The Dink Network

Dinkerview #5: The Troll... Pollmaster!

Dinkerview number five is here!
This time, Headbone is interviewing Footbone.

Click on the comments to read it!


Hello and welcome back to another exciting edition of Dinkerview, where, as a wise Slig once said, you'll get some "news you can't abuse" about Dinkers.

For Dinkerview #5, we have a misspelled part of a body (I forgot which part, exactly), the Pollmaster METATARASAL!!

Here is what I had to ask him, and what he had to answer, cause, you know, that's what this craziness is all about. *Sigh* Why can't Tal come back with Ask Tal so I wouldn't have to entertain you crazy people.

Q1: Hello Metatarasal! How are you?

A1: Still alive last time I checked.

Q2: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

A2: In the real world I'm 24 years old and study chemistry at Utrecht University. On the Dinknetwork I'm also 24 years old but I don't actually do anything useful except updating the polls from time to time...

Q3: What do you like to do on free time?

A3: I usually surf around the internet quite a bit in my free time, checking various websites. I can be found looking up totally useless information on Wikipedia quite often. When I'm not surfing around on the internet I like to play games both on the computer and away from computer screens or read books. Though I'd have to say that I don't actually play many games away from computer screens because of the people around me not caring much about them...

Q4: What do you like and dislike most about Netherlands?

A4: There's no place like home. I'm sure that if I were to move out of the Netherlands I would start missing all kind of subtle things. I'd miss being able to go everywhere easily by bike for example. And I'd miss Dutch style salty liquorice, definitely. The thing I hate the most around here is the bigotry many people have. I seem to remember people being much more respectful for each other's opinion in the past...

Q5: What kind of movies do you like?

A5: I'm not really into movies to be honest. I've only been to the cinema once in my entire life. That was 7 years ago and only because I could get school credits for it. Maybe that illustrates how much of a movie fanatic I am...

Whenever I do watch a movie its usually just what happens to be on television at the time. Personally I tend to prefer action movies and movies set into some historical background. But as I said its usually the tv channel that determines the movie. (or the preferences of whoever I'm watching tv with)

Q6: Onto the Dink stuff for a while. How did you first find out about this classic pig farmer?

A6: Oh, that's a long story.

I think the first time I ever saw Dink was at a toy store where they sold PC games. I was mostly into strategy games at the time and I didn't really have any interest in RPGs.
So I ignored it.

Some time later Dink had become freeware and I saw it at some site where they had all kind of freeware games for download. You can actually still visit this site ( . It has changed surprisingly little since the time I found it, it still links to Dink Smallwood with exactly the same description as when I first saw it around ten years ago... Though I think I did recognize the name I still found the download size (25 mb at dial up!) too large to make it worthwhile.
So I ignored it again.

Now in early 2002 some friends at school managed to get a pirated copy of the Dink Smallwood cd. Their story got me interested especially as I still remembered seeing it posted online as freeware.
So I downloaded it.

Back in those days I also got interested in programming my own games but I really didn't have a clue where to start. Full blown programming languages where way too difficult for me to handle and there weren't really that many easy resources. Plus I found programming languages to be way too abstract, I just wanted to make my own games! But then I found out you could make your own adventures for Dink. I read through the tut1.txt tutorial and decided to make my own DMOD after that. I found it surprisingly easy to make my first DMOD, I think I made a simple story in a day or so with no previous programming experience.
So I decided to make another DMOD.

And I got stuck with Dink ever since...

Q7: You are one of the most known and respected Dinkers around these days. Can you explain a little more about your road from finding The Dink Network into your current position as a staff member?

A7: I am respected? Really?

Hmm... Okay, I suppose that doesn't quite answer the question...

When I started making DMODs back in 2002 I wasn't really that good at it. Technically it wasn't really very difficult, I got my first DMOD up and running quickly and when I look back at it my second was actually relatively advanced already. My problem really was with finishing. While I started DMODing in 2002 it would take until fall 2003 for me to actually finish something. Funnily enough that was a simple project I made in a single week that you can still download. After finishing my first full DMOD I really got into finishing DMODs and between then and december 2005 I finished the other two DMODs I've released: Quest for the Gems and The Scourger.

