Full list: http://forums.poxnora.com/index.php?threads/the-poxnora-spotlight-archive-and-requestlist.5591/ Today's interview is with @kalasle, a moderator and the principal creator of the Poxnora Game Rules Documents. What is your name or nick name in real life? Peter. I used Kal as a nickname in middle school (made a dumb pact with a friend who chickened out), and some people called me Spock early in high school. Other than that, just Peter. What is the origin of your game/forum name(s)? "Kalasle" was a nonsense fantasy name I came up with when I was making my first online game account, oh, about 10, 11 years ago? Something like that. It has literally zero connection to any other name or idea or anything I've had. It's pronounced "ku-LA-sul." The e is silent, of course. Where are you from and where do you live currently? I come from Austin, TX, USA, and currently live in Dallas, specifically Richardson. I'd rather be in Austin. What do you like better about Austin over Dallas? Other than sports, all I know about Dallas is that Gas Monkey Garage calls it home. Austin has more going on. It's a city with its own problems and quirks, but there are a couple big reasons. First, the water in Dallas tastes worse, and is a bit harder, which makes it worse for cooking beans. Second, Austin is a prettier place, with more trees and water. Third, Dallas (or more properly Richardson, a Dallas suburb) isn't exactly a center of culture; there are of course good places to eat and places to go, but Austin is busting with restaurants and music. The difference isn't enormous too enormous, though -- I'm not stuck in the middle of nowhere. What do you do for a living, and do you enjoy it? I'm a student. It's great, I love it. I'm an artist, and want to turn that into a profession after I graduate -- music, poetry, screen writing, directing, being an author -- so long as I get enough money to eat and have a place to live. I'll do all of it if I have the time. Do you have any art you could share with us? Nothing good enough yet. Once something gets published, you can bet I'll brag about it in Off Topic. It can be tough writing novels and short stories while handling school work that also requires a ton of writing and reading, and I have a poor work ethic in the first place (for instance, I should probably be reading the Dao De Jing and Jane Eyre right now rather than answering these questions). Honestly, though, you've probably seen some of my work already, whether you know it or not. Dao De Jing, are you taking an eastern philosophy course? History of Daoism, actually. Religious-literary history class. Only just started up, but it's fascinating stuff -- you always feel like you have a grasp on how history works, or culture, or at least think you're getting closer, and then a whole bunch of new stuff shows up and that confidence goes out the window. That's what these first couple weeks have felt like: not exactly changing everything I thought before, but definitely illustrating just how much I haven't been thinking about or considering. Once the class is over and you've come to terms with the material, you feel like you have a better understanding of what's going on, and that warm bubble of confidence lasts until about the start of the next semester. But yes, Chinese philosophy. It's my first exposure to it in a serious academic setting. What school are you going to, and what is your major? University of Texas at Dallas. Double majoring in Literature and History. I've got about three semesters left before getting booted out into the nightmare of non-academia. How old are you? 20, 21 in October. How did you come across Pox Nora? Banner ad on Armor Games, I think. I was a lot younger, and spending money on games was unlikely, so I wanted free stuff on PC. How long have you played? Just under 9 years, according to my game history; my first match was Feb 25, 2007. What is your favorite faction and why? Forsaken Wastes. It's the faction that lets players do the most truly weird stuff; other factions have their quirks and niche strategies, but they're mostly just playing ~75 nora champions and trying to keep them alive. I don't have much attachment to the faction flavor, I just want cool toys. That's why I play Worms and don't touch Witches. If other factions had neat stuff, I would play them, and sometimes do. I know you've been asking for a 3x3 worm, is there anything else you'd like to see worms have? In particular, no -- I'd rather be surprised by new mechanics and interactions than have a plan for how I want a deck to look, and then demand runes which fit that vision. That said, worms have a ton of potential design space, and I would love for that to get explored. First, Pox has a huge number of CitP abilities, and most of those become inherently more interesting on worms, especially things like Jabs, Seism, or Reinforce, which relate to where the champion was deployed. Second, worms have several tactical and strategic holes which, should Sok or the other devs want to patch them, could get patched in ways unique to the theme. For instance, worms have few independently powerful champions; Putrid Creeper makes for a solid tank, Carrion Colossus has presence, and Blood Fiend is cheap. None of those champs are especially good at 1v1 engagements in side fonts, however, because of their glaring vulnerabilities. So, worms could get an extremely low SPD champion for a moderate cost who excels at solo combat against another champion of any type, but suffers in mobility and larger engagements. For example, they could get a 4 SPD champion with Oblivion Shield and Opportunistic Assault -- something like the old Rotmaw, but more resilient in a stand-up fight. That's just a rough idea, but it should give a sense of how I would want worms to develop: they get new runes that take advantage of their unique qualities as a theme. I enjoy Pox in part by experimenting with unknown values and ideas that are new to me, so designing a top-to-bottom rune for which I already know all the uses removes some, though certainly not all, of the splendor Favorite part of Pox Nora and why? Deep mechanical systems. Pox is intelligible -- it's possible to figure out how things work and explain them -- but also rich and complicated. Every part of Pox presents a different intellectual challenge, from strategy to deck design to connecting those things to arguing about them on the forums. How many hours did you put into the game rules documents? What