Monday, February 04, 2013

[INTERVIEW] Statsman Bruno

 ‘Statsman’ Bruno Carlucci
 “If cats looked like frogs we'd realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are. 
That's what people remember.”
From Terry Pratchett’s  “Lords and Ladies”

Favourite Hero:  Enigma
Favourite Player: Ben “Merlini” Wu (Merlini was my nickname in my local W3 server for a long time!)
Favourite Team:  Any team that tries to change the meta.

Personal Info
Bruno and his Sister

A little background on yourself please?
I’m a 28 year old Argentinian guy, I’m an engineer (Computer Science), and until very recently also a professor at my alma mater. People say I’m a great cook, I play piano and some guitar, speak a few languages halfway decently, I love basketball and football (soccer, not handegg), and I’m an avid film watcher. My favorite color is green; I love cold weather, blues and cats. I hate beets, traffic and mosquitoes!


Who are you in real life, when you’ve dropped the yellow suit?
Also, I AM the guy in the yellow suit, people that know me can confirm that that is not a persona. I was a very shy kid for the longest time (I even wrote a love letter to my high school sweetheart and hid it into her backpack!), one day I got bored of the way I dressed, and started going for “serious” clothes in bright colors. Interestingly enough, people that met me assumed I was a very extroverted and open person, which made it easier for me to be that way. That led to a self-perpetuating cycle and helped me be more comfortable with myself, you should all try it!
Spot Bruno!
How did you get into DotA2, and what other games do you enjoy?
I started playing DotA shortly after Guinsoo stopped developing the map and the 6.xx versions started spawning. My first match was a boots-and-RoR-first Sniper, rushing sange and yasha, and I never stopped since then.
Other than that, I’m not what you’d call a hardcore gamer. I can’t play open world games because I drift so much from the plot that I end up losing interest! I could try and keep focused but…  I want to do all those sidequests!  On the other hand I really like heavily story driven games. World of Goo, Braid, Heavy Rain, To The Moon, The Walking Dead are some of the best games I’ve played in the past years.
I guess it all comes down that I’m a very guilty gamer, I don’t have an “off” switch and I can’t play games and relax when I have something else to do, I feel guilt about doing that… and I always have stuff to do!

Rewind to TI2. Tell us about your journey there, and how that has affected your future path and decisions.
A few years ago I started my own consultancy business with a friend. We did really well, but 3 years later, I decided I wanted to move out of the country, so I sold the company and decided to take a long trip to Europe. I timed it so I could assist TI1 in Cologne, and that event inspired me so much that when I came back to Argentina, I decided to start doing some small dota-related projects which culminated in dota-academy.
Thanks to Shostakovich, who back then was part of the GGnet staff and many other people I met along the way, especially Lumi, LD, and the people from Dotacommentaries, I was able to get a lot of exposure and my contact network within the scene grew really fast.
(read a recent interview of Shostakovich and Statsman about Statistical Significance by EG here

 I had everything set to move to London by August 2012, but a month before, Lumi said: “Hey, given that we’re casting there…  why don’t you come to Seattle and help us with some stats?”. The idea was nice, and once I explained Valve what I could do, they were really open to the initiative.
Initially I wasn’t supposed to be on camera, I was going to be behind the scenes filtering info and preparing the infographics for the panel and the casters, but then I met James (2GD), and he convinced me and Valve that I should be a part of the panel. That’s why I didn’t have a laptop and had my yellow notepad instead!
The rest of the story is known, I suddenly became very famous and got a lot of appreciation from the public, something for which I’ll be grateful all my life. I wanted to focus on the community work I was doing before though, and I had other real life responsibilities, so I stayed off the radar until I was sure of what I’d do with my life.  Once it became clear, I cancelled my move to London and as you know, now I’m heading towards Sweden.

Nice move to GD Studio btw. What were your reasons for that? What can we expect of you and of the GD Studio moving forward?
James and I hit it off straight away and a couple days into TI2, he offered me to work in the GD Studio. I really liked the idea, but I had to sort out other things first.
Everything fit for me, I could move to a really nice country, which is what I wanted on the first place, work on Dota, keep on developing the tools I made so far, work on some really cool development projects and even occasionally get to entertain people every now and then. There was no way I would say no to that.
As to what to expect, well, let’s say I have more than 10 projects in mind, I don’t know how many or which of those will fly, but it will definitely be entertaining. I'll also be doing some coding-related work and appearing in weekly shows/LAN events as entertainer/co host.

