Interview with Ned, alias Gabriele Falistocco, the creator of Maxithlon

This week our reporter Xrono interviewed the , alias , the creator and of the game. Here what he said, translated for all our foreign readers.

Hello Ned and thanks for your time!
First of all, I ask you a short introduction! What is your name? what did you study? what do you do? and why and when did you become interested in online games?

My name is Gabriele, 26 years old, a graduate in economics now working for a consulting company. I began to look for browser games more than 6 years ago, starting from Hattrick, working as an operator for Ogame and observing other browser games. I have, over time, began to prefer the not in real time versions, because of my personal commitment and work that makes impossible to take an active part in many existing games online.

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How did you have the idea of Maxithlon?

There wasn’t a browser game specifically for athletics. There were dozens of browser games about football, many others for various sports … but none for athletics. And so I started to develop …

What difficulties did you face to develop a game about track and field?

Difficulties that are still there. Athletics is a rather complex sport , individual, based on more than twenty disciplines also very different from each other. The base was the real world, then I have applied some modifications to make it playable and manageable within a virtual world.

Track and field is not a sport known as football … which is the typical user you refer to?

Athletics has a close but very competent community around the world. There are many athletes who in real life practice athletics in our game, but not only them. It’s hard to have a typical profile of a Maxithlon user, but unlike other browser game, the average age is rather high, indicating, perhaps, the dynamics of the game of course “slower” than many other browser games, and a good complexity that maybe it’s not typical for a user that wants everything immediately.

Were you inspired by other games? And if so which were the things you did not like in other games and that Maxithlon had to have?

The inspiration was taken from various online games. Clearly the starting point was Hattrick, but also other games may have helped in developing Maxithlon as it is today. However it’s difficult to make a list of things I do not like and which have been included.

It’s been hard to bring an Italian game to the worldwide web? Is it difficult to grow and survive in a worldwide that includes games from foreign companies that are bigger than you and that are able to have advertising everywhere?

It was very tough and still is. The game is self-financed and investments in advertising are really scarce if compared to other managerials. The only resource we can use is the publicity from our users who invite their friends to play Maxithlon and that’s what helped us in developing the game in Italy and abroad. It is no coincidence that, often, nations in which the game is more advanced, are also having a community that tries to expand itself.

How you can you still improve the game?

The game improves by 360 degrees all the time … The problem is that 180 degrees of improvements are almost ever invisible at the eyes of end users. Many people see the current problems (technical, economic, structural …), but do not understand that there is so much preventive work to avoid them. Talking about the technical aspects, the fact that Maxithlon in 2009 has totalized only 10 hours of down should make clear that there is and there was a minimum of attention on many less known aspects 😉
So… if there are 10 equations to be solved and we miss 1, instead of pointing the finger at the wrong one, maybe we need to look the good 9 things!! then again for the remaining one I can guarantee that sooner or later I will found a satisfactory solution … 😉

I have read that the new season will reduce the number of coaches for single club (from 15 to 13 max.) Will there be other innovations?? Can you give us a preview?

The number of coaches will be reduced and, in theory, the coaches should become 10 units. I say “should” because they may remain in higher numbers if will be other news. The only area where I am able to say that some changes will be made is that of the meeting. The reasons are clear for all …

Did you expect such a success for the game? Many consider it one of the best sport online games!

Honestly when I started to create Maxithlon I had no idea how it would develop  a few years later. I’m, however, very pleased to see how much progress has been made.
Hard to say whether or not it’s the best. What’s sure is that there has been done so much work in all these years and the community, though smaller than other browser game, has appreciated  our good work.

I noticed the new policy with regards to the staff …what can you say about this? Do you think that will be new staff engagements?

The new internal policy staff was required to comply with certain legal obligations (especially the processing of personal data of users) and to allow to have a minimum of information about who, every day, has contact with end users of Maxithlon and is responsible for the various contents of the game at all levels. Some staff members were unwilling or unable to accept the new policy and have been or will be removed soon. I’m sorry to know that some will leave, but it was a compulsory step. I hope that end users will understand the reason for these choices. In any case we will proceed with some targeted engagement, although it is important to remember that the relationship between Maxithlon user and staff is very good compared to any other game online and we are proud of this.

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