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ACON5: Interview with Sujoy Roy

by Nick Haywood on 4 April 2005, 00:00

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A (roughly) gaming orientated chat with Sujoy Roy

Sujoy Roy talks to

At the Harrow Arena yesterday I was lucky enough to buttonhole Sujoy Roy, famously the UK’s first professional gamer. He’s a very down to earth chap who now spends his time organizing LANs for pretty much anyone who needs one doing and is currently involved with ACON5. We sat down and had a chat, but I wanted to do something different from the usual set questions that a gaming hack would ask him, so prior to the interview I invited members of the forums to ask the questions. Armed questions ranging from the gaming orientated to the downright abstract, we grabbed a coffee and settled in…

Nick: If you weren't a Pro gamer, what job would you be doing right now?
Sujoy: I'd probably still be in merchant banking. I started pro-gaming with Quakecon 99 and won on Quake 3, I gave up the day job on January 1st 2000, played pro for a couple of years before settling into the organisational side of things.

N: Can you possibly estimate the amount of coffee and pizza you've consumed since you started out?
S: I don't know if you know a guy called David McCandless (he's a gaming journo-Nick), but he told me when I started out to watch what I ate or I'd end up a fat slob... When you go to LANs the whole pizza and coke thing is unavoidable, it's part of the culture, but I'm generally quite careful about what I eat, I try to eat healthily a lot of the time.

N: What do you think of CS:S? Do you think the impact will be the same as the previous versions? Which do you prefer?
S: I definitely prefer CS1.6 over CS:S, Source just doesn't feel as precise as 1.6, but then CS all over doesn't feel as precise as Quake 3. I mean, you do something in Q3 and you know what's going to happen... in CS it's a much more hit and miss affair for me. CS:Source definitely needs the gameplay fixing but graphically its the way games should be going.

N:Cadbury's Creme Eggs, how do you eat yours?
S: (laughing) I bite the top off, eat the middle out and then eat the chocolate.

N: How long did you practise for per week?
S: I used to play 4-5 hours a day when I played competitively, but now I probably play only an hour a day. Since I've started work on the organizing of events I've taken all the games off my home PC. If I want a game I come into the Harrow Arena to play.

N: Do you have "prematch" rituals before having matches or public gaming sessions?
S: Not really, but there is one thing I used to do. You can't do it on CS but on Q3 I used to spend ten minutes immediately before a match playing the game at 3 times the normal speed. That gives you long enough to get used to it so when you play the match at normal speed it all seems like slow motion.

N: When you're not gaming, what do you do to wind down after a hard day?
S: Watch telly.. huh, that sounds really boring, doesn't it?

N: What's been the best piece of equipment released that’s had the biggest impact on the gaming community as a whole?
S: Definitely graphics cards giving higher framerates. People will argue and try and prove that your eyes can't detect anything above 30Hz, but I'd say that there's a noticeable difference between 60FPS and 80FPS... Maybe not so much between 80FPS and 100FPS, but having a high framerate is an edge... Sure, there's an upper limit to how much you'll notice, but at the lower framerates the difference between 60FPS and 80FPS is definitely noticeable.

N: Why is it that some games go on to the pro gaming "scene" despite being naff? (Painkiller being an example)
S: It's all about money at the end of the day. Who's got the money? The publishers have... they're the ones who can invest in the gaming market as that's what they do. It's down to them which games will be played in tournaments as they'll pay for the prizes to be won playing their game. Painkiller is CPL’s game of choice as CPL wanted an exclusive license, so Painkiller is what they got. DreamCatcher are willing to put money behind it and push it as the CPL official game, which in turn makes people buy it to then be able to compete… That’s how it’s going to be in the future. The hardware sponsors will provide the kit to play on, but the actual prize money is going to come more and more from publishers. Look at how huge EA are, they can afford to spend money purely on prize pots for competitions .

N: What's your favourite gaming food?
S: Well, working here I've found a rather good kebab shop just up the road...

N: Has you ever tried those specific gaming keyboard/pad things (i.e. Nostromo)?
S: Yeah, we get sent loads of things to try. One of the first was this thing called 'the Claw' which looked just like a claw... the drawback was that it had one button per finger... so how could you run back? To be honest, it's not about the kit. I reckon a basic keyboard and optical mouse is all you need. With ball mice you could flick and build momentum, but the springs were on one side so you had to adjust for turning left or right, optical mice give you pixel point precision, sure I ramp up the USB sampling rate and the early versions were pretty poor, but a modern optical mouse and a standard keyboard are all you need.

N: What do you think of the socio-economic situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo?
S: Google it... next!

N: What's your key layout and why?
S: Mines a bit odd... I use 7, T, Y, U for movement, which leaves 12 keys within reach of my pinkie for various things and then another three for my thumb, like jump, crouch and walk... and I still have most of the number keys for weapon switching. It means you have to have your hand at a slight angle, but it's best for being able to access a load of other keys while still moving… I have several binds I use so I can get to them easily with my little finger.

N: Have you ever built a PC for your Mum or Dad, and if so, did you teach them to play any games on it?
S: Yeah, I built a PC for my Dad and then had to show him how to use it. I get calls from him all the time wanting help with something or other to do with it. When the Arena isn't being used for gaming we run Learn Direct courses here, so I sent both my Mum and Dad on a course here.

N: Did you ever drive the Ferrari and how fast did you go?
S: You mean John McCarmack's Ferrari? The one Thresh won? Yeah, I've sat in it but it's a museum piece at the front of IDs foyer now...

N: What's your favourite weapon from any FPS?
S: The Quake 1 rocket launcher... it was great. Fast flight times, fast re-load... you could bounce someone all over the map with it... blow them up in the air, then hit them again in the air... awesome.

N: Can you use a PS2/XBox/(insert console controller) with ANY accuracy at all or are you as pants as Zak, one of our forum admins… and why?
S: Who's Zak?
N: He's one of the HEXUS forum admins, and he regularly moans about lack of decent controls for console FPSs.
S: Oh right... no, I'm as pants as he is then. I can't use them either. HALO on the Xbox is the only FPS I've really played a lot of and that compensates in some ways for the fact you're using a joypad. The problem is, all these controllers made for FPS games are all joypad or joystick based, which just doesn’t give the freedom of movement you need… I'm sure there's a much better solution than keyboard and mouse just waiting to be invented, but as it hasn't, keyboard and mouse is the best we've got... you just don't get the same feel or control with a joypad.