Interview: Phantom from Exiled Servers

It’s time for another interview, this time we sat down with Phantom who is one of the co-owners of Exiled Servers, a roleplay community based in Garry’s Mod. Exiled Servers launched around April 2008 and decided to take a break in 2011. They recently returned after 3 years of development, during those years they have been working hard on bringing back the PERP gamemode. Unlike a lot of communities claiming to “Bring back gamemode X”, Exiled Servers actually completely started from scratch without using any of the old assets and has a very active open beta running currently. “we have a finished product that will run smoother than anything you’ve ever played on Garry’s Mod before.”

Hey Phantom, thanks for doing this interview with us! How are you doing today?

Pretty fantastic so far!

Can you explain to me how you guys got together? (before the project started you and Clearshot were part of a different community right?)

Well, Clearshot and I used to be in a CS 1.6 clan back when I was about 11 years old. Cringey times… That disbanded after a couple of years, and then we got back together to play MW2 on the PS3 when that came out. Then, by 2010, we were running a CSS 24/7 Office server that was pretty popular, under the name “SniperBoys” (cringey times…). He recommended to me that I try to play this gamemode called PERP on a server people will know as the original Exiled Servers. After Clearshot and I played there for some time, we decided to make our own PERP server and we made the switch from CSS to Garry’s Mod.

That was the start of the SniperBoys PERP community. After a few years, we had some changes, and we decided to change our name to AreanGaming. Eventually we went offline for our re-write (which was way more complex than we had imagined), and midway through that process I started talking with Sadistic Slayer about what we could do to make a better gamemode. We had always talked with each other, even when we were owners of our different communities. Since his community was also shutdown, and he was contributing so much to development, we decided that we would merge, and release a new Exiled Servers, with the best of both our talents and communities. So here we are today.

Communities that have tens of ranks for players, and multiple levels of VIP that don’t really do anything constructive are doing nothing but creating elitist classes in their playerbases.

What made you guys start working on this project (Exiled RP)?

Like I mentioned earlier, we ended up shutting down to re-write the whole gamemode of PERP. Watching servers pop up with gamemodes like PERP 3, PERPX, or whatever random letters and numbers they wanted to throw on without making any significant changes, really irked me. Also, if anyone reading this has ever seen any of the code for any of the PERP gamemodes, they would know that it is one of the most atrocious things you can witness…

So in an effort to improve, we started everything from scratch. There was even an inside joke between us devs that if you copied and pasted anything from any where, you were going to get 50 lashings. So we were really committed to making the most original product we could, as well as making it of the highest quality that we could.

“We cut the bullshit out of communities” is the opener on your steamgroup page. Besides it sounding pretty badass, what do you mean with that?

Communities in Garry’s Mod, especially those in the RP genre, are some of the most toxic and discouraging things to be a part of. Communities that have tens of ranks for players, and multiple levels of VIP that don’t really do anything constructive are doing nothing but creating elitist classes in their playerbases.

So when you come to us, we don’t have “GoA” or some other made up ranks that serve to divide players more. We just have owners, admins, and VIPs

The current staff team looks pretty solid, does every rank have its own specific tasks?

Since we only have owners and admins that do any type of staff work, it is pretty straight forward. Owners are devs, and they have pretty much full control of whatever they need. Admins have some tools like spectate and respawning/teleporting players. Every admin action is logged, and we hold them more accountable than our players do, as they should be.

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Since your player base is growing pretty fast, do you have any plans for recruiting fresh blood within the staff ranks in the (near) future? If so how would that process work within your community and what are the requirements?

We are always looking for new players to take up admin spots. The problem is making sure we find people that don’t have any strong biases towards one group or another. It is a long process since we have to come to an agreement on who is going to be added, but we think that the wait is better than having an abusive admin.

As far as requirements and such go, it all depends. Obviously English is a big one, but also time zones are an issue to make sure we have coverage around the clock. There is no set application process, and we don’t want people to ask because that will just ruin their chances. If we think you can handle it, we will come to you.

Will there be “special events” hosted within the server/community?

We always have holiday events and some random things throughout the year that we host to keep players entertained. Our Christmas events from SniperBoys/AreanGaming are probably some of our bests, second to the Halloween event we hold. Usually you are going to get a full map overhaul to theme it accordingly, as well as some special drops and events in game.

Moving on to the gamemode, for the ones who never played PERP, what kind of a roleplay gamemode is it and what makes it different from other RP gamemodes such as CityRP,or DarkRP for instance?

Our version of PERP, ExiledRP as we call it, is a lite roleplay gamemode. We don’t want screenshots before you raid, we don’t want you to have 100 binds for /me declaring what you are going to do. We just want you to play the game and have fun without worrying about all the dumb steps in between.

What separates us from the rest of the RP community is just the fact that we are a much more lax and flowing game. The main point is that there are no paywalls or privileged features that are going to give another player an advantage over you. You can connect with some friends, and play with very little learning curve.

Is your goal to re-create PERP? or do you want to go a step ahead and try (adding) new features.

