Hello again, dear Readers! Welcome to the second interview of 2019. This time I get to grill one of “our own” - a NISEI member, that is - who’s actually able to hack and alter this interview from behind the scenes like a pro, at will. Ian / 3N1GM4 is our Lead Web Dev and (together with the team) makes sure that all the serious online presence we try to maintain is up and running. I don’t know if that makes him a Corp Sys-Op, but I’d rather not ask about that, because a Dedicated Response Team is the last thing I want to see coming in through my windows ;-)
Vesper: Hello, Ian! Thank you for agreeing to the interview :-) Let’s get the important things out of the way first - how did you end up being an acting member of NISEI and what are you up to nowadays in that context?
3N1GM4: Hey Michał, thanks for having me. I’m extremely excited and proud to be able to contribute towards NISEI.
As soon as the end of FFG support for Netrunner was announced, like many others I was very sad. But especially so because I’d only discovered this amazing game and community about 18 months earlier and while I appreciate that some people who have been playing since day 1 were ready to let go, I definitely wasn’t!
I wanted to help in any way I could and ended up as part of the Acting Staff of NISEI before the Board were selected, mostly because I was always on Slack and willing to try and help throw some governance documents together! Anyway, I applied for board positions when they became available and was thrilled to see a stunning group of individuals take those roles, even though it meant I wasn’t directly involved. I also applied for some team positions and was again up against stiff competition from amazing applicants who I’m very pleased for those roles. Finally there were Web Dev positions being advertised, which represented roles closest to what I do for a day job as an IT contractor, so I applied and was thrilled to become part of the team.
Unfortunately our original Lead Web Dev had to take a step back from NISEI (but huge props to Mike for the great work he did before I arrived) and I put myself forward to lead the team. I’m not actually a web developer per se by trade, but I had some experience in managing teams and developers, so thought it was worth a shot as I really wanted to be involved as closely as possible with NISEI.
I was fortunate enough to be successful in my application and now and super excited about continuing to work with the amazing team we have in Web Dev and delivering some really exciting things in the coming months.
That’s the short version anyway, have you got a word limit for this interview? 😜
Vesper: Of course. Come on, as the Lead Web Dev you should know that these pages streeeeeeetch quite well. Glad to know you didn’t have to run any dangerously loaded servers in order to “get the job” ;-)
There have been quite a few moves around the (quite numerous) group of people collectively known as NISEI, indeed - could you introduce the current bunch of folks responsible for all things related to the most cyberspaced out part of the project? Also, what does everyone on the team work on nowadays, other than read my terrible puns on Slack?
3N1GM4: We’re so lucky to have an amazing team in Web Dev, made up of:
As things have been getting started, it’s very much been all hands to the pumps and everyone has had some involvement in almost everything so far! A lot of the new things you have seen (and more you’ll see soon) on nisei.net are the excellent work of Jen and Ryan, while Noah has been going all guns blazing on NRDB as well as being our liaison with the jinteki.net dev team, where he also does loads of brilliant work!
Vesper: I guess it’s OK to send people both to the NetrunnerDB Github and the Jnet Github pages, if they want to follow what’s going on with both platforms. Now, if I am not one of those lovely people mentioned above, how can I contribute - is it just via Github issues and pull requests? Any ways of sending feedback, ideas or code for nisei.net? Also, are there are recruitment plans to add more people to the Web Dev team as of January 2019?
3N1GM4: Yes, I’d encourage anyone (even non developers) to check out the relevant GitHub pages and create issues there if you have bugs to report or enhancements to request. There is also a nisei.net GitHub page if people want to contribute ideas there too. Alternatively, people should feel free to email ProjectNISEI@gmail.com, tweet @ProjectNISEI, post to the NISEI Facebook page or ping me on Slack and we’ll gladly work through any feedback people are kind enough to provide!
We don’t currently have any plans for formal recruitment into the team, but with the big plans we have for 2019 it wouldn’t surprise me if we’re looking for able and willing people from the community to join us before the year is out, so stay tuned!
Vesper: Indeed. I keep hearing the 5 Year Plan will soon be shared and from what I’ve seen so far it will be quite a beast… Well, no spoilers here!
Given NISEI’s breadth of approach to the subject of making the game happen, are there any aspects of the organization that you wish you had more time, energy or skills to get involved with? I, for one, would love to have more talent to get involved with the creative bits (more writing than art) - but that will have to wait until I figure out my 2019 in general. What about you?
