I believe you all know who Eugene is and how important this interview is. If you are new to FM and might not know him, he's the author of FM Genie Scout; world's most popular scouting program for Football Manager since FM2007.
Eugene is married and has a daughter who should be over 2 year old by now, and you realize his priority is family and his free time is almost extinct. However, like we have announced weeks earlier there will be a Genie Scout 11, but a bit late this time. We already announced it shouldn't be released during 2010, but hey that year has just passed!
Read on to find out all about it!
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Hi Eugene! How do you feel after another successful season for Genie Scout? There have been almost 300k downloads for GS10 on our site alone, plus more on various other site through the FM scene.
Hi Stam! I want to believe that GS11 will be even more successful.
Tell us a little about your private life. How different it is to be husband and father compared to a bachelor?
It's quite different =)
First of all, I experience lack of free time after the birth of my daughter.
When I was a student, I had about 6-8 hours of free time per day during working days + 2 full days at weekend. It's about 40-50 hours per week. Almost all time for about a year I devoted to the scout. It really took a lot of time.
Now I don't have any free time at all during working days, and about 3-4 hours at weekend (at night, when my daughter goes to bed) =)
What do you do for a living nowadays? Do you have a regular day job? Do you work freelance too?
I work on permanent basis at large Ukraininan Bank, it's called Raiffeisen Bank Aval, member of the Austrian bank holding Raiffeisen International. I've joined it about 9 months ago.
I'm also a member of a modeling team in Retail Landing. We develop statistic models (scoring models) that predict some special events, such as default of customer or amount of loss. It's statistic and mathematics mostly.
I'm really happy with my work right now and completely satisfied from all points of view, including financial.
I see. What would be your dream job and how far are you from that?
Probably, I'd like to work at a football club or a football academy, to develop some statistic models that report and predict development of players. Methodologies that we use in Retail Landing could be applied at different areas, from medicine to sport games. The same model was implemented in GS11 to predict whether player will reach his PA or not.
You started working on Genie Scout 11 quite early this year since the beta stages of FM11 but there has been no release yet. What happened?
I worked on Genie Scout during the summer, while my wife was away to her parents and had our daughter with her. Then they came back and I almost didn't have time anymore due to overload at my new job.
Do you consider working alone best? Given your lack of time nowadays, would you consider forming a team (maybe from FM Scout) to help you with the development of GS 11 and beyond? Do you reckon the development of GS should be handed over to someone else? Would you ever release your code open source like FMSX?
I don't really believe that working in a team will be more efficient in this case. Actually, I'm sure this project will die if the number of responsible persons for the its development will be more than one. From my experience, projects like this cannot successfully exist in a team without financing. And as long as I have an inspiration and feeling confident of supporting the project, I'm not going to make it public.
If I feel that I'm not able anymore, I'll delegate this project to someone else. But I hope it won't be anytime soon =)
If you remember, Michael Nygreen's projects were open source for years, but how many utilities were created based on his sources? I think that there are very few people like littleblue or BraCa that are completely dedicated to their projects and who can sacrifice a huge part of own private life.
Fair enough. What really inspires you to make Genie Scout? You probably don't have time to play the game now, so what keeps you going?
Really, I don't have time to play now. Furthermore, it seems like FM isn't so interesting for me as a few years ago. I don't think that the reason in game, rather problem with me =)
But I like to feel that I'm doing a big thing and that it's appreciated by people.
I don't have time to play FM11 either, but it might have something to do with me being disappointed by SI in various ways. What is your opinion about SI and their approach to their fans and community?
I think that SI should pay more attention to the community, they should understand how it's difficult to support the project like FMRTE or GS. But probably they just don't have time for that, because their work is very hard. I understand, but cannot accept this.
What if SI let you sell a premium Genie Scout version and you could earn enough money from that, would you quit your job at the bank and focus on GS development more?
I don't really believe that SI will go for it =) Also I doubt that selling of the scout will make me leave my job =)
But I don't do it for the money. It's like a hobby, while I'm interested in programming and scout development, I'll continue to produce it.
What's the current development progress of GS11? What's left to do until it's ready? Will it be compatible with the latest patch 11.2.1?
I've updated recently my twitter that GS11 is already updated for patch 11.2.1 and reached an overall progress of 90%. It's left to fix only a few bugs, and some loading data issues. But how much time will it take, I don't know. Hopefully, it will be released in January.
What about compatibility with older FM11 versions (11.0, 11.1, 11.1.1)?
It might work with older versions, but in case of trouble, I'm not going to support previous versions of FM 2011. All I can guarantee is that it will work with the latest version.
FM match engine is constantly updated, which I presume modifies the effectiveness of certain player attributes regarding player scout rating. Do you modify your scout rating algorithm to reflect that?
Actually, I didn't modify it this year. I didn't have time to play the new FM and I don't know what was changed. Scout users can modify rating by themselves, and if it is more efficient, I'll definitely add these ratings to the next release of the scout.
Tell us about the new features of GS11.
Actually, there is only one big feature (if I don't take into account a couple of small "cosmetic" changes). It's a new statistically based model that will show the probability of reaching theoretical maximum of players ability. It ranges from 0% to 100% and predicts that player will reach his PA during career. This model is developed without any "expert" assumptions and based only on the analysis of 35 years game history with more than 80 thousand players included. As I said, the methodology is very close to the one that is used in Medicine, Insurance and Banking industries. Accuracy of the model is about 85%, and it depends on players CA, PA, age, professionalism, ambition and training facilities of the club you manage. I'm sure you will like it.
2 editions of Genie Scout 10, a free ad-supported one and a premium ad-free one. Were you pleased with the amount of people that donated to get the ad-free edition?
I'm very grateful to all the people who have supported me with a donation. Donations and ads is not the reason why I'm doing that, but I believe that every kind of work should be rewarded. Actually, I didn't earn so much to leave my work =) In fact the total amount earned from the scout last year didn't exceed the 1/3 of my monthly salary =)
But I really appreciate this. This year I even got a donation of 100$ from the resource MyScotFC.com! And it was very surprising =)
Will there be an ads-free version that people will be able to get if they donate this time? What are your plans about it?
Yes, like last year the scout will be available in two versions: with and without ads. People who will donate any amount will get a free of ads version. Also I've fully automatized the process of distribution for the "g" version, so people won't have to wait for days before they will get a link this year. Also all new features that will be developed since GS11 will be available only in the ads-free version.
So, new features such as the statistically based model for PA will be available only in the ads-free version?
Yes. But it will be available for donation even for 1$ =)
What would be your advice to someone who wanted to make his own scout utility now?
All I can advice is to assess own ability and availability before making such a "huge" announcement. You should understand that in order to create something really valuable, you need to sacrifice huge part of your private life.
Alright, I guess that would be all for now. Thanks a lot for your time, I appreciate it! Happy New Year!
Cheers! Thank you and Happy New Year =)
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Thanks to everyone who posted their questions on our forums, I tried to include most of them.