was your most interesting discovery while working on the documents? Oh gosh, really not sure. Maybe 20. Maybe 50? Maybe more. I wasn't counting. I'd say there were two discoveries that were most exciting to find, although neither is especially revolutionary. The first has to do with sequencing, the second has to do with relocation. So for sequencing, the community at large has been aware for quite a while that deployment order of champions will sometimes matter for effects; I remember this being a big deal when Auras were EoT effects and Perseverance was introduced. Sometimes, though, we encountered weird results in testing, and couldn't quite get our experiments to line up with how we expected ordering to work. After seeing some weird results with Themacca in testing, I finally realized what was happening: effects were checking deployment order relative to their own position within the set of all objects in play, not from absolute time stamps. This only matters for a few kinds of effects, so it was hard to spot, but it's really important for Retribution, for example. This gives us a better understanding of how the Pox code works as expressed through the mechanics of the game, especially as it relates to when and how Pox uses arrays. The second, relocation -- the pull chart and the relocation chart are actually the exact same thing. Some people probably already knew this, but it was wonderful to see how it fit together, and it made each effects relationships come into clear focus. At the most basic level, this means that each transformation follows the exact same protocol when looking for opens spaces -- they have the same "preferences" for how to adjust the x,y coordinates of a relocated unit. While a disproportionately grand metaphor, this was rewarding in the same way that the unification of electricity and magnetism into one set of equations is rewarding. Those two things both highlight what I like most in constructing a document: explaining something in a way that is clear, simple, and in the process provides a deeper look at how that thing actually works. What is the first rune you remember seeing and immediately wanting to have one? Vindrax. He was spoiled ahead of the DoW release, and I played SL at the time. I remember standing by the water fountain in sixth grade, talking to my best friend and salivating over this rune that wasn't even out yet. What is your best tip to give to new players? Well, I'm running down the road tryin' to loosen my load I've got seven women on my mind, Four that wanna own me, Two that wanna stone me, One says she's a friend of mine Take It easy, take it easy Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy Lighten up while you still can don't even try to understand Just find a place to make your stand and take it easy Well, I'm a standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona and such a fine sight to see It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford slowin' down to take a look at me Come on, baby, don't say maybe I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me We may lose and we may win though we will never be here again so open up, I'm climbin' in, so take it easy Well I'm running down the road trying to loosen my load, got a world of trouble on my mind lookin' for a lover who won't blow my cover, she's so hard to find Take it easy, take it easy don't let the sound of your own wheels make you crazy come on baby, don't say maybe I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me, oh oh oh Oh we got it easy We oughta take it easy Care enough, about the game and yourself, to not get blind with anger. Whether you want to improve or have a good time, a clear head and friendly disposition will help you far more than some unadulterated rage. Quoting an Eagles song, do you listen to a lot of music? Yeah, plenty. Classic rock is what got me wanting to play guitar in the first place, but it's certainly not the only thing to which I listen. There's a heck of a lot of great music out there. I'm always trying to look for good musicians, whether old or new, but it's hard, especially finding smaller bands or artists. Is there a rune that you feel isn't utilized as much as it could be? Essence Devourer. I think that rune should be in literally every FF FW deck that doesn't use Chopping Blocks -- 2x, along with 2x Graveyard. You wouldn't include it with Chopping Blocks? No, because of how sequencing works. It's a bit complicated, but here's why: because the Devourers will come into play after the Blocks (Devourers accrue value through their own deaths, so they have late time-stamps because they are redeployed), the Blocks will resolve their EoT triggers first. Devour Life keys on low-life friendly champions, which means that a player with Devourers wants to keep around low-HP friendly champions to control the targeting; usually, they have Graveyard out, and feed the Devourers with that. Unfortunately, this mechanically overlaps with Blocks, which will target low-HP champions, and because the Blocks have an early time-stamp, they will target the Grave Warriors for HP loss before the Devourers eat them. This is bad for two reasons: first, because it hampers the ability to stagger Devourer deployment with a Graveyard because double Blocks could theoretically kill a Grave Warrior before the Devourer can eat it, leading the Devourer to tag some other friendly unit, and second, because this prevents the Blocks from actually touching opposing champions: unless the opponent has a champion at or below 16 HP, the Blocks will not actually injure them, and will waste their precious ticks on the Grave Warriors. If Blocks triggered like auras -- at the beginning of the opposing turn, rather than the end of the friendly turn -- this wouldn't be a problem, and the two packages would match up wonderfully: Blocks and Devourers both generate value in low-resource environments, but in different, complementary ways. As it is, though, each of the effects will cannibalize part of the function of the other. So, learn how sequencing and resource curves work! It's important stuff. Besides Poxnora, do you have any additional hobbies? Writing, playing guitar, watching anime, reading and listening to a lot of criticism and commentary about those things, and going to school. Class is probably 70% of that. Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share with the community? Take up concerns about moderation through private messages.