Interview with Jonas Luster regarding Addons in Allods Online

Some of you mmorpg news followers may know this next name. Or maybe you open source lovers! I have had the pleasure of interviewing the one and only Jonas Luster. Without further ado, here is the interview with Jonas Luster:

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Not much to tell about me. I got a degree in social psychology, left that field to join the craze in 1998, worked as an Open Source project manager (yes, paid :), game designer, that stuff, and left in 2006 to completely forsake all reason and job security to become a chef. I still code, quite a bit, and appear every once in a while on the scene to act as if I know a thing or two about MMOs.

You have a history in mmorpgs, care to share a bit about that history?
I started innocently enough, trying to impress a flame of mine in college. She spent her free time, instead of bars or parties, online playing a MUD called Tropolis. That was 1993, and I (a psychologist by trade) knew nothing about MMO and MUDs. But to impress her, I learned C and started coding for the MUD. Suffice to say, she didn’t fall for it. From MUDs I moved on to UO, EverQuest, played some more obscure ones when I got my hands on them, and finally got into the WoW closed beta and from there into WoW. These days I share time between Allods Online, Warhammer Online, and sometimes log into WoW from a friend’s computer, but it’s not even installed anymore :).

You have written several addons for other games. Why do you take the time to write these addons?
The first AddOn I wrote, Lootso, was exclusively an attempt to resolve tensions within the guild I was in. People claimed favoritism when we first attempted Molten Core in WoW, and I needed a way to somehow prove there was none. From there on, I stumbled upon the abandoned project files for FlexBar, which a guy named Dagar had taken over but didn’t didn’t have time to work on. So I took over, learned a lot about Lua, WoW programming, and working under a restricted API as opposed to the very open MUD development. I also kind of learned to deal with a few hundred to thousand users who didn’t think of me as a developer but as a provider of services.

Warhammer AddOns I write to overcome some of the less optimal design decisions. In general, I try to improve visibility and data accessibility with my work, not to automate game play. FlexBar might have gone a … little(!) … too far, there :).

Allods Online does have minimal addon support at this time. Do you dislike or like the current system so far?
From what I can see, and let’s keep in mind that there’s no official word from the Developers or CMs yet, AddOns are possible but have to be in a packed binary format (.pak). For the obvious reasons, hacks and sneakiness being some of the big ones, I dislike that. I am very, very, happy that there seems to be AddOn support and I’ll jump in like no tomorrow the day we have an official word on the future of this feature.

What do you like the most about making an addon for Allods Online?
Right now? Simply the fact that it’s like being on a Safari. I know most of the basics, know how to code things, but the API, the language have to speak to communicate with the game, is completely foreign to me. So there’s lots of trying and learning, and that’s very exciting. In a sense it’s more exciting than playing my Warden :).

What do you dislike the most about making an addon for Allods Online?
Again, right now it’s the lack of certainty as to if this feature is supported and if it will persist. The staff on the forums has been nothing but nice and helpful, but there’s no one we could ask, at the moment, if we wanted to learn more.

What can the Allods Online team do to make addon support better in their game?
I think an official word on the future of AddOn support would be a great first step. Something along the lines of “sure, it’s not supported yet, but you’re not treading in dangerous waters or working on something we’ll shut off in six weeks”.

Anything in other mmorpgs addon supports you’d like to see with Allods Online?
Both WoW and WAR as well as ROM (Runes of Magic) have official words on what an AddOn can and can’t do, that and how much they support it, and what our responsibilities as authors are. Other than that, a well documented access to both the look and feel and the datafeeds in-game, that’d be … heaven 🙂

Why do you prefer Lua over Pak?
Well, Allods Online AddOns are written in Lua as well, however the code files and resources (graphics, sounds, etc.) are then packed into one file with a .pak extension. Where this gets problematic is simply with peer review and critical oversight. WoW addons are read by a lot of people who’d never write their own. From curiosity to, yes, paranoia :).

Here’s hoping that once (if) the AddOn support in Allods becomes more of a maintream thing, they’ll rethink that.

A big thanks to Jonas for taking the time to doing this interview. :). Also be sure to check out this interview by Irina Slutsky of Geek Entertainment TV of Jonas Luster and his son that can kick your ass in PvP apparently. o.o.

  1. Right away I am going to do my breakfast, after having my breakfast
    coming yet again to read further news.

  2. Hi there friends, good paragraph and good arguments commented
    here, I am in fact enjoying by these.

  3. Addons for “Allods Online”? 🙂

    Google Translate:

    This is a website where we create the very first, yet unofficial, addons for “Allods Online”. Currently our website is only in Russian, but it will soon become Multilangual. Also, we speak in English, and you can communicate with us in English on our Developers Forum:
    Google Translate:

    Developers are welcome! People in our developer forum are very helpful. Join us! 🙂

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