[b]Shaun Lai[/b] may be only 14, but he is already contributing to the gaming community in a big way. Known as [b]maxxY[/b] in gaming circles, he is currently President of the VirtuaLeague Committee. We caught up with him on IRC and asked him a few questions about himself, VirtuaLeague and the community.
[b]Let’s start with an introduction of yourself.[/b]
Hi, I’m maxxY, also known as Shaun Lai. I’m aged 14. Amazing huh?
[b]So, how did you get your start in gaming?[/b]
I first started when I was way younger, around 10, with Counter-Strike beta 7. Then I stopped for 2 years, trying to forget what CS was about. Gaming then caught my eye after my PSLE.
[b]What did games did you play after PSLE?[/b]
I played Half-Life, Counter-Strike, and my girlfriend’s current favourite game, Natural Selection. She always murders me when she sees me in-game!
[b]How did you get involved in VirtuaLeague (VLe)?[/b]
Well it all started when I was wondering, “Why isn’t there a CSS league for Singapore teams to play on?”. As such, VirtuaLeague was started mainly by me.
[b]Could you elaborate more on how VirtuaLeague started?[/b]
As I mentioned before, I saw that there was a lack of a CSS league to prepare teams for the World Cyber Games. Also, I was tired of competing with companies like Slackabes, Creaion and many more. I wanted the various game server providers (GSP) to work together in a way that complements each other rather than against each other.
Each company has their own strengths that contribute towards VirtuaLeague. For example, Fragnetics is good at handling money, ACNova is good at hosting and maintaing CSS servers, aEGis can provide marshalls and support, and sgCstrike and the Team TitaNs website provide coverage.
When I was forming the core team it was difficult to find the manpower to help out, but I never gave up. Eventually, I took on the role of Head Director and President as I preferred to work behind the scenes.
[b]So, what are your roles and responsibilities as Head Director and President of VLe?[/b]
Basically, as president, I must ensure that everyone in the core team does their job, everything is secured and prepared for matches, making sure matches start on time, making sure that there are two marshalls marshalling each match, and making the sponsors happy.
I also had to come up with ideas and so on. Sometimes, when the core team guys come up with a suggestion, I will always set a priority to see whether the suggestion is good enough to implement in VLe.
[b]What does VLe hope to achieve for both itself and the community in general?[/b]
For the team, it would be to gain some experience on how to run a league. For myself, it is to have the great feeling of “I know I did it, I know that I have done something good for the community”. For the community, it’s a good way to prepare for WCG, to get more competitive experience and sharpen their skills.
[b]How successful has VLe been so far?[/b]
Ok, for week 1, it was a terrible start. I have to say I had suicidal thoughts. One, too many teams were playing at HQ (lag). Two, the server would often crash due to failure to update. Three, we had a terrible camera man from the beginning. After week 1, everything got back into shape, and things settled down, except that nobody bothered to update the website. But if you were to ask me, I felt that VLe went 81.9% well.
[b]So what’s the other 18.1%?[/b]
5% due to the lack of teams taking part, 5% due to week 1, 5% due to my other commitments, and 3.1% due to miscellanous things.
[b]So, does VLe have any plans beyond CSS?[/b]
Well, if we get a chance to do another season, we’ll be falling back to 1.6, while playing CSS at the same time too. When Games Xtreme League (GXL) announced that they weren’t going to organize any more 1.6 leagues, most of the 1.6 online guys were fairly disappointed.
There is still a big demand for 1.6 as compared to Source. The feedback of the amount of registered teams was terrible. We expected at least 20, but to the lack of replies, we dropped it to 16. But any how, we still got 19 teams to join, which to me is quite a large number, compared to my age. =)
[b]So where do you see VLe one year from now?[/b]
Truthfully, I doubt we will have a second season, due to the team’s commitments. But if we were to have another opportunity, we would not let our supporters down, and we will have better manpower than Season 1.
[b]And where do you see competitive gaming in Singapore a year from now?[/b]
For me (I don’t know about others), I have the feeling that the community will fall apart, due to the gamers’ lack of co-operation. However, gamers will always be around, generation, after generation, after generation. Gaming will never die.
[b]Lastly, any words and shout outs?[/b]
To every gamer in Singapore, don’t let my honest answers let you guys down. Continue to stay competitive, be it in games such as 1.6 or DotA. Just compete till you drop. If possible, try to organize a competition!
To all those in the core team and supporters, I thank you for supporting the competition for the past 2 months. Especially pok, blaster, scuderia, chris and mata! And those whom I forgot, forgive me please. You guys were great! It has been an enjoyable season that I will never forget.