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GibWorld Interviews! - Jolt
Kelvin Phillips Interview - Spooky
Well, with the increasing amount of Free UK Gaming ISP's poping up around, we thought it's about time we take a moment out with one of the Staff from one of the ISP's available. One of these Gaming ISP's (and probably one of the best) is Nildram Ltd's, Jolt. Jolt offer's FREE 0845 Internet connection, which gives a direct connection to their FREE gaming servers, FREE POP3 e-mail, FREE unique webspace which can be configured under different Sub-Domains (i.e. - and e-mail !).
We interviewed Kelvin Phillips, WebMaster for Nildram Ltd and Jolt, asking him about Jolt, the web design and where he thinks Gaming ISP's like Jolt are going.

[Spooky] Who are you and what do you do at Jolt?

[Kelvin] My name is Kelvin. I work as the webmaster/developer for Nildram Ltd. While gaming online I go by the name [ard]screamager.

[Spooky] How did you get involved with Jolt?

[Kelvin] I'm a Quake2head, and spend many hours engaged in mindless gibbage. As there aren't many other online gamers at Nildram (my boss likes the occasional bit of Unreal/Unreal tournament but he's about the only other) I got the job of setting up and maintaining the web and games servers Jolt.

[Spooky] When and why did Nildram start Jolt?

[Kelvin] Over the years Nildram became known to the gaming community for providingconnections with a great ping and practically no packetloss in game. Our games servers were popular, but there weren't very many of them (4 in all).

There's a big and ever increasing demand for a good online games service,
both for the snappy connection, decent open/clan servers, and more. We hoped
with Jolt we could cater for it all, improve on the Nilly ping magic and create something special.

[Spooky] And how long are you hoping to keep the service going for?

[Kelvin] As long as people want it and we can offer it! :)

[Spooky] Where do you get inspiration for your webpage designs from?

[Kelvin] Well the design was actually quite rushed (like 2 days!) due to a few unforseen problems. I'm fairly happy with the existing one, though it could do with more work. The main thought was for something bright and colourful, to depart from the usual 'black background, gothic, dark' look. That could potentially shy away new gamers who aren't used to the FPS scene. I have plenty more ideas and there are other goodies inline for the site, to give it a bit more of a community feel but you'll just have to watch and wait :)

[Spooky] How long would you say it took to design the Jolt website? And do you spend much time on it updating it?

[Kelvin] Between programming the database backend, and the web frontend I'd say the initial site was done in a couple of days. However, as work in progress, there have been various other things added since which would have added to this. Maintaining it could be a full time thing if I was able to let it be.
There are just so many neat things that could be added. For now, I just try and keep the forums in order, the downloads up to date, and announce any new games servers/changes to games servers.

[Spooky] Jolt does seem to be going well at the moment, what are Jolts plans for the future (i.e. services such as personal game server hosting for clans, more game support etc.)?

[Kelvin] We are currently hosting a few private clan servers, and as we get more machines in, we dish out servers to clans. They get snapped up quite fast!
I hope to add a bookable clanserver system to the Jolt site, however it's a big job and for now alas it's on hold.

As for new games, it's a case of watching the scene and seeing what people are shouting about. The addition of a HalfLife TFC server was a good move.. it's packed full a lot of the time, and I'm going to try to add a second one with a few map changes. Unreal Tournament isn't getting the serverspace it deserves at the moment as the machine its on needs some changes doing but I definitely want to improve that. The Kingpin server gets a small number of visitors, but to be honest Tetrinet was more popular!

I recently added a Quake 3 Arena server to Jolt, but haven't really had time to get into it since the full release version came out. Q3A is a very significant move up (thanks ID!) and it'd be nice to get the best server up there. Some decent server docs would help if anyone has any! :)

[Spooky] What would you say makes Jolt a better choice than the other free Gaming ISP's around Britain (like WirePlay, BarrysWorld, Games Inferno etc.)?

[Kelvin] At the end of the day, whoever provides the best connection is going to winthe gamers. The Jolt dialup equipment seems to be handling the load very easily, and I've had reports of some very impressive modem and ISDN ping times. As an extra, Jolt gives out as much free webspace as you like for your gaming related / clan site, free email, and a choice of fun domain names to which you can add your own subdomain. Quite a few clans have already taken advantage of the web/email extras and are fairly happy withit all :)

[Spooky] With alot of talk about Toll-Free Internet access coming around for the UK, do you think that Gaming ISP's will ever offer such a service for free? With no signup or dialin access fee?

[Kelvin] Indeed, this will kinda leave the free gaming ISPs with a predicament. As you probably know, with 0845 numbers, the ISP get a small percentage of the call revenue when BT connects to Energis, or Worldcom or whoever provides phonelines into the ISP. Oftel warned this revenue scheme wouldn't be around forever, around 18 months ago, and so I hear, it's not going to be around much longer. What is left to fund things? Either advertising revenues, subsidy from a parent company, and/or subscription charges.

If it came to it, rather than placing advertising in your face at every turn, I'd personally prefer that if/when BT make the change, that Jolt becomes subscription based. At least then you know the money is going to be there to improve the service, buy more servers, get more bandwidth, and build everything right up. I think it's a fair swap for a couple of pints less down the pub each month, and it can only serve to improve the UK gaming scene. This is only my personal take on it.. I don't know what will happen :)

I think a lot of gamers are looking forward to what BT surftime has to offer. Even if it's more expensive per month than initially thought, compared to most gamers phonebills it will be insignificant! :) I'm sure there will be a catch with it all, and as we all know BT are mean and evil and all that so I guess we have to wait and see!

Big Shout & Thanks out to Kelv for the Interview ! ;)

2 cows in a field, one says moo - the other says 'Not again!'

So you've opted to be a beta tester and get games ahead of all your friends, but is it all that is cracked up to be? In this article we discuss the job itself, and the work it entails.

So you've opted to be a beta tester and get games ahead of all your friends, but is it all that is cracked up to be? In this article we discuss the job itself, and the work it entails.

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