Back in 2005 I also joined the Dinknetwork. Now most people would probably start out by saying something relatively stupid in a serious discussion or by means of a (verbose) introductory post on the forum somehow. But the first thing I ever posted was actually a DMOD. Yep, this was the first sign of a creature called 'metatarasal' you can find... From there on I was a relatively average user I'd say. I released my other two DMODs the same year I joined and haven't released any DMOD since then. Despite that I still claim to be working on something to this day. I have been a relatively active contributor to the forum though.

My real rise to fame started here. The staff hadn't been really active for a while so redink1 asked for volunteers to help out. I volunteered. Some time passed and one morning I browse onto the dinknetwork and hit upon this post. Apparently I got the job.

And apparently I did something correctly... If people are really respecting me... Maybe the green star means something...

Q8: Can you enlighten us more about your polls? How do you come up with these wacko questions every month or so?

A8: Good question, I wish I knew myself.

Back when I had to make my first poll I really didn't have any idea on how to do such a thing. I mean, technically it isn't difficult but finding the right questions and answers is difficult. I actually had to spend quite a bit of time on perfecting those first few polls, and still I'm convinced there are a couple which ended up being not really that great. But after I while I just got into my own style. I can't really tell you how it works, I just sit behind my laptop with notepad open (I write all my polls in notepad before putting them online) and then questions just come to me. Or they don't. Usually once you force yourself to think of a poll it doesn't work out very well, but other times the questions just come very easily. Its also a matter of experience I think, I often see something on the board and then make a poll question out of it that I'll use a couple of weeks later.

Also, I've had some great poll suggestions by MsDink, which I've vandalized quite a bit to form some of the polls. If anyone else has any suggestions as well: Just send me a PM, I always welcome new ideas.

Q9: How would you like to see people commenting on the polls?

A9: I'm thinking of actually posting a 'guide' about this in a Pollocracy article one day. In general these are the main guidelines:

1) Try making a comment such that you do not have to know the answer you gave to appreciate the comment.
2) No insults towards other members
3) Maximum length of 256 characters

There are a couple of other things, but if everybody were to follow these rules things would be much easier for me.

Q10: You have released three D-Mods to date. Which one of these is your favorite and non-favorite?

A10: My favorite? The Scourger, no doubt.

My least favorite is probably 'dink learns music', if only for the very immature sounding name.

Q11: What were your original goals for your D-Mods?

A11: For 'Dink learns music' the goal was to actually finish a DMOD. I hadn't finished a single DMOD in well over a year back then so I just had to prove to myself that I could actually finish a DMOD. I had a week off from school so I made a DMOD that week. I guess that goal was accomplished.

After finishing 'Dink learns music' I decided to actually finish another DMOD but I didn't really have an idea for a new one. But then I realized that I had a rather large number of unfinished DMODs laying around on my hard drive. Perhaps some stories would actually still be usable. One of the unfinished DMODs I had on my hard drive was 'Quest for the gems'. It was actually the third DMOD I've ever started so it was already quite old when I dug it up from its grave to finish it. (Second DMOD actually if you don't count the first DMOD I made purely as an exercise.) It gave me the opportunity to actually finish a big DMOD which was the primary goal for this project.

In the end of the day 'Quest for the gems' turned out okay, but I felt that the story was way too linear and the map aimed too much at progressing the story rather than at providing an interesting world for the player to discover. So my next project had two goals: Finish an epic DMOD and do so with a more interesting background world. Which in practice meant that I tried to make the background story more elaborate, make the chunks of map the player had to go though larger and to make the characters more interesting. That project was 'The Scourger'.

Q12: Are you happy with your D-Mods?

A12: Generally I think they turned out pretty decently. When I look back at them I can see that they were clearly made by a younger version of myself, so sometimes I look back at them and think about removing some of the now obvious imperfections they have. But in the end of the day I'm quite happy with the way they are, especially the Scourger as I haven't played the other two for the last couple of years I think...

Q13: You have written a tutorial "An introduction to DMOD making". Why, in the first place, did you decide to write this excellent file?

