life. And OSM isn't exception. My furthest plans are develope OSM at the point it will make bigger revenue than my current job, so I could quit my job and fully dedicate myself to OSM.
How did you decide that Karalis and Liga would be your co-developers? And how did you meet SigmarNaudi. What is his roll and position in the stuff team?
Ohh.. It wasn't hard decision at all. There are few facts that only some of you know. First of all, me and Karalis are brothers. We were playing some football managers together for ages, when we were little. And the whole idea about creating an football manager actually born while we were playing those managers. We were frustrated about many things that couldn't be done in them. We also though things like "wouldn't it be cool, if we could do that and that in those managers". And when I started to learn PHP, first decision I had to make was - what should I do, what should I create while learning? I didn't had hard time to choose to try to create an football manager at that time. When I had some skills and some base to start from, Karalis jumped into action. And together we recalled those ideas and tried to stick them together. Surely we had to look at other managers to gain more ideas and the concepts, but we tried to keep our originality in OSM. That's one more reasons why we have only one skill for players, I guess.
With Liga there is a similar story, except she's not my brother. Actually, we live together for last seven years and she has been my support in everything I do. She also played OSM while it was in his diapers. Many good ideas has come from her side and most of them are implemeted into game.
SigmarNaudi I met in very first days of OSM last release. He was one of the first guys who contacted me via skype. We were chatting a lot, he was advertising OSM in Estonian local forums by that time. And somehow it just clicked. :D
What do you have to say to those people, who complain a lot about bugs etc? Why are there still so many bugs anyway - perhaps too much work for one guy? Something else? Will we one day see a bug-free game? (Smiles)
Ohh, one of those questions.. I want to say them, that they worry too much. It's just a game, first of all. There isn't bugs outthere that could kill you. All major bugs are fixed with in a day. Those sneeky little bugs, that happen time-by-time, wont hurt you much. I tend to think that those users who just complain, dont like OSM more than they care about bugs. There are several users out there who are just complaining, without saying any good think, I really suggest them to choose their priorities.
I think game has developed very fast for last year. A tons of new features has been added, sometimes even daily. It's hard to keep such pace. But we will slow down a bit in near future, fix our bug list, and keep adding new features. I hate how slow other broswer games are developing, with all those coders behind they hardly manage to make a new feature. Maybe they just create a game, and then just go for another, I don't know.
Bug-free game? It's an decent possibility.
Your message to cheaters?
I know we have some cheaters out there, some with 17 teams some with less. I suggest you to think about situation, when you woke up, take your coffee, turn your PC on, go to oneskillmanager.com, try to login to your 5th team and see "Account locked!". And I don't talk about those who start playing with five teams. Was it worth your time to play for some time, then create new team, move money etc... Was this all worth? Thing I wanted to say was - you will be caught sooner or later. And in your situation, I would hope that it would be sooner, cuz if we catch you after 3 months of cheating (sorry, playing) you would simply lose more time of your life. Thats all. For those who starts playing with 5 teams, don't bother comming again.
What are your connections to real football?
I don't have. I prefer basketball. Sometimes just play FIFA, thats all. Maybe that's the reason why we have "strange" situation in group tables.
Do you play other (similar) online games?
I was, but I quit 'em all due to lack of time. :)
And my last question for you, because I do not want to bother you too much - are zebras white with black stripes or black with white stripes?
Everyone now is waiting for a smart-ass answer, I assume. But I have already gave all myself in previous questions. So here I just reduce all posibilities to two and I'm pretty sure that they are either black with white or white with black stripes.
To our readers: hopefully you liked it and if you have any further questios, you may ask them here, under comments section and hopefully Trusis will also answer them asap. I also want to inform that this was probably my last interview, but I had fun creating those previous three and they also brought OSM closer to my heart. :)
Cheers and good luck to you in real life and OSM!
PS! You can also like this little interview in facebook and other similar places if you want.