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Bort is one of the creators of Goal Line Blitz. He is also the lead programmer of the game. His birthday is October 13th!

[edit] Gamernode Article

The brainchild of Peter (Bort) and Jesse (DigitalDaggers), GLB is a rarity in this day and age: a game designed by fans of the sport and games in general, built for fans of the sport, with their satisfaction in mind. The two met at their job five years ago, and like many co-workers loved to talk football; especially fantasy football. Not satisfied with the current availability of football games on the Internet, Peter took things into his own hands.

"I've always thought football would lend itself to a big multi-player video game where everybody plays the different positions, and it just seemed like a good time to dive in," he said. "So, I talked to Jesse about it and he agreed to help me out with testing, planning, strategy, and the business aspects of running the game."

If early indications and the gut feeling of any who play the game are right, Peter was on to something. Combining traditional RPG aspects with the sport of football, Goal Line Blitz is a football fanatics dream, and something even a non-sports fan can get into if they love building their own characters over time. When you create your account you're given 400 points to spend creating your player (300 for glory positions; 200 for defense, tight ends and fullbacks; 100 for the OL and kicker/punter), and as that player participates in games and trains each day, he'll gain experience which will increase his level, thereby giving him stat points to distribute in both physical stats and football skills.

As any sports fan will agree, reading about sports just isn't the same as watching the replays. Peter and Jesse realized that, and GLB features a play-by-play replay of every play in each game (except for kick replays, which Jesse promises is coming soon). Obviously the visuals won't blow the next Madden game out of the water, but watching your key plays in a game is a blast

[edit] Interview with Bort

Bort tells all (well ok, not all but it's still quite a bit)

by thehazyone

GLBNews: Tell us about the birth of Goal Line Blitz. When did you first think about it? When did you actually decide to do something about it? What did it take to get the ball rolling? How long did you work on developing the code before you even thought of having people alpha test it.

Bort: I started working on it in sept or oct of last year, and about 6 months later had something ready to put up for the alpha. I have always worked on random projects like this, since I was about 6 years old and started learning about programming in BASIC on my Dad's ~1984 8086 computer. DD has really helped to encourage me to actually finish this project, as have a lot of the people who are interested in seeing it's final form (all of you!). Most of my other projects have just sorta fizzled out when I lost motivation or got sidetracked with the next one, but I think this one has kept my interest because it's a big challenge and there's so much I want to do with it.

GLBNews: Inquiring minds want to know. What's in the balloon?

Bort: Nothing fancy, just the standard helium. It lets me speak in a squeaky voice.

GLBNews: Inquiring minds also want to know, what does Bort mean and how did you come up with that name?

Bort: Long time Simpsons fan. 'Bout it.

GLBNews: GLB is a game that is continually being revised and added to. Many players think it is unfair that you are charging them to essentially beta test the game. What is your response to this?

Bort: I'm going to make changes if I think it's to the betterment of the game, no matter what. If some folks don't want to pay for a changing experience, we offer free play, or you can play with fewer players, etc, or you can come back when you feel as though we've made the progress that you like. I guess a lot of your feeling depends on how you view what you are buying. Some people see it as sort of a donation to help keep us going, and others see it as buying a service and have very specific things they want to see. No matter how you feel, though, we're going to try and keep improving the game. If we see something that's broken or needs addressing, we're going to try and fix it.

GLBNews: What have been the major technical challenges of GLB, particularly with its unexpected success?

Bort: Getting and keeping all the servers running smoothly is probably the biggest challenge. We started out with just a couple servers, which I thought would be plenty for a while. We've had to expand to around 30 machines now to handle all the different portions of the game, and I keep adding more as needed.

GLBNews: Obviously you'll never be able to please every one. In a game of this nature it's just not possible. Who are you aiming to please then, and what are you going to do to achieve this?

Bort: Well, we generally try to please the majority of people, which is why I've added the ability for us to do polls and find out what the majority actually wants. There's always going to be the smaller group that doesn't like something, but we can't help that. It's been hard to strike a balance between the casual gamers and the hardcore football nuts, too. The football nuts want super detailed control of every aspect, while casual gamers just want to fill in some percentages and see how it goes. Keeping it even for both groups is really really hard.

