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TM Interview Project - frostBeule
TM Interview Project - frostBeule 16 May, 2015
 wormi (7 comments, 2791 views)  

After a long, long pause we return with a new interview. I guess the man behind the text doesn’t need further introduction, since you know him anyway – it’s frostBeule! More information about the project here.


1. Could you tell us something about yourself?
Hi my name is Kalle Videkull also known as “frostBeule” and more recently as simply “fB”. I'm from Sweden and I've been active in the scene now for over 9 years, first as a player and now more as a streamer, organizer, video-maker etc.

2. How and when did you find TrackMania?
I discovered it back in 2006 about 1 week after the release of TMN ESWC. A Swedish gaming-forum I frequently visited at the time had a topic about this new free unrealistic racing game, and since I was already a fan of those kind of games I thought I'd try it out, and the rest is history.

3. You have a long history in TrackMania for sure. How long it took to reach the top after starting the game? Was being the best your goal right from the start?
Well, before I discovered TrackMania I was already pretty competitive since for years I had been doing Time Attack in other various racing games which I was pretty successful in, so I guess I sort of went into the game with the mind-set of trying to be the best from the get-go since that's just the way I've always enjoyed video games.
It didn't take long before I at least thought I had reached the top since initially what that meant to me was just playing Time Attack and getting 1st on the ladder which I managed to do rather quickly by just putting in a lot of hours into the game. Once I had achieved that though I honestly thought I was done with the game for a while as I didn't really see much of a point in continuing to play.
But luckily I then got discovered by a guy called Nanteq who was looking for Swedish players to recruit for the first Nations Cup and he asked me if I wanted to join the team. I thought I'd give it a go and pretty quickly realized it was a way of competing that I really enjoyed and wanted to continue doing, and it also opened up the world of eSports to me which was really new and exciting.
I also realized the competition was way tougher than getting 1st on the ladder, but I do recall I was able to do pretty okay against the best early on and I never really felt like I wasn't on the same level as the others.
I suppose the moment I fully realized I was not that bad of a player was when I did well in the Verizon Playlinc tournament, and then also won the first Giant Cup for Stadium later in 2006.

4. What are your best individual achievements over your career in your own opinion?
It's a boring answer, but I have to say the two world champion titles I won in 2008 and 2010. Just the whole journey behind those wins make them extra meaningful to me. ESWC was when I decided I wanted to try attending offline events for the first time, and it was the first time I travelled by myself as well. I had to qualify to the finals too by going to France first which was a pretty nerve-wrecking experience on its own. But I learned a lot from all that, and then once the finals came I felt very confident which I think showed in the tournament since I was able to perform quite good. It was also really cool to be able to go to USA for the first time.
The WCG win is pretty different in that it was a much tougher win, not just in how close it was in the grand final, but also since at this point I had started to feel a lot of pain in my wrist. So overcoming all that and still being able to take it home made it even more sweet and satisfying.

5. Next, what are your best team results over the years to you?
What comes to mind first is Sweden's win over France in the sixth edition of Nations Cup. That was the first and only time so far any other country had won the tournament. The final was really close too with both nations being on the same level which added to the thrill.
Besides that one, I would have to say the latest and last achievement I got as an active player was also dear to my heart which was winning Stadium Team Championship. I had played in every single edition of the tournament since it started, and though I was close several times, I was never able to win it. In fact it was the only major team tournament I hadn't won which I couldn't help always having in the back of my head. So winning that one was great and I felt like I got a lot of closure out of it too which was nice.

6. If not counting yourself, who is the best tech-player

a) in TMN times?
In TMN I guess I would say Carl and Sand are 2 players that stick out to me. Carl was of course the first winner of ESWC, and he was always a huge threat in every tournament he played.
Then we had kind of the counter-part in Sand who in comparison was purely an online player. He had a lot of success early on, including being the winner of the Verizon Playlinc tournament I mentioned earlier which really was a key happening in the history of competitive TrackMania.

b) in TMNF times?
For TMNF you gotta say KarjeN – I'd be insane if I said anything else. He somewhat rose from my shadow by out of the blue dethroning me at Dreamhack Winter 2008 (rip in peace game-pad), and would then go on and win WCG in 2009 among other victories. He is truly a legendary TrackMania player that will always be remembered.

