Good old Garry’s Mod, we’re back at it again! I recently had a chat with HelixSpiral who is the community manager of SGM which stands for Serious Gmod. This community has been around for over 4 years now and focuses on TTT (Trouble in terrorist town) and Deathrun. With (currently) 5 servers of which 4 running the TTT gamemode, and over 13.000 forum members, these guys mean business! I was eager to hear his story and get a little insight in a predominantly TTT community. Something that’s pretty new to me.
Greetings HelixSpiral, thanks for doing this interview with us. First of all, how are you doing?
I’m doing good! Just enjoying the three day weekend.
What can you tell us about yourself and the SGM community?
Sure thing. SGM has been a community that has always been focused on TTT. Our approach to TTT is to try to keep the gamemode true the original gamemode as closely as possible, while still introducing exciting features that help enjoy gameplay. We also have a really high focus on having a well trained staff team and a well defined set of rules to help make sure everyone has a fun and consistent time, while also maintaining professionalism with the team.
I’ve been apart of SGM since late 2016. I hopped over when my old community started dying off and I was instantly attracted to these aspects. The staff that moderates the servers is really one of the shining factors that make us stick out from other communities. We really do like to keep in mind that our primary goal is to just make sure everyone is having fun- and that really is our guiding value when we are moderating our servers.
You guys have a big and active forums, something you don’t see a lot anymore these days. How did SGM grow to its current size?
One of the things I noticed when I joined SGM, and that really wrapped me in is the community aspect. Everyone knows each other, and everyone is friends with each other (well, most of the time lol). This community aspect has helped SGM grow to the size as it is today- and it has also extended to community to more than just TTT. It’s not uncommon where you see our users end up playing a bunch of different games together. Our forums have facilitated as this meeting place for everyone to come and hang out. If you look around, you’ll see a lot of the discussion aren’t even about TTT, but rather other games and conversations.
Did you have any community experience prior to SGM? Be it, running a community or being part of the staff team.
I was indeed a mod at a previous community before joining SGM. The owner of this community left the country though, and the server died along with it.
TTT for me is one of those “drop in, drop out” gamemodes . Meaning that I usually don’t really stick to one server/community (don’t get me wrong, I love the gamemode). I imagine it was hard building a community around the TTT server.
I mention this a bit on the previous question about the forums. One thing that’s special about our community is the fact that we are truly a community. You’re totally right- TTT is this game that’s able to jump around to different servers and drop in and drop out. However, TTT is expontentially more fun when you play it with friends.
When checking the Garry’s Mod serverbrowser I see loads of TTT servers. What makes the SGM experience different from others ones out there?
A lot of servers have tended to move towards this idea of a ‘content dump’ where they have many pieces of content, but a lot of times- they’re buggy, or it can be so overwhelming that you don’t really have the opportunity to learn what each item does. Our approach is a bit different in where, while we do have modded servers, we want to stick to the core TTT gamemode as best as possible. When we do add addons- one of the questions we ask is if this addon changes the gamemode substantially.
Aside from this, our staff team really does make a difference as well. If you play TTT for any amount of time on different servers, you’ll notice that the quality of staff really changes from server to server. You got your overzealous mods, your inexperience mods, and some mods that are okay as well. In our community, we have a well defined set of rules that explain most situations that you’ll come across on the servers. So players can expect how staff will treat nearly any situation. If staff falls short on this, we have various checks and balances to make sure the staff member can learn from their mistake. More than anything though- the whole idea that we’re just here to have fun and play TTT is instilled to the staff team from the very beginning of their tenure. If we’re doing our job successfully, that’s reflect on to the server as well.
“TTT is expontentially more fun when you play it with friends”
Besides TTT and Deathrun, do you have any plans to try out other gamemodes with SGM?
Possibly. We used to have a SeriousMinecraft server for some time (this is actually where I started staffing on SGM), however TTT has always been our bread and butter. We constantly have projects in development, but we also don’t like to announce anything until we’re sure it’s going to be a feasible possibility or we’re actually far along enough in development to have something to showcase. It’d be a bummer to announce something- but then it end up taking much longer than expected to develop, or even worst- fall out entirely.
When looking at your servers I see you have them hosted in both North America as Europe. On which servers do you see most activity, and what made you decide going multi continental?
Most of our playerbase is located with the U.S.. That being said, we have a very healthy EU community as well. We expanded to EU because we did have a player based that played on our NA servers as well. Since we had the demand, we decided to go ahead with EU servers as well.
Besides the vanilla server, what kind of addons are you using on your servers?
All of our addons are custom and developed by developers who have volunteered for the community. Currently the ones developing are Verified (Veri), and the two owners- Highwon and Opalium. We actually have all of our content posted in our new users guide listed here and more specifically see TTT tips and information and Deathrun new user guide. Those guides provide you with more information.
I noticed you have a developer (Veri), What kind of development does he focus on?
Veri actually works just about everywhere. He’s pretty talented. He helps with content on the servers, both in-game content, and staff tools (we actually run a custom RDM manager), and even tools off of the server as well that staff uses to catch various offenses.
*Whispers: working on anything new? 🙂
Maybe. 😉. We’re always working on new stuff, but like I mentioned- we don’t really like to announce it until it has matured in to something we can actually fully announce. You can always catch new annoucements on our discord server or the News and Announcements section on the forums. We also have a player test server where we test out new content before it goes live on to the main servers that we’ll announce when we’re doing those sections.
Any plans on expanding the amount of Deathrun servers in the future?
If the demand is there, sure. Currently we are able to maintain our deathrun population with the one server we’re running currently.
Looking back, what are some of your fondest memories of events happening within SGM over the years?
There’s been some pretty sweet moments here at SGM. Just a browsing through the forums you can see some of strong relationships that are formed. One of my favorite memories was when one of our community members had a pretty well broken down computer. The community decided to get together and raised $1000 to buy him a new gaming PC. It was pretty awesome.
We’ve also had some pretty fun events recently. For halloween, we had an awesome boss event where the owners, Opalium and Highwon would hop on servers and the whole server would have to get together to try to destroy the two bosses. This was fun because it really did have to involve an extreme amount of teamwork and planning as the bosses were pretty OP. If they defeated the boss, you got a custom crowbar skin that a lot of people still use today.
Are there any specific steps new players should take before joining your server?
Our vanilla servers of course do not require any workshop downloads. We do have some workshop links we recommend you subscribe to if you’re playing on our custom servers that you can download here.
As always we like to end each interview with some tips for other (starting) communities out there. Fire away!
Listen to your community. It’s pretty easy to get so wrapped in to your staff team that you forget the most important aspect is what your community is saying and what they perceive is going on. Don’t dismiss their words, or you may find that they’ll begin to dismiss your community.