GLBNews: For those that you'll never be able to please, what can you do, if anything?

Bort: Just try our best. There are some people, though, who just hate on everything for whatever reason. I don't think you can change their mind, so we mainly focus on responding to the people who are less negative and more constructive.

GLBNews: What are you most proud of as far as GLB goes?

Bort: I get really happy when I find a solution to a problem that's been bugging me for a long time, and am quite proud when that solution works out really well. As for one particular thing, it's hard to really pick. You have to judge on the whole package.

GLBNews: A major complaint in the forums has been shoddy customer service and a general lack of communication. No one questions your work ethic or what you do for the game, but many wonder what exactly it is that the other admins do? What is each admins role with GLB?

Bort: All the other admins are there to handle customer support, billing issues, and handle business related stuff like dealing with taxes or payroll, etc. I've found that most of the "shoddy customer service" complaints have been from people who either:

A. Broke the rules, got banned, and then didn't get reinstated so "support sucks"
- or -
B. Asked for something and didn't get what they wanted, so "support sucks"
- or -
C. Sent in a request to get something done 30 minutes before rollover and are surprised that it didn't get handled soon enough, so "support sucks"

I've yet to see an instance of one of our admins just flat out being a jerk for no reason or not providing an answer when asked a question. Our support admins provide information and handle stuff based on what I tell them to do and the procedure's we've laid out, so whatever they tell you is part of the official GLB policy, and should be taken as such.

GLBNews: Why have you not hired another programmer/developer to assist you?

Bort: Both the lack of time to find, interview, and train said person, and the lack of knowing anyone I can trust. It's got to be somebody I can confidently hand the keys to if I'm gone, and it's hard to find that from Joe Schmo in my experience, as a person who's been in charge of hiring programmers and tech guys in the past. I know it sounds strange, but finding programmers who are actually competent and trustworthy is hard. A lot of them don't really know their stuff and have been able to just skate by on others' work. Maybe I've just had terrible luck, but I've had to hire for 4 different technical positions and have run into it every time. I'm sure I'll find someone at some point, because I could really use a break now and then, but no luck yet.

GLBNews: Is GLB still as much fun for you now as it was when you first started or has it started to become a job/chore?

Bort: It's slightly less fun I guess, mostly when dealing with complaints or nagging server problems, but those have never been fun. I always have fun coming up with and coding new ideas and features.

GLBNews: What are your biggest frustrations with GLB, whether it be the game or your customer base?

Bort: 1. The random complaint posts on the forum that don't really have anything constructive to say. I don't mind suggestions and "here's why I don't like it" posts, but just whining for the sake of whining always annoys the crap out of me. I know it's just people wanting to vent and find others to commiserate with, but it takes up disk space, and buries other posts without really adding anything to the discussion of the game. 2. Forum posters who like to berate and belittle everyone. Just because you don't like somebody's suggestion doesn't mean you need to call them an idiot and tell them they fail at life. Just don't bother posting if that's all you have to say. 3. People who try and find every possible loophole and exploit it, or who like to screw with other people just to ruin their experience. Griefing has got to be one of the worst things about multiplayer games of any kind, and ours is no different. Just play the game fair and square and everyone would have more fun! 4. The running style problems we've had since day 1. Every time I've tried something it hasn't worked out very well in the end. Thank god I think we're finally on the right track this season.

GLBNews: Will the game ever move away from the dot animation?

Bort: Probably, though I doubt we'll ever do 3D. We've actually got a new designer coming on to help out in a week or so, and he's pretty good with Flash, so maybe we'll be heading down that path...

GLBNews: If you could change one thing that you've done thus far with GLB what would it be and why?

Bort: I would have put in an acceleration attribute, and possibly an arm/leg strength attribute. Pretty obvious why.

GLBNews: At a certain point, stadiums reach their maximum capacity and nothing further can be done. Are there any plans to expand on what team owners can do with money once they have maxed out on construction besides paying players?

Bort: Yep; advertising, locker room upgrades, etc. We might introduce team travel arrangements as well, like a bus or private plane, perhaps that affect starting energy or something. We also might put in some maintenance costs for big stadiums or something. There's really no limit to the ideas out there.

