Creating private game servers is a way to learn both technical (programming, system administration) and soft skills (determination, teamwork, dealing with customers, marketing) you need to get a job in the future.
Although they are called private, servers are open to the public and definitely want to get the most players as possible. People playing the game are our customers. The monetisation is done through Item Shop — people can buy Premium Points on site and then spend it on powerful game items. Usually these items are very hard or impossible to acquire only by playing game.
If you are laughing at these so called game servers — I’m going to ask you one question — how many clients your company has? We had 100+ clients online most of the time… and a client base of few thousand players. They were actually paying us. These servers could survive for 5 years. Server I used to work for is still going.
CREATING PRIVATE GAME SERVERS ALLOWS KIDS TO LEARN BOTH: HOW TO PLAY IN TEAM AND TECHNICAL SKILLS.
To make servers you need to get along with other people, you need to cooperate, because there’s too much work and too much knowledge for one person to handle it all by itself. Working with people is learning life. Sometimes you won’t receive your payment, because someone stopped answering your messages. Sometimes you won’t be able to get your idea implemented, because owner of project might disagree.
In this article I’ll try to show you how this unique ecosystem of creating private game servers is similar to creating startups. Creating private game server is like a small startup. At that time people working on such projects were mostly teenagers. Often only the owner of the project — in our case — “product owner” and “team leader” was adult.
Everyone had to do their job right. Doesn’t matter if you’re kid. You’re part of the team. You’re either translator, programmer, mapper, graphic designer or server owner. If the server is attacked at 12 pm and you’re the only person with knowledge how to handle Linux servers you have no excuses. Doesn’t matter that you get up early tomorrow and you have school or exams. Although you are paid little from the perspective of an adult — from perspective of a kid you get decent salary.
We were DDOS’ed thus we needed sometimes to stay late in the night and get server back running because we had players and money flowing in to fuel the server.
The darkest is under the lantern
I’m a Course Author at Packt Publishing, Frontend Developer at RepuX and WorkHQ. Miki is an outstanding Graphic Designer, currently working for Nextrope (Opus Foundation being one of their clients). We both started when we were 13 years old or younger, creating private game servers.
My road (as 13 yr old): translator -> graphic designer -> programmer
Miki’s road (as 13 yr old): talented designer -> solid designer -> magician
I’ve been creating Tibia private game servers in the past for like 4–5 years. I’ve get to know lots of great people, young entrepreneurs and opportunists. I won’t be naming names here, because article isn’t advertisement and I’m also done with this community. I’ve lost contact with all people I used to work with in Open Tibia. However, few days ago, I jumped into an Internet friend I knew from 2011 year. Yes, it was Mikołaj Niżnik — known as Miki, or Mikisz. I’ve lost contact with him few years ago. Some time ago I wanted to know how he’s doing now. However I couldn’t find any information about him. I knew only his nickname and this wasn’t enough. Few months later, trying to figure out which file is the most recent one design sent to our company, by our contractor, I switched Google Drive view to list, so I could date of modification, and pick the latest one. With the date of modification something else also appeared… It was author’s name. Imagine my surprise seeing in my company’s files name of the guy I used to know when I was 13 year old kid trying to be graphic designer.
At that time we were both graphic designers for Open Tibia servers. Working basically for free, or for pocket money we were dedicated to developing our skills. I was 14 years old, and he was 13 years old while he was giving me advice on my graphic designs.
We were dreaming of being professional graphic designers. I’ve stopped learning it because I’ve noticed a leap between me and him and I decided to chase programming skill. Now we’ve reunited. I was so surprised when I’ve noticed the author of graphic designs I was coding recently. I thought it’s impossible, because I’ve lost contact with that person. However when I’ve seen his full name I decided to contact him on Facebook. He also reached out to me as soon as he’s seen my invitation to friends.
In 2017, working close with another company I’m coding designs of kid I met in 2011. He’s living in the same city. Amazingly small world. We both are paid well, we’ve achieved our goals… Imagine how far away this was when we were 13 years old. Now, 6 years later — because we had clear vision, passion and a lot of determination — we’re where we wanted to be. And no, not because of money. We love what we do!
Today people start learning programming, or try to get into IT, because “IN IT THEY PAY A LOT LMAO I HAVE TO LEARN IT”. At that time, while we were 13 years old, we were just enjoying our passions. It’s the freakin’ difference between people who do a programming course — wanting big money from the beginning — and the true passionate people.
IN THE FIRST PLACE PROGRAMMING SHOULD BE PASSION, PERIOD.
IN THE FIRST PLACE GRAPHIC DESIGN SHOULD BE PASSION, PERIOD.
IF YOU WANT TO GET INTO IT BECAUSE OF MONEY, DON’T.
I think that young people should earn entrepreneurial experience as fast as possible. When they will need to build something (technical knowledge), get along with other people, don’t give up emotionally or sell the product (or game, to players), then they can grow and understand processes which rule today’s world!
This article is a tribute to my past in Open Tibia community, because I’ve developed a lot thanks to people who were around me at that time. This is also a motivation for all the kids out there — one day you’ll achieve your dreams, and maybe you’ll work with your friends you’re working right now — on smaller projects. Apart from being passionate designer and developer I was also passionate gamer and member of community. I’m grateful I was at the right time in the right place — Open Tibia.
Mikołaj Niżnik’s aka Mikisz portfolio: https://www.behance.net/mniznik.
If you’d like to read more about my road: https://hackernoon.com/how-i-used-stack-overflow-github-to-get-dream-job-before-19-without-degree-8cb5184e2bec.
You can also check my site: http://danielkmak.com/, if you’d like to.