3N1GM4: For sure revealing the 5 year plan is going to be exciting - I’m focused on the next 6-12 months right now though! I would also love to have the skills to be involved on the creative side, but my artistic and fiction writing abilities both leave a lot to be desired! I’d love to read some of your stuff though, so please make that happen in 2019! Maybe if we get a lot of high level Patreon pledges, I’ll be called on in desperation to do a crayon drawing for someone - if so, apologies in advance to that person!
Vesper: As you mentioned before, you got into Netrunner a mere 18 months before the official plug got pulled - who’s responsible for your first instance of jacking in? Any memories of your very first serious game (if you ever took the game seriously, that is)?
3N1GM4: I was due to go on a week-long business trip to Maine with a colleague who I often play in a board gaming group with and he’d just picked up a copy of the original core set and said he thought I’d enjoy it, so he brought it along.
I was hooked instantly when we started playing in our hotel bar and we almost missed our flight home due to a particularly exciting game in Boston airport!
I don’t think I ever take the game too seriously, but I do like to play competitively, despite not being very good! One of my earliest competitive memories was at a Bristol GNK where I had netdecked some decent decks and got paired against someone on Moons and had absolutely no idea what was going on! I could tell I was definitely going to lose, but definitely didn’t understand how!
Vesper: Good to know I stand a chance against you in case we ever hold a NISEI team event ;-) Speaking of which, if we faced off at a tournament and finished our two games - what would I learn about you as a Netrunner player? Any tells? Any secret tech you always slot into whatever flavour of a deck you decide to bring with you?
3N1GM4: I would like to think that you’d learn I always want the games I play to be fun, even if they’re tense, competitive games. I like to have a laugh at the tables and try to make sure games are enjoyable for my opponent, which I think is really important. I’m sure I have lots of tells, but you’ll have to ask my previous opponents about those!
As for favourite tech, I go through phases - I really loved slotting Best Defence for a while and then also went through a phase of playing Apoc 419. I also was very much team CtM, although it looks like the glory days for that deck might be over...for now at least. 😉
Vesper: So what are your favourite memories of playing Netrunner in fun or unexpected ways (but without breaking the rules, of course)?
3N1GM4: I have so many great memories from playing Netrunner, it’s hard to choose! Euros was a real highlight for me, not least because I managed to finish in the top 3rd, but also because it was just incredible to play in such a large tournament for the first time.
Another memory that sticks in my mind is a final Swiss round at the Swansea Regional last year, where I was playing against the wonderful Johnny Bea. I’m pretty sure this was one of the lower tables (that’s where you’ll usually find me!) and we were both just looking to have a really fun pair of games which we did, with me cursing MaxX as she threw all my economy into the bin, haha.
Finally, because you specified “without breaking the rules”, I’ll tell about a time I did exactly that. When hosting my first GNK, I accidentally installed an Asset as a piece of ice and so had to concede to my opponent, who still reminds me of it to this day!
Vesper: Oh boy. I’ve seen things like this happen - and won a game once thanks a similar mistake (hey Marc, do you still remember installing that Agenda as ICE? Yeah, me too ;-)).
Since you seem to be travelling far and wide to #occupyallthelowertables, what’s the farthest and/or most exotic trip in your memory to shuffle cards and move tokens around?
3N1GM4: I actually tallied up all of my Netrunner travels from 2018 and came out with over 15,000 miles in total!
I was in Oregon for work last year at the same time that US Nats was going on in Seattle, so I jumped in the rental car and drove much further than I thought at a silly time in the morning to play. It was a great day and despite getting crushed on dodgepong’s stream in round 1 and finishing solidly in the bottom 10, it was great fun and a chance to meet loads of wonderful Netrunners I wouldn’t normally see.
I was lucky enough to visit South Korea and Japan in 2018, but one of my regrets was not doing some research to seek out Netrunner meet-ups in both of those countries, maybe next time! I’m also in Cape Verde right now, but I’m pretty certain there’s no Netrunner group here!
Otherwise, I’ve been known to drive up to 8 hours round trip in a day for Store Champs or even GNKs, so I’m no stranger to the roads of the UK and plan to add even more destinations to my checklist in 2019!
Vesper: Going back from all the travels close to home - as you’re based in the UK, what’s your perspective on your local and regional/national meta? Any big hopes or wishes for 2019 from an organizational point of view?
3N1GM4: My main hope for 2019 is that we can get good numbers turning out at all levels, from casual meet-ups to GNKs, Store Championships and beyond. Personally, I’m hoping to attend a ridiculous number of events - maybe the laws of probability will mean this is the year I actually make a cut!