We don’t want to recreate PERP per se, but we do want to create a gamemode that old players can easily identify with since that is where our roots are. Even before we re-wrote everything, we stayed ahead of the other communities with new features that added to gameplay and didn’t cause hindrances. We plan to keep adding and changing things as we see fit until we get to a point where we are happy. Sadistic Slayer and Clearshot will both tell you that I am a perfectionist to an irritating degree, so don’t count on development to stop any time soon!

When it comes to the development, I see you guys are doing all the programming yourself. What does the development process look like?

It is pretty straight forward. We all can work on the gamemode simultaneously and have our changes pushed straight to the dev server. Once it is on the dev server, we do the best we can to try to test everything before we push it to the live server. From there, you’ll see us call a map restart and then the changes will be live.

One of the big things that Sadistic Slayer and I want to do is to create spreadsheets for all of our prices, vehicles, weapons, etc. and have our players on the forums make suggestions, knowing the numbers behind the game. We aren’t trying to keep anything secret, and the more the players know about the game, the more helpful suggestions we can get from them. It’s a win win.

We don’t want to recreate PERP per se, but we do want to create a gamemode that old players can easily identify with since that is where our roots are

What feature are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future? (this goes for both the development and the community itself)

Right now, we are just in tweaks, balances, and bug fixing mode. There’s a ton of things that we can’t test without having all the players actually play the game, even though we try as hard as we can.

In the future though, expect to see benefits for orgs with large player counts, job progression, tons of custom vehicle skins players can create, and new map features

Do you work with a deadlines for updates/releases?

If you followed us from the beginning, I said we would have a re-write done in two weeks. Obviously, I could not have found a way to be any more wrong… Deadlines are arbitrary, but we do like to set a priority list of things, and finish the ones higher on that list first. That may be why you see us talking about a change, but we are updating a bunch of other stuff instead. We try to keep it as balanced as we can, but there is a lot to get covered and only so many hands and faces to roll over the keyboard.

Let’s talk about the map that is being worked on by El Jameo. There are a lot of versions of Evo City, what’s different about this one?

El Jameo has been working on this map for the last five years I believe. He started it when Exiled Servers was still alive running their PERP. Unfortunately that project was mothballed when they closed, and we reached out to Sadistic Slayer and El Jameo to continue working on it for us.

He has made countless optimizations to the map which net players a ridiculous amount of FPS compared to the original maps other servers use. On top of that, we are working with a set of custom compiling tools that I have made for El Jameo that allows him to do a lot of things that a normal mapper could not do with the base tools from HL2 or Garry’s Mod, and that gives us a really big edge as far as the engine limits and optimizations go.

If you join our server, you will notice that there are a bunch of building from old maps that we have recreated, new areas outside of town, as well as our ability to actually hold 80+ players without any lag. The map is a key to allowing us to have a high player count.

Anything special planned for the map?

We are planning a huge city renovation in the near future, as well as some big fixes and improvements for the day and night features of the gamemode that will make it much more appealing. So stay tuned for those!

Btw, Why is El Jameo’s forum rank “Sack of shit”?

Because he is, obviously… But actually, it’s an inside joke that we give him an unwarranted amount of shit for the smallest of things. He’s a good sport about it though. If anyone ever sees him online doing something, feel free to PM him and tell him to get back to work on the map!

When looking back, what are some of your fondest memories of events happening within your community?

I think for my community, before we re-branded as Exiled Servers, was when we had an APC vehicle for sale for $5,000,000. Now, these APCs had seats on the top, where you could fit 8 players along the edges. We had four or five APCs rolling through town to MTL, fully loaded with players. A rival org of mine had bought the entire MTL area out and had blocked off the tunnels. So we rolled in with about 20-30 players and guns blazing…

It was the biggest raid I have ever seen on the gamemode, and the most fun I have probably had on there. Was it admin abuse to a degree? No comment… But what I can say is that even the people we attacked still talk about that raid to this day and we all have a good laugh.

How can new players join your server?

You can join us @ rp.exiledservers.net:27015!

My final question to everyone I interview, do you have any tips for other (starting) communities?

My biggest thing, especially in today’s Garry’s Mod climate, is that if you are in it for the money and trying to run a “get rich quick” scheme, you are going to fail. Period.

The second tip I have is to listen to your players. If you don’t agree with them, find out why they think what they do. Try to get a full understanding of every perspective. That being said, also understand that sometimes the majority isn’t always the best answer. There is a very fine line that community owners have to walk and it is easy to deviate from that line.

When you fail to do that, you end up with the communities that I mentioned earlier. Ones with 20GB of content to download, absurd rules that manage to hinder rule-abiding players, and ridiculous community divides.

Exiled website  Steamgroup

screenshots and videos by: Chase, Shriio, DR.Rage and Bad Santa

About Syff

Founder of Angry-Mob.com, keeping your game community up-to-date with articles, guides, interviews & more! Besides Angry-Mob I currently am employed as a Sharepoint developer and multimedia advisor. You can find all my projects on my portfolio: https://Rokbock.nl