An interview with KillerJohn
Recently there has been a lot of talk about TurboHUD in the Diablo 3 community. Debates over whether it was considered cheating or unfair began all while TurboHUD lost its home. I wanted to get a little more insight on what exactly was going down and what better way to do that than interviewing the creator himself, KillerJohn.
Real quick I would like to thank KillerJohn for his time. He is very busy with work, TurboHUD, and family so for him to do this for us was very generous.
Who is KillerJohn?
- My name is John, and I am a software engineer from Hungary. I started to code in 1991 when I was 8, and currently I work in a senior software architect role.
How did you get into the Diablo scene?
- I was always a huge fan of Blizzard games. Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo. Those games defined my gaming experience at the later 1990s.
What exactly does TurboHUD do?
- Mostly it makes the game more fun and convinient. It gives you certainty that you are playing the game wrong or properly.
What made you want to start TurboHUD?
- I played Diablo 3 for two years, but after 2 months of gameplay I already found it's UI lacking important information. Too much distraction was there which prevented a fluid gameplay. You had to remember what is in the inventory, and where, how much stuff do you have, and so on. It is very important in this game to track your performance and optimize it. I saw many people tracking experience in Excel sheets, which triggered the alarm in my developer mind: I could do this better than Excel... I wanted to track the gained experience, gold found (it was important as well), monsters killed, experience per monster and so on. There are so many hidden (or just unexposed) mechanisms in the game which can modify your performance without even knowing it about - I had to reduce that.
How long have you been working on TurboHUD?
- The game was released a few days after my birthday, on May 15, 2012. Maybe I started the development in July or August and it was announced on OwnedCore on December 13, 2012. Since then I think I spent lots hours with the development. It can be anywhere in the range of 1500-3000, but who counts? 2000 sounds reasonable.
Is this the first big project you've worked on for Diablo 3? Or any game of that matter?
- Yes, this is bigger than anything I ever made for a game.
So what exactly happened with the hosting of TurboHud? What is the story?
- To be honest, I have no clue. I was browsing the forum in a minute, and in the next minute it was gone. Proboards deleted it, "In accordance with Section 25(a) of the ProBoards Terms of Service" which means: they deleted it because they wanted or they had to delete it. I contacted the admins, but they had no information about the takedown. I contacted their "abuse" team, but they gave no information about the takedown, just a quote of Section 25(a)...
My personal opinion is that I have no logical explanation. If Blizzard would want to go after TurboHUD, they would have dozens of ways to stop it: banning users, ask me, threat me, etc. But they don't even delete TurboHUD threads from their own official forums, why would they delete mine? The other option is maybe a person sent an abuse report for Proboards, so they deleted the forums. But is this possible? A random guy can ask the host to delete a forum of 10+k users? I hardly believe...
Have you ever had an issue with ProBoards in the past or was this the first time you've had a problem with them?
- On the contrary. When somebody hacked the account of a moderator in 2016 and deleted EVERYTHING from the old forum, then ProBoards admins helped to restore all the content. FYI: it is in their EULA that they NEVER restore any deleted content. I guess this deletion was the act of their legal (abuse, whatever...) team, not the admins.
Why did you choose to bring it to OwnedCore?
- TurboHUD born on OwnedCore, and I guess it will die there too.
How has your experience with OwnedCore been so far?
I like OwnedCore. Admins are helpful and arrange things fast. Special thanks goes to Ket for giving TurboHUD a new community space! I can't say too much, because the HUD users are the same regardless of the forum host - and they are good, helping each other a lot.
Is there any misinformation going around in the Diablo 3 community that you would like to set straight?
- Yes, a lot...
- "Cheat vs Not Cheat"
I would like to say TurboHUD is not a cheat. But this question is much more complex. There are multiple types of "cheating". When somebody uses forbidden tools to win a competition, I count that as cheating. Why do you compete if YOU know you cheated? Does it feel good? However when somebody gets rid of some design issues of a game, in a non-competetive environment, then why is it a cheat? Nobody has the right to act as police because of a different opinion about what is "legit" in a game or not. Please consider the difference between a cheater who puts an electronic motor into his bike at Tour de France, and me who loves my battery extension of my bike.
Also I think HUD's quality of life improvement is way much higher than the problem that a dozen people possibly uses it to cheat the leaderboards. This sounds harsh, but for example alcohol is not forbidden for the entire humanity just to prevent some drunk people jumping over a train.
- "Blizzard should've already added these features to the game"
People who say this have no idea how real software development works in companies. Blizzard has to consider millions of players. Also their hands are tied: they have to design everything, they have decision making processes, quality assurance, etc. This makes them appear 'slow'. My hands are not tied, I am free. I can experiment, I can mess up things, I can do insane stuff without having to be afraid of breaking the game. I would like to suggest to consider this when you say Blizzard would have to be faster or Diablo 3 should have HUD's features. Blizzard can't go insane and experiment on millions of players.
Just imagine if Diablo 3 would have C# plugin support. They would need thousands of people to support the idiot questions on their support forum for a C# plugin...
Also Diablo 3 is abandoned in terms of mods, because it is too hardwired to allow any user customization. I can tell, it was not built to be moddable.
- "I am working against Blizzard, or the game, or the 'legit' players"
Well, this is just not true. I do this FOR the people using TurboHUD, not AGAINST who doesn't. Also I had the statement multiple times, on multiple forums, that I'll stop the development when Blizzard wants that. I have life, family, kids and this is much more important to me than TurboHUD.
Is there anything big coming in TurboHUDs future that users can look forward to?
- I have a lot of extra work to do from May 2017, so I won't have practically any time to develop HUD. I spent all my free time (and more) in the last 5 months to implement the C# plugin interface. Now it's time for the community to develop their own dreams instead of waiting for me.
What is next for KillerJohn outside of TurboHud?
- Outside of TurboHUD I am John I'll work about 60-70 hours per week until December: one full-time job, a government-related project, and maybe I'll be the architect of a security training platform. I am lucky, because my family supports me to build our future even at the cost of having very little free time together.
Has Blizzard ever contacted you offering a job? If they did, would you seriously consider taking it?
- Are you kidding me? No, they never did. Why would they? I am an enterprise solution architect with intense knowledge of managed languages, while they are probably looking for game developers with C/C++. Also I hardly believe I am a too popular person there...
What do you think the future of Diablo 3 looks like?
- Honestly I don't know. It looks like abandoned compared to the speed of Starcraft development, but Blizzard is a big company and we can never be sure about what is in their sleeves. The worst part - for me, obviously - is I can not imagine what new feature would make me to play D3 again. Competition, as a feature is good for games like Starcraft, Overwatch, and Hearthstone, but not for an Diablo. Auction house was a dead end. Pushing the highest GR is all about luck (even with HUD). Bounties are very boring. Resources are worthless. I think something went wrong with the fun/difficulty/reward ratio, but not sure what.
Sometimes I cry back the first month when I was outraged and full of hate because I spent a whole week with my brother to kill Belial. It was fun. However I am very happy about seeing many people still playing the game and enjoying it.
Are you excited for any of the new features such as the Necromancer class ?
- Not too much. The game will remain the same regardless the number of available classes.
And that wraps it up. It was great talking and learning from KillerJohn and I want to thank him again. If anybody becomes interested in obtaining TurboHUD for themselves after reading this head over to our Diablo 3 section right here on OwnedCore for all your TurboHUD needs.