I do still feel the UK meta and community is exceptionally strong, despite obviously taking a hit with the announcement of the end of FFG support for the game. We have so many amazing TOs and other people in the community who work so hard to keep things going, so a massive shout out to anyone who’s contributing at any level at all, it’s hugely important and appreciated!
Vesper: Let’s talk a bit more about filling in a big pair of TO shoes in the UK. Are you planning to get into event organization on a grander scale? There are quite a few things unique to the UK that are already happening in the national meta, so are any of them inspiring you to go one step beyond, perhaps?
3N1GM4: I’ve been running monthly GNKs and a weekly meet-up in my local town (Taunton, woop woop!) for about a year now, and will be announcing our first ever Store Championship shortly, which is really exciting.
To encourage people to travel to us - I know Somerset is not a great location for a lot of Netrunners to get to - I’ve been working over this last year on assembling the biggest prize pool of Netrunner swag ever seen. While I think we’ve still got a way to go, we’ve already given away an amazing amount of sweet prizes and recently made a significant addition to the stack of loot.
Vesper: Fingers crossed for the event to be as amazing as it appears to be online :-) Now, I remember you mentioning at some point an article about creating a local meta from scratch - when and where can we expect to read it?
3N1GM4: Haha, yes, this is definitely something I want to finish! I started writing the article a few months back before I was part of the NISEI team and I asked what things I could do to help. I really want to share the experience I’ve had and the lessons I’ve learned in starting a new meta from scratch and hopefully inspire other problem to do the same.
I have the whole skeleton structure of the article mapped out, so now I just need to convert my hundreds of bulky points into actual sentences and adapt it all a little to better suit a post-FFG world. I promise I’ll get round to doing this “soon”. 😉
Vesper: That's the same time I'll take care of the really important things in my life! Great minds think alike... Setting all the serious stuff aside for a moment - a question coming as a follow up from some secret Organized Play team discussions - what’s a better idea: play mats made of cards or cards made of play mat material?
3N1GM4: Definitely huge mats made of cards - specifically Smoke IDs - doesn’t Austin from the OP team have “a few” to spare? 😉 I'd love to add add them to my "quite organised" collection:
Vesper: I guess we could figure that one out with a few rounds of experimentation that does not involve setting anything on fire. Also, wasn't there a "smoked" mat somewhere out there already? Oh well, back on the serious track! Will we see you at Worlds 2019… and what will you be playing if you’re there? Not scouting at all.
3N1GM4: I would love to make it to Worlds this year, as I never managed to during the pre-NISEI days. If my experienced at Euros and US Nas are anything to go by, it will be an amazing time!
As for what I’ll be playing, most likely something netdecked which should be good, but I’ll pilot into the bottom 10%, having a blast all the way!
Vesper: I am always amazed when people steal my winning fun strats before I even deploy them. See you at the bottom 10% tables, then!
Time for a question from our previous guests: “Any Netrunner/Android name suggestions for our next baby daughter due May 2019”?
3N1GM4: Symmetrical Visage? Might be a bit of a mouthful, so let’s go with Kate. 😉
Vesper: Paging Nicole and Tristan for their take on your suggestion. And hey, “Symmvi” sounds almost like “Sylvie” - with an extra futuristic edge!
Wrapping up, are there any questions you wish I had asked… and what would you like to ask the next guest(s) who will appear on our site in around two weeks?
3N1GM4: I’m not sure whether it counts as something I wish you’d asked, but I have a few stories from Netrunner events which aren’t anything to do with playing Netrunner, but we could probably fill a whole extra article with those, haha.
Here’s a question for your next guest(s): What prize(s) would need to be on offer to persuade you to come to Taunton for a Netrunner event? Asking for a friend. 😉
Vesper: Well, we’ll have to save your non-game stories for your autobiography, tentatively titled “Far From The Madding Cards” ;-). At this stage, I will also offer a bit of help to anyone wondering where Taunton is. You should definitely visit it, people! I hear it may have great prize support and looks that rival those of Bruges. Thank you for the interview! May Taunton have many (un)expected guests with janky decks and fancy playmats.
That's it for the second interview of 2019. Now I'm left wondering who will knock on my door and get interviewed as the next person (or people) - want to help me out? Use the Stimhack thread to suggest a guest (or do so in the comments below). Until then... Take it easy & Always Be Inquiring ;-)