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Interview with Paul Dobson   Games   Malkin | 5/6/2013  log in to like post

An interview with Cyberlife's webmaster, Paul Dobson, by HomeCreatures.

Paul Dobson
Name: Paul Dobson
Personal Quote: I likes Grednels!
Paul worked on the Creatures web site, before moving on to IT and later QA.

HC: Whoa.. you look rough! Out with Ben (Simpson)?
Paul: Grah. Urg ah gruh.
HC: Uhh... some coffee will ya?

HC: Ah, that woke him up... Hello Paul, how did you get into webmasting?
Paul: I was involved with Millennium Interactive, which was the company that became CyberLife for several years prior to the release of Creatures. I did some beta testing for a few of their products (anyone remember Diggers, Extractors or Defcom 5 ?). I was also involved with cabling out their network and sound studio as I have a bit of cabling experience (I worked for BT in a previous life). I was interviewed for two positions in the company, one with the QA group and another as Webmaster for the CyberLife group. After a couple of weeks, I found myself in the unusual position of having a choice of positions. The Webmaster's position looked to be the more interesting (and the technology behind Creatures was fascinating) and paid a bit more ;-)

HC: What was your first day at CyberLife like?
Paul: My first day was kind of 'in at the deep end'. I was given a PC, some software, a copy of Creatures and access to all the email messages in Customer Support (there was a bit of a back-log which took a few weeks to clear). I was also introduced to the Creatures team, some of whom I knew already. Fortunately I knew where the coffee was, so this made my day a bit easier.

HC: So, what were your first impressions?
Paul: First impressions:
* The people were very friendly and did not mind me asking lots of questions about how does this work etc.
* The technology was very impressive
* The office needed the coffee machine moving closer
* Norns did not want to eat if you had more than one around at the same time.

HC: ROFLOL! :-) Coffee, the ideal hangover cure. Anyhow, had you ever heard of or played Creatures before hand?
Paul: I had heard of Creatures, but I had not seen or played with it before. I got a bit upset when my first two Norns started coughing and quickly died, but soon got the hang of diagnosing diseases and illnesses.

HC: What did you have originally intended for the web site?
Paul: The original plan for the web site was initially to convert the black pages to white pages with some new graphics. This was relatively quick and easy to achieve. Following on from this was to be a new look Creatures site, which was launched on the 6th of May 1997. We have always had plans to add features to the web site and these are being realised. The growth of the Creatures community did take us by surprise, but we have been working hard to supply the demand for new Creatures information etc. CyberLife are committed to our web sites, which is why we are increasing the size of the web group.

HC: How has your role as webmaster has changed over the past few years?
Paul: My role has changed over the last 2 years, from a combined Webmaster/Customer Support role, to a Webmaster/IT Support role to my present role which is Webmaster. The term Webmaster can mean many things, depending on the companies requirements. My present role is to take care of all our web hardware, servers, ISP's, manage our online transaction system, plan for future web growth etc. I also help out with the newsletters, Links section, emails etc.

HC: I hear the web team at CL is expanding, how will this effect your role and the site itself?
Paul: The web group is indeed expanding. I'm all for this as it means that I can specialise, rather than generalise as I have been doing before. I had to laugh after reading in the newsgroup about 'troubles at CyberLife' when Lisa joined. Lisa has been responsible for the look and feel of the new sites - besides, it's nice to have other people who can talk 'web' ;-)

HC: Where do you see yourself and the site in two years time?
Paul: Two years is a long time in this industry, but I will still be at CyberLife. As for the web sites, well a web site is not a static thing. It grows and evolves and changes over time. This year we have added some new sites to our existing 2 sites and the growth is expected to continue. One big area that we might move into would be online sales and distribution. Say we came up with a product called 'Blueberry'. If we could find someway of making the size of the files small enough to be downloaded from the Internet, then we could cut out the distribution company and handle the sales, distribution and marketing ourselves. This would be dependent on the spread of Internet access, connection speeds, software compression etc., but I can see more and more companies moving into this field.

HC: Has anyone at CyberLife got a really annoying habit you would like to share with us?
Paul: I refuse to answer that question - I like working here! ;-)

HC: Paul, will you let us into all the secrets of C and other projects?
Paul: Sure I will.. well, for starters in Creatures 3D the..urg..grah..ah grah grg.

HC: Hmm..out of coffee! Darn, guess that's the end of the interview then. Thanks Paul! Paul has also kindly offered his thoughts of while he was a webmaster, which can be found over in the Relics section.

An interview conducted by HomeCreatures with Paul Dobson.


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