A13: I wanted to write something that would truely give a beginning DMOD maker an idea on where to start. There were a couple of tutorials covering various parts of making a DMOD but no tutorials actually telling you where to start when you suddenly decided that you'd like to make a DMOD. Of course there was tut1.txt but it is quite outdated and actually contains errors as well. Originally the idea was just to tell people how to start a new DMOD and make a map for it in windinkedit and then refer to the rudiments of scripting for info on how to script. But when I looked at the rudiments of scripting I thought it was better at explaining things after you'd already completed a couple of very basic scripts. So I decided that a scripting part would really complete the tutorial and I sat down on my laptop and started typing. It was disturbingly easy to do so, I actually wrote around 80-90% of the scripting part in a single day. Then I spent about three times the amount of time on writing the rest and on editing the manuscript. In the end I think it was the right decision to add a scripting part, now people can choose either 'an introduction to DMOD making' or 'the rudiments of scripting' to learn how to script. It just depends on whether you like my teaching style or Binirit's teaching style better.

Q14: Do you have any plans for future contributions?

A14: Oh there are plenty of plans, I just don't seem to get any of them done. I wanted to enter the non-combat DMOD contest and the carnage contest but in both cases I didn't really get beyond a very basic setup. I still have a little project in production that I haven't worked on in quite some time now. I still plan to finish it sometime in the future though.

Another file that I've been contemplating recently is a part 2 for 'an introduction to DMOD making'. It would cover advanced scripting and would likely be quite a bit more difficult to make. For example I'd have to study some areas that I'm not really knowledgeable about such as making items. But seeing as my previous attempt at making a tutorial ended up much better than I had anticipated I might actually pull it off...

Q15: If there was one thing, in one of your D-Mods, that you could change, what would it be?

A15: I guess it would be the title of 'Dink learns music'. It sucks.

Q16: Who is your Dinker idol and why?

A16: Redink1. If it wasn't for him the community would never have survived for this long. And I also really appreciate his DMODs, he always seems to hit the right tone, they are somehow never dull even when the tasks are relatively mundane.

Q17: What is your favorite D-Mod and why?

A17: Cloud Castle 2, because it is just so immersive. There are other DMODs that really suck you into the story (such as Pilgrim's quest), but they don't seem to offer me the same replay value. (I never finished pilgrim's quest more than once...)

Q18: Let's get back onto the light side of these questions. Sabretrout vs. Tal - Who will win?

A18: SabreTrout, because he's actually around.

Q19: What kind of music do you like to listen?

A19: I'm really into classical music. I actually answered most of these questions while listening some organ music by Franz Liszt...

Q20: Do you read any books? If so, what is your favorite book and who is your favorite author?

A20: I love to read books from time to time, especially fantasy. My favorite series of books is 'The Wheel of Time' by Robert Jordan.

Q21: Banana vs. Cookie - Which one wins?

A21: Banana - no contest

Q22: What would you like to see in the future of The Dink Network?

A22: I'd like to see the community staying alive and more new people coming in. New people are the lifeblood of the community if you ask me.

Q23: I do know, but some might be wondering, about the story behind your username. Could you please explain it?

A23: It's a misspelled version of 'metatarsal'.

But you probably guessed that.

Not even I remember the full story behind it anymore actually. I've just grown accustomed to using it over the years so much... But as far as I can remember the name originated at French classes at high school. On one particular class we had to write down some sentences explaining a typical problem you could encounter while staying in France: Complaining about filthy hotel rooms, complaining about bad food or explaining a medical issue to a doctor. Now this was a pretty standard exercise but I was in a comedy mood at the time so the sentences we made weren't really the standard ones: "The inside of my hotel room resembles chicken intestines." was the sentence used to describe problems with hotel room cleanness. The one explaining a medical issue explained to the doctor how I might have broken a metatarsal. Apparently these sentences stayed with me, because I remembered them when I had to choose a nickname. I guess I wouldn't have remembered anything about this if it where not for my user name, so it cuts both ways.

And even though it is a misspelled word I've grown to like it, it's nicely alternating consonants and vowels.

Q24: And now, the question everyone has been waiting for!! What is the meaning of life? You cannot answer sex, Street Fighter, 42, Coffee n' Chocolate fudge, nor Creativity.

A24: Why would there be a meaning? Life is. You can fight it, deny it, try to give it a meaning or try to live with it. I'd choose that last option...

Q25: Is there anything you'd like to say to your fans, enemies, friends or the American President for that matter?

A25: Write more reviews! We need reviews!

And so this misspelled part of human (and other animals, I guess) structure left the scene. And that one answer just absolutely FORCES me to go listen to some Wheel of Time!! Hey! Where did my money go?! METATARASAL, GET BACK HERE!!

Eh... we'll see you next time folks. METATARASAL, YOU SONUVABI..!