c) in TM2S times?
In the latest installment, I think the choice is also easy in Carl Jr. The first time I realized he was perhaps going to be a great player was in Giant Cup 8 where we had a very close battle for 1st place - which is something I didn't expect going into the cup since he wasn't even able to qualify to the playoffs at first and only got in because someone else had to give up his spot. After that he's only gotten better and better, and I wouldn't be surprised if this year he successfully defends his ESWC title for the second time.

d) overall in the game series over all versions?
If I look at all TrackMania environments it's a bit harder for me to say since I was only ever a Stadium/Tech-player and never followed those scenes that closely. But I think it would be foolish if I didn't mention Sand once more. I could be wrong, but it feels like he would be a strong contender for the player with most won tournaments across all environments.

7. Name 3 websites, games, songs, movies and TV-shows you like.
Any F-ZERO game
Chrono Trigger
Super Mario Kart
Dinosaur Jr. - Get Me
Opus III - It's A Fine Day
HAIM – If I Could Change Your Mind
Brokeback Mountain
Terminator 2
TV Shows
Six Feet Under
Twin Peaks
Curb Your Enthusiasm

8. Last autumn you stopped competitive playing. How did you come up with the decision?
It was just time. Playing all those years and so intensely just wasn't good for my health, both physically and psychologically. I dealt with a lot of pain in my left wrist through the last couple of years, and I eventually realized the only solution to get better would be to stop competing.
I also think I got way too attached to the game and couldn't really step away from it. I always felt a certain responsibility for my team to do well that I just couldn't break no matter what, and that created a lot of pressure in my mind which in long-term wasn't good either. So it was something that was due to happen eventually, and in hindsight I'm glad I took that decision. My perspective of the game is much healthier now and I enjoy holding more of a community-role instead.

9. fB’s Weekly is one of the most liked events in TrackMania collecting over 150 players each week. Why did you began hosting the event? What is the future of the event?
For a long time I always wanted to try and organize something of my own. Especially endurance races were something I felt were pretty non-existent in the scene, and it was a way of driving I had always enjoyed quite a lot myself so I wanted to see it return. In addition I felt like I wanted to host a competition that would bring all the scenes a bit more together too. So those were the basic ideas behind it, but it took me a long time before I dared actually going through with it.
Honestly it's been quite the roller-coaster organizing the race as there's been a lot of ups and downs, but in general I've had a lot of fun hosting it, and I'm especially very happy that so many people seem to enjoy participating in it week after week.
As for the future, I mean I hope it's bright. I was able to get some sponsors for the latest season which is pretty exciting, and hopefully that's going to be the case for future seasons as well. But if that's not the case it's not the end of the world and not what decides if I will keep hosting the race or not.

10. Streaming has been a big part of your Trackmania for long already. How long you prepare to stream matches? Do you think that streaming has changed the community somehow?
Yeah streaming is a lot of fun to me and overall I think it's been a great thing for TrackMania and also the entire eSports industry as a whole. It definitely has strengthen us and likely have made some people discover the game who wouldn't have otherwise, and that's very positive.
The way I approach streaming has always been that I like to be prepared and feel like I know what I'm doing. So based on that I always tend to make graphics, look up statistics and stuff like that to just try to have a professional feeling and make a good show out of it. It's not everyone's jam as it's maybe not so “spontaneous”, but I wouldn't want it any other way personally. So it adds a couple of extra hours of preparation, but I just enjoy doing it so much that I don't mind.

11. Last year you solved your issues with ESWC and streamed the event. How was it?
It was a good experience for sure and I enjoyed it a lot. It's true I had a beef with ESWC for years which to be frank was mentally pretty draining at times, especially since I felt like many people weren't that supportive of my decision, and a lot of them even tried to make me feel guilty about it and blamed me for trying to hurt the game and the competitive scene which was pretty lame.
To me it was just common sense to have the standpoint I did, and though it wasn't fun to hear those negative opinions I never doubted myself since in the end I knew I was doing the right thing.
Anyway, now everything is good between us and I'm looking forward to the next edition. Hopefully I can cover that one as well.

12. Over the years league mapping style with block selection has changed a lot, but do you have any favorite maps from the leagues you have driven?
No not really. To be honest the maps just kinda all melt into one for me. It's hard to pick out any favourites just on the fact that I've played so many over the years.
When I competed, I just tried to have the mind-set of knowing that it was the same maps for everyone and take it from there - that was all I was thinking about.