GLBNews: When will formation substitutions (i.e. power back in short yardage situations, receiving back in passing situations, pass rushing DE in passing situations) be available, if ever?

Bort: Yes, eventually I would like to have formation and situation specific sub options, with something a bit more visual to make it easier to see what's going on.

GLBNews: What is the one thing you would love to add to the game but can not because it is technically not feasible?

Bort: Awesome 3D replays would be amazing, but just not feasable for us any time in the forseeable future. I'd also love to have a giant database cluster and a giant SAN array, but they are too frickin expensive.

GLBNews: Has anyone offered to buy GLB from you yet? If so, how much did they offer? If no, can I buy it for $100?

Bort: Well if they did, a non-disclosure agreement would certainly be involved, dontcha think? And, no $100 isn't enough. Maybe if you also throw in a coupon for $2 off a Big Mac meal I might consider it.

GLBNews: Do you know any famous people that are playing GLB? Besides Digital Daggers that is.

Bort: I've heard rumors of a couple ex-NFLers but no idea on names.

GLBNews: We are almost half way to the ten year point. Have you started thinking about forced player decline? If so, can you give us some ideas on the general premise behind it?

Bort: Yep, we've had a general plan since we came up with it. A season of stagnation where you don't grow at all, and then a few seasons of dropping stats until you decide to retire the guy. There's been talk of a "coach" class that you could turn him into, which I'd like to add. Also, we might do something to let you continue playing your player for a few extra seasons if you give up some of the retirement refund or something of the like.

GLBNews: What's in store in the next few seasons for GLB users. What about further down the road? What does the future hold for GLB?

Bort: Some offensive AI updates, something like the "veteran abilities" suggestion, finishing up fame/endorsements, and a world tournament are probably my next big projects. As for down the road, we'll see what we come up with! There's certainly no shortage of suggestions!

GLBNews: rapid fire 20 questions:

1) Favorite NFL Team

Bort: Seahawks...Sad I know

2) Favorite NFL Player

Bort: I've always liked Ben Roethlisberger for some reason. Troy Polamalu has awesome hair, though, so that earns points! LOL, now it sounds like I'm a Steelers fan.

3) Favorite GLB Team

Bort: Gotta go with the Daggers, though I really don't play favorites.

4) Favorite GLB Player

Bort: That's a really hard one since there are so many...I guess I'll go with HOT Potato because he has an awesome avatar.

5) Favorite Food

Bort: Hawaiian Barbecue

6) Favorite Beverage

Bort: Coca-cola

7) Age

Bort: 29 in a couple weeks

8) First Name

Bort: Peter

9) Where you live

Bort: Portland Oregon

10) Checking Account #, Routing #, and Bank Name (oops, just kidding)

Bort: 4...hey wait a minute!

11) Married?

Bort: No, though might as well be (going on 8 years with the same gal)

12) If yes, how fast is Mrs. Bort spending your flex points?

Bort: She's pretty thrifty.

13) What kind of car do you drive?

Bort: Honda Accord.

14) Average sleep per night?

Bort: I'd guess ~5/6 hours

15) How many servers GLB resides on?

Bort: About 30 at the moment

16) Who would you rather be locked in a room with, VB1Chaos or Bukowski?

Bort: Umm...I guess Bukowski?

17) Who would you rather be locked in a room with, Janine or Serenity?

Bort: Jed. He's dreamy.

18) Bigger ego, Tim Harper or flames54?

Bort: I actually don't think either REALLY have a big ego. As far as online persona, though, Tim.

19) How many pm's did you get a day before blocking them?

Bort: I'd say around 50-60 on average, though there were days when I got over 100.

20) Favorite Movie

Bort: I have many many favorite movies...but I have a soft spot in my heart for the Robert Redford classic, "The Natural." I will also always watch "The Goonies" if it's on TV.

GLBNews: In closing, anything you want to say to the GLB community?

Bort: Thanks to everyone for coming along for the ride with us and helping us out with suggestions, criticisms, and humor. I really hope you enjoy playing our game, and I hope you'll enjoy all that we have in store as well!

GLBNews: Thanks for your time Bort!

Bort: No prob.

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