Why stats? Are game stats something you have a particular passion for? Where do you get your inspiration from when you cast? Do you do a lot of research beforehand?
Numbers are something I get along with. I wanted to really understand how good certain heroes/teams/lineups were, but there was nothing available for that. That’s why I created Dota-Academy, and it was useful, fun!
Then at Seattle, James invented the “Statsman Bruno” nickname and people found it funny, and by the time that we realized that I would work better as a comic relief in the panel, I started pulling the stats jokes! Hopefully I will be able to show people that my brand of humor can go beyond stats, because, really, I think I ran that field dry in those 3 days, I wouldn’t know what to say for TI3!
Game Related Stuff

What do you think DotA2 (the platform/mechanics) lacks right now, if you were Valve, what would you change/add in/remove?
I’m glad to see Team MatchMaking and Tutorials in the works.  I think it’s clear that will wrap up the main game features. Team Matchmaking will probably satiate the hunger of those who want to measure their comparative strength with others, and for those who don’t have a team, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if there was some kind of “lobby” where you can make a temporary party just to match yourself against consolidated teams.
I also hope we get a way to watch a replay with someone else. There are many caster pairs that love to cast games from replays, and having to synchronize their games in order to do so is a bit too complicated.
Also, personally, I can’t wait for all heroes to be ported and for Dota 2-only development to start. It will be sad to see DotA come to an end, but imagine all the possibilities and new mechanics that will arise! The game can only get better! 

What do you think the DotA2 community needs right now?
More bridges. We need to stop talking about “Asian DotA” and “Western DotA”, we need to connect both scenes more. Even if latency is a problem for tournament between teams from both areas, I think that G-league and G-1 League are doing the right thing in opening up their casts towards the English audiences and the English tournaments should follow suit and trying to get Chinese casters interested in their tournaments. Everyone wins if the community is more connected, and who knows what can happen in the future as production budgets keep growing... Maybe The International won’t be the only prestigious truly international tournament.

How does the Valve API affect you (if at all), since you’re the stat guy?
It actually helps me a lot. Until December 2012 we were getting our stats manually because we couldn’t get all the required info to do it automatically. Now we’re doing it automatically using their API and my replay parser. Having all that information easily available can only makes us improve. The Valve API is actually really well suited to what we do at Dota Academy. They’ve done an amazing job.

Bruno and eSports
What is your ultimate aim in esports, what do you hope to accomplish?
Unlike most people in eSports who are either teenagers or grew into their roles, I found myself in the eSports business all of a sudden, so while my passion is there, I’m learning by observation. I think I have to play a little more with the environment, see what’s there, what’s never been tried, what works, what doesn’t… I always saw myself as a creator of stuff first and an entertainer second, so deep inside I’d feel infinitely more satisfaction in helping create the games, the tournaments, the spaces for others to shine,  than being “the key community figure” or “the funniest guy”. It’s all about giving tools to others, I’m sure there are millions out there that are much better than me. Makes sense doesn’t it? With a teaching and an engineer background, understand --> create --> facilitate is the natural progression.

Is there any one in eSports whom you look up to, and why?
Not one person, no, although there are many deserving of praise. I do admire every single behind-the-scenes volunteer that never get enough credit nor recognition but whose work is CRUCIAL to make eSports work. The tournament admins, the news writers, the team managers...  all those guys do it because they love the game, and they actually MAKE the game.

What are you like as a player? Do you rage a lot? Stay quiet and let people bully you?
What a loaded question! Neither. The main thing is that I ALWAYS play with friends, which makes DotA 100 times more fun. My best friends are very good at solo mid and support roles, so I played carry a lot back in DotA1 which was, communication wise, a more passive role. These days I enjoy playing the position 4 a lot, so it makes me a bit bossy because I get to dictate the tempo of the game a lot. I’m also a flashy player, I want to make the highlights, even if it means whiffing a few black holes every once in a while!

Tell us more about your other DotA 2 projects and how you were inspired.
The FantasyLeague was all Luminous. He came to me with the idea; all I had to do was make it real. I still have lots of other similar ideas which, if able, I’m going to implement eventually as well. The replay parser was because I saw so many people that wanted to do cool stuff but lacked the technical tools or the time to tackle the parsing problem (which is a big part of the problem). So by creating a parser like that, I’m allowing lots of people to do more awesome stuff, and if their products are great, they will be a platform to their own growth and development.

In as few words as possible, give us your first thoughts :
- Valve
 I really have no words to tell you how awesome everyone at Valve is. I owe them a lot, and everyone there is smart, passionate, creative and hard working. I think in many ways they’re above every other software company.

- Female Gamers
 I don’t know many, and the problem likes exactly in their low numbers. The gaming business was always oriented towards a male audience. I would like to see more female-only tournaments though, even if the average team quality is lower, IF DONE RIGHT spending time in getting people to know them, to humanize them instead of sexualize them, it can attract a higher female viewership, which will in turn play the game and help the female community grow, which in turn will increase the quality of said tournaments.

- NA/EU VS China/SEA
Lots of Asian teams have the chance to live together in a house, and worry only about getting better at Dota. This inevitably translates to a better quality of play. As long as the NA/EU market can’t find a way to replicate this, the Asian scene will have the edge.

- Legs
As with hands, legs say a lot about a person.  Make up can do wonders to sell an image, but the rest of the body (mostly hands for men, and hands and legs for women) tells the true story.

They have the rare opportunity to go back to the drawing board, and try to make a new business plan. They got lots of publicity even though their PR was extremely lacking (and any publicity is good publicity in the end), and they can make a right out of a big wrong. And if they don’t, someone else definitely will.


acidblue said...

Good Job !! Much appreciated !! x)

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honest and modest guy! keep it up bruno x)

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