13. ESL published a new title pack planned to be used in leagues. What is your opinion about the idea?
I've read a couple of arguments against it that I think makes sense such as it possibly dividing up the scene even more. Ideally I think it would be good if it could all be done in the vanilla version so that everyone including the casual crowd are in the same place. But on the other hand the features it will bring sounds pretty cool, so we'll see if it will be a success or not.

14. We’ll see. Stadium with numerous styles has always been quite split in dirt, full-speed and tech drivers. Do you think there should be more multi-style events?
Yes absolutely. As I see it that's the best possible direction we can take for the future if we want the game to grow as an eSport. We're so divided as it is, and to me it just makes sense if we would try to unite a bit more and create a common goal. I only really see benefits if we go through with it, but I'm not so sure that it will ever happen. It's not an easy task to get everyone on the same boat, especially since in a way it's kind of in the DNA of TrackMania to not be in the same boat. But I think it would be good for us if we got there.

15. Lately two players, PokeR and B3pp0'92 left Team Acer. What is the current situation of the team?
To begin with I want to say it was great having those two as team-mates over the years. They were a big part of our team and our successes, and of course it's a big loss not having them around anymore. So to put it mildly the current situation of the team could be better.
We're in a rebuilding phase right now. We don't have enough people to play in the upcoming ESL CPS 15, so we decided the best plan moving forward would be that we will skip that one and hopefully come back stronger and in full force for whatever comes next. I can assure you though that Team Acer is not going anywhere.

16. If you could change one thing in TrackMania 2, what would it be?
There's a lot of things I'd like to see changed, but the biggest thing at the moment would probably be to make the game more stable. It's really a bummer to me seeing so many people having their games crash so frequently when I host my race... I don't think it makes new-comers want to return to the game either which is a shame, so I'm hoping that's something Nadeo would work on fixing. Reducing the landing-bugs in Stadium would be a close second.

17. The player bases in many countries such as Sweden and Finland are very small right now. What should be done to bring the game more active outside the competitive scene again?
It's tough to say how we can make a difference in this current situation. The truth of the matter is that the popularity of TrackMania is shrinking smaller, not just in the Nordic countries but everywhere. I think we'll always have a competitive scene - which is not doing too badly at the moment all things considered - but how to get the casual crowd back is hard to have an answer to. One thing I think has not been very good though is that Nations continue to be more popular than any ManiaPlanet title, and as I see it that's a situation you don't want to have.
What I can say though is that there's not really any game like TrackMania out there, so as long as that is the case I think people will continue coming back and enjoy it from time to time. I still think this type of game got a lot of potential to be very popular, it may just be that it needs more competition itself; meaning other developers try to make something similar so that the format can continue to evolve and hopefully flourish again.

18. Will you change your Gandalf-Terminator avatar back something else in Facebook while sharing this article? It’s May already!
I'll change it if someone makes me a Harry Potter/Darth Vader avatar in replacement!

19. Describe yourself with four words.
Passionate, stubborn, patient, shy.

20. If you have something else to say, please write it here.
Thanks for having me! I just want to say I may not have always given this impression, but I got a lot of appreciation for everyone that is involved in the TrackMania-community and not just for the competitive scene, especially now after retiring as a competitive player. So it's cool to see projects such as this and other ones constantly being present which shows the strength of this community. I'm fortunate to be a part of it.

Thanks a lot for your answer fB! We will come back sooner or later with a couple of more interviews again. Until then, see ya! =p
7 comment(s).
 tcq writes ... 27, May, 2015  
Nice interview as usual and some very interesting answers. Thanks to worm and frostbeule for this enjoyable read.
 frostBeule writes ... 21, May, 2015  
kawi: http://pastebin.com/ej8tCNJE
 eSuba tween writes ... 17, May, 2015  
Big ups for a great interview, both the interviewer and the interviewee! :cool:
 kawi writes ... 17, May, 2015  
Didn't ask about TTC. Bummer
 SYNERGY.aerosol! writes ... 16, May, 2015  
Nice job (l) (y)
 Sky.wp writes ... 16, May, 2015  
Keep 'em coming man :) Always a blast to read! Good questions & answers.
 danodude writes ... 16, May, 2015  
I enjoy these interviews, good job (y)
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